Buying a new car is expensive enough as it is, without wasting your hard-earned cash on extras you’ll never use. Here’s our top-five list of the options that should never have made it onto the drawing board – let alone your car.
1. The Mini Convertible’s Openometer
Here’s a question for you: what’s more pointless than driving around with your roof down in the middle of the British winter? The answer: measuring how long you’ve been enduring the whole soggy episode with a car option that cost you £120.
According to Mini, this little dial means ‘passengers can measure their visual coolness inside, even if it’s cold outside’. Yes, or you could just save your cash, and arrive warm and dry.
2. Volvo Personal Car Communicator
Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator is an advanced, pocket-sized remote control for the ultra-paranoid motorist.
Not only does it tell you whether you remembered to lock your car, it flashes when someone – or something – triggers the alarm. There’s even a red warning light that winks when the car’s heartbeat sensor – yes, really – detects that someone is hiding in your car.
When you consider that most thieves will be after your valuables, rather than a good night’s sleep in the back of a Volvo, it’s a pretty pointless car option.
3. Automatic rain-sensing window wipers
Call us old-fashioned, but we like to wipe our windows when they’re actually wet. Let a computer do it and often the wipers will activate after the tiniest dribble of rain, smearing the day’s road muck across your field of vision.
We’re all for saving time, but how much effort does it really take to flick your wipers on and off? Save your money for metallic paint, and reap the rewards when it comes to selling your car.
4. The Mercedes-Benz Airscarf
The Airscarf is a small heater built into headrests on Mercedes’ SL and SLK sports cars. It’s supposed to keep you warm on cold days, maximising the amount of time you can drive around with the top down.
But as anyone who has ever huddled around one of those rubbish patio heaters on a winter’s day will tell you, warming up the outdoors isn’t exactly efficient. After you realise that you might need to pull up the roof to stay warm after all, you might regret spending £350 on it.
5. Volvo’s Alcoguard
In its endless campaign to improve road safety (which can only be applauded, in our opinion) Volvo has come up with the Alcoguard, a kind of in-car breathalyser that tests the driver’s sobriety before allowing the engine to start. According to Volvo, it uses smart sensors to make sure it can’t be tricked by a regular air pump. But couldn’t determined drink-drivers just ask a passer-by (or sober mate) to give them a clean sample instead?