Five Stupid Things in Modern Cars
Cars have come a long way in the last couple of decades; today’s cars are loaded with features that make driving easier. But we at VroomGirls have also seen more than our share of so-called features that are just plain dumb. Here are five that annoy us the most.
by Aaron Gold
1. Gigantic key remotes
Being able to unlock your car by remote control is a wonderful convenience, but why do some manufacturers make remotes so large they need their own separate cars? Luxury brands are some of the worst offenders; Jaguar’s remote key is so huge that whenever I test one I need to gain twenty pounds so I can wear pants with a pocket big enough to hold it. And when we last tested a Volvo, my wife Robin actually had to buy a larger purse (at least, that’s the reason she gave me). It makes me nostalgic for the days when all we needed to unlock our cars was a little metal key.
2. Buttons, buttons, and more buttons
Remember the good old days when your car’s stereo had two knobs, one that turned up the volume and another that changed the station? Some of today’s cars seem to have more buttons on their dashboard than the Space Shuttle, while other manufacturers have gone the other way, consolidating five thousand separate functions into a single dial. Many of our favorite cars have just two knobs on the stereo and three dials for the air conditioner — and really, that’s all you need.
The last thing we need in our cars are more things to distract us, and is there anything in the known universe more distracting than Facebook? Not that I don’t like Facebook; frankly, I don’t know how I lived my life before I had a way to keep up with the trivial life events of people I haven’t seen since the eleventh grade. But when I’m driving, I really ought to be looking at the road rather than photos from someone acquaintance’s daughter’s fifth birthday party that I wasn’t even invited to.
4. Proprietary media ports
The USB port is a wonderful thing — nearly every MP3 player, from the priciest iPod to that plastic piece of junk you bought from a shady camera store in Times Square, will plug into one. So why do a handful of high-end luxury manufacturers insist on fitting non-standard “media ports” to their cars? These things only have one advantage, which is you have to use a proprietary cable that costs $79.99 instead of the one that came free with your player. Unfortunately, this only an advantage if you own a car dealership.
5. Zagat restaurant ratings
It is an amazing feat of technology that I can sit in my car and rear restaurant reviews. But why in the name of all that is holy would I want to? Seriously, when was the last time you said to your beloved, “Hey, sweetie, I feel like a good lasagna. Let’s go sit in the car and see if we can find a nice Italian restaurant.” Automakers argue that Zagat-to-go is great for long trips, but if I’ve been driving for six hours, the last place I want to leisurely browse through restaurant ratings is inside the car I’ve been driving for six hours. I’d rather pull over, sit on the grass, and use my smart phone.