Hooniverse Asks- What's the Dumbest Automotive Convenience Feature?

dodge-avenger-dashboard-fridge
Have you noticed that a lot of new cars all seem to just look alike? Maybe it’s that congealing of automotive styling tropes that has car makers turning to convenience features as ways to differentiate their products from the masses. Feature creep is a threat to any project, as just about every cookie cutter business book will tell you. And when it comes to cars and trucks, it can result in some pretty dumb attributes that you might not want to pay extra for.
Refrigerated glove boxes, illuminated cup holders with a multitude of hues; I’m thinking the car makers stay up late racking their brains to come up with one more killer feature that will get buyers in the door, and not the competition’s.
That of course means a lot of dumb options – and sometimes standard – features on the plate. Some of those convenience features are in fact aggravating, because on occasion they’re not actually all that convenient. Let’s see what really pushes your buttons, what do you think is the dumbest automotive convenience feature?
Image: Motor Trend

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  1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I'm gonna get the ball rolling with Keyless Go.
    I appreciate the convenience it offers to the absolutely idle, I can see the press-to-start links with motorsports, I just don't see anything wrong with starting every journey with the twist of a key. Plus, As an "untidy person", the ignition barrel offers a very convenient place to hang my keys from so I know where they are.

    1. Feds_II Avatar
      Feds_II

      This. My wife's car has keyless go, and I'm forever searching the various nooks and cranies for the fob. Having an ignition switch gives you positive on/off, like such as if your car where to accellerate unintentionally; it also gives you a convenient place to keep your keys for the entire duration of your journey.

      1. jett Avatar
        jett

        I never take the keys out of my pocket, that means I never lock my keys in the car. I saw a guy yesterday try to almost two hours try to break into his car to get his keys out.
        If I need to shut the engine off while moving I just hold the button down an extra second and it done.

  2. OA5599 Avatar
    OA5599

    Not the absolute dumbest, but my dad's Seville had built-in AM-FM-CB-8-Track. Those last two technologies pretty much died a few months after the car was manufactured. The modules to make it work took up probably one and a half cubic feet behind the dash, and when the antenna broke it was three hundred and something 1980's dollars for the part.
    My wife's car has memory seats that adjust to a preset position when you park. The first time I tried to figure out what it did, I nearly crushed myself on the steering column.

    1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
      C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Ooooh!
      AM/FM/CB/8-track!!!!
      /living in 1978

  3. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2007/03/passgr_220.jpg"&gt;
    Grocery bag hooks in the front passenger footwell.
    My Vibe has one, you push this little black rectangle and a hook pops out that you can hang plastic bag handles on to apparently keep from spilling your groceries on the floor.
    Why it's dumb:
    1. I can't think of when I would need it. I have a backseat, and a hatch that has a pop-up cargo divider (standard) the 2nd dumbest convenience item on the car since I have never ever considered using it.
    2. It can't hold a lot of weight. i forget what the limit is, but a gallon of milk is too much.
    3. Specifically in winter, it will hold your bag right where your heat vents.
    4. You better not have a passenger, it is either a bulky bag in the way of their legroom, or if you forget to put the hook up, an implement of leg destruction. My wife never knew her car (the Vibe was hers first) had such a hook until she caught her leg on it. Why it was down? No idea probably one of the boys pushing buttons while I was cleaning the car.
    So that. That is a dumb one.
    Picture is a Rondo, which apparently has a much sturdier looking hook than my Pontiac. I searched for the hook on the Googles for Pontiacs and Toyota Matrices, but it seems every owner has no idea this exists.

    1. frankthecat Avatar

      Texted my friend with a 2006 Matrix; he had no idea that existed.

    2. BSS Avatar
      BSS

      Trash bag.
      I would kill for one of those on long trips, as I typically hang a bag somewhere awkward to catch my detritus.

      1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
        PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

        You would think, but remember those heating vents. Winter trips with a hot garbage bag is not a great time. Although, you'll remember to empty it when you stop for gas.

