There have been many technical advances based on electronics applied to cars over the last thirty or more years. Some are central to modern safety, such as anti-lock brakes and stability controls, some to fuel economy and emission control and some to user convenience, such as Bluetooth, parking assistance systems and keyless entry and start systems.
And this is one of personal bête-noires. Trust me, I’ve tried keyless entry and start, not on my own car but on some rental cars, and I don’t get it. You still can’t drive without having the key in your possession, and then when you’re driving, what do you do with it? Put it in your pocket and sit on it? Leave it in your jacket or bag, and walk away from an unlocked car? Keep wondering where it is? If you hold the key in your pocket and someone else is driving, who really has control, Captain?
Given modern remote central locking systems, opening the car with a click of the plip is not difficult; the fashion for folding or block keys reduces the sharp object damage to pockets and bags, and there’s somewhere definite to put it. It’s called an ignition barrel and it seems to work pretty after all these years.
So, keyless entry and go gets my “Thanks but no thanks vote”.
QOTD then is “Which modern electronic aid gets your no vote?”
I rather like the keyless entry on my car. When I get to my car burdened with bags, boxes, kids etc, I don’t have to drag the keys out of my pocket, or find where in my bag they are. And I always just drop the keys into the same cupholder, so I never have to think about where to put them or pick them up from.
However, the endless warning beeps I could do without.
My Focus rental in Europe had one, and it was my first extended experience with it. I felt the same way; it’s fairly convenient, and I didn’t find any significant downsides.
In any case, it’s miles better than when at a rental counter in the US they hand you BOTH keys/fobs attached securely to each other. That’s a huge bundle to put in a pocket. It’s abusive. Stop that already!!
But I didn’t answer the question: almost all of them 🙂 Well, that is the most recent ones, especially in the infotainment area and such. I do appreciate all of the advances that have made cars more powerful, efficient, and safer; thank you.
I just don’t get around to using most of the infotainment ones, so they’re wasted on me. If I was a commuter, it would probably be a different reality.
That must be great if you lose it!
I think that’s the point: They can then charge you some obscene amount for replacing both keys/fobs, never mind the tow. It’s really insane.
And when they start failing in 10-15 years and parts are listed NLA, you are up a creek without a paddle. I see where perfectly serviceable cars will be scrapped because unavailability of electronic parts. Maybe a third party will make parts available but then you run into patents and proprietary information problems.
This is another reason for people to trade in after 3 or four years, once (or just before) the warranty ends. I’m afraid this will probably the option I’ll take with my Mazda 3 as I cannot – unlike in the case of a 78 323 – repair any of the gizmos on my own and even if you find someone to do it, the amounts asked for are stupid. Of course, that’s another kind of planned obsolence which is what manufacturers want, but don’t get me started on this as it will become a political rant:)
Adding that this was the reason why I insisted on a manual g/box when I bought the car – it meant 50 less gizmos to go wrong…
Actually, it’s what the idiot CONSUMERS want.
If the consumers demanded simplicity, ease of repair, and cost consciousness, that’s what they would get.
But noooooooo. 🙁
Frank, wish that were so – it’s impossible because of all of the regulations manufacturers have to observe. OK, you could say paople wanted features like ABS, airbags etc. which actually save lives but my point is even if there were customers for “simple” cars, the cars could not gain any approvals from the various adminsitrations.
Turtle: Sure they could. There is no legislation against sealed beam headlights or drum brakes or manual steering. There is no Federal requirement for 8 on-board computers or infotainment systems or GPS’ or power seats, windows, and mirrors. Cars can be built and sold with a plain key- $2 replacements at the hardware store. And so on.
Frank, for sure a lot of the electronics can be shed but the ABS, ESP, emission crap (which includes the fly by wire throttle, which I hate), airbags and other things are required by law (well at least here in Europe or, for that matter, in Israel)…
The only downsides are when you lose one of the fobs or the battery dies and the dealer charges you a hefty reprogramming fee to get the new/recharged one to work with your car.
Both keys for my rental were wired together but the emergency real key was where the wire went through, so I could remove one or both fobs, which I did once. But it is not a good plan not to keep the real key with you as the Dart would not respond to the remote when it was parked under a street light in a parking lot in the daytime. Had to open the car with the key, setting off the alarm till the key fob was put in the ignition lock.
Me three. I like not having to dig around in my pockets for a key. And I really like the fact it will not let you lock the car if the key is still inside somewhere!
Agreed. I thought remote start and keyless go was a gimmick when my new car had it, at first… But living with it is amazing.
I start the car a few minutes before I leave, so it’s heated/AC’ed to the right temperature, touch a button on the door, and never have to touch the keys again.
And for someone who frequently travels with dogs, it’s nearly indispensable on long trips. I never leave them alone in the car for more than the time it takes to go the bathroom, but it’s great knowing they’re comfortable and safe, and the car can’t be driven (stolen) without the key present if remote started, it shuts off as soon as you try to put it in D.
Amen to that. I too thought I could care less about the keyless start but once I drove the company XTS for a while and my own 300, I really started to like it. I also like the ability to touch the door handle to unlock it and push that little button to lock or open the trunk. Very handy.
Yeah, that’s one of my favorite things about my 300 as well. In the morning I put the key on my pocket and then never take it out until the evening. You touch the door handle and it unlocks, then you get in, hit the start button and it starts. Same to turn it off, then get out and touch the little button on the doorhandle and it locks. No need to EVER remove the key from your pocket.
I can see how it seems weird on a rental car especially if your own car does not have it and aren’t used to it, but once you figure out that you can usually just keep the key in your pocket and the car unlocks when you get close to it or touch it, it all starts to make sense.
Driving my wife’s car with a conventional key fob now seems like an asinine waste of time and such a chore! 🙂
My 09 Mazda6 has keyless entry/start/trunk, and i love it! My key chain goes in my front pants pocket (or my coat pocket in winter) and stays there. Driving our 10 Chrysler Town and Country and having to put the key in the dash, seems clunky by comparison. The modern electronics that make engines driveable. powerful, and economical, are equally awesome (I lived through the 70s, thank you). So too are ABS, traction control, and stability control. I could live without nav systems, but then I don’t drive much in unfamiliar territory. So generally my take on automotive electronics is that it’s all good.
Our 2 newer cars have keyless start and I love it also. Keep the fob in my front pants pocket all day, never have to extract it. Neither car has remote start, and it’s not needed since both are garaged.
And if I’m driving my old Nissan Frontier on a particular day, I just leave the fobs on top of my dresser in the bedroom.
For me, it’s a safety issue. I like the fact that my wife or daughters can still approach the car have it unlock quickly and they get inside and lock the door behind themselves.
It’s not often we need this in our neighborhood, but there are occasions where this feature is handy. This is one of them.
I’ll take ABS, fuel injection, and that’s about it. Keep the rest, thankyouverymuch.
I’ll just take the fuel injection; they can keep ALL the rest of that garbage. I want a modern-day Model T. And the closest thing to that was the Metro.
I’ll also have power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning….
You got that right- all that “power” stuff is going to be the stuff that “breaks”.
I know that the jist of this piece was electronics but I commented on a few mechanical things… I will also take electronic ignition, and tubeless tires.
That is all.
I have a 1995 LeSabre with ABS, power steering, power-assist breaks, front disks, air conditioning, power seat, AM/FM/Cassette, cruise control, interval wipers, power windows, and power locks. Everything except for the right rear window works. I’m pushing 225k miles- that’s good enough for me!
I also have a 2001 Audi that has all the Buick stuff, plus a sunroof, delayed interior lighting, height-adjusting headlights, trip computer, CD player, digital odometer, dual power seats, dual heated seats, and much more. On that car, after 170k miles, it all works.
I’ve never worked on drum brakes, but I’ve done pads on the Audi and Pads/Rotors on the Buick. Piece of cake, and very nice to have in our mountains.
I just drove 800 miles the last two days in the Audi. Piece of cake. Try that in my 1986 Dodge pickup? I can’t go above 60 unless I open all four barrels on the carb and go broke. I can’t get much comfort, and air conditioning? Forget it.
The Audi goes 80 on the Interstates all day long, the radio is like a concert hall, the seats are from Heaven, and the whole experience is much nicer and less fatiguing. My Buick can make that trip- I’ve done it before. It’s nearly as comfortable as the Audi, and just as reliable.
But, would I do it in an older vehicle without power steering, brakes, or any resemblance of a nice stereo or climate control? No way….
Those aren’t “gadgets”.
Um, electronic ignition too, thank you.
I don’t want to go back to setting point gaps by feeler gauges. I don’t think you would either.
Forgot about that one 🙂 .
I dislike most of the electronic wizardry now stuffed into cars. Keyless entry and remote start? No, thanks. Power windows? I have two strong arms and a long reach. Bluetooth? I don’t even know what that is. To me, real luxury and convenience means good seats, disc brakes all around and stout construction. But since I’m in Virginia, I will take air conditioning!
Drum brakes all around for me, please. No fuel economy robbing drag, no dust all over the rims, no power booster needed, full unlimited stopping power available even if the engine is off. I have several older vehicles with four-wheel drums and they can put your head through the windshield with stopping power so that’s quite good enough for me.
Have you retrofitted your sainted Metro with front drums? Could it be that Suzuki actually might have had safety in mind when it made front discs standard on the Cultus?
I’d like to… but not badly enough to actually do it.
Suzuki probably had psychology in mind; the motoring press and who knows who else would have crucified them for not following the herd no matter how well they work.
Disc brakes don’t have to be powered; my 1st two cars (MGB, ’81 Escort) were this way. Neither had power-steering, either.
The point of discs is fade resistance after multiple applications (better cooling), not initial stopping power. I do question whether rear discs are really necessary for FWD cars.
BTW, an advantage of German cars is that they have larger brakes than most others.
My first car, a 1975 VW Rabbit, had manual disk brakes up front; the brake pedal was not at all hard to depress. This car has manual steering as well. The replacement 1979 Rabbit had power brakes (disks in front) but still had manual steering. Not at all hard to steer in such a small, light car.
Power steering on sub-3000 lb cars is ridiculous. One would have to be a real candy-*** to need it. It’s just more power-robbing, weighty, costly complexity.
I’m with ya there, I had 2 different Fairmonts both without p/s and slow speed maneuvers were never an issue. People have become such wimps.
My ’74 Pinto had manual front disc brakes and they worked just fine. Heck, I don’t remember ever having any issues with the manual drum brakes on my ’72 F100 even when hauling a trailer.
When I get into a car, I turn everything off, and just drive. Unless I’m on a long trip, when I might want some music.
