The optional extras you can do without
An idle conversation over dinner on a car launch got me thinking, what kit do you really need on your vehicle?
The car launch in question was the new Audi R8 V10 plus, so everything inside the cabin felt appropriate, just so, like you will one day need to press that button on the dash, even if you don’t have a clue what it does.
But pare it back to anything from family hatchbacks and saloons to superminis and city cars – what the majority of us drive day-in day-out – and what constitutes a must-have option is completely different.
I like creature comforts as much as the next person – owning and driving a car with no windscreen or doors has taught me the value of a heated seat, let alone weather protection.
Maybe I’m biased in thinking you don’t have to have all that much in the way of kit to make a car liveable then?
I’m running a top-spec Suzuki Swift SZ4 as my long-term vehicle at the minute, and for the £12,515 asking price, it’s positively loaded with features. Cruise control, Bluetooth (for phone and audio), automatic headlights, keyless entry and go and climate control are all among its lengthy list of standard-fit items.
But I could do without all of that. I could even do without a rev counter if I’m honest. It’s nice to have plenty of gadgets and gizmos, but are they really essential?
That then raises the question of what constitutes a necessity. Everyone’s opinions will differ, but there’ll be a few commonalities that are bound to emerge.
One, I’d wager, is Bluetooth. The modern, interconnected world relies on speedy communication, so I’ll concede that being able to talk hands-free at the wheel is pretty useful.
Today’s automotive landscape is different to that of even 10 years ago though. Radio/CD/MP3 audio systems are now generally standard, so you wouldn’t count them. Not unless you’ve just put your name down for an entry-level Dacia Duster SUV or Sandero supermini…
Two, I reckon, would be air conditioning. It’s not always standard on small cars and it’s a pain in the neck when your windscreen mists up in the winter – literally, if you have to stoop to see out of the small portion of glass that’s not blurry.
A good A/C system clears this up swiftly. Anti-bacterial air-con is the next step now, apparently…
But beyond this, I can’t think of anything more I feel is vital. Heated seats are nice when the temperature gauge drops below zero, but you can live without them.
Sat-nav? Plan your journey and use a map. We all managed perfectly well when it wasn’t around.
Cruise control – especially of the radar guided persuasion – just use your right foot.
Automatic headlights and wipers are nice functions, but it only takes a flick of the wrist or the twist of a knob to do it yourself. It’s not exactly a taxing job.
I concede every feature I’ve outlined above I like when they’re on a car. If I ever come to spec a new motor for myself then some of them – probably most of them – will be on my options list.
It’s just I don’t think cars NEED all that stuff.
A significant horsepower boost and some restyling brings the Aston Rapide on leaps and bounds
Date 21/05/13, Duration 2:30, Views 695
Which of these endangered 1970s and 80s cars would you be saddest to see become extinct?
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- Austin Allegro
- Austin Maxi
- Austin Montego
- Austin Princess
- Hillman Avenger
- Morris Marina
- Morris Ital
- Vauxhall Viva