        1. Felis_Concolor Avatar
          Felis_Concolor

          An excellent point/counterpoint pair, this: I'd love to have that sort of convenience feature in the vehicle, but all the ergonomics gals and guys need to spend time together – and actually use the proposed features on long road trips – to ensure everything works as intended, then rework things when they don't.

    3. Hatchtopia Avatar
      Hatchtopia

      Why I'm okay with that, despite never using it: it's lightweight, doesn't add mechanical or electrical complexity, and you won't want to go postal if it breaks.

    4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Not dumb at all. I love those. I hate having a bag's contents spill out over the floorwell when you hit the brakes, and it happens to me all the time. I wish the Town Cow had a little hook like that somewhere.

      1. nanoop Avatar
        nanoop

        We're using the gear shifter to keep the trash bag upright: the handle loops close to the pivot point does the job.

    5. CJinSD Avatar
      CJinSD

      I believe that's what the British call a curry hook. They hang their take-out food from it while driving home from the Indian restaurant. The heater vent location is then beneficial. I can see why it isn't as appreciated in countries where people know how to cook. 😉

  4. JayP2112 Avatar
    JayP2112

    Cupholders.

    1. 1977chevytruck Avatar
      1977chevytruck

      A few are useful, but our 2006 Honda Odyssey came with exactly 15. One on each door (4), Four on the centre consul (8), two slide-out dash ones (10), two pop-out ones on the middle seats (12) and one on one side, and two on the other side in the back (15).

      1. Charlie Avatar
        Charlie

        My 89 town car had exactly zero, as did my 93 Lumina coupe. Strange because my 1990 firebird has the best cupholders ever.

  5. Carter Avatar
    Carter

    Power sliding doors on minivans. Open dreadfully slow and are impossible for passengers to figure out. It's a friggen people mover, not the Starship Enterprise!

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      We love ours for the boys. I can open the doors for them while going out to the car, which means when I'm getting to the van they're already buckled. Also, since most minivans are doing the full loop handles, I have seen the damage shorter kids pulling down on those handles will do with age.
      I thought the power tailgate would be a gimmick too, but I use it constantly.

      1. Alff Avatar
        Alff

        They have some real downsides, though. The power door wiring in our last Caravan was prone to failure, requiring semi-annual splicing. The power door mechanism added weight and resistance, meaning the doors were harder to open when the feature failed.
        Also, my wife used the van as a floral delivery vehicle. When delivering weddings she was constantly opening and closing the door without starting the engine, draining the battery. She needed many jump starts and went through a battery every 12 to 18 months. We replaced that van with a government-spec model that doesn't have them. She says she misses the power doors but I don't miss having to wrench on them.

        1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
          PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

          I could see that, the new wiring in our '13 T&C has a sheath on it that I think could stop a train. It's very thick.
          For basic consumer needs, I think it's great, but for fleet use, I would probably opt for standard doors. It's mostly for kids anyway. If I was operating the door daily for myself, well there's a reason there's no power driver's door.

          1. Alff Avatar
            Alff

            Interesting that they are not putting power on the driver's side now. Our '05 had them on both sides and the hatch. The lifting arm on the hatch eventually sheared at the base, in a place where I could not drill outthe stud. We sold that van to a taxi driver – I'll bet it's still driving around like that.

          2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            I should have written that clearer, they absolutely are powered doors behind the driver. It's that the driver's door is not powered, on any car. Because it's stupid for capable adults to have powered doors.

          3. Devin Avatar
            Devin

            Well there IS an exception to that:
            <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/189875/peugeot-1007-04.jpg"&gt;

          4. Vavon Avatar
            Vavon

            Two, to be exact…
            <img src="http://images.gizmag.com/hero/3395_01.jpg"&gt;

          5. Devin Avatar
            Devin

            Actually the driver's door on the Porte isn't powered, it's just a normal door.
            <img src="http://www.carfolio.com/images/dbimages/zgas/models/id/12928/2007_toyota_porte_150i_4wd_2.jpg"&gt;
            (The more I look at this, the more I think that it would be kind of brilliant as a post office vehicle)

          6. Vavon Avatar
            Vavon

            AHA!!! I actually did not know that… I just assumed both doors were electric.
            Like the VW Fridolin (with 0 motorized doors) built specifically for the German Postal service.
            <img src="http://autotopic.de/uploads/pics/vw-fridolin.jpg&quot; width="560/">

          7. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            I actually like the 1007. What a great parking lot feature. But I'd like it better if they were just regular manual sliding doors, rather than powered.

