The Ten Most Annoying Cost-Cutting Features On Cheap Cars

Car companies make money off of options. They want you to buy those options. And, as you can see from these ten examples, they will punish you for choosing a cheap, simple car.

10.) Blank Switches


Nothing says 'screw you for not ordering the triple-twizzle auto seat-warming climate control' like staring at a blank plastic switch for the rest of your car-buying life.

The very worst example was from GM back in the '60s and '70s — if you didn't order a clock, they gave you a blank switch with all the lines for a clock, but no hands.

Suggested By: willkinton247 and My X-Type Is Too A Real Jaaaa-aaa-aa-aaaaa-aaaag, Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

9.) No Spare Tire


The fix-a-flat kits you get instead of spares these days won't do jack if you have a serious tire blowout. You can get a nice spare installed at the dealer, but it should be something carmakers budget for in the first place.

Suggested By: cazzyodo, Photo Credit: Paul Sullivan

8.) Drum Brakes

Drum brakes at the rear wheels are good enough for ordinary driving. But there was a time (when the economy was good) when carmakers offered discs all around even on their chintziest cars.


Suggested By: Braking Bad

7.) Idiot Lights Instead Of Gauges


This is a battle car enthusiasts have been fighting since the 1950s. The average car buyer doesn't want excessive information, so they don't mind idiot gauges. The average car buyer, though, is an idiot, and would be better off knowing what the hell is going on with the critical operating systems under the hood.

Suggested By: Captain Fluffy Pans, Photo Credit: Jason Torchinsky/Jalopnik


6.) Paper Cone Speakers


Carmakers have their priorities completely backward when it comes to stereo systems in cheap cars, as Maxximtl explains.

They load the head unit up with all sorts of technology crap (such as USB, iPod support, bluetooth, LCD screens) but then they saddle the stereo down with 50 cent paper cone speakers that date back to the mid-70's. I would much prefer a simple head unit with at least a real coaxial speaker in the door.


Suggested By: Maxximtl, Photo Credit:

5.) No Trunk Key Lock


The new Fiesta isn't the only car to have no key lock on the trunk, which is a bitch and a half if you don't check the option for keyless entry.

Of course, that's nothing compared to the 1950s Kaiser Henry J. That car was so basic the trunk lid itself was optional as a means of saving money in metal stamping. Anyone who bought the base spec car had to fold down the rear seats to load their groceries.


Suggested By: jariten1781 and Jonee, Photo Credit: RL GNZLZ

4.) Toyota's Non-Intermittent Wipers

Now we're getting into the most heinous cost-cutting features.

On the cheapest Toyotas, intermittent wipers are an option and, as the above RegularCarReviews video explains at 30 seconds in, all of the tech needed to make intermittent wipers work is in the wiper stalk itself. The intermittent wiper stalks and the non-intermittent stalks are completely interchangeable. Why not give everyone intermittent wipers? Does Toyota just want to punish poor people?


Suggested By: KIT222, Photo Credit:

3.) No Bluetooth


Not having Bluetooth isn't a huge deal, all things considered. But think about this: the head units in some of the most basic cars are already set up for full Bluetooth integration, but it's electronically disabled unless you check the options box. This may not be cost-cutting so much as price gouging.

Suggested By: Kate's Dirty Sister, Photo Credit: JVC America

2.) Auto Windows For The Driver Only


Again, this might seem like a small annoyance, but there is no reason why auto windows should be for the driver only. The switches cost the same, and the programming costs the same for auto and non-auto windows.

Suggested By: The CrudMan, Photo Credit: eBay

1.) Tiny Screens In Place Of Optional Touchscreens


New car interiors are designed to look good with big, iPad-sized touchscreens in the dash to control all the infotainment systems. These touchscreens are optional. What happens when you don't order them? You get a hilariously tiny bargain-bin screen surrounded by acres of hideous plastic.

If there was any way that car companies could say screw you for not checking the options box, this is it.


Suggested By: ezeolla, Photo Credit: Chevrolet

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Top Photo Credit: Volkswagen

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