I’m not sure if you’re referring to keyless entry and keyless start (push-button go), or just strictly keyless entry for locking/unlocking.
I’ve never owned a car with keyless start, but have always had keyless entry and it’s convenient in a number of situations. It’s convenient when your hands are full carrying items, it’s quicker, and it’s also safer when walking in a dark parking lot. Unlocking my own car at night with the remote turns on the auto-headlights for a period of time you can select in the gauge display. When I was a kid my aunt’s 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager did not have keyless entry or power locks. It made getting into the car a process. The driver or passenger would have to unlock their door, then usually climb in and reach around to the other doors to unlock them, because it was faster than passing the key around to everyone.
The feature I could live without (as I do now) is blind-spot monitoring. I can see for some modern CUVs with horrible blind spots, but when you have a car with excellent all-around visibility, it’s really not necessary. Front-view and backup cameras, on the other hand would be a welcome addition for maneuvering in tight parking lots.
What is this mythical new car with great all around visibility you speak of? 🙂
Well since he has always had keyless entry, he’s likely too young to remember cars with good visibility. 🙂
My 2010 Acura TSX has better visibility than anything else I’ve ever driven. Thin C-pillars and with the mirrors adjusted accordingly, it doesn’t really have a blind spot.
Try driving a gen1 xB; that’ll change your perspective on visibility 🙂
Whenever I drive Stephanie’s TSX, I do feel like I’m slipping into a comfortable cave with some windows, but then everything is relative.
I feel like I’m sitting (high) in a glass phone booth when I’n in my xB. Or a popemobile.
My 1990 Civic sedan had thin pillars all around, low beltlines, and a low dash and cowl. Visibility was great and I miss it to some extent, though my ’94 LeSabre isn’t bad.
Agree. The styling of all modern cars makes driving them akin to driving a panel van. There is the proximity warning but it is overly sensitive and un-nerving. This is one feature of modern cars I can do without, and it is in fact technical due to a number of reasons (airbag and side intrusion bar placement, aerodinamics).
Try driving an E70 1980-83 Toyota Corolla 2 door sedan.
The visibility of their greenhouses is phenomenal.
The only downside is that of all Corolla body styles of that generation(6 in total), the sedan and wagon models have the highest rooflines.
When the sun is glaring, those minuscule sun visors are pretty useless.
Make sure you have a baseball cap and a pair of Ray-Bans handy, if you don’t want to get blinded by the sun.
The same cannot be said about the 2nd Gen XB. I was cutting off folks all the time by accident because of those damn thick C pillars.
The Porsche 924/944 has incredible outward visibility, esp. for a sports car. Otherwise I miss boxy ’80s styling, where you could see all 4 corners.
By “adjusted properly” you do mean NO part of your
own vehicle visible in the side-view mirrors, correct?
Called “BGE” or, Blind spot & Glare Elimination technique
By “adjusted properly”, I mean that all my mirrors are adjusted to the optimal position for my own personal body, allowing me to have the maximum field of rear-view vision. I have my mirrors adjusted so I can sill see the rear of my vehicle, thus knowing its boundary.
my Mustang has decent all around visibility if you put the top down…….
You can’t get any better than that. 🙂
Starter buttons were done away with by about 1960 only things like Morris Minors and CA Bedford vans held onto them not wanting to spend the money to rearrange the wiring loom from the paid for original, That such an archaic device made o comeback is amazing.
Remote start is usually for those modern 4-cylinder cars during the winter time. 20 years ago, any V6 or V8 car can warm up in few minutes and with velour interior, it won’t be too freezing cold. But nowadays for a pricy 4-cylinder car with leather, it won’t warm up even after 10 minutes, and it’s unacceptable in terms of comfort. Remote start will turn on the heater and heated seats automatically. It’s handy when it’s -20 outside.
Don’t forget the heated steering wheel! If only the shifter was heated as well…
1. Clear the windows.
2. Get in vehicle.
3. Start the engine.
See? That wasn’t so hard, was it.
1. start vehicle
2. clear windows
3. get in vehicle
That allows several vital minutes for the car to warm up while you’re clearing things off. It also allows time for the heated seats to begin doing their thing.
NO, I had it right. Warming up engines is a largely obsolete notion that creates more pollution, wastes more fuel, and accelerates wear vs driving right off.
No allowing the engine to warm up before taking off does not accelerate wear.
Second to cold start and floor it, idling is the worst way to warm an engine. It prolongs the warm-up period quite a lot, and the transmission and other rotating bits don’t warm. Remote starts ought to be illegal.
Make sure to add this step to the process.
Turn on vehicle, blast the defroster, and then clean the ice and/or snow off. The engine might be warmed up enough by then to produce some heat for you. Also, some vehicles hate the cold and do not operate properly when not warmed up.
I’ve never experienced a winter as you guys know it, so you may well be right. But I do want powerful air-conditioning!
In Houston, I’d be perfectly willing to trade the belt-driven power steering pump for an *extra* redundant and supplemental air conditioning system. I’m fine with turning the wheel a few extra times lock-to-lock.
Love to meet the man that sold you car with out A/C?. Thats what I call a salesman….
Come to CT Old Pete:
We’re winter’s new BULLS-EYE.
(smh at prospect of 70″ of total snowfall
by next March…)
Hardly ever snows here – maybe once in five years…..
You’re very lucky. Alaska and the Rocky Mountain region may lose their snowfall crown to NY state and New England.
Fobs. Or keys with built-in fobs. Huge. Ridiculously huge. Multiply by two for two-car families, and it becomes impossible to get your keyring in your pocket.
To paraphase Mae West “Is that a key fob in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”
Soooo true…we own a 2015 Kia Soul and a 2015 rio…identical key fobs that weigh like two stones in your pocket! What a bitch. Never thought about it until both were in the driveway at the same time. We much prefer the old key style with the simple fob…lock and unlock on it thank you.
The push button start/ key sensor thingy thing seems like the answer to a question asked. Only logic I can see in it is automotive designers find the key as we know it aesthetically unpleasing.
A lot of the aeformentioned advancements, the fussy gadget stuff like bluetooth anyway, I’ve never even used in cars I’ve driven that had them, and my own personal car lacks all except anti-lock brakes, so yeah I clearly can live without anything that came about in the last 20 or so years lol. I could live without stability and traction control systems for sure though, I find them very intrusive.
I’m struggling to think of gadgets I don’t like. I love the traction control, power seats, Bluetooth and parking sensors in my Calais, and I’d be happy to have a backup camera. I’d love to have heated/cooled seats, an infotainment system that lets me sync music and change songs without touching my phone or using Siri, remote start and a blind-spot camera. I think I could handle all of this without crashing my car or becoming a bad driver due to all the “distractions”
For me the push-start linked to a full-blown keyless entry system like on the Nissan is a very nice feature. Sure I could live without it, just like I could without remote keyless entry, but that doesn’t make it a useless feature. It’s very nice to not have to take out the key to unlock the door and start the car.
My friend has a BMW with push-start but you can’t just walk into the car and push Start like in the Nissan. You have to press the button on the fob to unlock the door first, get in, then slide the fob into a slot before you can press the Start button. That kind of push-start is a completely worthless system.
We have this fob-in-the-slot setup on our MINI (a BMW product, so must have originated from the same group of engineers), and it’s one of the reasons I probably won’t own another MINI. The fob is a little round “puck” that goes in the slot to enable the pushbutton start, and when it’s in the slot, the lock, unlock, and rear-gate-open buttons are all tucked into the slot and inaccessible. However, when it’s in one’s pocket, since they’re all on the edge of the puck, they are subject to being pressed by the other contents of the pocket, if you walk around with your keyring in your pocket, as I do. More than once I’ve come out to the driveway to see the rear “barn door” of our Clubman wide open. A major design flaw, and not the case with the 1st-gen version. (It seems to happen when it’s raining, too, and there’s debate as to whether there’s also a design flaw in the rear gate wiring, which isn’t reassuring either.)
The Subaru has the old keyfob and plain-brass-key arrangement, and our old Z3 has owner and valet keys–you have to walk up to the car and unlock it manually, but that unlocks the doors and the trunk if you have the master, just the doors if you have the valet. Expensive to reproduce, but not as much as the MINI puck, which is something like $250 and only through BMW,of course. The Subaru key, about $4, and batteries for the FOB are available at any hardware store, too.
I guess having a bit of plastic with a chip in its cheaper to make than having a key cut. Its al retro man,. the original Mini had key switch and button start. Stupid idea thats a retrograde step.
Lucky BMW ditched the starting handle and crossply tires of the original then.
I hate the stupid stop start. I have had it cut in whilst reversing for christ sake!
“My friend has a BMW with push-start but you can’t just walk into the car and push Start like in the Nissan. You have to press the button on the fob to unlock the door first, get in, then slide the fob into a slot before you can press the Start button. That kind of push-start is a completely worthless system.”
Agreed. Can’t see any advance over sticking the key in a slot and turning it. I suppose maybe if you had really bad arthritis in your wrist…..?
+1, our Bimmer has that same pointless setup. I still don’t get it. I also don’t care for the turn signal and cruise stalks being almost identical and next to each other. “Sorry officer, I wasn’t meaning to flash my high beams at you I was trying to kill the cruise…..OH DANG!!”
I think the original reason for the push-start button on BMWs was the automatic engine stop/start system they pioneered a number of years ago. Other car makers are now offering similar systems. The key provides vehicle access; the button (or the computer) starts and stops the engine. Well, that separation of function is how I rationalize the start/stop button. Our Mazda 3 has the button (but no auto start/stop) and it’s only taken me a year to get used to it.
As to the original question, I’m old enough to have done tune-ups and carb rebuilds, and skidded down snowy streets in non-ABS cars. No thanks, I’ll take ECUs, ABS, and traction control (as long as I can turn off the latter occasionally). I’ve also had good experiences with automatic climate controls.
I have little use for the current generation of infotainment systems however. Car companies should wire the car for sound, put in a slot for a smartphone, and stop there. Leave the infotainment software to others and focus on the quality of the “operational” systems (ABS, etc). Oh, and please take wireless security seriously.
Excuse me, there seem to be some kids on my lawn…
Keyless entry, automatic locks, power windows (oops,that’s 3 things). Strangely enough, I’m enjoying the Bluetooth feature. Other than that, I prefer a rather minimalist automotive experience.
