Excessive Extras: Identifying The Most Unnecessary Car Features

In the race to outdo competitors and captivate consumers, automakers often fill their vehicles with an array of features, promising cutting-edge technology and unparalleled comfort. But is more always better?

From gimmicky gadgets to confusing controls, this article explores those additions that, while intended to enhance the driving experience, often end up as unused or irritating aspects of modern vehicles. Join us as we uncover the features that might prove the old adage true: sometimes, less really is more.

Gesture Control Systems

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Gesture control allows drivers to control various functions like audio or navigation by making specific hand movements. While this technology sounds futuristic, many users find it imprecise and gimmicky. It can often misinterpret gestures, leading to frustration, and traditional buttons or touchscreens are viewed as more reliable and intuitive.

Automatic Stop-Start Systems

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Designed to save fuel, automatic stop-start systems turn off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, such as at a red light, and restart it when the driver releases the brake. While it’s meant to be an eco-friendly feature, some drivers find the constant stopping and starting to be annoying and jarring, especially if the system’s operation isn’t smooth.

Touchpad Infotainment Controls

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Some vehicles use touchpad controls for operating the infotainment system, often replacing traditional knobs and buttons. While this might look sleek, many users find touchpads to be unintuitive and distracting, requiring more attention to operate accurately while driving.

Voice-Control Systems

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Voice control in cars is intended to provide hands-free operation of various features. However, many systems struggle with understanding accents or different voice tones, leading to misinterpretation and frustration. Some drivers prefer using physical controls or their smartphones, which often have better voice recognition capabilities.

Electronic Gear Shifters

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Replacing traditional gear shift levers with electronic buttons or dials might free up space and provide a modern appearance. Still, some users find these shifters confusing and less satisfying to use. The lack of tactile feedback and the potential for accidental engagement can be off-putting to some drivers.

In-Car Fragrance Diffusers

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While aiming to enhance the cabin experience, built-in fragrance diffusers often fall into the category of unnecessary luxury for many drivers. Some people find artificial car fragrances overpowering or unpleasant and prefer to control the cabin’s scent using traditional air fresheners, if at all.

Rear-Seat Entertainment Systems

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Built-in rear-seat entertainment systems were once a premium feature for keeping passengers entertained. However, with the rise of tablets and smartphones, many view these systems as obsolete and unnecessarily expensive, especially when personal devices offer more flexibility and content.

Lane-Keeping Assist that’s Too Aggressive

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While lane-keeping assist is a safety feature designed to help drivers stay in their lanes, some systems can be overly aggressive, constantly nudging the steering wheel. This can create a tug-of-war feeling that some drivers find distracting and annoying, leading them to turn off the feature.

Faux Engine Sound Enhancers

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Some modern cars with smaller or electric engines use speakers to enhance or replicate traditional engine sounds. While this is intended to provide a sportier driving experience, many purists view it as artificial and unnecessary, preferring the engine’s natural sound or the quietness of electric vehicles.

Massaging Seats

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Massaging seats in cars are aimed at enhancing comfort on long drives. However, some users find the feature needless and the sensations produced by these systems less than satisfying. For the price premium often associated with massaging seats, many drivers would rather invest in other features or simply find them to be a novelty that wears off quickly.

This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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