Home » What Modern Car Features Do You Refuse To Use? Autopian Asks

What Modern Car Features Do You Refuse To Use? Autopian Asks

Aa Features You Dont Use
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The cars of today are technological powerhouses filled to the brim with more bits and doo-dads than you’d find in the cockpit of a Cessna.  I find that some features are genuine game changers, others I just can’t get behind.

The newest car I own is a 2016 Smart, and the most advanced technology it has is a forward collision warning system. That’s it. It has  a cute radar dome on its front that’s supposed to warn me seconds before I ram into a car ahead of me. In reality, it just beeps every time I go through a curve with any kind of speed. Thanks, Smart!

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Sometimes, hopping into a new car feels like I’m strapping myself into a space shuttle. Today’s cars have a smörgåsbord of systems, each with a nearly unintelligible acronym that I will not remember. A lot of them are helpful, but to me, someone who some might describe as a Luddite, it can be too much.

There are two systems I don’t like using. The first is adaptive cruise control in most vehicles. You can get adaptive cruise in everything from rental Toyota Corollas to BMW motorcycles and with some exceptions, and so many of these systems suck. I like adaptive cruise in theory. The car can brake and accelerate all on its own. You just need to keep it pointed in the correct direction. That’s brilliant!

In practice, the last Toyota Corolla I drove practically slammed its brakes for minor changes in traffic flow and it was always just flipping on the brake lights. Using cruise control is supposed to be relaxing, but the Corolla was driving like a teenager, so the adaptive cruise got turned off. It was a similar deal with a Nissan Sentra I drove. The car seemed scared to even go the speed limit, let alone keep off its brakes. Thankfully, I’ve usually found it possible to disable adaptive cruise and just run with old-school regular cruise control.

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To be clear, I always test these systems out because that’s my job. But if they prove to be more bothersome than they’re worth, I will end up not using them for the rest of the time I’m with the car. There are exceptions. I found the adaptive cruise control in a Volkswagen Atlas to be pretty decent. Likewise, BMW Motorrad’s adaptive cruise is so good it almost freaks you out. A motorcycle that responds to traffic!

Before I wrote about cars I wrote SQL queries and Java. You’d think I’d be all over techy sorts of stuff like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Once again, I test these systems out in every vehicle I encounter, but I prefer old-school Bluetooth. I put on my tunes and hit the road. If I need navigation, hearing the turns through the speakers is good enough for me. I don’t need to have Google Maps on a 12-inch touchscreen. I also run a number of modified APKs on my Android devices and Android Auto sort of conks out when you try to use them in the system.

I suppose that part is weird. My wife is trying her best to push me into the modern era in that regard. Alright, enough about that, how about you? What are the modern features you don’t (or outright won’t) use?

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Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
1 month ago

I really don’t like lane keep assist/lane centering. I’ll steer my own car, thanks. Some types of adaptive cruise with emergency braking are not too fantastic to use, but Subaru’s Eyesight system works well.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
1 month ago

Automatic Climate Control. I want to cool ME, not the ambient air. In every car I’ve owned it’s been far too slow and the air too indirect to actually cool anyone, so I stick to manual control at all times

Dan Pritts
Dan Pritts
1 month ago

And it runs the fan at 100% invariably. So. Dammed. Loud.

Eric Wondersmith
Eric Wondersmith
1 month ago

Anything connected-car. I won’t subscribe to services and I don’t like the idea of being tracked.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago

Cruise control. I can’t stay awake with it on, so I rarely (if ever) use it. The idea of me being trusted to keep a hands-free system like Autopilot in line is just not going to happen without me eventually getting tired or distracted on my end. I can see if various cruise systems work for a brief period of time if I need to test a new vehicle or maybe even let cruise control take over if my foot’s tired or the speed limit is extra-enforced, but most of any trip, ever, taken with me behind the wheel won’t even try it out.

Heads-up displays are just annoying to me. I do not want a flashing display in my field of vision for the road. A lot of them don’t work well with short people or sunglasses, either. Do not want.

I also need to pull the Bluetooth system and buttons from the Lancer because the whole thing was a battery draw that doesn’t work. I’m in that car to avoid humanity, not talk to it.

