Most Annoying New Car Features?

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Does anyone know where to look for safety? 

This is the admonition one often gets in a new or recent-model car equipped with a back-up camera system (now required by law). Put the car in Reverse – which turns on the rearview camera – and the screen says to “look for safety.” Ok. But I cannot see him. Or is it her? Maybe something in between? Maybe the people who write the software for these back-up camera systems could consult a copy editor. 

Some systems have a different – just as illiterate – admonition: Check surroundings for safety. Well, ok (again). Where is she? Or is it they? 

Maybe it might be safer for you to check your surroundings? And look behind you?

Instead of that you get something else in the same new vehicles that have these federally-required back-up camera systems: A parental turning-down of the sound coming out of the audio system as a preface to backing up. Put the transmission in Reverse and cue the sounds of silence; i.e., you are not allowed to listen to whatever you were listening to until you put it back into Drive (or Park). Logically, this is as silly as wearing one of those chin diapers you still see people wearing. It apparently “works” even when the person is still breathing “the virus” through his nose. . .  .

If it’s so unsafe to reverse with the radio on then why and how does it become safe to turn it back on when moving forward? If anything, it is less “safe” because the speeds are higher in Drive than Reverse or Park.

And doesn’t “speed” kill?

Or are we just signaling – as in virtue? Make-pretend we’re being “responsible”? Wouldn’t it be more responsible to expect that anyone entrusted with the operation of a motor vehicle be capable of backing a car up without the “assistance” of “advanced” technology such as a back-up camera system and a peremptorily parenting turning-off-of-the-radio thing?  

And how about the throws-it-into-park thing? 

A number of the newest vehicles have a system that prevents the car from being backed-up or inched forward with the driver’s door (or any door) open or even cracked open. You start to reverse with the door opened just a little so you can see with your eyes what’sback there as you’re backing up – and because the back-up camera system maybe doesn’t give a good view of what’s back there (or curbside) and the car (its “technology”) drive-by-wirelessly puts you in Park (ca-thunk; I pity those sprags).

Then there is ASS. In the literal, acronymically accurate sense. Automatic Stop Start, which is also a “technology” and very “advanced” – unfortunately – in the sense that just about every new vehicle, regardless of make or model, comes with it. ASS shuts off the engine at red lights and pretty much every time the car stops moving for more than a few seconds. This is said to save gas (and reduce “emissions” of gasses) though the gains, if any, are of negligible value to either the vehicle’s owner or the “environment” (carbon dioxide being as much a “pollutant” as margarine is butter). 

It’s not just the engine that is shut off, either.

When ASS shuts off the engine, it also shuts off engine-driven accessories, such as the air conditioning. You’ll feel the breeze change from cool to getting-warmer. And then the engine chuffs back to like. Or when the light goes green and you take your foot off the brake. But not quite in time. There’s a slight lag before the chuff – and until then, the car doesn’t go. It’s just a moment but all those moments add up to annoyance. Some of the newer ASS-equipped vehicles don’t have an ASS Off button, either. Or it’s an electronic button (tap-swipe) buried in the LCD screen that is such a PITAS to find and tap/swipe at the beginning of the drive that you end up leaving ASS on, out of exhaustion.

Peremptory door-locking. That’s another. You close the door and the door locks – as if your momma just closed it for you. Only now it’s an insult – because you’re not in need of a momma to close (and lock) the door for you. Or the other doors – so you have to unlock them (sigh) when what you wanted was for them to be unlocked so that your passengers could just get in. Then you find you can’t get in – because the car locked itself shut after you parked it and went inside and tossed the keys on the kitchen table. But then you realized you left something in the car and went back outside – or to the garage – to get it and find you can’t. Not without going back inside to get the fob that automatically unlocks the doors that just as automatically locked themselves tight. Yes, it is possible to program the system to not do this. But the point is you shouldn’t be obliged to deprogram your vehicle.

Seat belt “reminders” that aren’t.

One of the worst. Because it isn’t about reminding people to “buckle up.” It is about annoying them until they do. Whatever your point-of-view as rergards the merits of “buckling up,” in terms of the law and otherwise, the point is that “reminding” people who do not want to “buckle up” is as pointless as “reminding” people who don’t need a wheelchair to walk to try sitting in that one, over there.

And then pushing it in front of them until they sit down.

So let’s at least be honest and not call these buzzers “reminders” and acknowledge they are there to punish – to pester and annoy – drivers who do not want to wear a seatbelt. To make it more annoying to try to drive unbuckled – because of the buzzer – than to drive buckled and feel the ignominy of having been made to do so. 

This business is soon to get worse, incidentally.

