Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Futile features

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A motor vehicle equipped with satellite radio.
A depiction of heated seats, with the switch to turn the warmth on and off.
A motor vehicle's fog light switched on.

Over the last decade and a half a number of features on cars sold in Jamaica are not that relevant in this country. Many of them are technology based and are practically useless, or may never be used at all.

Heated seats

So here we are on a car lot and the salesman turns to tell you about heated seats. In Jamaica, we have heat all around. Don't get me wrong - it may be therapeutic for some, but how often will you use it in this sweltering heat? The sun is already hot and if predictions of a hot summer hold true, you may need some cooling seats. Ditch the heated seats sales pitch and go for seats that will allow for easy cooling. Makes much better sense.

Satellite radio

OK, the satellite radio gives a nice selling point to any vehicle. The get-it-now mentality caused by technology opens our minds to radio and TV on demand. Regular programme? What's that? But let's say the regular programme will have to do, unless by some divine intervention your car comes with Wi-Fi for you to stream that satellite radio. And pretty much the subscription almost never works given our geographic location. All you will be able to do is say, 'I have satellite radio' before some local advertising comes on. Oops!

Fog lamps

I get it. Having fog lamps lets your car look really cool and buff. Yes, they are appealing, but here, the thing that I would like to communicate is usefulness. Do you really need it? There are a bunch of guys now with fog lamps that are brighter than their actual headlamps. They found the time to modify these fog lamps because the density of the 'fog' is, I guess, non-existent.

Daytime running lights

Apart from showing how deep your pockets are, are the daytime running lights that useful? Lights are no longer for night I guess. I am sure they don't improve visibility with the sun being 'on' all day. What the lights do is to turn your car into a moving billboard for the automaker. In the most primitive form of explanation (when-man-was-rubbing-sticks-to-make-fire sort of way) this is how it works for automakers: Man sees light on car, man looks at lights on car, then man guesses what car he sees, car passes, and man confirms what car it is. If stylish and sophisticated enough, man fantasises or gets a loan for a super expensive car. I am sure the drivers of cars without daytime running lights see just fine.

I am sure I am missing some 'awesome' feature which is either in support of us being lazy or are just for a sales pitch. But the next time you walk into a car dealer's domain, don't let the promises fool you. Pay for what you use and, most of all look for that all important feature - the price.