10 Car Features That Are Totally Useless (But We Must Have Them)

The automaking industry has come a long way in the past 20 or 30 years. Amidst all the groundbreaking innovations, there are features that add little value to our cars and are also unnecessary complexity.

These features are useless and unreliable for many drivers. They only create distractions and increase the cost of the vehicle. Some new drivers have to have these features, and they'll pay extra money to keep up with the Joneses.

These 10 features are unnecessary, expensive, and mostly useless. They add little to the driving experience and may even make it more hazardous.

1. Social Media Integration

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

As if texting and driving weren't causing enough casualties, almost all automakers are marketing Social Media Integration as a must-have feature. But do we really need it?

Do we need to post on our Facebook as we pull into our favorite cafe's parking lot? That's why we have phones.

2. Fake Exhaust Pipes

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The muscle car era is probably not returning. Fake exhaust pipes on a Tesla are just that: fake. You might know that exhaust pipes expel the waste fumes out and away from the vehicle. But they have another use: they make the sweetest sounds when they zoom past you.

In addition to adding to the aesthetic appeal of a vehicle or an electric vehicle (EV), they don't serve any purpose since almost all EVs are quiet. Chances are, your current car isn't powerful enough to use those pipes fully.

3. Rear Seat Infotainment

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Do touchscreens placed inside the back of the front headrests scream cutting-edge technology? They're really not. Most of the time, you'll drive alone with no one in the back to use those screens. Plus, nearly everyone has smartphones nowadays.

If you think this is a must-have feature for your car, you might be from a generation without phones or tablets, but today's kids travel with their devices everywhere they go.

4. Heads-Up Display

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If you're an experienced driver, you might've realized how little it takes to glance from the digital cluster to the road ahead. Heads-up displays (HUDs) work by projecting numbers on the windshield, eliminating the need to peek at the instrument cluster behind the wheel. That sounds pretty neat.

The only problem is that many modern cars today come with a lot of clutter and lights. There are lights for everything. For newbies and, in some cases, experienced drivers, a HUD only adds to the confusion.

5. Gesture Control

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Just a century ago, cars came with a steering wheel, pedals, and some light switches. These days, however, cars have many features that make people scratch their heads, and gesture control is one of them. Gesture control supposedly offers simple solutions to managing volume, answering calls, changing the car's AC settings, and more. While this technology may seem wonderful, it has yet to prove its usefulness.

Many respected automakers fail to meet the standard. Too many gesture control systems misinterpret movements that aren't meant as a command. This means drivers must undo the changes caused by the confusion and take their eyes off the road.

6. Rain Sensing Wipers

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For 35 years or so, drivers used the good old multi-function switch to turn on the windshield wipers. However, as technology advances, this simple feature is being automated in many modern cars.

Car manufacturers have decided to equip windshield wipers with rain sensors that detect water and turn on the wipers. It sounds fantastic on paper and enjoyable to have in your car, but it doesn't serve a useful purpose when the wipers are going at the wrong speed.

7. Night Vision

Audi A8 Night Vision Assistant
Image Credit: Robert Basic – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Night vision might make us feel like in a spy movie, but it's useless in a car. Besides adding several hundred — or thousand — dollars to the car's price, it serves little purpose.

Night vision in cars uses an infrared camera to display the road ahead on the infotainment display. Headlights have been doing this successfully since at least 1912. No driver in their right mind turns off the headlights and looks at the dashboard to drive at night.

8. Electronic Parking Brakes

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This is one of the many features unnecessarily complicated by digital circuitry. Experienced drivers have used the emergency brake by pulling up the lever between the front seats or pressing the pedal on the floorboard. Although many automakers still make cars with the good old lever brake, many luxury cars no longer come with that feature.

These cars have buttons and lights instead of the lever on the dash, which makes them more prone to failure. While it has some benefits, like making hill climbs easier, it's safe to say if a car doesn't have the new kind, the driver isn't missing out.

9. Digital Keys

Image Credit: Tesla.

Digital keys have been around for a couple of years and have become a must-have feature for new car owners. This feature replaces the physical key with a digital fob, or it allows drivers to use their phones as keys.

It sounds convenient, but it leaves many possibilities open for hackers and thieves to break in and steal your car. Moreover, if you lose your phone or fob, getting the fob or phone replaced is an expensive proposition.

10. Electronic Seat Belts

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Car critics worldwide had a field day with this one. Although this feature may seem like a birthday wish come true for parents and senior citizens, which it is, it doesn't live up to its name.

There have been numerous reports of automated seat belts engaging too early, buckling drivers in before they're ready, ensnaring the wrong arm, and the motors wearing out, meaning the belts will not move out of the way or won't engage to start with.

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Author: Ali Hassan

Ali is a published automotive and entertainment writer with a knack for crafting compelling stories. He likes to get personal with his audience. He makes them feel like they are having a conversation with a friend rather than reading another blog.

He's had the pleasure of working for some respected publications like TopSpeed, Exotic Car Traders, and HeadFone. Ali is working for The Content Agency and is working on some ghostwriting projects these days.

You'll find him at the gym or exploring new fast-food places whenever he's not writing. He stays away from people who like pineapple on pizza.

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