          8. cosme Avatar
            cosme

            This car was a failure part of their power doors. It was very expensive to produce and sell. it was also an heavy weight fo his class and prone to fail alot. wich ended with dramatics maintenance costs.
            Finaly few peoples were ready to pay a premium price for a weird looking car with a Peugeot badge on it.
            I would love to have a city car with manual slidings doors. This would be very practicals in small parking lot.
            We had a Renault Kangoo with one sliding doors when i was kid. This was the funniest things on earth, i cloud slide the door and jump out, like i had a parachutes and i was a commando.

        2. 1977chevytruck Avatar
          1977chevytruck

          You think that's bad? We live on a gravel road, and dust gets in the tracks. So far we've replace around 4 door motors ($400!) and one of the doors emits a ear-spitting squeal, that is when it works at all. Now one door won't latch properly, and therefore the van emits an electronic tone, unless a switch is flicked every time we use it.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      Bull-hoggery!
      It became a necessity when the doors got so heavy to have good side-impact ratings. As a 7yo, I could slam the door easily on Aerostars and Caravans. My oldest (7) can barely yank the handle hard enough to open the door. When you disable the motor to manually close it, and feel just how heavy it is, you might change your tune.
      Also, it might sound like an advertisement, but being able to punch a button on the fob to let your kids into the car while your hands are full of shopping is fantastic, hands down.

      1. Carter Avatar
        Carter

        You're not fighting the weight of the door though, you're fighting the resistance of the motor system. Those doors don't weigh THAT much. They just leave you no choice but to use the motors.
        I get that they can be handy, but when I'm standing in the rain waiting for the door to open so I can hop in, I want to murder whoever engineered them. They can't make them go any faster?

        1. Kiefmo Avatar

          Wrong. Disabling the power means it moves freely. I can tell the difference between weight due to momentum and resistance of a motor.
          Also, I've had the door of my Odyssey off once to repair the worn-out rollers. Trust me, it's heavy.
          And they're almost always operated by the key fob, too, not just the handle. Don't want to wait? Push the button a few seconds before you reach the car. And honestly, do you really want something powered shutting quickly when there might be a toddler climbing through the door? Even if the sensor detects his presence, he might get a nice wallop from the door.
          Conclusion: power sliding doors are fantastic for parents of small children, but apparently a hassle to random internet dude who wants something produced by the hundreds of thousands to fit his own desired operating parameters for his particular situation.

          1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar
            Irishzombieman☆

            Eh, the doors on my Chrysler T&C are moved by a flexible shaft powered by a remote motor and a reduction gear of some sort. Great for component placement in design terms, but moving the doors manually still turns that shaft, which torques and flexes inside its housing (which gums up over time) and turns the reduction gear from the wrong side, making the door hard to move. The motor on the driver's side of my van died two months ago. We just don't use it anymore.

          2. Kiefmo Avatar

            Ah, Chrysler. The differences in engineering, build quality, and material might not show up during the first owner's tenure, but I'm at 150k on the Ody, and the only door maintenance I've done was replacing the upper slider on the passenger side door. Once.

          3. Devin Avatar
            Devin

            I think we've just found out how you can tell if someone has a van with well designed power doors: People where they're well designed will defend them to the hilt, people where they're not well designed will not be nearly as positive.

          4. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar
            Irishzombieman☆

            Caveat: I love mine. Just wanted to point out that the mechanical opening system makes manual opening more difficult.

    3. Maymar Avatar
      Maymar

      I don't mind power sliding doors, but a pox upon the designers of certain power tailgates. Some are fine to open from the back – you hit a button, it opens conventionally with the struts, unobtrusively. But some will pull back if you try and pull them up, all "NO! IMMA DO THIS MYSELF! BACK OFF MUTHATRUCKA!"

      1. Devin Avatar
        Devin

        I've used a few where if you try to close them yourself they do this horrible grinding noise that makes it sound like you're breaking something.

      2. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar
        Irishzombieman☆

        More than once I got beat up by the door on my T&C when the gas struts started to fail. The opener would push it up, the door would drop a bit, then lots of beeping and clacking as sensors tried to figure out what was happening before the door just up and says "Screw it. I'm closing."
        It managed to mash me twice. My wife was afraid to use it. It was a genuine danger to my kids.

      3. Vairship Avatar
        Vairship

        The power tailgate on the Kia Sorento actually stops completely when someone touches it while opening. I know this, because one of our dogs is impatient in jumping out, meaning the damned tailgate stopped Every. Single. Time we opened it to let the dogs out. And you can't open it manually.

  6. muthalovin Avatar

    The Fiesta has adjustable mood lighting.
    <img src="http://www.autopten.com/cheap_cars/new-ford-fiesta-2012-interior.jpg&quot; width=550>
    You can go full disco ROYGBIV if you hit the button fast enough.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Blue interior highlighting should only be allowed in Vodka bars.

    2. JayP2112 Avatar
      JayP2112

      I use the MyColor in the Mustang to change it up a bit… And change the Hurst ball to a T-Handle.
      I call that "The Stranger".

    3. r_toaster Avatar
      r_toaster

      The work xB had that, not sure why anyone would want it, dumb but not offensive in any way. I suppose you could always pretend to be a submariner and switch to red or blue depending on whether you feel more Russian on American that day.

    4. Devin Avatar
      Devin

      On the upside, when I had a Focus overnight once I was able to switch the lighting to pink and blast Kavinsky at obnoxious volume while driving around with all the windows open, as though I was off to do something badass in a Nicholas Winding Refn movie. For a brief and fleeting moment, I felt cool.
      On the downside it's generally a kind of stupid thing to have and I'm not actually cool.

  7. Maymar Avatar
    Maymar

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/Lexus_Navigation_advanced_parking_system.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>
    The Lexus self-parking system. I mean, it works fine, but it's so fiddly picking out a spot that if you're even remotely competent at driving, it's quicker to just do it yourself.

  8. Vavon Avatar
    Vavon

    The electronic parking brake!
    <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/20131120_152436-700×420.jpg&quot; width=640>

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      I will never own a car with one.

    2. quattrovalvole Avatar
      quattrovalvole

      Yes! Why won't stupid thing let you engage the e-brake when the car is moving in the event of, oh I don't know, emergencies?

      1. racer139 Avatar
        racer139

        In the event of just wanting (or needing in some circumstances) to rotate the car. I agree with the not wanting to own a car so equipped.

      2. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
        Ate Up With Motor

        I'm baffled that they're legal. I thought the whole point of the E-brake was to give you some way of stopping the car in the event of hydraulic failure (since the E-brake used to work on a cable to the back wheels). So, if you lose electrical power and hydraulics for some reason, what are you supposed to do? Mentally draft your product liability lawsuit notice?

    3. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      Lots of frozen-in-the-morning people in my neighbourhood agree.

    4. r_toaster Avatar
      r_toaster

      Don't forget that it makes it really tough to change the rear pads without having an electronic interface or knowing the secret handshake. Grr.
      Pull the handle or push the pedal either is perfectly effective and no longer require full cable actuation.

    5. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
      C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      To be fair, my '73 Coupe DeVille had a vacuum-operated parking brake release, which was pretty neat.
      It also had a lever under the dash which was pretty easy to find, for when that hose started to leak.

  9. Lokki Avatar
    Lokki

    Power folding mirrors should be on the list of useless features. Why does anyone need to fold their door mirrors? On the rare occasion that you might need to do so, how much work is it to get out of the car and fold them by hand?

    1. Devin Avatar
      Devin

      My mom has a narrow garage and MS. So the answer is "whenever she goes into the garage" and "actually a lot of work because walking is very difficult." Even if she didn't have that there would be an icy driveway in the winter, and extremely cold weather in the winter.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      You could apply the same logic to nearly any power feature that used to be manual.
      Locks? Push and pull the plungers yourself!
      Windows? Crank em!
      Windshield wipers? You can drive with one hand while swishing the wipers back and forth, can't you?
      Starter? Hand-crank is a great workout, just let go of that handle once it turns over!
      Brakes? If you can't stop a car with leg power alone, I'm surprised you can even walk!