I generally don’t need the nanny features (lane warnings, so on) but have come to appreciate the back up camera a lot. The heads up display was distracting at first (and I still think it’s not necessarily safer) but I’ve come to appreciate the easy way to check my speed. I won’t text and drive but like the ability to use voice recognition to send/receive text messages. Although safer not to do any of it. The navigation systems are too much at this point, way too many layers of functionality and pairing of devices and so on and so forth. Totally takes your focus off of driving. I can live with/without the push button start, but I like the ability to unlock my car without taking keys out. Agree I’d like FOBs to be smaller. Much smaller, preferably…
There’s talk of making back-up cameras mandatory here. So many children being run over in driveways. It wrenches my heart every time I hear about it happening, I really feel for the poor parents. But at the same time I think – it was never a problem when our kids were little, what’s so different now?
Back in the day we could see out the back window. Now everyone- especially breeders- thinks they need pickups and SUVs so ginormous they should have CDLs to drive ’em. Can’t see out the back of those worth a darn. :/
When I had a visually challenged vehicle(3\4 ton PU with 10′ cab over camper)which was my work truck, I always backed into the driveway which was sided by the neighbors solid fence that went down to the sidewalk. Two side view mirrors on the truck and the ability to survey the situation before backing in were a big help to assess the situation. The fact that I was able to see 5000%(being facetious here but a whole lot better than backing out)better when driving forward down the driveway rather than backing down. People nowadays put too much faith in technology and not enough on learning basic skills. There are a numerous number of people who have died that went with their computer driven map guidance systems rather than using a printed map. Technology is not the know all god that people think it is.
It’s not just trucks – see my post above.
True! Increasingly higher belt lines, and a race car
inspired high rear deck/low nose profile have made
it harder to see out of anything when backing up.
Perhaps backup cameras could be replaced with
sensible body proportions in modern car design.
Sheesh, all of the above. Our Caravan has an aftermarket remote start and we’ve never used it, not even once to see if it works.
Our 2001 Focus has the correct level of technology for me. EFI and engine management, ABS, forward airbags and that’s it.
Infotainment can be done for kids via laptops, Ipads or other devices.
Of course being a grumpy Luddite I’ve never been included in any new car focus groups, which is just as well since I’ve never bought a brand new car.
Keyless ignition: I also don’t get the point of this.
Keyless entry: My parents once bought me a retrofit keyless entry system for my ’94 RAM2500 pickup but I never bothered to install it. I didn’t want the bulky remote on my keychain, and I have no problem using the key to unlock the door, then hitting the power locks to unlock the other side if necessary.
However, many new vehicles only have a tumbler to unlock the drivers door with the key, pretty much forcing you to use a remote to open it if you approach from the passenger side.
I really dislike the remote that’s built into the head of the key instead of being a separate fob. I’d like a regular key that I can still get a copy cut at the hardware store for $5.
Automatic Parking: This is for old people. I’m not old enough to appreciate it.
Lane departure warning and similar driving nannies: Put down the phone and drive the car!
Dual zone climate control: While my wife and I occasionally bicker over which vents the air should be coming out of, this is not an option I would want to pay for. Actually, does dual zone allow each side to select different vents, or just adjust the temperature?
Brakes that pulse on by themselves when the windshield wipers are in use: This is needed because why??? Are wet brake discs really a problem?
Tire Pressure Monitoring: I’m thankful that none of our vehicles has this. When you have separate winter tires it’s a pain. You have to ensure that your winter rims are compatible with the TPMS sensors, then pay for a second set of sensors, then get the vehicle to sync with them when you change tires. I have a nice, accurate tire pressure gauge that I use regularly.
Modern tech I wish I had on my vehicles would be steering wheel mounted radio controls, a radio that changes volume with vehicle speed, and adaptive cruise control.
Actually, I hadn’t really thought about the tech i don’t have on my cars or things I don’t consider to be tech. I agree the lane nannies aren’t something I want. When I leave the lane, it’s because i intended to, dammit! I don’t want the car fighting me when i leave the lane to avoid an obstruction or hit an apex on an exit ramp.
Keys you can get copied at the hardware store for five bucks were a thing of the past once they synched the key to the engine electronics as an anti-theft measure.
Radio controls on the steering wheel are a nice touch. I can change the station or volume with my thumb without taking my attention away from the driving.
There are pretty few cars left with a simple to have cut at any harware store/Wall Mart. Most of the traditional keys that are still out there have a transponder in them. For many of the cars that have a remote and key in one you can buy a plain key without the remote functions. And the aftermarket verions of those keys are as cheap as $10 or so on ebay. With the right brand of car and two functioning keys you can add the key yourself.
A while ago my MIL misplaced one of the keys for her PT Cruiser that have the remote and transponder. I had told her when she bought it we needed to add a third key so we could program the car in the future. It did turn up so she finally had me order one. $27 for the version with the remote, no remote was $8.
Was worried about the air pressure sensors as I’ll have to get winter tyres and wheels for them soon, but apparently Mazda 3s have the sensor incorporated into the ABS sensor. Don’t know how many other manufacturers have this too.
All the Bluetooth stuff. I use my non smart cell phone just for phone calls, no texting, music or games. So I don’t want to sinc up to my car radio. Even though both of my cars are capable.
Best new feature. tire pressure sensors. I use that so I don’t have to manually check and lose the stem caps.
We had a Mercedes C Class rental car in Spain in May this year, and it had lots of techy features, all of which I hated.
My daily driver is a 4 cylinder ’06 caravan. It has keyless entry, which I love, and electric windows and locks, which I love, and that’s it. Then I have a 91 Cadillac Brougham (RWD), actually, 2, and an 87 Grand National
This Mercedes had the shifter located behind the steering wheel spoke, and required you push the button to put it in park. Every other car I’ve ever driven you push a button to take it out of park. Counterintuitive, and invisible; I had to get the staff to show me where the shifter was . . . .
It had stop/start, which I figured out how to turn off, but it was annoying and disturbing.
It had lots of proximity warning beepy things which I had to turn off because I can figure out how to back up a car. I do not like that, and I find backup cameras distracting.
It also had a feature where it would show your speed and flash warning signs from the road way and the speed onto the instrument cluster. I did not like this.
It had power folding mirrors, which I liked.
I don’t know if it had bluetooths or what, I was afraid to turn on the radio. I am not sure what bluetooth does but I have driven for 20+ years without it so I am fine with CDs in the car. I don’t have an mp3 player and don’t want to load all my music onto my phone, they tend to get damp or otherwise destroyed.
I did figure out the A/c and it was not behind a bunch of menus or touchscreens.
I hate stop/start buttons. I drive a car for long enough that anything like that is likely to break. I’ve never had an ignition switch fail, although I have driven cars to the point you could pull out the key while driving it and it still ran. I don’t trust these buttons, and I don’t see the point.
I don’t trust all the power liftgates/sliding doors on fancier minivans either. I do get that they can be convenient in some cases, but that looks like it would break expensively.
I’ve driven a vehicle long enough that the ignition switch failed. 🙂
Good call on not liking power sliding doors or liftgates. That could go on my list as well.
There was a time, when each of our kids were under 2 years old, that power doors would have been very nice to have. Especially with infant car seats, the ones that you take the entire seat out with the baby still strapped in.
Not so much anymore.
I’ve had ignition switches fail twice in cars with conventional keys. That having been said, I don’t think the failure rate on a button would be any lower.
Pssh, I just replaced the switch on the 911 yesterday. Turns out the electronic rearmost part of the ignition switch (behind the tumbler part) breaks down and “holds” the key, i.e. won’t release it. The part is shared with VW/Audi and available for $8.53 at my local NAPA. 25 minutes of work, of which 10 was spent upside down under the dash had it replaced. However if it was “keyless” I don’t see how it would have failed. Well, perhaps it would have but there is no rotational aspect to it.
25 minutes? That would have been nice. I feel like I had to disassemble half the dash on that damn Alero to replace the GM fail-o-matic ignition switch…
Power tops. Neither our Honda S2000 or our Porsche Boxster can put the top up or down as fast as I could manually in my Miata.
The Power Hydraulic Top was the greatest advance in convertible technology of the 1950s!!!! Just try raising and lowering the top on a Valiant by hand. It’s the one think I’ve fixed and use every time I park the car!
Maybe it depends on the size of the top. I can see why you’d want it on a Valiant, but not on a 2-seater.
I love a lot of today’s technology and features, but one thing I can live without is computerized HVAC. Too damn many points of failure and too expensive for something that is so easy to manually do. And very annoying to use day in and day out.
Give me a fan dial and cable-actuated mixer controls and I’m good to go.
Classic example of putting in something which is flashy but inferior.
+ another. Nice when it works, but…..
The climate control started acting funny on our ’00 Diamante after 12 years. Mitsubishi wanted something like $1000 to look at it, with no guarantees they could fix the problem. Hmm – lateral thinking needed here.
Our son was in his final year at the Caterpillar Institute at the time. He offered to take the car into the workshop, took the dash out, and found a connector under the passenger’s side had become unplugged – probably due to wriggling feet. All fixed.
I guess when you’re used to working on locomotives and track-maintenance equipment, and they set things like this for practical exams something like this is no biggie!
+1. Remember the awful +/- GM HVAC controls in the ’90s? Three rotary HVAC knobs in the Fords FTW.
From my two weeks with a rental with keyless entry/start (’07 Maxima) I actually found it to be pleasant to live with. Keep the key in one’s pocket or drop it in the cupholder, both work equally well, and you can’t lock the fob inside the car. No complaints, though it might make me leery on a used vehicle. I don’t even have “traditional” keyless entry on my current car, and it’s honestly kind of annoying. At least it has central locks, it’s kind of a big car to reach across if it didn’t.
On my next car I *do* want a dual-zone climate control system, as my wife and I always have an unspoken battle going on over temperature and fan speed. It’d be nice for that not to be an issue. And a backup camera would be handy for backing out of parking spaces and down sloping driveways, though I doubt I’d use it for parallel parking. And I’d prefer bluetooth capability for the stereo, as I keep music on my mobile device. Steering wheel controls would be handy too. However, if it doesn’t have either of those, it’s easy enough to install a new head unit.
What I *don’t* care for, at all, is in-dash navigation. Roads are always changing, and you’ll quickly end up with an out of date system unless you pay the carmaker’s exorbitant fees for map updates. I’d rather use the nav feature in google maps in my smarpthone–always up to date, turn on the voice prompts and then don’t touch it again through the trip. I also absolutely don’t trust the systems that brake for you if an obstacle is detected. The consequences of that engaging at the wrong time could be deadly.
+1 on the smartphone navi. Waze is fantastic. Its ability to know about traffic jams and redirect has saved me 10s of hours and I’ve only had it for a short time. I just wish I could dock my phone and get the Waze display and touchscreen on the car’s big screen on the C-stack. Never out of date navi or phone or other media for that matter.
