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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

From Yahoo.com, courtesy of USNews and World Reports.

Eight New-Car Features You Don't Need
Thursday April 19, 3:00 pm ET

By Rick Newman



It had to happen--somebody was bound to invent a car that can navigate better than a human. But the Lexus LS 460, which can parallel park on its own, is only for a select few--those willing to pay $65,000 to compensate for their deficiencies behind the wheel.


Most drivers would rather spend a few hours practicing in the parking lot and save the money for a down payment on a house or a year of college tuition. But even among midpriced cars these days, there's a dizzying menu of gizmos that can open and close the doors for you, create multiple environmental zones, keep your kids entertained (and silent), and even massage your back. By the time you've compiled your wish list, however, chances are you've added $5,000 or even $10,000 to the price of a car that seemed like a good deal when you were just looking at the list price.

Since I test-drive dozens of new cars each year, people often ask if this or that feature is worth paying for. The answer, of course, depends on your budget. Some options, like flexible seating configurations or hidden storage nooks, provide lots of functionality for multitasking drivers and their families. But there are just as many features you'll never miss if you go without them--even though manufacturers and salespeople might tell you it's the latest must-have technology.

Not all of these features are offered a la carte--they're often bundled into packages, so you can't customize as specifically as you'd like. But if you eliminate a few unnecessary features, you may be able to bypass an entire $3,000 or $4,000 options package, or step down a whole trim line, and spend the money on better options or aftermarket products--or just keep the cash in your savings. Some purists will argue with these choices, of course, and there are buyers who simply want the most loaded model they can get. But most car buyers can do without the following features and never know the difference:

Automatic stick shift, also known by proprietary names like Autostick, Tiptronic, Steptronic, or Shiftronic. This allows you to shift gears without having to press a clutch, usually by pushing the gearshift up or down, or tapping paddles or buttons on the steering wheel.

Why you should skip it: Automatic shifting is meant to convey a sporty sensation to drivers who don't know how to drive a manual transmission, or don't want to. But it's more of a nuisance than a thrill, unless you're driving a true sports machine, with Formula One-style paddles, like the Mercedes SLK or the BMW M5 On most other cars, people just end up leaving it in drive. Ho-hum.

Cost savings: $1,000 or more

Instead: Shop for a car with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. This new technology increases engine speed without shifting from gear to gear. What drivers notice is a smoother ride and slightly better gas mileage.

All-wheel drive. Sends power to all four wheels, instead of just the front or the rear axles.

Why you should skip it: If you live where there's sloppy weather, and routinely drive in snow or mud, then yeah, all-wheel drive is handy. But most people don't go out in snow anyway. And there are misperceptions about the safety benefits of all-wheel drive. It can help you get out of a snow bank, but it won't stop you from sliding on ice or reduce braking distance. It also lowers gas mileage.

Cost savings: $1,500 or more

Instead: Antilock brakes, stability control, and side-impact and side-curtain air bags have proven safety value. On SUVs in particular--more prone to rollovers--these safety options should be considered essential.

CD changer. Audio systems that can handle multiple CDs are becoming standard--just as CDs are going the way of vinyl.

Why you should skip it: With iPods and MP3 players becoming ubiquitous, there's no need anymore to junk up your car with stacks of CDs.

Cost savings: $500 or more

Instead: A single CD player with AM/FM is fine--as long as it has an auxiliary jack for external devices. Also consider XM or Sirius satellite radio. After listening to 150 channels of mostly commercial-free music and talk, you'll realize how dead commercial radio is. And look for an audio system with duplicate controls on the steering wheel, which helps keep your eyes on the road and off the dashboard.

Power folding seats. This is an upscale option on many vehicles with third-row seats. Push a button, and it's like magic--the seat disappears and you're left with a flat cargo space.

Why you should skip it: On well-designed vehicles like the Honda Odyssey and the GMC Acadia, it's a breeze to fold the seats manually--pull or push a couple of levers and you're done. It's usually faster than waiting for a motor to do the job, plus there's no complicated machinery that might break.

Cost savings: $700

Instead: On SUVs and minivans, a power-operated liftgate can be very helpful for people, especially women, who find the rear hatch too high to reach or heavy to close. Plus, if your hands are full with groceries or kids, you can pop open a power liftgate at the touch of a button.

Keyless ignition. As long as the key fob is in your purse or pocket, all you have to do is push a button to start the car and drive off.

Why you should skip it: Keyless ignition is a cool feature that will probably be standard someday. But on most cars today, it falls one step short, since you still must have the key fob in hand to unlock the car. Then you have to find someplace to stash the key fob--an invitation to misplace it. Some cars even have a little slot where you can store the "keyless" unlocking device. Isn't that the same thing the ignition slot used to do?