I’m not a fan of most lane-keeping tech, either. A lot of those can be really aggressive about it with yoinks and buzzes and our lanes aren’t really well-defined in some places.

Hard pass to any systems that track driving style/habits, either. Those plug-ins always sound like an excuse for State Farm to raise my rates for what, stopping abruptly when traffic in front of my stops abruptly? Swerving aggressively to avoid hitting something in the road? The entire premise is absolute nonsense. Worse yet, non-insurance tracking systems have been caught sending that data to data brokers, which then insurance companies can get and thus, raise your rates anyway. The absolute hardest of nopes.

Last edited 1 month ago by Stef Schrader
Idiotking
Idiotking
1 month ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Having just bought our first “modern” car in 10 years, I will agree with the lane-keeping tech. Our CR-V is annoying with the wheel-buzzing and STOP flashing and dinging and doinking, and there’s no viable way to turn that off—just turn down the sensitivity. I do find the auto stop-start tech annoying as hell too, and I work for an environmental research organization.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago
Reply to  Idiotking

Oh my gosh, I forgot about stop-start. I turn that garbage off every single time. Sometimes I luck out and a hybrid makes it unnoticeable, but yeah. Screw stop-start, all my homies hate stop-start.

Rexracer
Rexracer
1 month ago

I would say voice command things, going 10 years on last vehicle and never using it. Was just so pointless. We got a Tesla last year and it actually is very good. New truck works well also

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago

I don’t like keyless start, lane-keep assist, any screen beyond just displaying my mileage or radio station, etc. I like to keep things pre-1999.

Rexracer
Rexracer
1 month ago

ugh, we just got a 23 truck used (was 62k new), and you have to PUSH THE START BUTTON… like what is with this manual labor just to drive my car… The Tesla just get in and put in drive is the right way to do it.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago
Reply to  Rexracer

I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not. I hate all that stuff, I prefer to just turn the key, clutch in, and start my car. Anything else feels weird to me.

Church
Church
1 month ago

Yes! Push button start and proximity fobs can go straight to heck. And after that, they can continue on to hell where they belong.

Rexracer
Rexracer
1 month ago

I am being serious. I was just like you, until I actually experienced it, and then you question why it wasn’t like that forever. Why do you have to do anything to start your car, just get in and go.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago
Reply to  Rexracer

I’ve driven plenty of modern cars that have that, I’m not a big fan of it. I like turning the engine on manually, same as how I like shifting my own gears. I refuse to own a car that does that stuff for me, because at that point it’s not a car, it’s an appliance.

Rexracer
Rexracer
1 month ago

Ah to be young.
An automobile is a tool. Sure there are the guys that want to build their house without any power tools, and chisel out a Scandinavian saddle to join their logs together. But for the rest of us, we deal with things like driving in stop and go traffic trying to keep the kids from getting car sick, and just needing to run to the store real quick for that missing ingredient for dinner.
So as such, we have 1 electric car (commuting), 1 diesel truck (towing camp trailer), and 1 two seat sports car with a manual (for fun/racing).

So, while I appreciate your passion, don’t let your passion override common sense.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
1 month ago
Reply to  Rexracer

I just have one car to do everything, from commuting to canyon driving and track days. I won’t ever have kids so I don’t need a “responsible” car really, even though my one car is still a reasonably practical 4 door BMW sedan. Stop and go traffic with a manual is fine, I’ve been doing it for almost 10 years now.

Rexracer
Rexracer
1 month ago

Like I said, I appreciate your passion. We won’t have any manuals left if not for people like you. But you have to recognize you (and part of me) are the minority, and car companies are not going to cater to our out of style needs.
And get back to me when your 40 on daily’ing a manual in stop and go traffic, sure 26-28 no problem. lol

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
1 month ago

Android Auto. I used it probably 3 times in 5 years, and only on very long drives to strange places.

Nothing wrong with the car side of things, but Google would lock your phone into driving mode or whatever the fuck, essentially turning it into a Fire stick. Get a notification from anything other than a Google sanctioned app, or god forbid need to use the phone for anything.. and you have to unplug it and tell it to disable driving mode, etc. Which is definitely safer and less dostracting than answering a call on snapchat.