+1000000 on manufacturer-provided navigation–dedicated GPS systems that can’t be upgraded over-the-air are all but dead. Let me send my Google Maps or Waze to the in-dash display (so just make the car play nice with Android and iOS) and stop trying to impress me with your factory MyWhateverTouch. You’re a car company, build the car and let the companies that are nimble at designing and upgrading information systems do that.
I’ve never updated the maps in the MINI’s navigation system after 5 years. I just send Waze’s audio to my bluetooth headset and never look at the map.
Mazda sells the navigation system separately from the rest even on the top models. €500 and due to political correctness it does not tell you where the radar cameras are, whereas the cheap (€100-150) free-standing units do… No thanks.
If I had a classic car now, I think I’d like to have EFI, which is funny as years ago I would probably have wanted to avoid it. I had air-cooled Beetles and I think if I was driving them fairly regularly I’d want to ditch the carb.
As far as keyless anything, touchscreens, etc, etc – no thanks. My central locking fob unlocks the car (sometimes) but won’t lock it and I haven’t bothered to do anything about it. A 3.5mm socket for mp3 would be nice, but my car doesn’t have it and I’m certainly not bothered enough to get a new radio because of it.
I ride through eleven sets of traffic lights on my motorcycle commute and am driven mad by people sitting playing with toys when the light goes green.
Take my late ’86 Porsche 924S (no airbags, simple seatbelt warning light, power windows) and put in a modern garden variety stereo (AM/FM/CD-RW with an audio jack, Bluetooth and a USB port) and I’m happy. I don’t need any other bits of electronic gimcrackery.
And I could have lived with crank windows, although I do appreciate the convenience.
Come to think of it, my Scion xB is about the same, except it had airbags, and doesn’t have Bluetooth or any direct inputs into the stereo. And if I keep the car another year, its getting an aftermarket stereo.
Things I like: Power steering, power brakes, overdrive transmissions, fuel injection, A/C, ABS, cruise control, power windows, power locks, 4+ way adjustable seats that recline, remote trunk release, split folding rear seats, variable intermittent wipers, aux input stereos, overdrive transmissions
Things I could go either way on: Traction control, tire pressure monitoring, adaptive cruise, keyless entry, keyless ignition
Things I particularly dislike: Touch screens, restrictive option groups, vehicles with super expensive to replace keys/fobs, backup cameras, Bluetooth etc, scarcity of manual transmissions, transmissions with more than 6 speeds
In other words, I like cars that would have been considered loaded in the 80s and 90s, but are considered stripped down today
I hate that you have to depress the brake to start the car. Come on, these cars have more computers than NASA did. Can’t it tell it’s in park?
Blame all the sudden acceleration lawsuits for that one.
After the Audi 5000 “sudden acceleration” fiasco, that’s not likely to change until cars are autonomous, or semi-autonomous. Folks thought they had their foot on the brake when they put their Audis into gear; turns out it was the gas pedal.
Is that mandatory? My Mom’s 09 Focus you can start right up without depressing the brake right off the showroom floor.
I may have jumped the gun and thought he meant getting under way, rather than starting the engine. No; our cars don’t require that. Well, my xB does require that the clutch is pushed in all the way.
So do some cars require a foot on the brake to start the engine?
SAABs did, I think. Big Paws will know.
And Renault Clio hire cars.
It’s weird, My Cougar had that feature, and the factory manual trans models(Supercoupes) have the depress clutch to start feature as well. I thought it was mandatory until she got the Focus.
My 96 Saturn SL2 with auto trans, required you to put your foot on brake to shift out of park. I rebuilt the factory shifter to get rid of that crap, and also modified the selector gate so I could bang between 3rd and 4th gear without having to depress the interlock button, and not hit any other gear. Kind of like a paddle shifter on a video game. Made car MUCH more fun to drive, along with my engine mods….
My 2014 CTS required you to step on the brake to start the engine, otherwise you turn on the accessory mode. The CTS has keyless entry and a start button. A message is displayed that the brake must be applied to start the engine.
Foot on the clutch to start on my 2015, EU-spec Mazda 3.
The 2004 4-cyl Camry sudden-acceleration was traced by Michael Barr, an expert witness, to a chain of engine-controller software defects, which is why Toyota settled. This is not to say that other cases have similar causes.
With drive-by-wire, your life is the hands of software developers. That worries me.
Drive by wire accelerators have been in heavy trucks for at least 15 years possibly longer I drove a 1999 Navistar with drive by wire throttle it had 800,000 kms on it when I took it over the electronics never gave any issues the idiotic light wiring system gave plenty but not the CAT engine electronics.
Seriously, are there cars that you can start while in park without the brake pedal being pushed?
My wife’s brand new Infiniti won’t. Her Nissan wouldn’t. My Ford won’t.
ABS, it’s downright scary and that pulsing brake sucks in the wet… Uh, no thanks.
Bluetooth… Probably have it on my phone and a few of my car stereos. Don’t care anything about it.
Bluetooth? Sounds like something you get when you eat too much Dairy Queen. 😛
If you feel the ABS pulsing or kicking back in the wet, that means you’d probably be in a 4-wheel-locked slide without it… You should probably get it looked at, I haven’t felt “pulsing” in any of my ABS cars, what are you driving?
Jim, the ABS is on my 91 Alfa Romeo 164S.
I’ve changed the rear pads, but not the front… Yet.
My ABS light stays on randomly, as well.
Yes, just did the flex pipe, front stabilizer link bushings, fuel sensor, and air intake tube. Sorta ran outta Alfa funds this month… After paying bills and replacing the return fuel lineon my Fox Mustang 5.0.
Time to get it checked, anyways.
Ooh, nice, both bucket list cars for me! (if that 5.0 is a 1991 LX anyway). Love the intake runners on that 164S, one of the best looking engines ever. On a ’91 you should be able to pull the ABS fuse and not affect anything else if you prefer that. Then again, it is an Alfa, so…
Here’s my Fox Notch LX 5.0… Keeping my S12 Datsun 200sx, company.
I understand that with some ABS cars if you apply the brakes on ice and lock all four wheels, the ABS thinks you’re not moving and cuts all braking force. I could do without that feature.
Scary? plainly you have never had an emergency situation when under maximum braking you have had to steer around an obstacle, that what ABS provides, the ability to still steer while applying maximum braking effort.
All it does is automaticly modulate the brakes like you have to anyway in such a situation but something many ‘drivers’ are incapable of and merely panic and lock their wheels and have a crash event instead of avoiding one.
My car you can feel the ABS through the pedal as well, I don’t know if I’d call it pulsing so much as a firm vibration though. The problem I’ve found is ABS isn’t necessarily 100% effective and when it comes on it’s not necessarily, well, necessary, brakes aren’t on/off, ABS seems to be for those who think otherwise, and/or drive way beyond what conditions call for. I’ve driven a lot of non-ABS cars in the snow and rain, learned to drive in them in fact, and I never had any issues, even in my reckless newbie teen years.
Having said that an overzealous ABS system does seem to prolong tire life, and these days with $200ea tires rapidly becoming the new normal that’s A-ok.
I hear ya, Matt… All my cars are made in the 80’s and have no ABS, except my 91 Alfa Romeo 164S, which has ABS brakes.
I was driving, doing errands, when I came to a stop light … It was raining by the way.
That pulsating brake pedal, came on, but my Alfa kept lurching forward.
I almost had to steer towards a curb… If not I would’ve rear ended an F-150, an Infiniti I35, and a Volvo V70.
Give me “normal” brakes any day. 🙂
The first time I was driving in winter ( and I was fairly young too ) ABS on my ’93 New Yorker Fifth Avenue doesn’t work, and I called tow trucks like every two days for all kinds of sliding. I drove so much better in my LeSabre afterwards, though.
But on dry surfaces, I seldom activate ABS unless I was driving very hard.
I have activated the ABS and the shoulder belts retracted when a deer jumped in front of me. I did not hit the deer.
On that Bluetooth note – since I stopped trading one
good feature for another on my Apple devices(other-
wise known as software “updates”), my iPhone 4
hasn’t successfully Bluetoothed anything in over a
year! I just use the Audio-In/Aux. jacks where
Off topic, but with all this talk of keyless fobs, I can’t resist mentioning how totally cool the Tesla’s fob is. It’s a little model of the car! You push on the part of the car you want to open. How cool is that. If only I could afford one…(a Tesla, not just its fob.)
Even I like that one!
Gives me some ideas for matchbox cars…
My concern about gadgets is that fixing them gets costly, and maybe even impossible to repair, as the car ages.
I detest sunroofs of any variety. I never open the dumb things. I could also live with no sound system at all, and I want to strangle my kids when I get in one of the cars they drive, and get blasted out with loud music when I turn on the key. The only silence I get is in the car, so I never turn the radio on.
Your lead photo really bit me. And I will tell you why, but first, let me say that I don’t have an issue with MOST tech advances, as long as they are well thought out and dead reliable, and if not dead reliable, then don’t bother, as I really hate beta testing crap on my dime. Ok, now the story. Wifey had a 09 Nissan Cube. Cool little car, funky, and some real room and utility. UNTIL the steering control lock unit pooched…yup, the one that integrates the keyless entry, steering lock and security all in one stupid unit. So it died one day, leaving us a dead car, that you couldn’t put up the windows in the rain, and forced a tow to the dealer 100KM away and we were left 940$ lighter. The worst was the attitude of the dealer, and Nissan itself , who went out their way to deny any claim to co-pay anything, despite a long history of similar issues in Altimas and Maximas of that vintage. So here we were with a car and manufacturer, that we had now completely lost faith in, as the replacement part was only warranted for 20K KM or one year, leaving us a risk of the thing failing again. So, out it went…replaced by a new Lexus. Never a Nissan again, and woe to you if you all have bought one. Asshats!
On the other hand, I could live WITH: Getting rid of the huge rear view mirror attached to the windshield, and replaced with dash cam view only. Seriously, the bloody thing is always in my line of sight, and forces me to crank my head around to see oncoming vehicles from some angles. And that is in most vehicles it seems now. Bad visibility isn’t just a rearward thing on newer vehicles..I’ve seen submarines with better viz!
Thanks! I feel better now!
I hate all the damned nagging beepers. The current Prius has an interior beeper that goes steadily when the car’s in reverse. Unnerving when trying to parallel park in traffic. I had them turn that off. It also nags the passenger to put on their seat belt, and increases its beeping rate after a few seconds like some bomb in a movie. Toyota’s suffering from a case of lawyer overdose.
