Today we learned that cars are probably getting too expensive for their own good, and could do with having fewer costly features. So which ones could go away, like, right now?
The question comes from albo, who started by pointing out that I had previously criticized Toyota for offering the Corolla on an old platform with outdated technology.
"Maybe it means new cars need to get cheaper, and not more expensive."
And when carmakers cut back on trim and keep rear drum brakes to make that happen, I'm sure Jalopnik is going to greet that with, "Excellent idea!" Right?
Patrick George, who wrote the article albo was responding to, agreed. More thaan that, he wondered how far the American consumer would go.
And this is a good point, too. There's no question that modern cars are faster, safer, more efficient and generally better than they have ever been (even if they've lost some of their character, but that's another issue obviously.) What level of "cheaper" are we prepared to accept?
I actually would be quite happy if the world embraced the idea that a simpler, older car. I drive a '73 Volkswagen Beetle for example. I, however, don't think that there's a precedent for American buyers opting for cars lacking in features and general newness.
A reply to Patrick by Justin Lancon got me thinking though.
I need A/C, a head unit with an ipod connection, and maybe power windows. Everything else can go. I dont need or want ESP/TC/ ADLFAM or whatever. ABS would be nice. Give me a super high efficiency, low displacement turbocharged engine in a lightweight, practical platform. Airbags, sure, seatbelts sure. I own a GPS, I don't need one of those. I have a right foot with nerve endings, I don't really need TC.
Obviously, I'm probably the exception rather than the rule. Still, I like this line of thought.
It's easy to say what features you wouldn't need in a theoretical new car. I wonder what features you have in your cars right this minute that you never use. Instant MPG gauges are notoriously pointless. Maybe your car has four USB slots and you've never used more than one. Perhaps there's a special way to coordinate your speaker system tucked away in some submenu of your infotainment system. Maybe you've never used your infotainment system at all.
So what feature in your car do you, yourself, never use?
Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove