New cars are so feature-packed, it’s hard to find one that’s lacking the things you want. But maybe you’ve got something really specific, some singular feature that’s deeply important to you — and a dealbreaker if it’s missing. Yesterday, we asked what features are a must-have in your next car purchase, and you gave us a king’s ransom of answers. Let’s see what you came up with.
Actual physical buttons and knobs. I don’t want haptic feedback. I don’t want to slide across a screen to figure out how to turn volume down or temperature up. VW’s and Tesla’s offerings were something I considered as my next car... until seeing the interiors. If you’re too futuristic to keep physical feedback as part of your safe driving regimen for drivers, you can keep your future. It’s probably postapocalyptic cannibalistic anyway.
Buttons are a perfect way to change in-car settings while you’re driving, since you can do so by muscle memory alone. Sure, you may eventually build that up with a touchscreen, but it won’t be the same.
Interior Nooks and Crannies
A little pocket for the garage remote.
I took delivery of a 2022 Crosstrek Outdoor in March. I love it. It has a front camera, the big engine, heated seats and steering wheel, dual-mode XDrive, radar cruise control, lane following, Android Auto... it has and does more things than any vehicle I’ve ever owned.
You know what it doesn’t have? A little pocket to hide the garage remote it. The remote just kind of clatters around in the console. It’s not a big deal, but it is a weird oversight.
If my next car lacks features that even the most basic english muffins have, I don’t want it.
Heated Steering Wheel
Heated Steering Wheel
As a Minnesotan, it’s a game changer.
Also for me personally: Heated/cooled seats, Apple Carplay, sunroof, good crash rating, decent mileage, good handling, decent power, style, multi-zone climate control, some type of autonomous hands-off driving for at least freeways, and all wheel drive.
When you’re in the northern midwest, sometimes you just want your hands to be a little toasty.
How the features come with the car when purchased are fully activated. Subscription services ain’t happening with me.
The manufacturers can go eff themselves to death if they think I will ever “buy” a car where I’m constantly being dinged for subscription services and if I don’t pay, either the service isn’t activated (whatever: heated/cooled seats, heated steering wheel, drift mode, drag mode) or else it ceases to work when you miss a payment.
I buy a car and I get its features working all the time, whenever I want them—PERIOD. If the manufacturers whine and pull this shit anyway, I can only hope other car buyers balk because I sure will.
We all balk, they will cave.
Products aren’t the moneymakers any more, it’s all services. That’s what the cool kids are doing, that’s what the business folks are pivoting to, and that’s what automakers are doing next. It’s hell.
Wireless Android Auto
I’m easy to please - wireless Android Auto.
I can’t count how many times I left my phone in my car before I got the Motorola dongle to make my connection wireless.
I want it built-in for my next car, the dongle can be iffy sometimes.
I’m so deep into the cult of Apple, that I didn’t even know Android Auto had gone wireless. The more you know.
Manual Transmission - is it a “feature”. It is the only requirements.
All other suggestions are irrelevant.
Hot take: A lot of cars wouldn’t be improved with a manual gearbox. If you’re giving me a Golf R or a Supra, I want it with paddles.
After years as a retro-grouch who didn’t want none of them danged safety nannies on mah car and manual transmissions only thankyouverymuch...
I wouldn’t buy a new car without an automatic transmission, adaptive cruise, heated seats, homelink mirror and all the safety nannies that honestly make long freeway drives in the midwest more bearable. It’s like having a co-pilot. I’m still in control of the car but when something happens faster than I can respond to, that co-pilot is on it.
Having done a road trip with those kinds of nannies, I never want to go back. It’s so, so nice to rest your legs.
...That Can Be Disabled
Safety features like lane departure warnings and automatic braking that I can turn off with a switch, and that stay off until that switch is flipped again.
Many track days won’t let you run a car that can’t have its emergency braking and lane keep disabled. Keep that in mind on your next sports car buy.
I’m surprised you’d go as low as eight, given the name.
Ventilated/cooled seats. And more power.
My 2017 Mazda CX-5 already has more driver assistance tech than I need, heated seats, heated mirrors, auto-dimming rear view, CarPlay (wired, but still), adaptive headlights, blah blah blah... But nothing is worse, or more uncomfortable, than sticking to your leather seats on a hot sweaty day. The only thing that even comes close is the frustration of barely having enough power to merge on the freeway.
I don’t mind not having heated seats, but I love cooled seats when given the option. I run too hot, I guess.
Auto-dimming side mirrors (to deal with all of the buffoons out there putting aftermarket LEDs into their halogen headlight housings).
In addition to that, I’d go with heated steering wheel, Android Auto, keyless entry, buttons/knobs instead of those dangerous cheap-ass touchscreens, upgradeable head unit, 360 camera, subscription-free remote start, memory function for at least two drivers (many have these already for seat positions, but some of the nicer ones also save mirror settings, radio station presets and other audio settings, preferred climate control settings, etc... for each driver).
If you live in lifted truck territory, auto-dimming mirrors are a godsend. If the trucks are into LEDs, and your mirrors don’t dim themselves, god help you.
At LEAST 30mpg. I have walked away from good cars because no sunroof, no bluetooth, ugly steering wheel, etc., but I’m kind of done with $80+ fill ups.
With gas prices the way they are, we all want as many Ms as possible on as few Gs. 30 seems like a good, minimum limit.
A Real Spare Tire
Non touchscreen controls. And a real spare wheel, I don’t trust the emergency gunk or a space saver.
A space saver is fine, but a can of fix-a-flat and a AAA card isn’t enough. Automakers, bring back spare tires.
And It Should Be a Miata Too
Diesel, Station Wagon, Manual Transmission, Brown (Joking, sort of, but such a vehicle on a lot would be the first one I would go to, if it existed).
Ok, with that out of the way, I think any new car would have the features I need. I mean I like Carplay when I’ve had it for rentals, but I can live without it.
The one thing I miss right now on my older cars is the lack of a backup camera. I had shoulder surgery and I can’t do the look over my right shoulder and steer with my left hand right now as a result. But that’s a requirement on new cars.
Ah yes, the Perfect Jalop Car. I’m still waiting for someone to actually build it, so we can all definitely totally flock to dealers to buy one.
Real Fuel Efficiency
Factory installed Fuel Shark.
Now this, this is a real feature. Hell with the other stuff, this is what matters.