A much more aggressive “reminder” system is pending that will try to prevent the unbuckled from driving. Also pending – beginning with the 2026 models – is a “technology” that will prevent (so it is claimed) “impaired” driving. Of course, this will depend on the definition of “impaired” – which will almost certainly encompass accelerating, braking and making lane changes “too aggressively.” Which will be defined as any acceleration that’s faster than slowly – and the same as regards lane changes (and you’d better use your signal).   

Probably the worst new car features is that you can’t say no to any of the features just described – without saying no to new cars. Because all new cars come standard with some or even all of these features.

. . .

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61 COMMENTS

  1. Yesterday my ’23 Mazda CX5’s backup camera went blank when backing into a parking spot. The horrors! Then I thought: “I drove (legally) without one from 1966 til 2017 when I bought a new Tacoma that had one, so I can probably manage without one.” Thankfully, after the next “reboot” it worked again.

    The CX5 Mazda does not have the idiotic SS “feature” and that was one reason I bought it, but apparently the ’24s do have it. The thought of all the extra wear and tear on the starting system makes it all the sillier.

    But I’m all rural driving here, and I roll through stop signs, so if I’m forced to have it on my next new car maybe it won’t activate most of the time. And maybe I’ll croak before I need a new car too.

    Another good thing about the CX5: The lane assist STAYS OFF and doesn’t come on by default with each startup.

  2. Start Stop:

    is the most annoying feature,you have a bigger more expensive starter and extra battery to start it up! When those fail(and they do a lot) they are VERY expensive! Start Stop doesnt save you any money on gas and is 100% useless…Except starter and battery companies love it!

  3. I rented a Prius hybrid in May for my annual Florida vacation. Not on purpose; it’s what they gave me with my free upgrade and I thought, why not try it out?
    Every time I turned off the car after a trip, it gave me a “grade” on my driving. I lost points for accelerating too quickly, braking too hard or using the AC. The only time I scored well was after a trip to the store when I got caught in a massive traffic jam and never took the car above 20 or so.
    By the end of the week, I was purposely doing things to achieve the lowest score possible.
    It was annoying, but the nice part was at the end of the week, I put $5 gas in it and gave the SOB back to Budget, grateful my own car likes being abused. If I wanted to be nagged about my driving habits, I’d pick up my grandma.

  4. Practice make us better. when cars do the danger monitoring for you, you get less practice at it.
    When you will need to call on these skills, you will be at a disadvantage, and not just driving.

    • Well said, Dan.

      Do ya suppose that same line of reasoning applies to many other areas of life?

      …A rutabaga!? …What’s that!?

      I digress.

      • Well sir,

        Judging from my observation of the general human species, a rutabaga has a leg up in the IQ department on many.

        To your question, yes. e.g. A long time ago, a person was expected to provide their own care of life. Now, many look to big daddy government to provide whatever their skills cannot. It has become expected – a “right”.

        • RE: “A long time ago, a person was expected to provide their own care of life. Now, many look to big daddy government to provide ”

          …How did this happen?
          ….Who caused this to happen?

          It happened before many who are alive today were born.

          …It’s like a danged sci-fi flick.

          …’The Blob’. …The Pod People/’Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. … ‘They Live’. …[cursor blinks].

  5. A.S.S. and lane assist are my two peeves. Just A.S.S. In the 2018 Grand Cherokee. There is a hack to turnoff the seatbelt buzzer – done! The A.S.S. requires a 3rd party plug in module or, disconnect the battery monitor cable (think that throws a light though).

  6. The Energy Bill – THEY ARE COMING FOR YOUR HOUSE.

    The wef gang will take away your old ice car….through regulations…..then they will regulate you out of your house…

    Another factor….. with all these fires in rural areas, people will be banned from rural areas…and the houses there will be uninsurable…and too costly to rebuild/modify to meet new regulations….off to the 15 min city/prison….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7aXELHwY-A

    • Not the city, but the suburbs. One way in, one way out. You can be green in a new tiny home! They will give you a small back yard (roughly 18′ x 18′) so you can pretend you’re a little free as you plant your tomatoes and your kids run around in circles in their new play space! There is even room for a small kiddie pool!