Idk if it’s changed, and I don’t care. I will hate it forever.

Fuller Name
Fuller Name
1 month ago

It changed. I hated that also. Google maps was locked out on the phone previously but now I can plug it in, start listening to my music, and still use google maps on the phone where it’s easier to find something before hitting the road. I can start the navigation from the phone if I want and it will display on the larger screen.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
1 month ago

I forgot it was like that once. Yeah it’s completely unrestricted to use your phone now

Jb996
Jb996
1 month ago

Lane Keeping.
I am driving. What in the world are drivers doing that they need basic support staying in the lane?! Obviously not paying attention.

Adaptive cruise is a close second. Like others, I like it In Theory. However in mine, even the most minimal following distance setting is way too far on a freeway.

Ben
Ben
1 month ago

Lane keep assist infuriates me, at least previous incarnations of it. I seem to recall reading that some of the new ADAS systems are getting smart enough to move left and right in the lane to keep a buffer between you and other traffic, which might resolve my biggest issue with lane keeping. TBD whether I will use it after that becomes available.

I won’t use adaptive cruise either. It’s a feature that’s nice…right up until it’s not and you end up causing an accident because your attention wandered and the system failed an intelligence check. If there’s enough traffic that I need adaptive cruise I need to be paying full attention to what it’s doing anyway.

I shut off the auto high beams in my truck because they’re terrible. I love the idea in theory, but they just don’t work right. I got tired of of them randomly brighting oncoming traffic because the system got confused.

Ditto the rain sensing wipers. Again, theoretically great, but in practice I spend as much time adjusting the sensitivity as I would just adjusting the speed directly and still end up with a sub-optimal experience. Fortunately, my truck with this feature has the correct design of wiper stalk where the speed is entirely controlled by how far you turn the knob (no separate low, high, intermittent settings) so it’s super easy to just set the speed myself.

Tarragon
Tarragon
1 month ago

To my big surprise I’ve stopped using cruise control (adaptive or classic) in favor of a speed limiter. This is in my BMW, I haven’t tried this in any other vehicle yet.

Instead of setting a cruise control speed I set the speed limiter to the fastest I want to go generally. Then I just drive.

At or approaching the limit it cuts throttle response. At that point I can just cruise at the set speed or decide to bump the limit up.

It’s fine for passing and the like, after a point of additional throttle, or a kickdown at the pedal limit it releases its hold and lets you do what you want. If I want to speed up past the set limit (to pass usually) I just press harder and away I go. It doesn’t disable itself so when I drop below the set point after the pass it reengages.

This is like the Lane Centering vs Lane Keeping I commented on separately. I’m always driving but I’m happy to let the car back me up.

Rob Schneider
Rob Schneider
1 month ago

Satellite radio. Even when free with a new car or rental, I avoid it like the plague. No sense getting attached to something for which I’m never going to fork over the subscription fee.

Also lane assist. It annoys me much more than it helps me, so it stays off.

Fuller Name
Fuller Name
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Schneider

Satellite radio. For when you want to listen to the same songs on repeat or talk radio (never) but you want the privilege of paying for it.

Tarragon
Tarragon
1 month ago

I’ll never use Lane Centering

I’ve not seen a study of this but I have enough of a human factors background to know that humans suck at monitoring an automated system that does too much work for you. This is the classic Vigilance Problem.

Lane Keep Assist as a general thing is OK. I’m driving and the car notifies / assists on a lane change. There’s never a question that I am the one driving so it’s impossible to check out. The implementation is important though, I’ll leave it on depending on the vehicle. My BMW does it fine, open leaving a lane without signaling it gives a slight steering pressure and makes it fell like you’re running over a rumble strip. I also like the idea that it’s teaching people to signal lane changes.

Cars that yank the wheel harder or fight you when trying to override are’t cool and it gets turned off.

I_drive_a_truck
I_drive_a_truck
1 month ago

I turned off the cellular emergency service and vehicle tracking on my Tacoma day 1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Toyota is still collecting and selling data on my vehicle movements, but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easier for them.

I also turned off the lane keeping assist and, because I can’t default it to off, the forward collision sensor gets turned off every time I start it up.

