Carmax, the nations largest used car retailer, has put together the top ten features new car buyers yearn for in online searches. But, rather than just listing them, we've tried to divine why someone might want each of these gadgets.
Feature: Cruise Control
Why People Want It: The phrase "Set it and forget it" made Ron Popeil a rich man. We don't particularly like paying attention to things that don't need constant modulation, it's boring. Thus cruise control. It used to require Rube Goldberg-like gadgetry to keep speed constant without having your foot on the pedal, but now it's as simple as a piece of software controlling the electronic throttle. Not standard yet (but getting there) are systems to prevent you from plowing into the back of a Reatta at freeway speeds because some boob decided to slam on his brakes while you were texting on your cell phone.
Why People Want It:You need four wheel drive to conquer the cliffs of cul-de-sac every morning while commuting from your remote village of Pulte. It's absolutely essential when considering the refuse-strewn terrain and deep water you'll face during sudden thunderstorms. By God, what if you go tailgating at your alma mater and have to park on the grass! There'd be no rescue for you if you had no four wheel drive.
Feature: Seat Heater (s)
Why People Want It: If you've ever lived in a state that does winter with gusto, say, Michigan, you realize the utility of seat heaters. They're practically life saving devices in February. Since American's bottoms are ever expanding and a large heat sink, an unheated backside could probably result in flash hypothermia. Seat heaters: Saving American lives during short trips to the Taco Bell drive through at 2 AM in February.
Feature: Tow Hitch
Why People want it: Tow hitches are like bicycles. Some people use them a lot, every day in fact, other just like to have one for recreational stuff, but most just like to have them because. You never know when you'll need a tow hitch. Those are the people with rusty tow hitches that've never seen the inside of a receiver.
Feature: Automatic transmission
Why People Want It: People want automatic transmissions because they're the only way to enable knee driving, which frees up both hands for more important tasks, like putting on eyeliner, checking out the morning newspaper, chatting with a cell-phone in one hand and a coffee in the other. Also, they don't like manual transmissions because they hate sunshine and rainbows and freedom and the American way. Plus hills. They hate hills.
Feature:DVD Video System
Why People Want It: Have kids? Hate them? DVD players all around. Who wants the arduous task of actually speaking with your progeny? Nobody, that's who. Having conversations about the trip, the world around, answering questions and providing a general education for your kids is the job of the public schools. Put the latest Pixar flick on and enjoy pretending you never even had them.
Feature: Third Row Seat
Why People Want It: You know all those other friends you have? The ones you don't really want to ride with you when hitting the town because they talk too loud on their cell phone or possess the innate ability to make every conversation about how the '85 Bears were the greatest football team ever? Those friends are the reason 3rd row seats were invented. Put them in the wayback and A) you can't hear them from the drivers seat and B) it's so cramped back there they'll never want to hitch a ride with you again. We're surprised it's only at #4.
Why People Want It:Everybody loves letting the sun shine in, and since we as a nation now spend virtually all our time in the office, at the mall, or in front of the TV when not in the car, a hole in the roof is absolutely critical for the body's production of Vitamin D. You can quite easily pick out people without sunroofs, as they'll be suffering the effects of Vitamin D deficiency, namely cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children and cancer.
Feature: Navigation System
Why People Want It: Driving is hard. Knowing where you're going and using a map is even harder. Being aware of your cardinal directions and prior preparation for a trip are old ways of thinking. Pre-internets ways. Nowadays you simply take twenty minutes to awkwardly key in your destination address, then dive across four lanes of freeway traffic to hit the exit when the voice prompt tells you to awkwardly turn as you're passing it. It's a great feature.
Feature: Leather Seats
Why People Want It: Since the dawn of the automobile, leather upholstery has been a luxury feature. That's not to say it's the correct metric for luxury. After all, you can get leather seats in a Kia Rondo. Still, it's one of those features which makes every car seem a little nicer, despite the at-times atrocious plasticky vinyl feel to the material.