Cost savings: $200 to $400

Instead: Remote start is a wonderful option, in winter and summer both. It lets you start your car from a distance, without being inside it, so you can cool or warm the car for a few minutes before you get in.

Xenon headlamps, also known as HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps. They give off more light than ordinary halogen lamps and have the cool blue tint that is often their main appeal.

Why you should skip it: The light beam from xenon bulbs shines further than many people can see or react to, and some experts worry that the stronger beam could interfere with the vision of oncoming drivers.

Cost savings: $300 to $500

Instead: Automatic headlamps. You set the cockpit switch to "A," and the lights automatically go on when it's dark and off when it's light. Even better--you no longer have to worry about leaving your lights on and running down your battery.

Dual-zone climate control. Lets you choose different temperature settings for the driver and passenger side. Tri-zone systems have a third control for the rear seat.

Why you should skip it: People who are really this fussy can achieve the same result by manipulating the air vents and fan settings. Besides, come on: If the driver's temp is 68, and the passenger's is 72, do you really believe it's not 70 inside the whole car?

Cost savings: $800 or more

Instead: For people who drive in cold weather, heated seats are a delight--and they often warm up faster than the climate system itself. Cooled seats seem to be less effective. But in both cases, they offer truly personalized comfort that doesn't bleed into somebody else's space.

Factory-installed navigation systems. Nav systems are marvelous, especially for people who drive routinely in unfamiliar places. Letting the onboard computer guide you to an address or destination is far better than reading a MapQuest printout, calling for directions on a cellphone--or, God forbid, having to stop and ask a stranger.

Why you should skip it:The problem with installed nav systems is they're very pricey--upwards of $1,500 in most cases. Plus, they're so popular that some manufacturers offer them only on the upper trim lines of a given model, which draws even more money out of your pocket.

Cost savings: $1,500 to $2,000

Instead: Shop for a portable, off-the-shelf navigation system. Good ones are available for $500 or less, plus they can be moved from car to car.

Dan
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
Sold (scrapped) on 10/30/04 at 165,599.4 miles....1987 Honda Accord DX (165K miles)--Tan Car
Sold (scrapped) on 9/26/09 at 148406.4 miles and 24 years old....1985 Toyota Camry LE --Brown Car (Dan's former daily driver)
And more human powered bikes than I can count.....
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vkc
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:19 pm    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

Sounds like Rick Newman's an old school kind of guy. Maybe its not that you don't need some of these features, some folks think they're nice-to-haves.
Then: '79 Plymouth Horizon, '88 VW Fox Wagon, '92 VW Jetta GL (DW), '96 VW Golf GL (DW), '97 Jetta GLX - Green, '03 MPV ES - Blue Mica (DW)
Now: '15 Hyundai Elantra GT - Titanium Gray Metallic (DW), '10 Honda Civic Si - Polished Metal Metallic blake
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:20 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

vkc wrote:
Sounds like Rick Newman's an old school kind of guy. Maybe its not that you don't need some of these features, some folks think they're nice-to-haves.


I have a simple philosophy with cars, they are not an investment, so the only justification for any options is that they make the driving part more enjoyable, so as long as it doesn't send you into a situation of terrible debt, one should feel empowered to include whatever is of benefit for the use of the vehicle. The only judge of what is needed is the one who will drive the car. While I look at that list and think why on earth would you need any of those, some will see them as essential. I struggle to understand why anyone would need a four wheel drive (read nissan patrol/Toyota landcruiser) to drive around suburban roads, yet a quick look at the car park at any school locally here in Aussie land finds many of these oversized vehicles. Yet for the mum's that drive them they feel more secure so I guess that is a legitimate reason. Certainly not for me to judge if they should have them or not.

I looked across in the car beside me at the traffic lights today, coming back from picking up my computer from the computer shop. They had the entertainment system for the second row of seats. For me I wonder why would you want that, yet for them it is no doubt an inclusion of benefit, and I know from reading this is a common inclusion in the mpv's. So obviously it has some definite benefits for those that have them in the vehicle.

So what am I saying well I guess when it is such an individual issue, maybe presenting them as Features with a high cost benefit rather than those you can skip may provide better acceptance of an article like this.

I think mr newman needs to understand that whether a car feature is needed is decided by the car owner and not him.

just my 2c, that if we spent a little less time judging our fellow humans and a little more time living things may be very different.

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Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:03 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
Instead: Shop for a car with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. This new technology increases engine speed without shifting from gear to gear. What drivers notice is a smoother ride and slightly better gas mileage.


That really narrows your choices of car. A lot of the others make sense if one is being frugal.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:17 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

For the most part I agree with what was said. There are a lot of nice options out there. most I wonder why folks would pay for them. The only "extra" i bought with the MPV was the PSD. At first iwas thought "why?", now, i'm (and the wife) are very glad I did.

