While there’s little doubt modern cars boast more features than their early predecessors, some of these extras can prove a real bugbear for motorists — particularly those who prefer simple, enjoyable driving with minimal distractions.
To demonstrate just how irritating some modern cars can be, here’s a list of 12 of the most outright annoying in-car features.
Non-Telescopic Steering Wheels
Despite drivers coming in all shapes and sizes, some manufacturers still take a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to steering wheels. When buying a new car, the least you’d expect is a steering column with reach and rake adjustment; many cars only offer rake, whilst some offer no adjustment at all.
Those afraid of parallel parking in public might relish the idea of a reversing camera, but many drivers find them more of a hindrance than a help. Poor visibility, weird graphics blocking parts of the screen and fuzzy images are just some of the irritation problems that can make these a frustrating feature.
Space Saver Spare Wheel
While a space saver spare wheel could get you out of a tight spot, they’re nowhere near as reliable as a full-size spare — or as safe. Drive on a space saver, and you’re usually limited to a very slow speed, which can be a real pain if you’ve got miles to do on the motorway.
Unreliable Start/Stop Systems
When done right, Start/Stop systems can be an excellent feature, helping motorists drive more economically and get more MPG from a tank of fuel. Sadly, some start/stop systems are plagued with problems and glitches, causing long delays before start-up and even breakdowns in some cases.
Irritating Driver Assists
LCD screens and HUDs can relay lots of important information to the driver, but occasionally they can get a little bossy and irritating. Start to run low on fuel for instance, and driver assists will trigger a relentless ping that doesn’t stop ‘til you fill up. Some assistance systems even have the gall to tell you to pull over and rest, which can be incredibly frustrating on longer drives.
One annoying feature we’ve noticed in cheaper cars is when the manufacturer replaces a switch or button with a blank piece of plastic, offering a constant reminder that you’ve missed out on a specific feature by not opting for the top of the range model.
From time to time, manufacturers take big risks in conventional car design, making radical changes to customary cabin layouts. One area they should leave well alone, however, is the location of the speedometer. In our opinion, it should always be directly behind the steering wheel, not off-centre and out of the driver’s direct eye-line.
Pop-Out Rear Windows
One of the biggest pitfalls of the hatchback is when their rear windows don’t roll downward, but pop out to allow just a slither of fresh air into the cabin. While this isn’t a major problem for the driver, it can be very uncomfortable for rear-seat passengers — particularly those who don’t travel very well.
Touch Screen Technology
Touch screen infotainment systems certainly look swish, and can be good on some top-of-the-range cars; but often they’re unreliable, and can be very distracting for the driver. Occasionally touch screens fail to acknowledge a command, so you’re forced to take your eyes off the road and give it another go — what happened to a good old fashioned button, eh?
Huge Keyless Entry Fobs
Keyless go is all the rage at the moment, with many manufacturers touting it as the must-have in in-car gadgetry. And while it can be very useful in some situations, the keyless entry fobs themselves are often huge and bulky, meaning they take up precious space in the cabin and can’t be easily slid into a jeans pocket.
For some drivers, an in-built navigation system is a big selling point when buying a new car. Sat Navs have come a long way since the early days, but many in built ones are still prone to lead you in weird directions due to a lack of up to date knowledge – for example around one way streets or new roads.
Anyone who’s ever dealt with a voice control system will know just how hit and miss such technology can be. In some cars, voice activation is crystal clear and rarely miscalculates your commands; while in others, it can take thirty attempts to input your favourite radio station.
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