There is an unstoppable wave of technology arriving in cars today. With each new model, you can count on at least one new feature popping up that promises to make our life better in one way or another.
But do we even need them and are they all worthwhile?
No. We’ll answer that one for you right now. Not every new feature that becomes available is a genius idea and their irrelevance has not gone unnoticed. Here, we’ve picked out the most pointless and irritating nuggets of tech because being mocked is the least they deserve.
No new car dare show its front grille without having a touchscreen available, as an option at the very least. But are they absolutely necessary? That’s debatable, and our view is that when they’re done right, they’re fantastic (VW Group, take a bow).
However, less optimised systems only serve to irritate and bring down the whole car. We’re speaking specifically about PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s all-encompassing touchscreen, which contains controls for virtually everything in the car.
Only the hazard lights, demisters and stereo volume manage to retain their physical controls and the lack of a tactile interface threatened to spoil the Peugeot 308 (an otherwise fantastic Golf rival) and the Citroen C4 Cactus (a kooky, affordable and lovable crossover). Each fingerpress on the touchscreen can take several seconds to register if the system isn’t on the ball at that moment, quickly creating frustration, impatience and distaste for the car that grows by the second.
The fact that the system is the gateway to everything from the air con to the stereo to how the car drives means it’s difficult to simply disregard and it drives us potty.
Again, what’s wrong with knobs and twisty things? Sometimes, technology is shoved into cars for the sake of it and these are an example of tech fixing what wasn’t broken.
BMW’s gesture control falls into this category. You’re already moving your hand, so why can’t that movement be to press a button or turn a dial? Because it was Hollywood’s idea of the future 20 years ago so you’re gonna shut up and like it.
When was the last time you heard a car alarm and thought ‘oh, I should call the police’? Never. In 2017, car alarms only serve to irritate and disrupt your sleep.
Electric gear shifts
Back when manual cars were the norm, everyone knew where they stood with gearboxes.
Maybe you had to pull up to shift into reverse, or perhaps reverse was located below fifth or tacked on the side of sixth, but one glance at the gear knob and you knew where you were.
With electric gear shifters, though, it’s anyone’s guess, especially when different car makers have their own layout for park, reverse, drive and neutral.
Perhaps the most patronising bit of tech in recent memory, scrolling indicators made their debut on the Citroen DS3 but more noticeably on the Audi A6; you’ll find them on the second-gen Peugeot 3008 too.
The thing is, we can tell which way you want to turn because we can see which side of the car the blinking light is on. We don’t need you to point it out like it’s the last motel for 300 miles.
Oversized key fobs
Unless you have clown pockets, then it’s pretty obvious why oversized key fobs will get on your nerves. Some car manufacturers are overly fond of their logo and are more than willing to big it up on their key fobs, which we then have to hobble about with in our pocket.
Sorry to keep coming back to control systems, but these are often central to a car’s basic functions.
Luckily, Siri-like car systems are often an optional extra, but even when they’re included as standard, we’d rather not ask our car to do stuff on our behalf. As with some touchscreens, voice controls are overkill and unnecessary.
Which car features get on your wick? Tell us down there in the comments.