Same with my Mazda 3. I’m over it. Beeps until you put your belt on (with four increasing speeds of beep the longer you ignore it), beeps when you put it in reverse, beeps faster the closer you get to something behind, positively screams if you get out and leave the lights on. And that’s just what I can remember first thing in the morning!
I had an Altima with 30K miles as a rental on the Big Island in Hawaii. The key fob battery died on me just when we were about to return to the airport. Almost panicked that there was no way to open the door nor start the car. I saw the slider to open the key fob and was so happy to see a real key hidden inside. Now I know why some rental come with two key fobs. Not a real fan of the key less start from the beginning.
One more rant, over-featured non-OEM stereos. I have them in two cars, one Kenwood and one Alpine, and they both have so many “features” you have to use a tiny remote with cryptic buttons. I still can’t get my Miata’s stereo out of demo mode.
For that matter try just setting the clock on almost any recent car without reading the manual.
Too many little black buttons on everything!
PS: I’m a computer engineer, not a Luddite. I just hate all the little buttons.
I’d like to know why aftermarket radios look like a 6 year old designed them, those tiny buttons are directly correlated to their overwrought tacky designs. Is there ANY aftermarket stereo made after 1992 that actually can pass as uniform in any given car’s interior? Or is it simply desirable to have something that looks completely alien in the dash, so as to be a beacon to thieves to break in and steal them?
I’d like an aftermarket radio in all matte/satin black, that has all the modern gizmos(bluetooth and whatnot) has 2 knobs on each end and all other buttons in between, and the display above. And I’d like to be able to choose the color so I don’t have to have a orange red and yellow in a sea of otherwise green indicators throughout my dash. Too much to ask?
I think they’re designed to appeal to pimply-faced teenagers. But they’re not all like that.
We went shopping for a new stereo for Jane’s ’00 Diamante last month after the old one stopped reading certain favourite CDs. We found a double-DIN sized Pioneer AVH275-BT.
It has with a touch screen readable by fifty-something eyes.
All the controls you’re likely to want on the move are readily available without other distractions.
It tells you on the screen just what it is you’re listening to when you can’t remember – readable from the driver’s seat.
It’ll even play single CDs or you can plug in a USB with all the music you’re ever likely to want all year.
Oh, and on the off-chance you want to listen to the radio, it’s got one too.
It even sounds better than the original unit without upgrading the speakers. Marvellous!
Adjustable color of the LED illumination has become a common feature on aftermarket stereos now, and while it sounds silly at first, it’s actually *really* nice to have. The illumination of my Sony head unit is now the same shade of green as my Crown Vic’s dash illumination, which makes it not stick out so badly. The design of the unit itself is still faintly absurd, but at least it’s the right color.
Alpine head units seem to have, for the most part, stuck with somewhat traditional styling (or as close to it as you can get nowadays). If I ever get around to replacing the Volvo’s unit, it’s getting an Alpine.
Neither of my cars feature automatic transmission I’m fine with that one of my cars sole auto feature is self cancelling indicators thats it no cruise control auto park rain sensors traction control ABS nothing nada and its fine to drive but you actually have to drive it and be aware of everything happening around you, the other car has most standard features available when it was made manual trans, ABS, power steer, air con, keyless entry, though the key was lost by the previous owner, its a comfortable brilliant handling little toy on any road and great in town, of course it has fuel injection it has a diesel engine, but most of the creature features on more modern cars I can and will happily live without.
Fancy computerized temperature controls in an HVAC system. I say that because there were two different systems used on the Saturn L series, and my ’03 L200 got the not-so-great one. Give me a simple slider or knob so I can turn the heater or A/C up or down, and let me take it from there!
Give me 3 knobs + a button for the AC compressor.
temp (H – C)
vent (dash, floor, def)
recirc or not
Fan speed would be nice.
Ha! You’re right.
Anything part of self driving cars. Safety, convenience, and luxury things I can get (most of the time), but I’LL drive, thanks.
^^^ Look at all these fancy-pants with all their luxuries.
To me, the electric starter was the beginning of the end of “real cars”. My shoulder will always be there to hand crank my buggy, none of this “replacing a starter every 250k miles” nonsense for me.
Just like kids these days with your disposable lifestyles… While you’re stuck at the store buying new light bulbs for your “headlights”, I’ll just keep on refilling the oil in my lamps, thank you very much.
You laugh… but when my Honda scooter’s battery died last month, I had to push it to the garage as they don’t have kick-starters any more.
On the other hand, this was the first time it didn’t start (and the first replacement battery) in 7 years, so it could be worse.
You found a Honda product with a properly specified battery? That’s an achievement!
I am kinda partial to automatic spark advance control, myself.
No carbide accetylene for you huh?
I’ve never had, or used keyless entry/start/lock, Just give me a metal old fashioned key, Good enough for my home, Then good enough for my car! Rest of it I can take or leave. The one electronic gizmo I’d ban if I were in charge…Car Alarms- When I hear one going off It’s always the owner doing it- Hell I ROOT for it to be a theif so they’d remove the source of the dammed noise! And get off my lawn!
It applies to a shrinking number of vehicles but dammit I can’t stand having to push the clutch to start a newer manual vehicle.
In addition to my “hate the electronic HVAC” rant above.
Power doors. T h e y a r e s o s l o o o o w w w w.
I hate waiting for powered sliding doors on my minivan.
I hate waiting for the powered tailgate and doors on my friend’s minivan.
And I really hate fixing the wiring on them.
And why do we have to have plastic headlights on everything? Stupid.
OD trans. Good.
Power disk brakes. Good.
Hydraulic power steering. Good. Electric? Not so much.
PW and PDL? Meh.
Power mirrors? I have a 37″ reach. Helps with the door locks and windows, too.
Power seats? Really? I do like heated seats though. Toasted buns are always good.
About remote locking: I could go either way, it’s a nice convenience, though I’m not broken up over using the keys; I took the remotes off the key rings of my Acura. Odd thing with my Durango, it wouldn’t disable the alarm whenever I’d use the key.
I hadn’t even thought of power seats! That is the most baffling power feature of all time. You adjust it ONCE….slowly, then have 20 pounds of dead weight per seat in motors and their weightier/bulkier tracks, which both obstruct rear passenger foot room the rest of the time you own the car.
Oh and when someone messes with it, you’ll never find that sweet spot you had it set at ever again.
That’s where the memory function comes in, especially if more than just one person ever drives the car.
I figured that would be mentioned, but not all power seats have that function.
I’m with you, Matt. I just can’t figure power seats. Okay, I learnt to drive in the olden days when seats just adjusted forwards and backwards, but that was pretty easy to do. And I do appreciate lumbar support as I get older and, sometimes, being able to adjust the backrest angle. End of story.
But I have to ask, in a properly designed seat just how much do you really need to vary? And why have a heavy motor to adjust something that only needs changing infrequently? Just because the competition has it?
Is that feature really necessary?
Im not a fan of power seats but they do make adjusting the seat while driving much safer, not that I would ever do this in an unfamiliar motor pool vehicle . . . Then again suddenly flopping back or slamming into the steering wheel does add excitement to one’s drive.
Remember how the seat adjustment lever for the 400lb bench seat on B&C body GM vehicles back in the day would feel like it was properly seated in a notch, but it really wasn’t when you had to stop or take off suddenly? Pucker up buttercup. Good times.
A 400lb SEAT?? Good heavens! LOL
I never imagined even the widest 1970s-
era bench weighing much over 200lb.
400 lbs may be a bit of an exaggeration, but they were sure heavy. I remember that little trick well from my A-body Malibus. You think it’s set, and then a little into the drive…CLUNK!
Wait until you pull a serious hamstring or something goes out in your back. THEN power seats are a god-send!
In 2004, I messed up my back, and that was one of the reasons I sold my 1996 Ranger – the seat was killing me. That directly led to the purchase of my 2004 Impala in 2004. It had power seats with a manually-adjustable back rest, plus lumbar support.
In 2012. I half-tore my right hammy – that was a miserable, painful experience! Fortunately, having power seats sure made life a bit more tolerable during the months it took to recover, enduring my two-hours-per-day commute. I had to CONSTANTLY readjust the seat to make the trip. Three months later I bought my 2012 Impala LTZ and that was better yet.
Power seats work very well for me. Now I need a car with a back-up camera…
X 2. The main reason I bought my car is the fact that it had a seat I could adjust so I was not in pain within 10 (at worst) or 50 minutes (at best), which was the case with the other cars I looked at.
Electric door locks and power windows. In my car no setting of
the child-proof button allows the rear doors to unlock automatically
when putting car in Park. How many frickn times have I gotten
out and forgot to untrap my back seat passengers?
Electric power steering(vs conventional hydraulic).
Drove a 2005 Malibu with it, steering had no self-
centering sensation at all. 90% of all main-stream
cars have electric steering now, and the feeling of
disconnectedness from the road is disconcerting
to say the very least. It also feels very soft, and
easy for me to steer more than necessary.
I don’t care how much it improves fuel economy,
steering is something I take seriously and value
as a safety feature, and it shouldn’t be messed
They’re not all like that. Properly designed, you’d never know the difference, apart from hissing servos when you turn the wheel.
I don’t care. My current ride is a 2008 Kia
with conventional power steering. Enough
weight in the turns and road feel for me.
If necessary, my next cars will be older,
perhaps older than myself, with conventional
steering and all alignment parameters adjustable
unlike today, where only front & rear toe are
No stability control or other gimmicks are
substitutes for a performance-oriented
alignment and of course, good driving habits.
The best part about the keyless entry/go feature on my Volt is that I don’t have to fumble with a key while carrying heavy objects or lots of groceries.
The tech that I hate is the touch screen and especially the touch sensitive center stack. I miss the large buttons and knobs on my Saabs. No button changed function depending on what screen you were in. Muscle memory brought you directly to the function you want, and Saab made them big enough to use while wearing gloves. Also, you could feel where the A/C knobs were set without needing to take your eyes off the road. The Volts touch sensitive A/C and radio are just one huge distraction.
I could happily live without automatic chokes and ethanol. And I certainly could do withouT low- zinc content modern oils, power windows, fuel injection, obd2 and just about all the other “advances” made since the 80s. I do love AC and cruise control though!
edit: I strongly wish automatic headlamps and DRLs could be uninvented.
Things I demanded for my last car:
Heated side mirrors (a must – they often fog up going over mountain ranges)
Anti lock brakes (after driving down said mountain range in a rain storm, and deer jumping out in my non-antilock car)
AC, for the wife.