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Electric windows were STANDARD in the Suzuki X-90. I asked the salesman why I needed electric windows when every window the vehicle had could be easily reached from the driver's seat. He shrugged and said, "People don't like cranks." I don't know if he was answering my question or just giving me some life advice.

    3. quattrovalvole Avatar
      quattrovalvole

      Maybe not so much of an issue in North America where the roads are wide, but have you seen how tight the streets and parking spaces can be in parts of Europe and Asia?

    4. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      obviously you've never been to pittsburgh
      i've been here two years and seen three busted mirrors from parking accidents. no thanks. i fold em every time now, even on super-wide streets.

    5. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
      C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Actually, just this weekend I was thinking about how I wish the mirrors on both the RX300 and RWD STS had a power folding system.
      I've hit the RX300's passenger mirror with the door of my STS, twice , in the past few years, so I have two little dents in the window trim. It's a nice reminder of both times when my hand slipped off the door when opening it…

  10. Devin Avatar
    Devin

    In-Car internet. If you're driving, you shouldn't be using it anyway. But, you also have to pay an extra bill to get that car data plan. So if you're not driving, just use your phone's data instead of paying an extra bill for car data.

    1. racer139 Avatar
      racer139

      I think that if in car internet plans would be great if the costs where competitive with in-house plans. Also it would only be useful if one was able to connect to the car so hopefully reception is not an issue.

      1. racer139 Avatar
        racer139

        Sorry. Somehow this got posted and i wasn't finished..
        I meant one could do away with their home internet if the cost was competitive and it is able to be connected to from a distance and through walls.

    2. Lokki Avatar
      Lokki

      Hmmmm. I have this feature in my BMW and I use it quite a lot. etc. However it's not just a browser where you can read Hooniverse et al. It's really limited to several apps. Weather, best gas prices, search for restaurants (by cuisine and Yelp rating) within the search area and so forth If someone mentions a restaurant or a museum (or anything really), I use internet feature to search for it. So, you're in the car and someone wants to go to the 'Northlake Mall'. You plug that in (via voice command) and the system will pop up the address, and a quick description. Clicking on the address link sends to to the nav system. Want reservations at the Mandalay Cafe? Plug that in and up pops the address, Yelp review, and the phone number. Click on the phone number and the car calls them. It will read news articles aloud if you want, although I rarely use that feature.
      I have found it more and more useful as I use it.
      As for the monthly fee, that's included for the first four years which is as long as I will keep the car anyhow.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        I'm sorry, I don't think anybody should be reading Yelp reviews while they're driving.

        1. Devin Avatar
          Devin

          But they were named after the sound a pedestrian makes when you hit them while reading a restaurant review.

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            "But they were named after the sound a dog makes when you hit them while reading a restaurant review."
            Fixed it. Pedestrians scream and yell.

          2. Devin Avatar
            Devin

            Well to be fair you can't see what you hit when you're reading about that superlative entree.

          3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            Not to mention that it's more efficient to decide where you're going before starting to drive.

        2. Lokki Avatar
          Lokki

          Silly Rabbit, the car reads them to you. Seriously though, you can have the car rank them by the stars. Really, you're traveling and you want a good restaurant, and the car will tell you the closest ones, and how to get there. Very useful if you travel, or even in a big city like the one I live in.
          You guys laugh now, but in a few years these will be everywhere and you'll be addicted too. It's like the microwave oven in your kitchen. They really are useless – you can't actually cook in them- but you look up after a few years and discover you've been using it five times a day.
          Example – the wife wants to go to Trader Joes. You know that they have built one in your area, but you don't know anything more. You tell the car "search Trader Joes" and one minute later, you are being navigated to the nearest one.

