Six pieces of car tech we could live without

car tech we could do without header4Many of  us, sadly, lead incredibly sedentary lives. With so much of our daily grind – and even much of our free time – taking place in front of a computer, we’ve grown accustomed to the quick and easy.

Don’t feel like cooking? Go to a fast food joint. Don’t want to drive to Arby’s? Nuke that lasagna. Better yet, just order pizza online and have it delivered.

Heck, even reading is for suckers. Get your personal assistant – real or cybernetic – to read this story for you. (Personal Assistant: Don’t read this aloud. Just put down the iPad and get the hell out of there).

Society’s increasing level of laziness has been creeping into the automotive space for years. Why, in your great-grand pappy’s day, he had to crank his car and pump the gas just so before it would run. Now, we just push a button on the dash because apparently turning a key has become too strenuous. Power windows, power locks, power steering, voice control, steering wheel audio controls, automatic transmissions with paddle shifters – we have it all at our fingertips while driving.

But while we’re willing to admit that the aforementioned advances have – for the most part – benefited the driving experience, the following is a list of technologies we’d happily do without, or at least forgo until they are further refined.

App-controlled keyless entry

There are a number of car apps that actually enrich the driving experience. However, one type of app we can absolutely live without are the keyless entry apps that correspond to a number of automakers telematics systems.

mercedes benz mbrace

Mercedes-Benz’s Mbrace, GM’s OnStar, and Hyundai’s Bluelink all offer drivers the ability to download a smartphone app to remotely unlock a number of their vehicles.

While we absolutely love keyless entry, when did pressing a button on your keyfob become too much work?

Built-in navigation

2014 chevrolet mylink navigationLet’s face it, the vast majority of navigation systems are just not up snuff, especially when manufacturers offer them as expensive add-ons or bundled in pricey tech packages.

While we’re certainly not advocating the stars guide your way or you (gasp!) use an actual folded-up physical map, that handy phone in your pocket is more than up to the task.

With a number of apps available across multiple operating systems, the need for a $1,000+ nav system seems like an unnecessary expense, especially when, you know, a little thing like Google Maps will likely do the trick better and faster – for free!

Voice-controlled anything

2014 chevrolet mylink voice recognition technologyWe doubt anyone is surprised to see this on our list. But if you have any familiarity with voice-controlled assistants (Siri comes to mind) or any current in-car voice-controlled interfaces, you know it can can be a frustrating interaction. 

Sure, automakers are certainly making great strides in implementing competent voice-recognition technology (Chevy’s next-generation MyLink) stands out as one that performs admirably). But they are nowhere near as competent as they need to be.

Rather than deal with a dimwitted interface that can’t understand what we’re saying, we’d rather just reach over and change the track ourselves, thanks.

All-wheel drive (depending on where you live)

All-wheel drive is one of those technologies that just sound cool and has long been the bread and butter of brands like Subaru and Audi.

The drivetrain tech also carries a certain amount of prestige; all-wheel drive cars are typically more expensive and perform better. But it’s the true value of that last part that brings into question the technologies real merit in certain areas. 

2013 jaguar xj 30 awd

For those stuck braving the elements or living in colder climates, all-wheel drive is often a must. However, drivers in warmer and/or drier climates probably don’t need it. And again, the cost increase associated makes it a tech worth passing on if it’s not an absolute necessity.

Additionally, all-wheel drive vehicles typically sport less efficient gas mileage, so your wallet will thank you, too.

Backseat  DVD players/LCD screens

jaguar xj backseat lcdAdmittedly, anything to keep the kiddies in the backseat from spilling Juicy Juice and Animal Crackers all over that leather interior is fine by us. Truthfully, however, rear-seat DVD players are a sham.

With the popularity — and relatively cheap price — of tablets these days, it’s far more cost effective (and useful) to buy two iPads and load it with your backseat ankle-biter’s favorite content than it is to option a DVD system and LCD display, which can often set you back more than $1,000.

Set up a Wi-Fi hotspot, add Netflix to the mix, and let Dora the Explorer take your headphoned kids on a journey filled with shrill bi-lingual beauty while you drive in peace. ¡Excellente!

CD players (physical media devices in general)

2013 chevrolet spark 2lt interiorSpeaking of digital media services like Netflix, it’s getting to be about that time we say goodbye to physical media in our cars, which is already a slowly growing trend in the automotive space.

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark, doesn’t feature a CD player at all. Entertainment content is almost entirely reliant upon digital media. 

While we agree that Bluetooth is far from perfect, we’d take streaming music from Pandora and Spotify over popping in clunky CDs any day of the week. Data plans be damned!

Digital Trends wants to know: What can you live without in a modern car? Leave a comment below.


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