There are many "bells and whistles" available for new car shoppers to choose from when buying a car. With so many new gadgets to choose from, it's easy to get confused between what you really want and what you really need.
Many of the latest features sound great in theory, but their true usefulness can be less than fulfilling over time of owning the vehicle.
Many automakers include certain features in expensive, overpriced packages. For example, if you want heated seats on your next vehicle, you will have to buy the "Hot/Cold Package." Which also includes heated steering wheel, hot/cold cup holder, and whatever else they have in the package.
There's nothing wrong with pampering yourself with a few driving creature comforts, it's your money and you can spend it how you wish. However, many car buyers obsessed with technology, can get caught up with all the new toys available to them. Many times over-spending on items, only to find out later down the road are really useless or redundant to capable tablets and smart phones.
Check out the top 10 new car features new car shoppers, after owning the vehicle, realize they could have lived without.
1) Sporty Paddle Shifters - Seems like a good idea to have these little shifters on the steering wheel so you can manually shift though the gears of your transmission. Paddle shifters belong on high performance sports cars not mainstream, family-style vehicles.
This type of feature is normally included in a sport package option and are normally operated incorrectly by the user. When executed poorly, there's a substantial delay between the time you click the paddle and the actual changing of the gears in the transmission.
2) Ambient Lighting - This feature is absolutely money well burnt. Some automakers will charge $250 or more for you to have the option to change the color of lighting around your feet or around the overhead console. Our advice is to not waste your money and spend it on something else more worthwhile.
3) Rear Entertainment Systems - 10 years ago rear entertainment systems were all the rage. These systems are expensive, over-priced and can get your vehicle broken into if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The less-expensive alternative is the iPad, tablet or smart phone. They're more flexible, do not require DVDs and can be used with headphones also. However, you should be aware if a device is left out in the open and unattended, it's an easy way to get your window busted out of your vehicle.
4) In-Vehicle Wireless Systems - Although this is a very enticing feature for our internet driven teenagers, it can be a very pricey way to link multiple devices to the internet on weekend road trips. Some automakers offer accessories and wireless routers for as much as $450 or more, not including the charge for installation and monthly data packages.
A better, much cheaper, option is to contact your mobile carrier and look into a mobile hot spot device. Some smart phones already have the option available. This option also provides usability outside the vehicle.
5) Larger Wheels and Tires - There are pros and cons to upgrading to 19" or 20" wheels and tires. The pro is they can change whole look of a new car, truck, minivan or SUV.
The cons are they'll cost you a lot more when the tires become worn and need to be replaced. Larger wheels normally require a lower profile tire (also more expensive) which sometimes results in a more bumpy ride. A larger wheel and tire also results in more weight which results in slower acceleration off the line and poor fuel economy.
6) Blind Spot Detection Systems - This technology is still evolving and is very expensive at this time. Many of these systems will identify vehicles, and other objects, not in the danger zone by sending audible and visual signals to the driver. Many of these blind spot systems "cry wolf" so frequently, driver's tend to ignore them or turn the system off completely.
Posistioning your side view mirrors and driving defensively should be sufficient for identifying potential threatening vehicles hiding in your blind spots.
7) Heated and Cooled Cup Holders - This is a great feature and there's nothing wrong with the technology behind it. The problem is finding the exact right mug or cup that can take advantage of them.
Everyday water bottles, cups and coffee mugs are just not heated or cooled properly. The bottom and portions that actually touch the elements are the only parts that benefit from the heat or cold. Invent the cup or mug that works and you'll make a small mint!
8) Navigation Systems - This is another very expensive new car option that's been killed by smart phone and tablet technology. It's cheaper and easier to use the GPS on your phone or tablet then to pay for redundant technology to use in your vehicle.
9) Captive Touch Controls - Touch controls can be difficult to use and become unresponsive while driving especially if you're wearing any kind of driving gloves. These types of controls replace traditional buttons and knobs with a touch activated, smooth surface instead of pressing a physical button.
These types of controls are getting harder to avoid as manufacturers are copying popular user interfaces such as the iPad and tablet.
10) Ventilated/Cooled Seats - Don't get cooled ventilated seats mixed up with heated seats. Heated seats are a GREAT option for most drivers in the cold. However, ventilated seats are a little different and many people never quite get used to the refresh feeling you might expect.
The effectiveness of vented seats varies greatly depending on the manufacturer and style of sitting area. My advice is to go on a nice long test drive and really test out the feature before opting to spend your hard earned cash.
Never start the negotiation process from the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) or sticker price of a new car. First, determine what the dealer actually paid for the car and then figure a 3-5% fair profit offer from the dealer's actual cost to present the dealer.
When negotiating a new car's price, it's important to know the dealer invoice price and what other people are paying for the same vehicle in your local area. Otherwise, you won't know what's a good price to pay for the vehicle. I highly recommend using an online referral service such as CarClearanceDeals and Edmunds, their quotes will automatically include any discounts or cash-back incentives currently available.
In addition, the above sites will tell you which dealerships in your local area are currently the most flexible with their new car pricing. These sites provide valuable information for anyone thinking about buying or leasing a new car or truck.
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