          1. Vairship Avatar
            Vairship

            Can't your smartphone do the same thing, but do it before you even get to your car?
            Not to mention, you can upgrade your smartphone more often that upgrading your car. That in-car computer will be old and clunky and no longer supported by the manufacturer/OS provider 5 years from now. Which is why in-car navigation, email & internet should all be on the phone instead of built in to a car that will outlast the apps.

    3. quattrovalvole Avatar
      quattrovalvole

      This. Whatever your "connected car" can do, your phone can also do better. Android Auto & CarPlay can't come soon enough.

  11. Sjalabais Avatar
    Sjalabais

    Car makers lost me at powered rear doors. I know ot can actually be convenient, carrying a gazillion bags and kids jumping up and down my legs, but it …
    a) looks stupid
    b) is just another thing to break.

    1. Hatchtopia Avatar
      Hatchtopia

      B) is why I got an older, "dumber" car. I think 2005 is about the cut-off for staying away from stupid electronic nanny crap.
      Now stay off my lawn!

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        Same here, in addition, lots of engine electronics and other atuff got more complicated around then, too.

    2. Kiefmo Avatar

      a) How's it look any different from a manually-operated door? Still slides along the same tracks, just has a cable to pull it open and closed.
      b) Well, yeah, but you could say that about any non-essential vehicular system. Sure, it might break, but if it's really damned useful, it's something you accept. HVAC needs maintenance time-to-time, but would you rather freeze/sweat just so you don't have something else to fix?

      1. Sjalabais Avatar
        Sjalabais

        a) I was thinking about the fifth door, but I guess it's the same issue. To my eyes, with my 2 ct, it looks both lazy and ridiculous to push a button to close a door. It is, no doubt, a convenient function, I am just not with automakers that this is a necessary convenience. A bit like the manual/auto-discussion. In addition, fixing this is expensive. Don't remember the number, but a friend with a BMW was bleeding after paying for a broken electromotor.
        b) I gently disagree, especially about the HVAC. That one I consider essential – maybe because I live in a very wet climate? Anyway, there are several convenience features I wouldn't want to live without anymore, snake seats among them.
        On a general note, I am pretty conservative about features. My Honda does nothing but drive, heat/cool the interior and it has electric windows. I could live withsout the latter one, too…

        1. Kiefmo Avatar

          When you drive nothing but beater cars and a motorcycle, your perspective on what is considered "essential" undergoes a necessary shift.
          My W126 has no HVAC, so that example was personal to me. Until I can scrounge the $$ to fix it, I dress warmly in winter, and just accept that I'm going to be hot in summer. Thank goodness the power windows still work!

          1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            The Town Cow's A/C has been kaput since before I got it. The heater works, but the fan only runs on "HIGH." So, yeah, I can relate.

  12. buzzboy7 Avatar
    buzzboy7

    The BMW e36 cupholder. It is a really simple module that velcros in to the console. You'd think when they brought the car to the US they would make an insert for imperial sized drinks. No. It fits metric containers fine. I've yet to find an imperial container that fits well. A 24oz styrofoam cup fits 'okay' at best.
    <img src="http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y224/e30e/Part%20out/101_0897.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      Maybe it's a political statement? "Follow Canada's lead", and the rest of the world anyway. DIN standards rank high in the D of DIN. =8^)
      Otherwise, it is an astonishing glip.

      1. Devin Avatar
        Devin

        Interesting, well not that interesting, fact: Canadian drink containers are the same size as American ones, they just have metric labels. This is why the most common travel size soft drinks are the rather arbitrary sounding 592ml here.
        Also for some reason American Coke doesn't taste right, though that's more to do with the content of the bottle rather than the metric/imperial debate.

        1. Felis_Concolor Avatar
          Felis_Concolor

          If it's using HFCS, I can understand; anything which requires that much refining along with a government subsidy to become a sweetener can't be good for you. When I want to poison my blood, I prefer proper cane sugar, thank you very much.

          1. Devin Avatar
            Devin

            That's the prevailing theory, but I didn't realize that Canadian Coke wasn't as heavy on HFCS – ingredients here list the sweetener as "Glucose-Fructose".

        2. Sjalabais Avatar
          Sjalabais

          Now that is the typical odd fun fact that I will hold on to for the rest of my life, thank you.

