What’s worth your dollar? After scores of extended drives in different compacts, sedans, crossovers, SUVs and trucks, I’ve assembled a list of what I deem essential amongst those extras your car dealer offers — and what to leave off. Ignore this at your own financial peril.
The sunroof often goes by a different name, because manufacturers are so keen to brand the crap out of everything. It’s still a sunroof. Far from being a frivolous extra, I deem it essential to a good drive. Consider:
According to a recent study, Torontonians and Montrealers spend more time commuting than Los Angelinos, Londoners, New Yorkers and even drivers from friggin’ Barcelona! (Maybe the study is skewed. I’ve driven in Barcelona and it’s like those anxiety dreams you have where you run but can’t get anywhere. Perhaps most people there take the very efficient public transit. Londoners sure as hell do.) Compound commuting frustration with research from management guru Pam Hackett , who says that 80 percent of workers are not engaged with their work. Meaning? Most of us are wasting a quarter of our lives in cars to waste half our lives at work. How depressing! Natural light brightens the mood. The extra 40 minutes of sunlight and vitamin D from an open roof are worth the investment to your mental health.
Leather seats are always worth the investment. They wipe clean easily. The more use they get, the better they feel — that is, if they’re good quality leather. (Even if they’re cheap, it takes several years for them to deteriorate.) But most importantly, they don’t retain odours from spills, animals or party-animals. A stinky seat is almost impossible to eradicate and severely depresses resale-ability.
Rearview cameras and radar for reversing are absolutely worth the cost. Every one of these systems reminds you to continue using your mirrors to check your surroundings — to which I add, “Duh!” Only your mother had eyes in the back of her head. Any extra vision you can beg, borrow or cheat is worth it, to keep your beloved car ding-free and the neighbours’ kids alive.
The GPS is typically built into a luxury car’s infotainment system. (These complicated interfaces typically launch with a screen that warns never to read them while driving which is like arriving at your hotel minibar after a turbulent 15-hour flight. Good luck ignoring that temptation.)
Still, if your car doesn’t come with it on offer, buy one from your local electronics dealer. For upwards of $200 you never need to be lost again. Sure, real men don’t need to take directions but enlightened DailyXY readers are above such common knuckle draggery.
And maybe if more of us had a GPS, we’d get to work sooner than drivers in friggin’ Barcelona!
Image courtesy of B Tal.