Last edited 1 month ago by I_drive_a_truck
PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
1 month ago

My ’09 Grand Cherokee came with some kind of voice command system that I tried to use exactly once, and found to be so frustrating that I forgot all about it…until I replaced the stereo head unit, and found that the voice command system was built into the vehicle, not the stereo. >:( I finally figured out how to bypass it, and now use Android Auto or Bluetooth.

I despise automatic start/stop, and it’s mildly infuriating when I can’t find the button or menu command in a rental to disable it (I’m looking at you, Buick).

I’ve had limited experience with adaptive cruise control in a rented Toyota 4Runner; I was actually pleased with how well it handled traffic.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

I use pretty much any feature that works as intended. I paid for it. If it works, I’m gonna use it. So far, the exception is built-in navigation and satellite radio. For both features, the maps and music streaming apps of your choice will almost always be better.

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
1 month ago

I use them all. I’m a Solutions Architect for a software company, so this kind of thing is right up my alley. I like the proximity warnings on my mirrors, the backup and proximity sensors, the backup camera, adaptive cruise control, stability control, the ability to switch between Comfort and Sport modes and all of it.

If those gizmos will allow me better safety or allow me to arrive at my destination less tired, I use them.

Heated and ventilated seats, along with a heated steering wheel are bliss. I even have a bike with a heated seat and grips, which is great. Heat the blood flowing through my femoral arteries and the rest of me will be warm. Heat my hands and I don’t have to wear giant bulky gloves and reduce road feel and sensitivity.

I’ll take them all. I’m old. I’ll take any help I can get in staying alive.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago
Reply to  Dudeoutwest

My previous car had adaptive heated seats. There was an option to have them come on and adjust accordingly over time to match your climate control settings. Along with the heated steering wheel, it was sublime in winter.

Dan Pritts
Dan Pritts
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

The inventors of heated seats and steering wheels deserve the Nobel Prize.

David Lorengo
David Lorengo
1 month ago

I thought it was adaptive cruise control but it works really well my M850 for handling the soul sucking traffic in the Seattle area. I use it all the time now.

The voice commands in my F150 sucked and I never used them. They work fantastic in the M850, you just talk like normal and it works great, like Siri, no need to memorize commands.

I do have gesture control in the M850 too. I thought I would use it but I don’t, it’s limited and kind of laggy.

Vc-10
Vc-10
1 month ago

I like most of them, to be honest. I use adaptive cruise and ‘Pilot Assist’ (lane centring) on the motorway quite regularly. Makes long journeys quite relaxed. The regular lane assist is quite unobtrusive, so I don’t have to turn that off.

My car (Polestar 2) has Android Automotive, and so it has fully integrated Google Maps navigation. It pulls suggested navigation destinations from my Google Maps search history, and there’s now a button on my phone that lets you ‘send destination to car’.

My previous Seat had VW Group’s standard nav system, which I used maybe once in the three years I had the car, because it was rubbish compared to Google Maps/Apple Maps over Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. So I guess, shitty OEM navigation systems?

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
1 month ago
Reply to  Vc-10

Wait wait.. I remember the B8.5 S5 had Google maps integration and used the SIM for data so it had the live traffic, satellite and all that…

Did that not ever make it down the range? Cause it was ~*awesome*~

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago

For me it’s heated seats. My ass and nuts are warm enough thank you very much. I don’t need them roasted with a heated seat.

I personally don’t get how there are so many people with such cold asses that makes them love heated seats so much. Is there something biologically off with people? Are they all wearning no underwear?

And related to adaptive cruise control and other driver assistance… I have yet to own a car that has these features. But I have a hunch I won’t use them either due to them being poorly implemented.

Last edited 1 month ago by Manwich Sandwich
Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

My ass and nuts are warm enough thank you very much. I don’t need them roasted with a heated seat.

Climb into your car on a cold Midwestern morning. Heated seats are a godsend. Throw them heated seats on low, and you’ve also got a great way to ease back aches after a long, miserable day.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

I live in Toronto… I’ve experienced my share of cold winter mornings. I prefer my nuts to be cool rather than hot.

And I don’t have back aches/issues.