  13. r_toaster Avatar
    r_toaster

    <img src="http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e201a73ddcff12970d-800wi"&gt;
    Remote activated flip down rear headrests that do not know when someone is in the back seat.* Looking at you Volvo V60, stop whacking your rear passengers in the head.
    *Perfect if you have unruly children.

    1. Charlie Avatar
      Charlie

      I had a volvo 850, and those rear headrests were a huge pain to put down when lowering the rear seatback. This would have been a welcome upgrade

    2. Kollege_H Avatar
      Kollege_H

      That has to be the most useless invention – especially as the seats won't fold automatically too, so you would still need to fold the bench by hand, right?
      But I had a good laugh imagining the tormented passengers.

    3. nanoop Avatar
      nanoop

      Dad's W124 had that, but they flipped backwards. It was a sedan, though.

    4. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      How could this not have been detected as idiotic during product testing? Are you sure you don't have a broken sensor? You can't trust people to "remote activate" only when it is the right thing to do.

      1. r_toaster Avatar
        r_toaster

        It's the same on every V60 I've seen (3 total), so it can't be a fluke. I suppose the nanny state is not as omnipresent as some of us feared.

    5. Felis_Concolor Avatar
      Felis_Concolor

      That was the basis for a Car Talk chat; some lady loved the ability to give her children a dope slap from the front seat while still keeping her eyes on the road.
      And now that I am caring for some children, I'd really love to see that feature duplicated in my Flex. "Kids, stop fighting!" "Nyeah, nyeah!" [click][WHACK] "OWW!!"

  14. 7FIAT's Later Avatar
    7FIAT's Later

    The Release XB I test drove had a lighted and solar powered(???) gear shift knob, utterly useless hard plastics and it felt like a sharp rock. I have owned almost nothing but manuals my whole life and it was the worst gear shift knob by miles that I have used.

  15. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    it seems like a common theme here is that someone bitches about a technology and then someone else, who uses it regularly, defends it.
    i'm not saying there's no frivolity in automotive technology, or that everyone uses every feature he or she buys, but one man's toy is another man's tool.
    that said, mood lighting is dumb.

    1. Vairship Avatar
      Vairship

      If anything, the mood lighting should be on the OUTSIDE!
      "Look out for that car, he's glowing red!"

  16. Krautwursten Avatar
    Krautwursten

    Powered trunklids or rear hatches. It seems to be a North American thing mostly apart from a few luxury cars, and I'm still bewildered by the thought of someone who's too lazy to close their trunklid with their hand. But apparently these people exist.

    1. Devin Avatar
      Devin

      While I don't have one, I can see the appeal, especially if you're doing the old fashioned "all groceries must reach the house in one AND ONLY ONE trip!" method. I've found that can make closing the hatch a bit tricky, one only has so many arms. I've closed it with my head once, but that probably wouldn't work in a much taller SUV.
      This is also why I sometimes wish my house had keyless entry.

      1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
        Dean Bigglesworth

        I too can see how they can be useful, but I've had too many guys call me when they simply refuse to close. If(when) the "pumps" fail it most likely will not close manually so you're stuck with the bootlid up. You need to take off the actuators and the attached wiring to close the bloody thing. It's stupid. Though this is less a criticism of electric bootlids, and more about stupid design.

    2. nanoop Avatar
      nanoop

      Dirty fingers, every single time I close mine. There are handles molded into the lining, but they can't do the last few inches.
      I'd take a car that has it, but I'd take a car without it, too.

    3. ptschett Avatar
      ptschett

      Honorable mention: power pull-down trunk latches, like my parents' '92 and '93 Cadillac Seville and STS had. The owners manual recommended pushing the trunk lid down till it was about an inch (25 mm) above closed, then letting the mechanism do the rest.
      Putting that advice there might work for the people who drive the car. It doesn't work so much for the people that are getting paid slightly more than minimum wage to load groceries in the back of the cars that pull up into the loading lane at the supermarket.

      1. Ate Up With Motor Avatar
        Ate Up With Motor

        Having some way to electrically close the trunk lid would make some kind of sense, but that's so limited that it really seems counterproductive.

