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Driving 3 - Unnecessary little helpers



Previous page ...

When CitroŽn presented the Cactus, they posed the question: What does one need and what doesn't one need in a car? Indeed, the answer wasn't really very convincing. After all, straps instead of door handles might be an advantage for the manufacturer, but not for the buyer.

Nevertheless, the question is interesting. One feature, that I find completely unnecessary ever since I've had it, comes to mind immediately, the electric window-opener on the driver's side. One day the manual window-winder will be available as an optional extra, accompanied by the information, that with this method, one can adjust the opening of the driver's side-window exactly to the millimetre. Of course, the powered version could be maintained for disabled people.

VW do it really cheeky in the up. At least at the moment, the offer actually a version with only one switch for the power window on the driver side. This means you can not open the window on the passenger side from the driver side. Who has the most thought? Having to lay across the two front seats as a solo driver, makes really no fun.

The switch on the driver side to open the window on the passenger side, would be the only one I would be maintained. When we bought our last car, fortunately we were able to choose manual winders for the rear windows, because regardless of the situation, they can always be opened. On top of that, the modern ventilation is so good, that it's generally not necessary to drive with a permanently open window.

Yes I know, the electric seat and the steering wheel adjustment does make sense, at least then, if the car is continually being driven by several people. Indeed, does that mean that at least 90% of all solo-drivers have to carry this heavy lump of electro-technology around with them? Where on the other hand, every ounce of unnecessary weight is being shaved off?

Massaging: Rather go to a masseur/masseuse

The fact that CitroŽn has also rationalised the divided rear seat backrest away, is probably a mistake. On the other hand however, nobody needs a split of 40 to 20 to 40, and then, also with a ski-bag in the narrow centre section. The fact that it can also be electrically unlocked or folded forwards is absolutely absurd in a four-door car.

There are two old but proven rules of thumb:
1. If it's not installed, it can't break down.
2. Before one increases the size of the transporter, one should try to reduce the cargo to only what's necessary.

I would personally, never order the electrically opening tailgate. First of all, it's too slow and secondly, despite it having height recognition, I would always be afraid that in a garage somewhere, it's going to open too wide and bang on the ceiling. Have a good look the next time someone comes along with their arms full of groceries, it's quite spectacular and looks a little silly, why are shopping trolleys supplied anyway.

Cases of water on cherry-wood ...

I would never have an estate-car in my house (or for that matter, in my garage) which had a loading floor made of noble cherry-wood (see above picture). Also, I find cars with rear-hinged back doors ridiculous for tight city parking slots. And as a driver, I consider too much space over my head unnecessary, it doesn't matter how much stowing space they provide.

Nine-speeds: The transmission ratio is more important than the number of gears

I would also, never buy a car with all-wheel drive if it didn't have the necessary ground clearance. Also an all-wheel drive shaped like a coupť, doesn't make sense to me. At this point, I must admit that I have a (somewhat strange) leaning towards retro-design, even though this is a bit pointless. Nonetheless, the exaggerated living-room chic is slowly getting on my nerves. I could quite easily live with having the lower part of the centre console made of hard plastic.

Is light-coloured carpeting really sensible?

This is where you're not going to agree with me anymore, when I slate the remote control central-locking. Indeed, there's a good reason for this. It makes one careless. One hardly ever looks to see whether the indicators light up or not. This is an invitation for thieves, and this possibly, without the protection of a comprehensive insurance.

A radio signal like this can easily be disturbed. You may also not have waited until one of the windows was completely closed. However, I have nothing against the somewhat older system, where one locks one of the front doors and the others then lock automatically. Indeed, only if the system is clever enough to recognise that all the other doors and windows have been closed properly.

A battery in the ignition key is also not necessary, so it never needed to be replaced, and we all know how easily the casing is damaged. A new casing and the re-programming costs quite a bit in the workshop. As far as I'm concerned, the workshop data doesn't need to be stored in the key and that any problems which may arise, can probably be better solved by discussing them with qualified people, and not through restrictions caused by my car-key.

I can adjust my headlamps and windscreen wipers myself. I can stay in my lane, although I could be tempted by really a useful assistant when it comes to narrow road-works. Parking assistants are useful, indeed, who actually needs a rear-view camera in the small dimensioned compacts which have a good all-round view?

I also don't want to go sailing. As far as I'm concerned, the engine doesn't have to be disengaged automatically when running on a slight downhill, I've been doing that myself for almost as long as I can remember. I also don't need a gear-change indicator, because I wouldn't take any notice of it anyway, e.g., when shifting up. Also a button, to switch off the ESP, is in my opinion, only acceptable in Yuppie sports cars, if at all.

Now, I have of course, not mentioned a number of things, which we all know are more spectacular than useful, e.g., Rear spoilers that only raise themselves at a speed of over 80 km/h(!). There are also effective diffusers, but they don't look as aggressive. The value of an internet site like this, is that it can be updated at any time. We've already listed enough suggestions for CitroŽn. 12/14

What will become of us, if everything only works electrically?


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