The rest was added later by me. Laughing


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Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

Yeah - we got the '01 with fog lights and 6-disc changer. But that was before iPod fever (which I've heard is almost as bad as PacMan Fever Wink ). PSD's were not an option.

I wish I could wire an iPod directly to the stock h/u. When it dies again that will be the route we go - scrap the changer and get a h/u with iPod capability.

I do wish at times that we went with the EX to get the leather. That and the towing package are about the only things I don't have (nor rear heat as well - just AC).

Rich. Dark. Deeply satisfying.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

Dan wrote:

Automatic stick shift, also known by proprietary names like Autostick, Tiptronic, Steptronic, or Shiftronic. This allows you to shift gears without having to press a clutch, usually by pushing the gearshift up or down, or tapping paddles or buttons on the steering wheel.

Why you should skip it: Automatic shifting is meant to convey a sporty sensation to drivers who don't know how to drive a manual transmission, or don't want to. But it's more of a nuisance than a thrill, unless you're driving a true sports machine, with Formula One-style paddles, like the Mercedes SLK or the BMW M5 On most other cars, people just end up leaving it in drive. Ho-hum.

Cost savings: $1,000 or more

Instead: Shop for a car with a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. This new technology increases engine speed without shifting from gear to gear. What drivers notice is a smoother ride and slightly better gas mileage.


I'll take a DSG transmission over a CVT any day and it gets better mileage. His cost savings are moot because the CVT is an expensive option...

Quote:

CD changer. Audio systems that can handle multiple CDs are becoming standard--just as CDs are going the way of vinyl.

Why you should skip it: With iPods and MP3 players becoming ubiquitous, there's no need anymore to junk up your car with stacks of CDs.

Cost savings: $500 or more

Instead: A single CD player with AM/FM is fine--as long as it has an auxiliary jack for external devices. Also consider XM or Sirius satellite radio. After listening to 150 channels of mostly commercial-free music and talk, you'll realize how dead commercial radio is. And look for an audio system with duplicate controls on the steering wheel, which helps keep your eyes on the road and off the dashboard.


How 90s. Newer CD changers are MP3 compatible and they are required to get the upgraded stereo. And the cost is overstated...



Quote:
Xenon headlamps, also known as HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps. They give off more light than ordinary halogen lamps and have the cool blue tint that is often their main appeal.

Why you should skip it: The light beam from xenon bulbs shines further than many people can see or react to, and some experts worry that the stronger beam could interfere with the vision of oncoming drivers.

Cost savings: $300 to $500

Instead: Automatic headlamps. You set the cockpit switch to "A," and the lights automatically go on when it's dark and off when it's light. Even better--you no longer have to worry about leaving your lights on and running down your battery.


Boy, is he ever off on the cost of HIDs. for my Eos, they were a $1000 option only available if you bought the 3.2l engine... But, I would have bought them if they were available with the 2.0T.

Quote:
Dual-zone climate control. Lets you choose different temperature settings for the driver and passenger side. Tri-zone systems have a third control for the rear seat.

Why you should skip it: People who are really this fussy can achieve the same result by manipulating the air vents and fan settings. Besides, come on: If the driver's temp is 68, and the passenger's is 72, do you really believe it's not 70 inside the whole car?

Cost savings: $800 or more

Instead: For people who drive in cold weather, heated seats are a delight--and they often warm up faster than the climate system itself. Cooled seats seem to be less effective. But in both cases, they offer truly personalized comfort that doesn't bleed into somebody else's space.



Here, it becomes clearly obvious that he is not married.... Wink

Most of his "savings" and suggestions are illusory at best. Many of the items are part of a package and cannot be ordered separately, ala carte.

RBB
2007 Volkswagen Eos 2.0T
2005 Volkswagen Passat GLS TDI Diesel
2002 Mazda MPV ES
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Antzin Muhpantz
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:06 pm    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

i remember driving behind a clean, shiny, gargantuan SUV pulling out of the grocery store that had a Disney movie playing on the "entertainment system". all i could think was: you dont really need a vehicle that large and perhaps you should spend a little more time talking to your kids.

re: CD players... the dudes stuck in the 90s. just get yerself an aftermarket that handles MP3, WMA, AAC formats or a player with aux outs or iPod compatable. beats a changer anyday IMHO. if you demand higher sound quality in your car than compressed formats can offer... well that's a horse of a different color.

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Last edited by Antzin Muhpantz on Fri Apr 27, 2007 2:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Madbrad
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

They forgot Intermittent steering, and trunk mounted inlaw seat belt

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paulaM
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

Pretty good info. Thanks for the share anyway. Very Happy
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Maddoxe
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:05 am    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

Yeah we can say that some of the features are not important. Overall nice information.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:52 pm    Post subject: Re: New car features you can probably skip Reply with quote

The vehicle emissions inspection ,you can get more details at detectorall.com
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