  17. zetep Avatar
    zetep

    anything that makes modern cars weight like a tenthousand pounds…..

  18. monkey_tennis Avatar
    monkey_tennis

    The Nissan Almera (N16, 2000 onwards) featured a 'curry hook'.
    <img src="http://www.hadez.org/offsite/aoc/curry640.jpg"&gt;
    …it was the final generation of Nissan Almera. Obviously they just didn't know how to top that.

    1. Vairship Avatar
      Vairship

      They probably stopped the Almera when they found out that the town wasn't all that grand a place to name the car after… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almere

  19. Fuhrman16 Avatar
    Fuhrman16

    The powered trunk lid that Cadillac used to have. Unlike some of the other powered trunks/hatches mentioned, it was a normal trunk lid that only used the motor for the last inch or so to close it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzJgQT4xFQU

    1. HTWHLS Avatar
      HTWHLS

      My Mercedes S500 has those same motors for the doors too. What's the point??? Everything in that damn car has a motor to do something incredible small that humans can easily do. This ride would drop 500 pounds with 30 less motors and wiring. Of course once the engine torque hits and the suspension drops down and I'm Machsnell-ing down the road, all is forgotten.

    2. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
      C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Ah, but the reason GM did this is because, for some reason, you could slam GM trunks a half-dozen times before they'd latch.
      They're okay, now, but honestly, the power trunk pull-down I always liked.

      1. FЯeeMan Avatar
        FЯeeMan

        I thought they did this because the demographic purchasing their vehicles didn't have enough arm strength to close the trunk themselves.

      2. ptschett Avatar
        ptschett

        The trouble was, everyone that didn't own one of those Cadillacs (e.g. teenagers working in the supermarket drive-up lane) "knew" that you had to slam the trunk on a GM car, and trunk slams were problematic for the power pull-downs.

  20. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    "Have you noticed that a lot of new cars all seem to just look alike?"
    Congratulations, you sound like my father, 25 years ago.
    Then again…so have I for about the past 10 years.
    /facepalm

    1. Vairship Avatar
      Vairship

      It's the cars of the 1920s and 1930s that REALLY all look alike to me… 😉

      1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
        C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        I'm really not good at those, myself.
        Now, 1954 to about Y2K…I'm good, there.

  21. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    Two recent ones.
    1. "Land departure warning"
    Sigh… PAY. ATTENTION!!!!
    2. "Blind spot warning system"
    This one angers me, because what with the size of mirrors since at least the mid-80's, and cars having come with parabolic passenger door mirrors for a least 30 years, this is 100% unnecessary.
    If you don't know how to adjust mirrors to prevent blind spots while also not needing to "head check", you need some remedial training.
    You DON'T need to see your own vehicle. You need to see the area a motorcycle can occupy off to the side. It's quite simple. With a little bit of side-to-side head movement, no turning required, you can see the area you need to. Trust the science behind mirrors and how they work.
    The only vehicle in which I have a 'blind spot' is the forward-control 40' diesel-pusher motorcoach we have. Immediately off the RF corner, from the wheel forward about 15 feet, there's an area which is below/in front of the mirror, yet because the bottom of the windscreens of this beast are 6+ feet off the ground, a Civic-sized vehicles can easily lurk there. I'll sometimes ask my wife to see if the car I saw disappear into the Bermuda Triangle is still present, because I don't always see them depart.

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar
      FЯeeMan

      This! 10,000 time this!
      I don't want bright lights appearing in my mirror, especially when I'm trying to change lanes in the dark.

      1. PlasticFantasticL200 Avatar
        PlasticFantasticL200

        That be said, it can be slightly entertaining to send messages in morse code to other drivers on long stretches of boring freeway.

    2. Vairship Avatar
      Vairship

      Oh, I don't know, some people NEED a land departure warning apparently… http://news.yahoo.com/video/driver-explains-car-e

      1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
        C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

        Then they NEED to be riding mass transit or hiring a car to be driven wherever they need to go.
        This guy…THIS GUY is the perfect example of who should not be piloting a vehicle of any sort.