      Your new home will be between 350 to 600 square feet. You will have a ductless mini split heat pump and one bathroom with a toilet, sink, and a small shower that will be tight for anyone that is over 5’5″ and 118 pounds! But, don’t worry you will lose weight in no time because bugs have no carbs! The driveway has enough space to hold four bicycles, which will all you be allowed….notice there is no garage or street parking. We hope you like your neighbors, because you are going to get to know them real well! Everybody will have the same stuff, live in the same homes, eat the same food, and abide whatever their masters tell them. Ain’t equity grand?

      https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2023/04/21/look-inside-lennar-spearheading-new-affordable-homes-with-350-sq-ft-100k-builds/

      City buildings…no, no, no. They have basements and stairwells. Places not fit for a drone. Can you imagine what it would cost trying to run electric, water, or sewerage in these mega buildings? In your new tiny home the masters will be able to tell what you doing, discussing, and dreaming about all times of the day. You can even wave each time the drone makes its rounds to make sure you are doing what you are suppose to be doing.

      • Lots of cities are building a lot of condos downtown with no parking included….and taking out parking for cars and building bike lanes everywhere…smells like the 15 min city/prison agenda coming from the wef gang….

  7. If it weren’t for ASS plugs, I’d avoid new cars all together.

    Don’t like the ipad screens and how everything is tied into it, or the smol fuel tanks.

    For ASS, I either buy a plug (Bronco), or find where the plug for it’s located and pull it like I did my folks Range Rovers. For fuel tanks, aftermarket has the offroaders covered, and next car will be older to avoid the screens.

    Anything else can be programmed out fortunately, though this is basically my last new car. Also, is there a way to remove airbags without getting in trouble with inspections and shit?

  8. On a recent trip we rented two separate cars from TourO. The first was a 2019 Lincoln Nautilus. Was about what I expected from Lincoln, not many improvements from our 2011 MKX. It only had around 20K miles and it seemed to slip when accelerating from a stop, Couldn’t tell if it was the trans or the diff. On clean dry roads with new tires, I would be furious if a car with 20K miles was doing this. The door locking thing got old as well, made me feel trapped the time I was in the back seat. I also realized I wont be buying a car with a push button parking brake ever Give me the E brake pedal or better yet the old hand brake.

    The second part of our trip we rented a full sized 2020 Tundra. Nice truck, I suppose, I”ll still keep my dodge, thank you. The gear shift was insufferable. I don’t understand why you would put that kind of shifter in a truck. If its some kind of pretend deal for people who want to play at a Manuel transmission, its ridiculous. The positioning is over down, over down just to get in reverse. Seems fake and gay. Also the rubber baby buggy bumpers bells and whistles, bing binging and flashing got old. Every time I strayed slightly from what the truck thought I should be doing, the truck would let me know. I don’t need any help with my driving, yet this truck had a control freak feel every time I went to parallel park. The truck also seemed unhappy it couldn’t pair with my analog flip phone. Wasn’t expecting this from Toyota but I imagine US cars are even worse.

    Maybe I’m just a Swatch watch in an apple age.

  9. “a system that prevents the car from being backed-up or inched forward with the driver’s door (or any door) open”
    Perhaps if they hadn’t bulked up the cars so you can’t see out of them, one might not need to open the door see while backing?
    One can be TOO safe. Makes one tend to be inattentive. Paying attention is much safer. Instead we get a barrage of bells, whistles, and buzzers, and while trying to decide what each means, we run over the neighbors dog. Or kid. Or the neighbor themselves.

  10. I bought a used 2017 Cayenne last year, and it’s got one feature which really annoys me. Sometimes, when I am backing up in difficult terrain, I like to crack the driver’s door open and look how close I am to a trench. I’ve done it in lots of other cars. This one immediately goes bonkers with alarms and switches the transmission to park. I’ve got to roll down the window and stick my head out, which makes it much more annoying to work the pedals at the same time.

  11. Can’t start a phone call in reverse.

    Oddly enough you can continue an already-started phone call. Just can’t hit the button to call someone.

    By the time it goes through & they pick up (if they pick up) you’ll be proceeding forward.

  12. The WEF and the UN have signed agreements to speed up the 2030 agenda. As we all know their goal is an end to anything 20th century normal,,, especially efficient gas powered autos. Anyone buying a gas/diesel is risking it and those annoying new car features will be the least of our problems.

    https://www.weforum.org/press/2019/06/world-economic-forum-and-un-sign-strategic-partnership-framework

    [The World Economic Forum and the United Nations signed today a Strategic Partnership Framework outlining areas of cooperation to deepen institutional engagement and jointly accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ] – WEF

    RRRiiigghht. 2 cogs of globul governess publicly gloating.

    Insurance is becoming unbearable. My auto insurance in Florida has almost doubled this year and I think that is just another part of their plan to eliminate private ownership of autos. Hell,,, private ownership of anything.

