7 annoying car trends which need to stop

May 07, 2024 by

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Manufacturers are always looking for new ways to improve their cars, however not every new development quite hits the mark. Here are seven of the most annoying new cars trends for 2024.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. This is a philosophy some car makers could adopt when developing their new models, because some new car features are just plain annoying.

With that in mind, here are the top seven annoying new car features of 2024.

  1. Touch-sensitive controls
  2. Endless beeping and bonging
  3. Pop-out door handles
  4. Fake engine noise
  5. EVs with no front boot
  6. Electronic everything
  7. Fake exhausts and vents

1) Touchscreen everything

Operating things on the move should be easy, so why are so many manufacturers replacing physical buttons with touch-sensitive controls?

They’re fiddly to use, you have to look down to make sure you’re prodding the right thing because there’s no physical feedback and, when you have touch buttons on the steering wheel like in Mercedes’ latest models, it’s far too easy to brush them when you’re driving. It gets even worse when all the car’s functions are buried in a touchscreen.

Tesla was the first brand to do this, but now even safety-conscious Volvo has jumped on this bandwagon with the EX30. Want to change the temperature? Touchscreen. Want to move your mirrors around? Touchscreen. Fancy warming your bum with the heated seat? That’s another route around the touchscreen.

You wouldn’t drive around while fiddling with your phone, so why would you want to have your eyes glued to a massive tablet when all you’re trying to do is lower the temperature a few degrees. Bring back physical buttons, please.

2) Endless beeping

Speaking of distractions, cars seem to be constantly shouting at you these days. A certain degree of beeping is useful – front collision warning can save your skin in some situations, for example – but too much interference can be counter productive.

When your car never stops beeping you tend to just start tuning it out, so when there is an actual hazard you may ignore the warnings. A perfect example of this is the Ora 03. This little EV is packed with every safety system you could imagine, but it’s so over-sensitive that it feels like it chimes in every time you get within 10 feet of an object.

Lane departure warning is another one which can get under your skin. In a lot of cars it feels like the system isn’t tuned for tight British back roads, so if you get close to the centre line to avoid standing water, for example, you get a string of bongs and the steering wheel starts pulling you back to the left.

3) Pop-out door handles

Pop-out door handles look pretty cool, lending cars a more sleek and aerodynamic appearance. This is where the positives end though, because they’re very much a case of style over substance.

Here’s a theory for you. If you have to explain to your passengers how to use the door handles on your car, they’ve been designed wrong. Opening a door shouldn’t be something you have to re-learn, it should be intuitive.

Some cars, like the Kia EV6, have handles which pop out automatically when you walk up to the car, some you have to push one end while pulling the other while others you have to stroke or tap to get them to come out of hiding. Why does it have to be so complicated?

Couple the complexity with the risk of them freezing over and breaking in sub-zero temperatures and pop-out door handles start to feel like a step in the wrong direction.

4) Fake engine noise

Petrolheads love a good exhaust note, whether that be from a four-pot or a thumping great V8. What doesn’t sound so great is fake engine noise piped in through the speakers, or even worse played outside the car to make it sound more powerful than it is.

That hasn’t stopped Abarth fitting the 500e with a sound generator which is meant to trick people into thinking this electric car actually has the rorty 1.4-litre engine from the old 595. The reality is that this system is fooling no one, especially when it sounds like you’re screaming through the rev range at 10 mph.

Hyundai has also jumped on this trend recently with the Ioniq 5 N. That car not only has a fake internal combustion noise in the cabin, you can even ‘change gears’ with the paddles on the steering wheel. This might be a cool party trick, but why not try to create a new noise for EVs like BMW and Mercedes have done?

5) EVs with no front boot

One of the advantages of not having a big, complicated engine under the bonnet of your car is that it frees up loads of space for storage. Tesla makes the most of this by giving you a massive front boot, as does Ford with the Mustang Mach-E.

Unfortunately, not every brand makes the best use of this new-found real estate. Cars like the BMW i4 and Vauxhall Mokka can be forgiven for this oversight because they’re internal combustion-engined cars which have been converted into EVs, but when you have a ground-up EV like the Volkswagen ID4 or Mercedes EQE having no storage under the bonnet is madness.

It may sound like a small thing, but having a front boot gives you somewhere to keep your mucky charging cables away from the rest of your luggage, without burying them under the boot floor.

6) Steering yokes

Some car makers are trying to literally reinvent the wheel. This started with the Tesla model S Plaid, which launched with something called a steering ‘yoke’. Think of it as a squashed steering wheel with the top chopped off.

This may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the reality is it makes the car very hard to manoeuvre in tight spaces because you’re always grabbing at a part of the wheel which isn’t there when you cross your hands.

Lexus has jumped on this bandwagon with the new RZ electric car, however it has a steer-by-wire system like a Tesla Cybertruck which means you only have to turn the yoke 180 degrees from lock to lock, so you never need to cross your hands over.

So problem solved then, right? Well, not really. This makes the steering really sensitive and twitchy at low speeds which takes some getting used to. Also, if you’re looking over your shoulder while reversing then you can’t place your hand on top of the steering wheel.

7) Styling fakery

More doesn’t always mean better, and this applies to car design. Slapping a bunch of fake grilles and vents on a car doesn’t make it look more sporty or stylish, it just looks a bit naff.

The same goes for fake exhaust pipes, and Audi is the worst culprit for this. The SQ5 may appear to have quad tailpipes at a glance, but look a little closer and you’ll find that they are completely blanked-off and the real outlets are hanging limply behind the bumper.

Would it really be that hard to just route the exhaust out the bumper and make these trims into real outlets?

Three cool new car trends

It’s not all bad news though, here are three great new car features which need to stick around.

1) Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive cruise control is one of the best features fitted to modern cars. It takes the strain out of long motorway journeys by doing the braking and accelerating for you, keeping a safe distance from the car in front.

It gets even better if you have auto steer as well, because then the car will keep you between the white lines so all you have to do is observe the traffic around you. This great feature is working its way down to more affordable cars, even the dinky Toyota Aygo X comes with it as standard.

2) EV pre-conditioning

Cold winter mornings can be a right slog when you have to de-ice your car, so it’s great that modern electric cars can be preheated from your phone. Some even allow you to set your departure time the day before, so when you climb aboard in the morning it’s nice and toasty.

The same goes for hot summer afternoons. Heading back to the car after a day at the beach but don’t want to burn your bum on the scorching leather? Just fire up the air conditioning from your phone and it’ll be nice and cool when you get back.

3) Matrix LED headlights

Anything which takes the strain out of night time driving has to be a good thing, and matrix LED headlights are a great way to make sure you have maximum visibility. They can blank out part of their beam to prevent dazzling oncoming drivers, all while maintaining as much of the high beam as possible.

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