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What is a Feature?

What constitutes a feature? A big knob and a TV screen that makes you think if you could just find the quarter slot, you could play Tempest? Headlights that can’t be shut off while the car is on? Airbags that explode from every direction, pushing the Dixie straw from your coffee into your brain? A DVD player in the back of your seat so you can listen to Shrek 2 for the 3000th time? I guess a clutch is asking to much.
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Comments

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "I guess a clutch is asking to much."

    Yeah, tell me about it. Going after the domestics, other non-features that I'd like:

    - manual transmissions available on the optional engines.

    The Big 3 are famous for this...sure, you can get a stick, but only if you order the wheezy 4-cyl base engine. :mad:

    - real "sport packages"

    I love it how just about every run-of-the-mill "sport package" seems to begin and end with some upgraded, bling-bling alloy wheels. How about some better shocks, lower springs, sway bars, etc.?

    - "Spoiler delete" feature

    Kudos to Ford for finally offering this on the Mustang...though I'm holding my breath to see if Dodge is going to offer us a limited edition Charger Roadrunner edition with towelrack spoiler in back and aero-nose in front... ;)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    but everything else you said is a "feature", yes. Plus all the stuff like power package and cruise, and the other options you can order for the car. Plus stuff they like to boast about, like "magic" or fold-flat seats, coin and cupholders, all that sort of stuff.

    Basically, anything not totally basic to the powertrain, anything without which the car would still run and move, that they can put in the glossy brochure and promote is a feature. At least, to my way of understanding.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    ...when manufacturers want to bulk up the features list of their econo cars, they mentally revert back like 25 years and list as "features" such then-cool but now pretty-standard ammenities as side mirrors, spare tire and radio.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    The way things are going, having a spare tire really WILL be a feature....
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    we do have mainstream manufacturers boasting if they have a full-size spare instead of a donut now. That must be a feature! :-)

    On the features list of the base-model short cab Tacoma, Toyota lists "two outside mirrors"! Guess that's a feature.

    In the upcoming Yaris, rear defogger will be a "Feature" which is optional! Talk about stepping back 25 years...

    :-)

    A feature which I loved in my old Matrix, which I have never had before or since: flip-up glass in the rear hatch that opens separately from the door.....wellll, actually my 4Runner has roll-down glass in the rear door, but it's not quite the same. That is a "feature" that is fairly rare among midsize SUVs, which I am very fond of.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    ...has been listed as a feature in the not-too-distant past.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    RWD is being listed as a feature again! How funny.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • A real spare is a must have feature in my mind. Along with rear defrost, int wipers, heat and automatic timing advance.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    "heat and automatic timing advance"

    Hasn't automatic timing advance been in every model since the mid-90s because of emissions standards? I could be wrong, but I thought so.

    As for heat, I wonder what the last car without heat was....I kinda figure every car since at least 1970 and maybe further back has had heat. Those early VW Beetles had pretty primitive heat that ran off the engine's blower for air cooling, and didn't provide much heat until the engine was real hot, and not much unless you were moving either (there was no fan to force the air out for heating the cabin).

    In the last couple of decades, it has been real hard to find cars with a real spare and not a donut - now full-sizers are finally making a bit of a come-back, and I'm glad. Ubber, what have you bought since 1985 that had a full-size spare? Just curious. Do the Caravan or Sebring have one?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Actually the newest car I was in without automatic timing advance was from the 20's. I don't mind using hand signals to stop, but adjusting the timing advance is a skill I do not have.

    In some parts of this country (Minot) you will discover a be difference between having a heater, and having heat.

    P.S. My sympathy to anyone actually in Minot, and let me say with all sincerity, burr.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I know of cars prior to 1975 without automatic timing advance, and I think some hung around longer than that without it, but it was pretty common by the 80s because smog controls were taking hold, and in California at least, the adoption of OBDII standards for MY 1996 mandated it.

    What part of the world is Minot in?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • North Dakato, Looks like they are getting a rather balmy high of 21 today. They must be enjoying the warmer weather.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "...though I'm holding my breath to see if Dodge is going to offer us a limited edition Charger Roadrunner edition with towelrack spoiler in back and aero-nose in front..."

    Actually that would be a Charger Daytona you're talking about. http://www.wwnboa.org/70csed.htm

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I know of cars prior to 1975 without automatic timing advance, and I think some hung around longer than that without it..."

    Really? Which ones? I ask because I turned a wrench on LOTS of cars back in the 1970s, and given that most of them were owned by poor college students, the age range of the cars that I worked on was from a newish 5 years old to a very long in the tooth 20 years old. Even still, the only car that I've ever even seen without a timing advance was my 1970 Dodge Challenger, and that's because Super Shops had a deal on Mallory Dual Point Distributors, one of which I bought and installed myself. My fuel mileage without the timing advance went into the dumper so bad that I think I only had that thing in there for a couple of weeks before I pulled it out and bought a Mopar Electronic Ignition kit.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    well, memories of the 70s are fuzzy at best (;-)) but as I recall the Corolla didn't get ignition advance until it went electronic in 1975. I remember working on a friend's that was like a '72 which didn't have it. I think there have been others, but my brain has stopped functioning very well today. If that is true of the pre-'75 Corolla, it is probably true of a lot of the Japanese cars from that era that were at or below the Corolla's price point. Just guessing on that last, but the Big 3 Japanese all follow each other pretty closely.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    But cars got heaters when they were required by federal safety standards to have defrosters. This would likely have been as of 1/1/1968, when the bulk of the early safety standards became effective.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Here's betting that cars got heaters (defrosters too) in something like 1925 if not before. After all, all a heater is, is a second radiator inside the car.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Maybe as option in 1925 or before, but I remember from my youth (1960s) when used cars ads still used the term "R&H" to mean radio and heater. In other words, neither of these were standard in many cars.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,157
    Since long ago distributors had centrifugal weights that automatically advanced the timing of the spark with engine speed. They also had a vacuum control that advanced the spark automatically in relation to the amount of vacuum.

