The 5 worst new-car features of 2013
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Today, convenience items like air conditioning and power windows are almost a given in the market—even on the most inexpensive models. Even in the miserly 2014 Mirage DE, which costs $13,790, Mitsubishi plans to offer automatic climate control.
While singling out features as the 'worst' might be a semantic stretch, it serves to point out that not every feature is a positive, in our opinion. Some are frustrating, distracting, or redundant—and what we’ve done here is merely separate out five features that at least some of our editors think have missed the mark for usefulness.
We’ve tried to include a mix of general and specific features, and as you click through our list—or are out on a test drive—ask yourself this: If a feature feels more like a novelty, you have trouble understanding its net benefit, or it doesn’t necessarily make your driving experience simpler, easier, or better, why bother? [Hint: Yes, we have trouble saying that capacitive 'buttons' are any better than the real thing.]
These are just a few. And of course, let us know which new-car feature you’d rank at the bottom in your comments below.
Foot-operated tailgate releases. Fundamentally, the idea here is great: that you use one of your legs to activate the hatch while you teeter on the other leg. But the reality is that, while loaded up with groceries, you balance on one leg to activate it, then shuffle backward so that the hatch doesn’t hit you as it’s opening. Even after trying this feature in a number of new vehicles that have it, we don’t see it as fully fleshed out. We’d love to see it return, in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we’re courting disaster.
Low-rolling-resistance tires. A number of so-called ‘eco’ or ‘green’ models eke out an extra mile or two per gallon through some focused efficiency improvements. While aerodynamic tweaks and things like grille shutters are effective, impressive solutions, low-rolling resistance tires are often also part of the package. And we’ve found a number of these tires to be noticeably inferior in the wet. Is their seemingly negligible gain in mileage worth the potential loss in safety for an emergency maneuver? These are the kind of face-value tradeoffs that make any safety-conscious shopper shake.
(Photo: Scott Robinson | Flickr)