If a new car is in your sights, before you go to the dealer to sign on the dotted line, it may pay to think about those extra features and options you want to have on your car. Every little item adds up, and buying a new car is expensive enough already, without tacking on even more money for those “must-have” options.
Here, then are a few new car features you can do without—probably. Of course, the final decision is up to you. Maybe you really do need one or more of them or can justify the expense as necessary. If not, consider foregoing:
All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive – Unless you live in the snow belt or an area where the roads are treacherous a good part of the year, you probably can live without all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) on your next new vehicle. If you live in the South and Southwest, however, it might not be such a good investment. You’re not really getting any additional safety benefits, and AWD- and 4WD-equipped vehicles eat up expense for gas. Not to mention the added cost of the drivetrain. Stick with front-wheel drive and pony up for a good set of tires good for snow and mud and you should be just fine.
Costly navigation systems – Sure, they’re technological marvels and many drivers swear by them, but GPS navigation systems in your next new car may not be a wise expenditure. You could get the same benefit—for a lot less money—by opting for systems such as OnStar from GM or SYNC from Ford. These are telephone-based safety and security systems that offer turn-by-turn navigation. When and if Siri voice controls from Apple are integrated into cars, things can really get interesting. Before you go for a bundled, costly navigation system (often including a lot of high-tech, high-cost items), consider your other options. Even hand-held, portable GPS units such as Garmin may be a better choice.
CD players – Compact discs are pretty much on their way out of favor with consumers. Sure, base sound systems still handle a single-disc CD or DVD, but CD changers are pretty much gone from options lists. Streaming audio via Bluetooth or a USB port means you don’t need another media reader, so skip the unnecessary expense.
In-car entertainment systems – Families on the go may appreciate the ability to keep the kids entertained in the back seat with an expensive, dual-screen entertainment system, but you can get the same effect with less costly iPads and tablets. There’s also the added attraction of 3G-enabled Web connectivity that hardwired in-car entertainment systems can’t match.
Voice command systems – Ford SYNC, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch are the leaders in the voice command systems market, but they’re complex and require a steep learning curve. GM has IntelliLink and some of the German automakers have their own voice control systems as well. The newest GM offering is CUE (which stands for Cadillac User System), which is even more complex and costly. Unless you are completely comfortable learning tech stuff, maybe foregoing this expensive option is a better idea.