Buying a new car is expensive and car features, especially those you don’t need, can really take a big bite out of your budget. I’d hate to bum you out, but let’s not forget all the other payments you need to account for, such as insurance, fuel and repairs. When you break it down, features and accessories should be slotted in the “nice-to-have” category.
After all, when buying a new car, we should focus on “must-haves.” Drivability and reliability is far more important than keyless entry. Take a look at the auto recall numbers in 2014 and you’ll see that add-on features are not going to make you feel any better when airbags and ignition switches fail. The Canadian auto industry had over eight million vehicles called back last year due to various problems.
Experts believe that recall numbers are going to stay up there due to precaution and oversensitivity. So, to avoid the headache, less might actually mean more.
In this article, we will take a look at 10 expensive car features that are “wants”, not “needs”, and help you drive off with the essentials.
10. Summer Tires
Approximate price: $350.00
Summer tires are designed to be responsive on sunny or moderately rainy days. However, they are a luxury item, since all-season tires, the default tire for most cars, can do the job fine. Summer tires are soft and have a lot of grip, but that’s exactly what makes driving in subfreezing temperatures dangerous. If you don’t know how to change tires and feel like you will forget to take it in to the shop, avoid summer tires altogether. They aren’t worth the price.
9. All-Wheel Drive
Approximate price: $3,000.00
Unless you frequently find yourself off-road and on a beaten trail, there aren’t many reasons to get all-wheel drive (AWD). Some drivers like the idea of improved traction, especially on the icy winter roads. However, most new vehicles now have traction and stability control, which help mitigate swerving and loss of control – without the extra weight and fuel consumption required by AWD. That is a more modern and efficient solution.
8. Built-In Navigation System
Approximate price: $1,500.00
A portable GPS can cost around $200. That’s 10 times cheaper than the built-in navigation system car manufacturers try to get you to pay for. If you are travelling within the range of your smartphone connection, you can access the GPS on the device to navigate. It’s just as good. There are countless options out on the market that are more affordable than the integrated system.
7. Rearview Camera
Approximate price: $100.00
For generations, people have been shoulder-checking and using rearview mirrors to get out of parking spots and avoid hitting pedestrians. While rearview cameras can add another vantage for the driver and perhaps introduce an extra layer of precaution, it is not an ideal solution. Your eyes are superior to the camera lens and are worth more when piloting a vehicle. Use them instead.
6. Pre-Collision System
Approximate price: $1,000.00 of larger technology package
Pre-collision systems and other sensor-based systems are recognized to be innovative but relatively unproven. The purpose of such a system is to notify the driver if they are about to collide with another car during a wrongful lane change or when tailgating. The truth is – drivers should remain alert when driving at all time and pre-collision systems should remain a crutch, not the main source of safety. It’s true that innovative safety features and regulations have been confirmed to save lives, but sensor-based systems are still in the early stages and may be considered too active.
5. High-Tech Mirrors (Like Blind-Spot-Monitoring Side Mirrors)
Approximate price: $400.00
For larger vehicles, like a Ram 3500, high-tech mirrors may be an excellent tool for monitoring blind-spots, but for smaller cars, it may not be worth the price. Plus, the audible alert may become an annoyance, which can be distracting. Determine the vehicle you drive before purchasing high-tech mirrors.
4. Power Doors and Liftgates
Approximate price: $200.00
Manufacturers are starting to include power doors and liftgates as standard features. However, if you are purchasing a new vehicle without them, consider the following: Is using your hands really such a hassle? I’m not calling you lazy, but if you want to save some money, opting out of power doors and a liftgate is a reasonable choice. And perhaps to curb your indolence a bit more, a broken automatic sliding door for a Toyota Sienna can cost approximately $2,000.00.
3. Infotainment Packs
Approximate price: $3,000.00
Driving should be an experience on its own. Look out the window, appreciate the moment and see the world around you. It’s tempting to pimp out your ride with the latest technology – all the features included in high-end infotainment systems are definitely impressive – but if you want to save money and appreciate the majesty of commuting, then save the change, admire the drive and settle for your local radio station.
2. Air Suspensions
Approximate price: $1,000.00
Air suspensions are a comfortable alternative to traditional spring suspensions. However, upkeep and repair for air suspensions are significantly more expensive, costing around $6,000.00. It’s true that air suspensions give your vehicle some versatility, since it can be raised, but drivers must wonder if such a pricy feature is worth it in the long run.
1. Unnecessarily Big Wheels (20 Inches or Bigger)
Approximate price: $400.00 x 4
While twenty-inch alloy wheels are cool and will definitely get your vehicle some attention, such an investment is unlikely to pay off financially – you may get some street cred though. The bigger the wheels, the more money you’ll pay, and wheels don’t last forever. It’s really quite simple.
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