Five Trendy Add-on Features You Could Probably do Without

Feb 19, 2015 06:00 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

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Cars are expensive no matter what features they come with. Some features are necessary like windshield wipers or side-view mirrors. Others aren't necessary, so we decided to make a list of five add-on features you could probably do without. 

1.Self-Parking:

What is it:

Self-parking is when a vehicle autonomously maneuvers from a traffic lane into a parking spot to perform perpendicular, angle or parallel parking. Self-parking systems are designed to enhance the parking experience while making drivers feel safer in constrained environments where attention is everything.

Why it's not useful (yet):

We are all for cars doing things so we don't have to. But current automatic systems are essentially useless unless you're trying to park in a very large parking spot. Currently the average driver would be able to park any of the cars with self-parking systems better than their vehicle can, though that could change in the future.

What vehicles feature it:

Auto self-parking was introduced in the U.S. on the 2007 Lexus LS Sedan. Now auto-parking is mainly found on luxury vehicles like the Toyota Prius V option and the Ford Focus Titanium.

Bosch has plans to release a fully automated parking system later this year. We'll see how that goes.

2.Adaptive Cruise Control

What is it:

Installed behind the grille of a car, adaptive cruise control uses forward-looking radar to find the speed and distance of a vehicle ahead. Like cruise control, ACC maintains the vehicle's pre-set speed but the system is designed to adjust speed in order to maintain a proper distance away from vehicles driving in the same lane.

Why it's not useful (yet):

Adaptive cruise control is really only useful in stop-and-go traffic like rush hour commutes that can go from 60 mph to a standstill. If this isn't something you deal with on a daily bases, or mind, you don't really need it yet. ACC is being enhanced to include collision warning capabilities that will alert drivers through visual or audio signals that a collision is about to take place and braking or steering is needed.

Also, to get full-range adaptive cruise control, expect to pay on average $2,000 to $2,500 extra.

What vehicles feature it:

Some vehicles to feature ACC include the 2014 Acura RLX, 2014 Chevy Impala and 2015 Chrysler 200c.

3.Daytime Running Lights

What is it:

Daytime running lights are found on the front of a vehicle that automatically turn on when the vehicle is moving forward. The lamps emit a white, yellow or amber light in order to help drivers see better during daylight conditions.

Why it's not useful:

DRL's can often increase conspicuity when multiple vehicles with DRL's are on the road. DRL's have also been blamed in the past for obscuring the viability of directional signal lights making other roadway users and make vehicles seem closer than they actually are. They also discourage drivers from using their normal lights, meaning their rear lights aren't illuminated, increasing the chance of a rear end collision.

What vehicles feature it:

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the 2014 Mazda Mazada3 and 2014 Honda Accord are some examples of vehicles with DRL.

4. Built-in DVD Player

What is it:

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Most new car buyers can pick from several different in-car DVD players so that passengers don't get bored during long drives. If you're looking to add a DVD player to your current car you can also have one installed. These systems can be operated without any extra controls and tend to have large screens.

Why it's not useful:

Unless you have kids and you go on a lot of long trips where you need to keep them occupied (instead of bugging the driver) it's not worth spending thousands of dollars when you can buy a portable DVD player for a under a $100. Or if you have the money to burn on a built-in DVD player why not use it on a tablet that will give your kids more entertainment options?

What vehicles feature it:

Factory-installed DVD players can be found in most minivans, SUVs and other family vehicles. Honda just confirmed the new Pilot will feature a second-row DVD player to name one.

5. Voice Command Systems:

What is it:

A number of voice command systems have reached the market like Ford's SYNC 3 and GM's Intellilink system. Each system is designed to make driving safer since drivers just have to say a command and the system is supposedly designed to listen. A lot of people have found these systems make things harder, not easier however.

Why it's not useful (yet):

You could spend hours trying to understand how to use the current voice command systems just to play a CD, find directions or set climate controls. Simply put, most of voice command systems still have some issues, so you're probably better off saving your money and spending your time learning how to do normal tasks like learning to set your vehicle's clock and saving your favorite radio stations.

What vehicles feature it:

The 2014 Ford Fusion features Sync 3 and he 2015 Sierra 1500 and Acadia are two options that feature GM's Intellilink.

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