    Every cost relating to a private auto/everything is rapidly increasing. With Covid II, when they turn on the kill switch (5G), there will be plenty more ‘accidents/deaths’. Insurance of all types will become completely unaffordable and 15 minute cities will become the norm. If a community refuses,,, think Maui.

  13. I hate everything about new cars. Everything. I hate how everything is now interconnected so you can no longer work on it, how there is no manual emergency brake, how it is watching and listening to everything you do, all of the freaking cameras, how the truck shakes when you pull up at a drive thru, how the car cuts off when you are at a traffic light, how the seatbelt continuously chimes, the stupid IPAD looking thing they now put on the front where the AC controls and radio used to be, etc.

    I want a “smart” car as much as I want a “smart” house, which means I don’t want one at all. The jump from a 2017 vehicle to a 2023 vehicle was mind blowing (and not in a good way). I won’t mention when I found out the car had “Alexis” and the fight it caused in my household. Yes, I also hate Alexis, Google Mini, and Ring, and any of the those other things where you can’t have an actual conversation because something is constantly listening to you. The problem is you don’t realize all of the gadgets and gizmos until you actually have it for awhile. Sometimes, simple is good enough, but I don’t think we are ever going back to those days. The sad thing is I would pay top dollar for a simple car without all of the “safety” features. I seriously believe car manufacturers want us dead.

    Just to depress us a bit more:

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/komando/2023/05/21/your-car-collects-data-on-you-how-to-delete-it/70220377007/

    • Indeed, RG –

      I badly want to get myself a mid-’90s diesel/right-hand drive HiLux diesel. If only I had the money I’ve had to “contribute” to SS, I could have one, too.

      • My son,,, a independent longhaul truck driver,,, says he doesn’t pay SS. Surely there is a way you can avoid it.

        They’ll be broke soon as Bidet is handing each new American crossing the southern line $2200 each and free transport to any area they wish to destroy.

        Yeah,,, believe it or not,,, I sincerely wish they would make SS voluntary. Me? Even if I had the opportunity to avoid it years ago, I would have participated anyhow. As a natural born cynic I knew how little the dollars I ‘saved’ would be worth in 50 years.

        As for the cartel…. They’d just print up whatever they want just like they do now. Not many call them out for that…..

        • Hi ken,

          The only way Social Security is avoided for an independent contractor is the losses exceed revenue (FICA tax does not accrue) under a sole proprietor or partnership.

          S corporations are not taxed on self employment (in regards to profit) but under an S corporation you have to take a “reasonable and fair” salary which allows you to deduct that as an expense and the remainder of the profit is only taxed on federal and state (if applicable).

          A C corp’s profit is also not taxed on Social Security, but the business is its own separate entity and is responsible for the federal and state taxes (not the stockholders, unless they took dividends).

          • If you can get an authorized person to sign you off as Amish/Mennonite, you can file paperwork to opt out. You have to renounce any and all benefits forever (which is probably a fair trade but you can’t go on disability).

            You might have to convert over first, which I hear can be difficult.

    • Your description of new cars (even my ’98 with Annoying auto locking doors!) is one I share, and when you mentioned a “smart” house I thought of one of the final episodes of The X-Files, and if you haven’t seen it, I think perhaps you’d relate:

      ‘The Smart Home Turns On Scully | Season 11 Ep. 7 | THE X-FILES’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cosqCKuhAI

      I wasn’t much of a ‘Knight Rider’ TeeVee show watcher back in the day, did they have an episode where Kit turned into a bad-guy car or go haywire like the house in the video above?
      I imagine so. …And, can imagine millions of them, someday.

      More and more I’m Really really getting to like all the simple UTV’s being driven on all the country highways in these parts.

      • Hi helot,

        I agree with you. I don’t trust this new technology and AI scares the living bejesus out of me. I don’t like anything that I cannot manually control and I especially do not like something that overrides my own intuition and response.

    • I hate them too and I will never purchase a new car ever again either. For the last year, I’ve been walking the talk. I have a 79 Firebird with a reliable and easy to work on Chevy 350 that I have been daily driving. I’ve gotten everything on the car working as it should (A/C, heat, rear defroster, all gauges, rebuilt suspension, etc.). It’s been very reliable and it’s fun to drive too.

      Then for the days that I need to make a longer trip or the weather isn’t optimal, I have my back up 2005 Dodge Stratus with 140,000 miles that’s still going strong.

      If you can make it work, I highly recommend driving an older car.

      • RE: “I have a 79 Firebird with a reliable and easy to work on Chevy 350 that I have been daily driving.”

        Man, you Are, The Resistance.

        Also, ya make me miss my ’78 which were a dime a dozen back in The Day. Flintstone floorboards, non withstanding. Er, whatever. …Wish I knew then, what I know now.

