10 New Car Features You Can Live Without
There are many “bells and whistles” available for new-car shoppers to choose when buying a new car. With so many new gadgets to choose from, it’s easy to confuse what you want and what you need.
Many of the latest features sound great in theory, but their actual usage can be less than fulfilling after owning the vehicle.
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New Car Features Make Life Easier
When shopping for a car online, you may notice that purchasing a single feature such as heated seats is problematic because it’s part of a much larger package.
Many automakers only include certain features in overpriced packages. For example, if you want heated seats on your next vehicle, you must buy the “Hot/Cold Package.” Which also includes a 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. Many times over-spending on items often, only to find out later down the road, is useless or redundant to capable tablets and smartphones.
Check out the top 10 new car features that car buyers realize after owning the vehicle could have lived without spending the money.
Top 10 New Car Features You Can Live Without
1) Sporty Paddle Shifters – It seems like a good idea to have these little shifters on the steering wheel so you can manually shift through the gears of your transmission. Paddle shifters belong to high-performance sports cars, not mainstream, family-style vehicles.
This feature is typically included in a sports package option and is usually 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 the overhead console.
Our advice is not to 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 smartphone. They’re more flexible, do not require DVDs, and can be used with headphones also.
However, you should be aware that if you leave a device unattended in the open, 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 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 smartphones 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 the 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 replacement. Larger wheels typically require a lower profile tire (also more expensive) which sometimes results in a more bumpy ride. A larger wheel and tire also result in more weight, resulting in slower acceleration off the line and poor fuel economy.
6) Blind Spot Detection Systems – This technology is still evolving and very expensive now. 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 that drivers tend to ignore them or turn the system off entirely.
Positioning 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 its technology. The problem is finding the right mug or cup to take advantage of them.
Water bottles, cups, and coffee mugs are not heated or cooled correctly daily. The bottom and portions that 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 costly new car option killed by smartphone and tablet technology. It’s cheaper and easier to use the GPS on your phone or tablet than pay for redundant technology in your vehicle.
9) Captive Touch Controls – Touch controls can be challenging to use and become unresponsive while driving if you’re wearing any type of driving glove. These controls replace traditional buttons and knobs with a touch-activated, smooth surface instead of pressing a physical button.
These 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 get used to the refreshed 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 test out the feature before spending your hard-earned cash.
Insider Car Buying Tip
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 paid for the car and then figure a 3-5% fair profit offer from the dealer’s actual cost to present to the dealer.
When negotiating a new car’s price, it’s essential to know the dealer invoice price and what other people are paying for the vehicle in your local area. Otherwise, you won’t know what’s a reasonable price to pay for the car. I highly recommend using an online referral service such as Ryde Shopper and Motor Trend. 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 considering buying or leasing a new car or truck.
Suppose you have no idea how to buy a new car or begin the car-buying process. Check out my new car buying cheat sheet for a step-by-step walkthrough on how to buy a new car and avoid car dealer scams.