Automatic, for the wife
Power windows and remote entry are nice.
Blue tooth quickly became important, i had to help troubleshoot Cisco more than once remotely.
Things i think are horrible:
Touch screen anything while driving (including my phone)
Built in navigation
Infotainment systems (dammit, i had to suffer on long trips as a kid without movies, my kids can do that as well!)
Doors that autolock when placed in drive
I want a modern Studebaker Lark or Ford Falcon with electronic ignition, fuel injection and ABS. Something as simple as an anvil that will get me to work and back, without all the needless electronic doohickeys.
I liked my Suzuki Swift as a commute sled, but sadly they were built down to a price and had a shelf life of about 90k before all the electrical switches & wiring started to fail.
I think you’ve nailed the most important ones.
And the Swift? I’ll just park this here…..
“Will the owner of a tan go-cart, please move your vehicle… Your blocking the garage door.” Lol
Careful mate – that go-cart may be an upcoming COAL! 🙂
Pete, I actually ENVY you… If you still own that car.
I would love to own a Chevy Sprint or older Swift… Preferably a Swift GTi.
With 55+ miles per gallon, the Sprint makes all the hybrid hype overrated. 🙂
Sarcasmo, you’ll love the story. But I have two others to write before I get to this one. And yes, I still have it.
Awesome, can’t wait to hear your COAL series and about your Suzuki Swift.
Any story about a car, is my type of reading…
Just lemme know, in advance, when you post your story… That way, I can get the popcorn ready. 😉
I don’t mind keyless entry and starting, but I always giggle at starter buttons as they seem like a retrograde step (although I think they’re more convenient than fumbling with a key).
I like most technical advances except for the one that sees HVAC and ICE controls not receive dedicated controls. Having to delve into a multi-layered touchscreen menu is time-consuming and dangerous.
The one “advance” that bugs me on the Peugeot (307 SW) is that although it has dual a/c for the driver and front passenger, there’s no sync button! #firstworldproblems for sure, but the auto-temperature doesn’t function correctly if the side-to-side temperature variation is more than about 3 degrees Celsius.
Starter buttons always remind me of the old A30. That certainly wasn’t high-tech!
Starter buttons, huh? No 420G for you then.
Well I suppose I could make an exception… 😉 Although I’d want my 420G to have factory a/c and p/w…
This is an easy one – paddle shifters.
If I wanted a manual, I’d have kept the 2007 MX5.
For me, that is a useless feature, but it came with the LTZ package on my 2012 Impala – perhaps it was on all trim levels? I don’t know and I’m too lazy to look it up!
OMG, your Impala has paddle shifters? For some reason I presumed the W-Body 3.6 Impalas just had a six-speed auto without a manual shift mode, probably a stupid assumption to make about a 2012 car. Have you tried them out?
Yep – it has paddle shifters. I have tried them out a couple of times, but what I have never yet tried – too scared – perhaps I need to look over the owner’s manual first – to shift into manual mode at speed and see if I stay in that gear or it goes down to #1.
Imagine buzzing along at 65 and shifting into manual mode and it wants to go to first gear??? Bye-bye tranny!
I need to read up on that…
Zack: re Paddles
My 08 Kia has 4 additional gears selected, not by paddles
but by the console lever itself. Same function though.
If I shift to the “right” below 5mph, yes, it will drop to 1st.
At 40mph it will shift into 4th or 3rd. I manually have to
shift down(pull lever back) if I want a lower gear at that
speed, or shift up(push lever) for higher.
So I doubt your’s will drop down to first at highway speeds.
If it did, then the General has a BIG problem. 😉
I was driving a rental Camaro with a V6 down I-5 in California. It also had paddle shifters and when I tried to downshift to lower gears at full speed (about 65MPH), the digital display simply indicated “SHIFT DENIED” so it does have a safety lockout mechanism to prevent grenading the transmission.
I use them to downshift on steeper grades for engine braking to keep the brakes from excessive wear. The shift lever does not do manual up/down.
Looks to me like someone somewhere wants a version of everything now being put into a car.
What seems to be really needed are better designers to avoid all the bad interfaces that have been put into the cars to control this stuff. I love the reach-behind-the-door-handle-to-unlock-all-the-doors in my car — that’s what high technology is all about!
Also that push-the-button without a key to start it. I loved my push-button TorqueFlite in my Valiant when that was as high tech as you could get, then. I still have one, but you STILL can’t get a new push-button tranny. I can’t live without cruise control, can I put that on my Valiant? I added it to my Volvo 740!
When you’ve got a load of smaller kids, them power doors are really nice. Back up camera? Useful. All the electronic safety controls people claim to dislike are easy to hate until they save your life.
Spinning uncontrollably due to unseen ice in my ’64 Dart towards an oncoming Tractor-Trailer isn’t something I’ve forgotten or that I ever want to experience again (I managed to spin the car into a space parallel to the curb in some magic range of motions I’ve never figured out again).
Then again, Google, Apple and all the rest seem intent on doping up all of its functional interfaces into something less grand with each iteration. So I guess we’ll just have to like the function and hate the functionality of everything we’re given in the future.
Here are my big pet peeves on our current late model cars:
My 2014 Jeep: I hate that more functions have migrated into the touchscreen, such as the seat heaters. In my 2012 Jeep they were easy to use right on the dash. Now I have to do multiple clicks through touchscreen menus to turn them on. I also hate the way the car turns on the seat coolers for the driver’s seat when the temperature is warm outside. I actually like and use the seat coolers, but I want to control them, and the Jeep and I have different ideas about when to turn them on. My biggest pet peeve is the “Automatic Braking.” It’s horrible. It suddenly slams on the brakes with a huge “BRAKE” appearing in the instrument cluster along with a loud alarm. It does this way too frequently and not in emergency situations. The worst is that the sensor gets agitated when going over some railroad tracks by my house, and will sometimes shockingly brake the car even though everything is clear.
My wife’s 2013 BMW: The heads-up display is silly, as the instruments themselves are very clear and easy to see. I absolutely HATE BMW’s turn signal controls now, where they have an artificial response and it is really easy to overcompensate and turn them on in the opposite direction when you are simply trying to cancel a signal. The turn signal lever worked just fine on older BMWs we had, and this is definitely no improvement.
Agree on those awful new BMW turn signals (which made their way into the MINI). I typically flip them from left to right and back again and look like an idiot to those behind me. Our older BMW (’98) has a nice big turn-signal lever with great ergonomics.
Speaking of turn signals, how about dash blinkers I
can actually HEAR?? I’m focused on the ROAD
outside my car, not staring at my pretty instrument
Like the ones in my ’71 Chevelle and ’81 Buick? Or
just about any car built before 2000? I’m constantly
forgetting to turn off my directionals when coming
out of turns not sharp enough to cancel them auto-
matically, in my 08 Kia.
We are so uptight and coddled in this new century:
Price tags/stickers have disappeared from merchandise
on store shelves, shoe sizes have been recessed under
the tongues, plain linoleum or concrete floors have been
replaced by tiles – oh my! – in retail stores, and OOHH,
heaven forbid your passengers be subject to the agonizing
TIK-TIK, TIK-TIK, TIK-TIK of the turn signals in your 2000-
something cocoon on wheels!
Mine are so quiet I actually have to strain to
hear them – in accessory mode with my engine OFF
and all the windows rolled up. Let’s bring common
sense back to basic car design.
Weeee’re so vaiiin(in 2015),
You prob’ly think this song is about you…!
Glad to read it’s not just my worsening hearing. They can make the reverse beeper loud, the seatbelt beeper louder, but something you need to hear on the move? Nope – mute it dead!
My turn signals are quite audible but then my car is quiet enough that I can hear the clock ticking too.
2014 Cadillac CTS premium trim level
There is a photo near the end of this thread, just above your previous post.
I do appreciate the Bluetooth feature of hands free control of the the phone.
However, I’m still having a hell of a time making the phone respond to the Sync voice commands!!
Sound system volume increase with speed of vehicle.
Frequent renter here and typically stabbing at the touchscreen while exiting the airport to turn the darn thing off.
Most cars are a cocoon like in their quiet…automated volume increases truly not necessary.
Then you get cars like my ’05 Mazda 3 where there’s so much road noise at speed that the system can’t keep up!
The speed-sensitive volume on my 05 Malibu, at
least, had 3 levels of sensitivity. I found the least
sensitive level to be the best setting.
My current car has volume on the steering wheel,
negating the need for such a feature now.
My buddy’s Tacoma downshifts when the brakes is applied and stays downshifted until the gas pedal is pressed (I think). He doesn’t particularly like it, I would hate it!
I’m a fan of new technology if it’s properly executed and makes things better. I liked the keyless ignition on a Nissan Maxima I had. Get in, tap the button and HAL starts the car for you. Same thing on every Ford I’ve driven with keyless ignition, heck even the recent Ford’s with keyed ignition just requires you to turn to start – it does the rest until the engine lights up. My wife’s new VW Beetle TDI requires either a tap to wake HAL up and then another hold down of the button until it catches or hold the button down for what seems like way too long until it realizes you want to start the car. One is a little convenience, the other is more trouble than the old way of doing it.
Bluetooth is great when it works. It worked great in my Maxima and every fleet Ford I’ve driven at work – it connects right up and call quality is not degraded significantly. My current Honda as well as my wife’s aforementioned VW suck. If we call each other while driving we can’t understand one another due to the combined call quality degradation. Well executed makes things a little better and poorly executed makes it a little worse.
I drive an ’87 GM car and I can pull the key out with the car running. Any 80’s GM car I ever owned, I made sure to enable this(pull on key until internal safety pin breaks). I find it particularly useful when I need to access the trunk while car is running (no trunk release).
As long as I don’t turn the cylinder into full lock position, I never need the ignition key. I shut the car off and turn the ignition lock cylinder to just before it locks up.
Being able to remove the key while the engine is running is an inspection fail in NSW, first responders have to be able to shut the vehicle off in Australia, my Citroen in the event of a crash does it itself turns the fuel supply off.
GM just paid a billion dollars for this sort of problem.
Now you can use your watch to unlock your new Volvo’s doors, start the heater or AC, and check fuel or mileage (Engadget).
I’m currently living without that, but it might be pretty handy.
Probably makes it easier for someone to hack the car too.