        Keep on, keeping on.

  14. At the beginning of the year I was looking at new cars as my primary driver, a 2008 Saab 9-3, is nearing replacement. The new car experience with their “safety features” and touch screens was a revelation. And not a pleasant one. By comparison, my old Saab is a haven of safety. The belt line on my Saab is low. It has adequate areas of vision glass. I am not constantly annoyed by blinking and beeping and buzzing and flashing taking my attention away from the road. Getting back into my Saab was a blessed relief. I will keep my car for as long as possible and when it must be replaced I will look for a well-kept older car and keep it going for as long a possible. There is NO new car that I want. They are extremely unsafe to drive.

  15. I own a third-gen Tacoma with the default adaptive cruise control. The kicker is that it’s a manual transmission. Not sure how it made it past Toyota’s legal department to allow a feature that will automatically brake and cause the engine to stall. The first thing to do on the safety checklist when getting in the truck is make sure standard cruise control is engaged.

    • Hi Flip,

      I love the Taco – but hate this (and similar) “features.” My ’02 Frontier isn’t as strong as a Taco, so I can’t pull the RV I’d like to get behind it. But it doesn’t even have a seatbelt buzzer, which is why I love it!

  16. Didn’t Carlin have a bit about being lost and turning down the radio to help you see the map better? Maybe that’s the reason.

    I find the ASS to be really annoying when parking, especially parallel parking. Then, once you’re parked, foot on the brake, the engine in ASS and you proceed to put the transmission in park… and the engine starts up again. Seems like that might be the one case where I might like having the engine automatically shut off, but no.

    Another automatic feature I could do without is auto-dimming headlights. Back when they were only avilable on Cadillacs and other highend lines there was a sensitivity/delay adjustment. That way they wouldn’t get into a “short cycle” with light oncoming traffic. The headlights on my Cherokee have no such adjustment, so they will often get into a constant bright-dim-bright-dim cycle which gets annoying. Or it senses a pair of tailights half a mile ahead and will refuse to put the high beams on. And the steering wheel switch won’t override, it just enables the high beams, so it is either automatic or no high beams at all. To change them to manual high beams you have to go into a menu on the touch screen, which is inaccessable when the car is in drive, so you’ll just have to live with it or pull over. That’s one thing I really miss about my Audi, those headlights were incredible.

  17. The really annoying thing will be when you’re not allowed to turn any of the features off. The first task day one of the new lease was doing just that, of course excepting the seat belt buzzer. Heads up display, lane keep assist, ASS could not figure out so switched to sport mode. The car did throw itself into park one day. The doors were all closed so that was creepy. The in laws sold my mil’s 96 Tahoe last year it only had 65,000 miles on it and was in good repair. Thinking we should have bought it as a second vehicle!

    • Hi RS,

      Yup. The first thing I do when a new car is dropped off for me to drive is turn off all the “safety” and “assistance” systems. But – increasingly – you cannot turn them off. All you can do is “decrease the sensitivity.”

  18. ‘Beginning with the 2026 models – is a “technology” that will prevent (so it is claimed) “impaired” driving.’ — eric

    This is the last straw. No 2026 or later vehicles for me, ever.

    Just say no to Govmobiles.

      • The control freaks at DADSS have two systems in mind. One is a breathalyzer that works at a distance, and thus won’t be very accurate. The other is a touch-based system, using an infrared light shined into your fingertip, such as when pressing the Start button.

        https://dadss.org/touch-technology

        Does this mean we can buy a six-pack at the convenience store, start the car with no problem, then slam ’em down on the way home? 🙂

        Seriously, the descriptions at DADSS sound so vague that one suspects this technology is not ready for 2026, and will have to be delayed.

        After all, Clowngress thought in 2005 that they could command everyone to get REAL-ID licenses by 2008 — a job still not completed.

        • Wonder if that breathalyzer will allow a “designated driver” to drive a few of his drunk buddies home or just disables the car if it detects ANY alcohol. Can’t wait for these systems to malfunction and strand people somewhere in bad weather.

      • With this push to “vaccinate everyone”, what are the odds that brand new vehicles will be able to detect whether you’ve had the latest “vaccine” made by Pfizer, Moderna, etc., and forbid you from driving if you didn’t comply with the latest mRNA jab decree from the government?

        For a while, the vaxx holes were even trying to compare unvaxxed drivers to drunk drivers, which made NO sense whatsoever, and if someone challenged them on that claim, they’d start spouting off a bunch of bull crap.

  19. I’m reminded again of this quote:

    “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

    ― Helen Keller, The Open Door

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