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Are These Car Gadgets Pointless?

By raccars Published

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Modern cars are ever more generously filled with gadgets - even small cars today come with the kind of equipment once found only in luxury executive saloons. Carmakers are filling vehicles with these systems while touting their bargain prices, but is it really cheap if you don't actually use it? Here are some of the most popular car gadgets that you could probably very easily live without in the real world. Ultimately, the more functions a car has, the more there is on it to go wrong...

Heated steering wheels A ridiculously cosseting solution to a standard winter condition: cold hands. Does it not make more sense to reach over to the so-called 'glove compartment' and pull out the obvious?

Automatic wipers and headlights These seem to be everywhere now, but how often have you really seen drivers forget to switch on their lights at night? Automatic wipers certainly serve a purpose but seem unable to self regulate according to the amount of water falling, forcing most drivers to have to manually adjust them and, therefore, defeating the object of having them in the first place.

Fatigue recognition Volvo made this part of its kit in 2007 and the VW Group has a similar system that detects changes in the rhythm of driver movements, to identify if the subject appears to be suffering from fatigue and then advising him of the situation. It could be a very good idea but it's hard to tell if it really works - apart from which, most drivers do tend to be aware that they are tired but have their own reasons for carrying on anyway...

Automatic tailgates It looks very convenient, but is not an automatic tailgate just an excuse for laziness? On the very rare occasion when one's hands really are too full to be able to open and close the boot lid, it could be useful but on an everyday basis is something of a gimmick.

Self parking In theory, it's a great idea to save the rest of us from those who can't get into a space without scraping down the side of the neighbouring car's flanks, but surely people should be taught how to manoeuvre a car properly in the first place if they are to be allowed on the road?

Massage seats Either relaxing enough to provoke another pointless gadget to spring into action when the driver starts to nod off, thanks to the soothing touch of his massage seats, or it's not remotely soothing or relaxing but, in fact, rather uncomfortable and therefore even more redundant.

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