Good. ABS, EBD, ABLS, AC, heater, defogger, (normal 3 knob control), disc brakes, power steering, FI, ECM, CC, 3 point belts, headrests, crush zones, non intrusion collapsible steering columns, door impact beams, OD Trans, lock up converter, key without immobilizer and fat plastic head. And thin pillars and large windows. Keep the rest. OK a radio with CD/aux input jack. And no “tattle tale” mode built into the control units for these functions. The rest is either too distracting, expensive to fix or unsafe under emergency conditions (such as power windows, locks, sunroofs if disabled all can trap you in your car in a fire or flood).
I like most of the goodies. I don’t see any use for rain-sensing wipers, though. Out here with the dust that we have, I think that you’d spend a lot of time with the windshield washers.
+1 to rain sensing wipers. Haven’t driven a car with them, but imagine they could also be a nuisance when driving through “buggy” areas. Would wipers turn on and smear the bugs?
I thought rain-sensing wipers would be terrible and a waste of time, but my Peugeot 307 has them, and they actually work a treat. They hardly ever get it wrong, and I’m (now) sold on them from a safety perspective.
Now, the stupid wipers on my co-worker’s 201 Ford Focus ST, that’s another story…: they aren’t rain-sensing, but they are a “speed-dependent front screen wiper system…[which]…When the vehicle is slowed to walking speed or is brought to a standstill, the wiper speed will automatically switch to the next lower wiper speed setting.” My co-worker reports that this is a terrible feature as she’ll pull up to an intersection in the rain with the wipers on constantly, and they’ll go back to intermittent, leaving her second-guessing when the traffic lights change. A dumb idea, and an unsafe one at that!
I can get the idea of them, but I’d rather just deal with a switch. All of my vehicles that have delay wipers (Hey, don’t make fun of my old 1980s stuff!) have plenty of settings for me. Turning the dial is simple.
In Wyoming, we have dust. That’s my only fear of rain-sensing wipers- dirt already on the windshield. We don’t get much rain, though. Turning the wipers on by hand is a piece of cake.
My Audi is a little different than my other cars- it has two stalks coming out from the steering column- the left one for turn signals and cruise control. The right one handles the wipers. That’s a lot easier to control than the GM arrangement is to me. You can tap the lever downwards for a quick swipe in the mist- more cars need that feature to be that accessible!
Auto wipers would have been very useful here in the last week. They’re certainly on my wish list.
I am surprised no one has said THIS, one very annoying and ,especially, expensive gimmick… I know that it is currently aggravating me…
Electronic suspension and computer controlled struts and dampers.
My Alfa’s rides great, with no sag… But the stupid strut “squeak” is downright annoying and embarrassing.
The price for each corner, since it is an “S(Sportivo)” model… Is, get this,… $1200 each?? So, $4000+ for a replacement suspension. Oh, hell NO.
I owned an 85 Subaru AWD Turbo RX(the precursor to the WRX), back in 1995. I was sitting in traffic, when I heard a loud “POW”. The rear strut airbags blew.
It sounded like a high powered elephant gun. My Subie had the rear sag gangsta lean. It looked like more like Cheech & Chong’s Love Machine, than an 80’s Japanese turbo sedan.
I fixed that problem by, swapping the regular struts from a Subaru GL wagon.
There is one Alfa 164 L(Luxury) model in my friend’s junkyard… Not sure if the L has the same PITA electronic suspension as the S model. So back to square one.
Plus, the fact these Alfas are as rare as seeing a Dodo bird, walk by you on the street, is another obstacle in eradicating the daily squeak.
A very inexcusable expense, on a car that was close to $40,000 back in 1991. Unreal.
I also had the Ride Select electronic suspension in my 86 Mazda 626GT Turbo, 85 626LX Touring hatchback and 87 626LX Touring hatchback… Those never failed me.
Electronic suspensions were a nightmare in the 80’s and 90’s for some manufacturers… Just ask any Lincoln owner.
Don’t be like this poor bastard, folks.
touch screen. it’s a really bad idea to put something as distracting as a tv set in the dashboard. even if you need gps, the after market ones mounted on the windshield make more sense because you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to use them.
Oh, boy. This is going to be a long list… Uh… Hope you don’t mind, and I apologize in advance.
1.) Electronic Gauges – Yeah, backlit analogue gauges work well enough. Reading an LCD screen in heavy evening sunlight is a pain in the ass.
2.) Buttons for Bluetooth, Call Waiting, and Voice Chat on the steering wheel – Ya ain’t callin’ me in my car, and I’m sure as hell not going to use any of this stuff if I DID bring a cellphone with me.
3.) Infotainment systems AKA The Big Blinkin’ Distraction – Stop. Please. Stop beeping. Stop changing the graphics on the background and drawing my eyes to you. Shut down. I just want to listen to the radio. Please, no. Stop. I don’t want XM Satellite Radio, I already put the CD in.
4.) Backup cameras and blind-spot monitors – The cameras I can deal with. Most cars don’t need them, but I can understand having them on say an SUV, CUV, or truck. The blind-spot monitors though? Can they NOT beep when the car is stationary? It’s annoying when you drive a rental with them, and you stop in traffic and there’s someone a bit too close to your lane and the sensor beeps for a solid minute before the light changes.
5.) Heated, cooled, massaging anything – This is just unnecessary, adds worthless weight to the car, and more than likely will be turned on a few times before the owner doesn’t even bother. Not to mention most massage functions suck anyways.
6.) 4GLTE/Wi-Fi in the car – Sure, it’s great for the kids. But then the problem arises as to why your kid is holding your Wi-Fi capable device in the car anyways. Not to mention the plans for these services are insanely costly, simply because it’s in the car.
7.) Adjustable passenger lighting – Now, I’ve only seen this a few times on luxury cars. But most features in a luxury car trickle down eventually. And this is just dangerous. If your passenger can turn on a footwell light, or turn on the low-level light in the door, that’s going to affect your night vision. Cars for a long time have had dome lights, but those are in the middle, within driver reach. The passenger lights in this case I bring up are not.
8.) “Manu-Matic” Transmissions – The shifts are slow either way. It bugs me. Even more so when I shift myself to get more power or save some gas, and the car overrides it. Either give us automatics or manuals. The comprise isn’t worth the added weight.
9.) Having full-time AWD – For the love of differentials, can we please stop having full AWD? Make it an option, not a standard! A CUV doesn’t need AWD all the time, and it’s FWD based anyways! And no, being AWD doesn’t make it safer for you in the winter, Mrs. Bland. Having snow tires does.
10.) Electronically boosted steering – You hear me Camry?! I can’t stand electronically assisted steering that’s turned up to the maximum setting. It’s terrifying to drive. I barely turn the wheel and the entire car jerks left or right. Engineers put this in to the combat the weight issues that modern cars have, but the massive shift in momentum from a slight adjustment makes it even more dangerous than slightly stiff steering would.
EDIT: Fixed typos
I like the heated seats in my Audi in the winter. We have a family member with a back problem- in winter, they’re a blessing. I’d keep them, but I’ve heard bad things about “massaging seats”. That seems a little overboard.
Manumatics: I like this in the Audi again. When driving in the mountains, it’s nice to be able to tap down a gear when going down long, steep grades. It’s not crucial, but it’s more convenient than using a shifter conventionally (Especially a column one, since I’m prone to going too far).
AWD: Agreed completely! I just drove an Audi with quattro 800 miles across nothing but pavement that had no snow, rain, or sleet. I’m driving three wheels too many, and am really wearing down tires. The AMC Eagle was perfect there- just give me a lever.
Computers/ECMs. We already had all power stuff, a/c, and even airbags (70s GM) before them. I know–I have a loaded ’75 Olds ’98 with everything I want. Rides better than anything now, clear visibility even though it’s 19.5 feet long. Had it combined the over the shoulder belts and the air bags, I’d feel as safe as in a new Camry. It’s been so pleasant owning two 1970s cars without computer controls. Okay, they get worse mileage. I can deal with it. I’ll take using a screwdriver or electrical tape and a chart to fix something over a supercalifgralalisticharmonysensor for $400 any day. I can adjust anything by feel inside the car without taking my eyes off the road. Nothing resets. Nothing “defaults”. I turn a metal key in a metal lock and it opens. I make more at the hardware store for $2.50. No computers=no problem even a subnormal mechanic can’t try to fix.
-Push button start. I rented a BMW 328i with this feature and I could have sworn I pushed the button to turn off the car but I came back from shopping to find that the car still idling…I may have pushed the button too many times and restarted the engine. There is very little tactile feedback compared to physically removing the key from the ignition.
-Electric parking brakes. I like that I can vary the gripping force of the parking brake with a mechanical handbrake. What if the electric solenoid fails and does not release the parking brake?
-Auto dimming rear view mirror. It does not take much effort to flip the rear view mirror downward if you are dazzled by the headlights from a car behind you.
-Touchscreens. You’re practically texting when you are going through different menus, commands and options while driving; they’re pretty distracting and potentially dangerous.
-Backup cameras on cars, especially compact ones like a Corolla; I can understand them being on large SUVs and vans. I was taught in driver’s ed to turn your head and look back whenever backing up your car. Do these things even work effectively at night?
-Bulky remote keyfobs. Keyfobs keep getting bigger and heavier and many cars do not come with a valet key (that does not have any remote buttons on it) anymore. Some cars don’t even have keyholes in the door. They are costly to replace if lost and always weigh down my pockets.
-Bluetooth. I don’t want to be talking while I’m driving; I find it hard to concentrate on the driving task. Also, I wouldn’t want to subject my passengers to my personal conversations blaring over the speakers.
I can do without all of them. New points once a year set in seconds with a dwellmeter and I am off. Mechanical voltage regulator for the generator too. Heck my daily driver is a radio delete and I am keeping it that way. How much crap does one need to motor down the road? Not much.
Since the newest car I’ve owned was a ’67 model, it’s easiest for me to think in terms of what technologies I’d most like to have. The safety-related stuff is the main category, but the top items would be shoulder harnesses and a steering column that won’t impale me. The only ‘modern’ safety technology I’d really like is ABS.
Other than that, for both fuel economy and emissions reasons, EFI would be nice. But the convenience doo-dads have never appealed to me.
And in exchange, I could do without all the damn cigarette lighters and ashtrays every car I’ve owned has had.
Our Honda Pilot has an electronic liftgate. There are three ways to open it: a button on the driver’s door, the keyfob, and a button on the inside of the handle. The button on the driver’s door only works when the key is in the ignition; fair enough, open the gate then turn off the car. The fob works whenever. But the liftgate button, on the other hand… Granted, the power option is useful when your hands are full. But I never quite understood how it could be difficult to just put your stuff down.
It takes about 15 seconds for the gate to lift itself, much more time than it would take to just open it manually, and the gate can only be opened electronically. Meaning when the gate electronics go, it will be a very expensive repair bill just to access the trunk area.
