Reader Question: Avoiding “Assistance”?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Matt asks: I’m 51 and I want to drive my car instead of the other way around. I was interested in an Outback until I learned about EyeSight. I’ve been trying to look into the safety “features” on similar vehicles but it is so complicated. Could you point me in the direction of the most recent vehicles that have the least safety “features” or the easiest to turn off and keep off. Something along the lines of crossover/smaller SUV under $35K-ish new and under $25K-ish used?

My reply: This is tough – and becoming tougher, as almost all the new cars now come standard with an array of driver “assistance” technology. Especially crossovers – apparently, because they appeal most to people who want such. Subaru’s Eyesight system may not yet be standard in all Subaru models; I am pretty sure the ’21 Crosstrek (one notch down in size from the Outback) offers it but as an option that can be skipped – provided you skip the optional CVT automatic. The manual version is largely free of all the “assistance” dreck.

In an SUV, I recommend the Toyota 4Runner. It is largely free of the dreck because it was last updated back in 2010, before the dreck became ubiquitous. It is also a great – rugged, reliable – real-deal 4×4.

As far as used: You will have many more options here, especially if you go back to around 2015 and prior. The farther back you go, the less “assistance” tech you will find.

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