If anything, I’d rather have cooled/ventilated seats.

Last edited 1 month ago by Manwich Sandwich
OttosPhotos
OttosPhotos
1 month ago

Voice commands, still haven’t found one system that’s reliable.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago
Reply to  OttosPhotos

Most of these are SUCH garbage. I can get Tesla’s “open butthole” to work reliably and that’s basically it. Most of them just do not understand my voice. Whenever there’s an expose on how voice assistants weren’t trained with much data from female or accented voices, it’s like, yeah, that hella tracks. Not a single one works worth a damn.

Getting into a car that responds every time you say the marque name is my latest annoyance with this. I drove an Atlas last week that turned on every time I said Volkswagen. I own a Volkswagen at home, so this happened a LOT on a short couple-hours drive. At one point, it switched to playing the songs on my phone’s Apple Music account alphabetically starting with the “I’m”-songs. I have no idea why it did this or what it thought when I told it something akin to “STOP” or “OFF.” Absolutely infuriating.

Last edited 1 month ago by Stef Schrader
Schrödinger's Catbox
Schrödinger's Catbox
1 month ago

I would like to suggest two features, related to turn signals.

If it’s left on for more than 1/2 mile, the click gets much louder. After, say, a mile, the driver suffers significant discomfort until they do something about it.

If the driver chooses to not use turn signals when executing a turn in traffic, particularly when stopping suddenly in the middle of the road, or doing a “turn right from the left turn lane across traffic” gem, the car either chastises them or a device slaps them upside the head. Hard.

Last edited 1 month ago by Schrödinger's Catbox
Fuller Name
Fuller Name
1 month ago

I love this! In fact, why don’t all these modern cars teach bad drivers some good habits. Instead of this foolish and futile attempt to make cars autonomous, why not just use them to make BETTER DRIVERS??

“I see that you want to hold up traffic to make a left here but wouldn’t it be easier to make a right and go around the block?”

“You are parked in a red zone. Would you like to park in that empty spot 15 feet away?” Ten seconds later: “Ok, I’m going to start honking the horn to embarrass you now.”

Maybe that’s not how it should work but it does seem like we could find a better use of tech than mind numbing semi-autonomy.

I’d be really happy if every car just had one feature where it would yell “Put your phone down! Eyes on the road!” in some authoritative voice like Arnold or something. Maybe not Arnold because that would be fun. Neighbah

pizzaman09
pizzaman09
1 month ago

In the 3 years I daily drove an e39 M5, I never once tried the automatic headlights it had. Strangely the car I replaced it with was a Mini with auto lights and used them exclusively as I wasn’t a fan of the headlight controls on the turn signal stock. When I sold the Mini and bought and e36 M3 I was super excited to have a simple rotary knob to the left of the steering wheel again.
Also every vehicle I drive in the winter, the first thing I do is turn off traction control, all it does it make it far more challenging to control the vehicle as you loose your ability to manage power application.

Max Headbolts
Max Headbolts
1 month ago

In my current vehicle the cruise control stopped working about a year ago, never cared enough to figure out why. That was it’s most advanced feature.
In my Jeep Compasses and Cherokee (2018-2022)
I would turn off the blindspot beep because it was very annoying, I know there’s a car there I turned my signal on, to uhh signal that I intend to change lanes….
The Cherokee had lanekeep assist, and it HATED Woodward avenue, so that was off after like three days.
If I buy another connected car, I’ll be disconnecting the cellular antennas from the radio/telematics box immediately. Most of them have eSIMs now so pulling the SIM card out no longer works, but if I can, I will.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

Adaptive cruise is one I will never use. I had it once on a Corolla and my experience was similar to that of Mercedes here. And secondly I was in an exit lane in relatively dense traffic once and someone using adaptive cruise with a fairly big safe space kept having people cut in front, car brakes to restore the safe distance…repeat.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
1 month ago

Pretty much any navigation or entertainment options that are not the ones that come on my phone.

Also voice control (don’t use that on the phone either). You’d think it would be less distracting but it’s just in the uncanny valley of unreliability where you end up having to dedicate more of your attention to using it than if you just had to take your eyes off the road for a split second to tap or click a thing.

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