17 Expensive Car Features That Are Completely Unnecessary

If you’re considering buying a new car, you’re probably wondering which features you really need and which are a waste of money. While modern cars do have some great technological updates, some are just totally unnecessary. Discover 17 of these features in this article!

Satellite Radio

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As shared by Britannica, “satellite radio typically offers a much clearer signal and greater dynamic range than conventional radio.” However, it requires a subscription, despite alternatives like Bluetooth and phones. Satellite radio is less relevant in the era of digital music and podcasts and is overshadowed by personal music streaming options, so in this way, it is an unnecessary expense.

Paddle Shifters

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Paddle shifters are aimed at mimicking the manual transmission experience. They may look cool, but they’re pretty redundant due to automatic transmission advancements. Paddle shifters are also not practical for the average driver and are really more suited for racing.

Suicide Doors

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Suicide doors often feature on expensive and luxurious cars, but they are more of a style statement than practical. Because they’re hinged at the back, they’re awkward to open in tight spaces and can be impractical for everyday car use. If you’ve got the money for a car you only use on special occasions, go for it! If not, we suggest saving your money for more practical features.

Massaging Seats

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Massaging seats are a true luxury. They can be found in some high-end cars and are meant to provide back massages to the driver and passengers while on the road. As nice as these are, however, they can potentially be risky as they might induce drowsiness or distraction. With that said, we believe they’re an unnecessary expense.

Motorized Rear-View Mirrors

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To some, motorized rear-view mirrors are seen as an unnecessary complication for a simple task. These mirrors can be prone to mechanical failure and offer little practical advantage over manual mirrors. Of course, these high-tech mirrors have their benefits, but they’re certainly not a necessity.

Electronic Parking Brakes

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As shared by Carwow, “Electronic handbrakes – sometimes called electronic parking brakes – work on the same basis [as traditional handbrakes] but use electric motors to achieve the locking effect.” These parking brakes, however, have more potential failure points like switches and relays. They’re also less effective as emergency brakes.

Gesture Control

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Gesture control allows drivers to use hand signals to do things like decline or accept phone calls, turn the music up or down, lock and unlock doors, and so on. It’s meant to improve safety by allowing people not to fiddle with the controls while driving, but it can still cause distractions and inadvertent activations. It also fails at times to recognize intended signals and is said to be less efficient than traditional buttons and knobs.

Social Media Integration

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The infotainment systems of several cars have worked to allow social media integration, meaning you can browse TikTok or view your Instagram likes through your car while on the road. This may sound cool, but it can also increase driver distraction. Plus, all these things are already accessible through smartphones, making the in-car integration pretty redundant.

Heated Steering and Seats

Man driving and listening to music
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This may be non-negotiable for you, especially if you live somewhere that gets cold. However, heated steering and seats often increase the cost of a car and also increase the strain on the vehicle’s battery. The heated features can be costly to repair, whereas alternatives like winter clothing can be used instead.

G-Force Indicator

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As shared by Turnkey Instruments, “The g-meter measures peak and mean acceleration, as well as stopping time and calculating the stopping distance.” However, it’s not practical for everyday driving and is rarely relevant for non-professional drivers. Overall, it’s an expensive addition with little real-world use.

Automatic Windshield Wipers

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Another cool (and expensive) feature that is not absolutely necessary is automatic windshield wipers, which may provide a slight convenience but are heavy on battery consumption and prone to malfunctions—not to mention costly to repair. Manual operation of these wipers is simple and effective.

Voice-Activated Trunk

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Being able to open and close your trunk with your voice may have you feeling like you’re the lead in a sci-fi movie, but this feature is actually slower than just manually doing it with your hands. It adds unnecessary complexity to the task and is prone to voice recognition errors.

Built-In Vacuum Cleaner

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According to Autotrader, “Honda installed the HondaVAC first in the 2014 Honda Odyssey, and the competitive minivan segment has since adopted the feature.” Why do we think this is an unnecessary expensive feature? Because it takes up valuable cargo space and drains the car battery. Portable vacuums offer a cheaper, more flexible alternative.

In-Car Fragrance Systems

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In-car fragrance systems are expensive compared to conventional air fresheners and add unnecessary complexity to car systems. Simple solutions like hanging fresheners or spraying an air freshener are more cost-effective and do the exact same thing—minus the extra cost and hassle.

Remote Start Systems

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As explained by AudioMotive, “These devices conveniently start your vehicle from a distance, which comes in handy for controlling your car’s temperature.” Aside from this, these expensive systems don’t do much. They can be costly to install and maintain and have the potential for security risks. Is the extra cost worth a couple of minutes of convenience? That’s up to you.

Built-In Coffee Maker

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Now, this feature is pretty hard to come by and not very common, but you may have spotted a car offering a built-in coffee maker. In our opinion, this is both unnecessary and impractical in a vehicle. It increases the risk of spills and distractions, whereas a portable thermos or stopping at a café is more practical.

Heated/Cooled Cup Holders

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Heated or cooled cup holders can be handy if you like to take a drink with you on the road, but for most people, they are just a minor convenience with a high cost. This feature adds to the energy consumption of the vehicle. Simple insulating or cooling cups, however, can achieve similar results.

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