It’s the only way to describe some car features – the sort that someone, somewhere said, “Hey, here’s a good idea,” and someone else said, “Yeah.” But it really wasn’t.
Whether it’s giant key fobs or square cup holders (no kidding), there apparently is plenty to consider.
That’s what Cars.com experts think, anyway.
“Every year, we test hundreds of new cars on all types of roads and in all kinds of weather,” said Dave Thomas, managing editor of Cars.com, a shopping research website. “During that time we form meaningful opinions and impressions of each car that influences the reviews we write. We also have the opportunity to evaluate the latest car features, not all of which are necessary or practical.”
“Over time, we’ve developed some serious frustration with certain features, even those you might not expect,” Thomas said, referring to some deemed most annoying and unnecessary by Cars.com editors. (And which were seconded by Forbes magazine based on its more limited testing.)
The two most annoying car features, according to Cars.com, both involve touch controls.
(1) Touch-sensitive controls – “Without an actual button to press it makes changing the radio station or temperature cumbersome and even dangerous, because it can require taking your eyes off the road.”
(2) Touch-screen-dependent controls – “When a car requires you to use the touch screen to control simple functions like adjusting the air conditioning, it can overcomplicate things. Not all touch screens are poorly executed, but those that turn simple tasks into a multistep process can be quite frustrating.”
But those are only the beginning.
While acknowledging that “today’s cars are better and packed with more features than ever before,” Cars.com recognizes that the latest technology has “room for improvement.”
The rest of the top 10 are (3) radio-tuning buttons instead of simple knobs that make advancing the tuner a test of resolve; (4) navigation systems that prevent passenger usage when the car is moving; (5) key fobs “that have grown to the size of yesterday’s flip-phones,” according to Forbes; (6) square cup holders because “there’s just no good reason for automakers to be foregoing the traditional round cup holder,” said Cars.com; (7) auto stop-start fuel-saving system, a good idea that can be “irritating in practice”; (8) voice-controlled systems because they’re “too confounding” and misinterpret many commands; (9) car alarms because no one pays attention to them anymore, and (10) small side mirrors that leave you “having to rely on the over-the-shoulder glance.”
In the end, though, it’s up to the car buyer to make his or her own personal decisions on such matters.
“When buying a new car,” said Thomas, “shoppers should consider which features are a must have, which are a nice-to-have, and which might end up being frustrating in the long run.”
Otherwise, you might end up with square cup holders.