    Now a computer controls the advance amount. But there has been automatic spark advance since the 50s. Does anyone have a car since then that had a level for advancing/retarding the spark on the steering column? That would be manual advance.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Yes, my remarks were in relation to vacuum advance, which went into the '75 Corolla. It's long enough ago that I can't remember if it had some type of system with centrifugal weights for spark advance before '75. Could very well be, as my memory isn't the greatest! :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,157
    I wasn't sure I was understanding the point of the discussion. If perfect control of the spark advance is the feature, then the computer design with sensors for control and learning blocks for memory of what spark advance worked recently is a big advance. I recall tweaking the spark advance over and over especially on my 307 after the retard spark at idle vacuum was added for pollution control.
  • Now thats what I was talking about. Man are we spoiled if we don't even remember what manual timing advance is.
  • Self locking doors, particularly the front. Are they to stop car jackings at speeds above 20? Child safety? Your child is capable of opening the door and leaping out of a moving vehicle, but cant unlock the door?

    Child safety windows were a great marketing excuss for a wheelbase that was too short and cut into back doors preventing the windows from rolling down all the way.

    Passive seatbelts, enough said.

    Navigation system, come on now, this is only slightly more useful than a vinyl top. Am I alone in actually knowing where I'm going 99.9% of the time.

    Cargo organizer; Cheap hunk of plastic taking up my cargo space.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    LOL! You are right on!

    Self-locking doors are so when you stop for lights and stop signs you don't get jacked - I hate this feature and have disabled it on my truck.

    Passive seatbelts - thank God they are gone.

    Child safety windows were a bunch of bunk to disguise a shortcoming of the car, you're right. Hate those back windows that only go partway down.

    NAV is moderately useful - however I wouldn't pay a penny to add it, and am resigned to the fact that in the future they will probably be standard as inter-car telematics take over our driving. If I can still delete it in that overly techy future, I will.

    Cargo organizers more often than not are broken by the cargo they are meant to organize. If the car manufacturer couldn't afford more than $0.50 worth of plastic to create this thing, why didn't they just leave it out?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    let me add my pet peeve of the week, and least favorite "feature": DRLs. Shoot, if I want the lights on, I will turn them on. Instead, DRLs force me to change my headlight bulbs about ten times more frequently than I would otherwise have to.

    That reminds me, I have to figure out where to disable those on my truck too. Won't be too hard.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Feature by feature:

    Self locking doors: Ugh, no thanks, not ever, not at any price. Every car that I've had with that feature (5 of them now) I've had it disabled by the dealer.

    Child safety windows: Is that what they're calling those dumb windows? Geez, some folks will believe anything. ;-)

    Passive seatbelts: I bought a Ford Probe over a VW VR6 Corrado over this very issue. I REALLY wanted the Corrado but there was just no way I was going to have seat belts attached to a mouse track. :P

    Navigation system: For me, I'd pay maybe $100 extra to have the system, and only because such systems allow you to disable things like DRLs and automatic locks. For Mrs. Shipo, geez, I'd pay $2,000 to get her a seamless GPS system for her next car.

    Cargo organizer: The pop-up tray with the fold-up partitions in Mrs. Shipo's 2003 DGC is great. Apparently very few vans are sold with this option because when our van hit the showroom, it was instantly surrounded by all of the sales folks who were of course "Ohhhhing" and "Ahhhhing". ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "For Mrs. Shipo, geez, I'd pay $2,000 to get her a seamless GPS system for her next car."

    I thought that was what cell phones were for? :sick:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Her cell phone is what she uses now when she gets lost (something that isn't a daily or even weekly occurance), which happens often enough that if I'm not immediately available to "Talk her down", it becomes my fault that she got lost. :confuse:

    A good GPS system where she can just type in the address of her destination (and even enter common destinations) is something that might actually save her life. The fact is that while my wife is a Human Systems genius (as evidenced by her rapid rise up the ladder in Corporate America), she has a difficult time navigating herself around our little town. Just two weeks ago she got lost, and while dialing the phone to call me she hit a curb and destroyed a brand new tire. Geez, a few more of those and I'd have already paid for a good GPS unit. :-/

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,157
    >while dialing the phone to call me she hit a curb

    If she has navi be sure she stops driving before typing in addresses!!! That could get expensive in tires if she tries to use the TomTom while driving.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    In my opinion the best "new" features made today in the Modern Automobile are:

    -Voice Recognition Systems w/ Navigation w/ XM-Navi-traffic (See Acura)

    -DVD 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound Stereo Equipment

    -Air conditioned seats(no sweat on your tush or back)

    -Massaging seats

    -PWR-reclining rear seats

    -swivel headlamps

    -adaptive cruise

    -adaptive headlamps

    -SH-AWD (See Acura)

    -4-Wheel Steering (See Infiniti)

    -heated steering wheels

    -manumatic F-1 paddle shifters

    -cooled glove box or ice box

    -Night Vision-(See Mercedes)

    -Inflatable side bolstering in Seats (See Mercedes)

    -pre collision systems

    These are a few off the top of my head of the best features in the modern automobile. ;)

    Rocky
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