Hooniverse Asks: What’s your favorite not-necessary optional feature?

I love night vision in a car. It’s so unnecessary for 95% of car owners and it feels like you’re driving a stealth military vehicle. It’s almost a gimmick. Almost, as it could be pretty useful in areas that are extremely dark and wildlife can roam out of the forest. But in a city area or your average suburban development? It’s totally unnecessary.

Still I really enjoy playing with it when I’m driving in a car that has it.

What is an example of an optional extra that’s totally not necessary but you still enjoy?

18 Comments

  1. Courtesy lights in the footwells.

    This from a man who doesn’t think a radio or electric windows are all they’re cracked up to be.

    1. Agreed. I worked at Lemons’ true 24-hour race near Denver a couple of weeks ago as one of the people checking harnesses, helmets, suits, shoes, and so forth as each car came onto the track. At night with a flashlight this was less fun than one might imagine but one car, one glorious car, had bright footwell lights that the driver would activate during the check. The difference was, so to speak, night and day.

      You’re right to be suspicious of radios and electric windows, though. Just that many more things to go wrong.

    1. Indeed. If you’re from a place where it hits triple digits regularly, cooling seats are just fantastic.

  2. Something tiny that still isn’t a given are adjustable intervall wipers. I still haven’t experienced automatic wipers that are fine, so adjustable intervall sensivity is the way to go for me.

  3. Funny that you should ask this, just the other day my wife asked me what my favorite feature was on my car (Lincoln MKZ Hybrid). Not exactly sure why she brought that up at the time but…

    I narrowed it down to Opening Panoramic Roof, Adaptive Cruise Control, Heated/cooled seats, Massage seats, Adaptive lights (auto high beams + turns with wheel).

    From there I narrowed it down to the ACC and the seats as a whole tying for 1st place, Adaptive lights for 3rd (4th) and Pano roof 4th (5th)

    I did shop for that car for a few months as all of those items were on my “must have” list and it was surprisingly hard to find one that had all of those item. Interestingly both of the ones that I found were the same color, but the first had been wrecked, which was pointed out by my daughter riding in the back seat when she noticed that the glass in the rear door was aftermarket. The only thing that was different about that one is that it had the one option mine doesn’t, inflatable rear seat belts.

  4. My favorite guilty pleasure is the foot-wave trunk….no, not the foot-wave trunk-opener, but the foot-wave trunk-CLOSER. Necessary? Nah. Useful? Sometimes when I can’t be assed to push a button. Fun and Cool? Totally!

      1. Yeah, I know, I know… In YOUR day you had to turn on your headlights yourself, and when it was dark you had to use your hand to flip your day/night mirror. And you unlocked your car by stabbing the door with a pointy piece of STEEL, and twisting it. And YOUR FATHER’S day he had to adjust the temperature of his A/C by guess and by golly! No automatic climate control for him!

        1. Haha, apart from the central locking that day is still today… most of those controls don’t need much interaction so its hardly a burden, eg only need to dip the mirror when someone is behind you with high beams on. My previous car had auto headlight-off when you turned the car off, so I just left them on all the time for better visibility from other drivers.

          Don’t get me wrong, I can see how handsfree tailgate/trunk opening/closing can be useful but on balance I think I’d rather be without the space intrusion typical for that type of hinge and not have to wait for a slow actuator in the rain etc.

  5. My wife is 4’10” and I’m 6’1″. Our 2021 Accord is the first car we’ve shared with memory seats. (My E46 does too, but she rarely drives it.) It’s a fantastic luxury.

  6. I didn’t realize infrared imaging was available on any cars.

    To be honest, I typically eschew high-option packages on my vehicles. I prefer built-in goodness over tacked-on convenience or luxury. It took me a while to even appreciate electric windows. If I’m seeking a car for myself (as opposed to the family vehicle) I typically prioritize handling dynamics, steering quality, engine responsiveness, driver involvement, seat support, and what I think of as “honest” styling. I don’t like frills, I’m not influenced by badges, and I don’t care what my neighbor thinks of my purchase. I’d rather buy what I feel does the best job as an enthusiast’s car, rather than something that is essentially just a transportation appliance loaded with features unrelated to the driving experience.

    That said, I have developed an appreciation for Apple CarPlay, which my car lacks but came standard on my wife’s Audi. It’s nice having my music readily accessible, and the ability to communicate without lifting my hand from the shifter. Her car is feature-packed and objectively much better than mine, but I really don’t like it. It feels remote, like playing an Xbox game. I want tactile feedback and a car that feels like an extension of my own limbs. I find myself unable to “connect” with most modern vehicles. I’m obviously getting old.

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