Rain sensing wipers and tire inflation sensors. Just things that kinda annoy me. How hard is it to press a lever or check the tire pressure manually every few months? Also, massaging seats. C’mon a car is not a SPA!
I do like head’s up displays and heated steering wheels. And HID and LED headlamps and tail lights.
These are a few of my non-favorite things…..
Push Button starting
Wheel mounted radio control buttons
Any device that enables cell phone use and/or texting while driving
Lane Change warning signal
DVD players in minivans
Seat Belt warning signal when belts aren`t being used
Wi-Fi enabling devices
Juice Box holders
The less catnip, the better!
Touch screens. They’re ergonomically disastrous and the only applications for which I think they make any sense aren’t ones that belong in cars, except perhaps as baggage.
I’ve also never been fond of power seats. The only way it even seems like it would even be convenient would be if it’s combined with a memory setting that also adjusts the mirrors, etc., for multiple-driver cars or after taking the car for servicing. Otherwise, it just seems like extra weight and complexity for no good reason.
Living in a city, I think y’all are overlooking the security/reassurance value of keyless entry. It’s sometimes very reassuring to know that you can easily confirm that all your doors are locked, particularly if you have absent-minded passengers.
You should be able to set it up to automatically lock the doors once the key is gone from the car.
That mostly seems like a good way to end up creating problems at the car wash, honestly…
Also if you have a garage having a locked car is not convenient either. But with my car turning it on and off is easy, although I have not used it. I have thought about it though when on a trip away from home.
With you on touch screens
My 2014 CTS has nearly all of the toys: tri-zone A/C, adaptive cruise, can sense on coming traffic if you are backing out of a parking place and other stuff too numerous to list. I like it all.
One thing that I would like to see are cars that can disable phone systems while the car is moving. I would not be surprised if the person who went through the red light and collided with me was using a cell phone. Wiped out a lot of my electronics – almost $16,000 to fix the front end.
Bwahahaha! Excluding my F150, I haven’t spent $16,000 on purchasing cars in TOTAL in 35 years of motoring. I laughed (to myself) when a friend was tire shopping for his wife’s MB SUV- he spent more on one tire change than I have on many of my cars. Does it roll down the road THAT much better?
There’s a middle ground. Compared to my 1980s stuff, the 1990s vehicles I’ve owned have been so much better. In my mind, the 1990s made some of the best cars out there….
Frank, I have probably spent a little more than you over the course of the last 48 years but not by much. The last tires I bought for my car cost me $80.00 for a set of 4 mounted and balanced with 70% tread. I can afford to run 3 cars including insurance for less than the cost of most other people who are paying on one car.
The question is: Are you enjoying the car, or enjoying the spreadsheet results?
If I get to the point where I’m so cheap that I’ll drive worn out junk bought solely due to price, it’s time to bicycle commute 24/7/365. And forget about cars completely.
The correct answer is: both! Do I enjoy my vintage rides- ’59 Bel Air, ’60 Microbus, ’66 Corvair… Yes. Do I like my T-Bird SuperCoupe… Yes. Do I like getting 45 mpg but even more importantly spending about 10 cents/mile (IIRC) with my Tempo and my Tracer? Yes. Do I enjoy leaving the vehicles at home and bicycle commuting/errand running/leisure at most every opportunity? Yes.
Synthesized-voice warnings for door ajar and other things. Fortunately I’ve experienced this only in rental cars. Freedom of speech for people–cars should pipe down.
me? Power seats, all my cars in the last 15 years or so have them, most with memories. Then I re-discovered the quickness of just lifting a lever and instant action when got my FJ cruiser. Power sear motors are quite heavy, most are slow when compare to the manual.
so my vote: Power seats, memory or not.
Otherwise, I love them all:
remember how you try to unlock the rear passenger door by reaching over?
same as above.
just think the passenger side mirror needs adjusting.
just think you are holding grocery on both hands.
Streams music to my sound system, takes phone calls.
Think you are lost in LA, so you are driving with one hand, other hand holding map and try to read all at the same time.
remember points need servicing?
E fuel injection:
old cars smell bad, use more fuel, and needed frequent servicing.
God, I don’t miss the bad ole days.
I like most of the current electronic stuff (especially keyless entry and start), but there’s a few I could do without. I’m actually quite amazed that in all the comments, no one has mentioned the one that I most dislike:
Automatic dimming rearview mirror – seems like it’s a lot slower to dim than the trusty hand flip.
Then there’s the irritating remote lock light flash or, worse, horn beep, particularly when it can’t be disabled (Ford). What’s most maddening is when it’s possible for the owner to easily turn that stuff off, but no one does. Of course, the well-known, infamous GM back-up lights that come on when remotely opening the doors also falls into this category. Poorly designed key fobs with buttons that are all too easily accidently pressed in a pants’ pocket are a pet-peeve, too.
After that, there’s the automatic HVAC controls that never seem to find the ‘just right’ setting. Or new cars that can’t seem to be able to keep the windshield clear of A/C condensation when the outside humidity is high.
There’s the factory NAV systems that have outdated information and mostly lock-out user input when the vehicle is in motion (Toyota).
And while I like sunroofs, there’s a wide variation in size. Subaru seems to be sticking with the large, front seat usable ones, while Mazda has ridiculously small slits set so far back it seems like they’re more for the rear seat passengers.
But I really like stuff like automatic headlights (which really should be required on all cars since they all seem to have illuminated instruments that make it difficult to tell if the headlights are on) and windshield wipers that automatically drop down to a lower setting when stopped at a light.
My auto dimming mirrors seem to work fine.
Same here. I recently installed a compass/autodim mirror in our ’05 Forester after driving a service loaner that had one. Most if not all Subies over the past 15 years or so are pre-wired for them. Works great!
Me too, I put one in my Cougar a few years ago and will never go back. I’d actually put the autodimming mirror into a technology I couldn’t live without list.
Plus they often have other useful features tied into them, like temp and a compass(that’s all the GPS I need!), considering they take up no more substantial real estate than a standard rear view mirror, I really don’t see the issue.
What I like about the factory version is that the drivers side outside mirror is also auto dimming.
Composite headlights = joke.
I remember in the ’70s when the Big Three petitioned the govt. to approve headlights other than sealed beams; they said they needed shorter lighting to make “more aerodynamic front ends”. B.S. Almost everything they make today even down to the smallest coupe has a blunt front end with the real estate of a barn- plenty of room for sealed beams.
Sealed beams which incidentally don’t yellow, craze, crack, or pit… well yeah the glass CAN be broken but it’s much sturdier than plastic and also consider the replacement costs. Back in the day only a couple bucks each; even now that S.B.s are almost a legacy item, replacement cost is but a fraction of that of a composite assembly.
See, this is how to improve performance, cost, and longevity all while thumbing your nose at crazy replacement costs for inferior parts:
And they immediately went to stacked rectangular quads on the Malibu, Fury, Monte Carlo, etc. So much for aerodynamics.
And you actually think THAT looks good?
It’s a TEMPO. How good do the OEM parts look?
As noted (apparently you missed it) it WORKS better on several levels.
The car was FREE- 15 years ago! As one might guess the front fascia and hood were smashed out. Got a free hood, hacked the lighting out of an old F-100 grille, put in a moonroof and used the roof “hole” for the grille block. Up to 45 mpg; cents/mile practically only fuel and insurance (collector plates = no registration). Utterly reliable, comfy seats, quiet and smooth, can top 100 mph.
You see, it is ME that LMAO. *thumbup*
Most all of them, including power windows, locks and remote start. Cruise control would be okay.
The electronic power steering on the ONION took far longer to adapt to than the central mounted instrument pod [seconds in that case] where the EPS took about a week. It was akin to driving the 66 Mercury Montclair four door I learned to drive on [with a similar sort of ride float on the freeway, which I loved and still love].
It’s got an open recall for the EPS [never had a problem with it and the dealer takes three hours to do an oil change as well as a week or more for any service work I’ve had to do] and I’m still having problems getting the key out after the ignition switch recall.
The last ignition switch [had 3000 miles on it] I could take the key out and drive along. Worn key? Bah.
Given GM’s [in this case] lousy record with such simple things like an ignition switch, would I really trust them with sophisticated electronic systems in a newer car ? Not on my dime.
It’s hard to get away from any of the nanny devices. They drive the initial cost up and have the potential for higher repair costs down the road. I keep my cars long after the “sell by ” date.
I’ll take a robust structure, long lived mechanicals, ease of service and parts availability over any of the current gimmicks and fads being crammed into even the most modest vehicle.
But while we’re at it:
Digital speedometers: Suddenly it’s 1984
Factory GPS: Far less expensive to get a Garmin or other device.
And while not tech: over-sized consoles that take up passenger space and put the driver into a tub. Gun slit windows and poor visibility.
And where are the bumpers to protect all that gruesome grille work we’re seeing ? Wasn’t that what drove the legislation for 5 mph bumpers
At least give the buyer a choice. I’m buying a car not a rolling condo or a four wheeled vibrator.
I’d think driving enthusiasts would be concerned that all of their driving skills have been co-opted by electronics. It’s no longer driving, it’s being a pilot.
There is a bumper, which is behind the radiator covering as seen in this picture. The box in the middle is part of the forward seeing radar system.
Everything but ABS and fuel injection. And fuel injection isn’t all that important.
I love keyless entry/pushbutton start. Once you’ve used it, keys seem like such an old fashioned, antiquated system. Plus getting in and out of the car is a breeze – just leave the fob in your pocket or purse and you’re good for the entire day!
OVER-BOOSTED power steering(as well as electric steering I
previously mentioned). I’ve read automotive publication reviews
of both ancient and late models possessing “numb-feeling”
steering or “twitchiness” at highway speeds. This is a pre-
scription for disaster, and manufacturers, in THIS century,
should know better than to turn out a product with such
For most people, I feel that any level of power steering is
necessary only for “close quarters” maneuvering, as in parking.
Above 30mph, the only thing PS accomplishes is robbing a driver
of road feel/feedback. And nobody should be able to move a
steering wheel with one finger, or by blowing on it(!)
This comes from one who, perhaps should not admit it, but
cannot keep his car on a lane on a highway. I prefer the on-
rails tight-centeredness of little to no power steering. And no:
my car is not in need of alignment; I find the steering wheels
in just about anything built after 2000 to be too “soft”, or
easy to turn from center, even unintentionally.
I almost over-steered a friend’s 2001 Celica off of my own
street during a test drive! I figured if anything in that budget
rode like it was “on rails”, it would be that car.