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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: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 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: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    ...has been listed as a feature in the not-too-distant past.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    RWD is being listed as a feature again! How funny.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 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: 12,726
    "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?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 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: 12,726
    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?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • North Dakato, Looks like they are getting a rather balmy high of 21 today. They must be enjoying the warmer weather.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "...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: 9,148
    "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: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • 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: 9,148
    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 & I75 Posts: 24,313
    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.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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! :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 24,313
    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.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • 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: 12,726
    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?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    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.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    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: 9,148
    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 & I75 Posts: 24,313
    >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.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    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
  • ubbermotorubbermotor Posts: 307
    I cant argue with most of your list there, although I'd never pay extra for most of them.

    Manumatic however, I find to be a joke. Pay extra for an automatic so that it can pretend to be a manual? Way back in the 60's Ford used to advertise "Select shift, you can shift it yourself, or let it shift automatically". It was a difficult concept really. L was for first, 2 was for second, and D was for third or drive.

    Keep in mind this was different than some automatics, that if you put them in 2, they still started in 1st, they just wouldn't go to 3rd on their own.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    To me, the manumatic transmissions are kinda cool but mostly a gimmick.

    Sure they're useful in F1, but BMWs on the street isn't F1. And interestingly, the people I know who have them aren't hard-core racer guys who need them to affect quicker shifts than a conventional setup will allow, but rather people who can't drive a manual setup at all. Kinda poser to skip "normal performance" and go right to "high performance"...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    I think that you are confusing Manumatics with SMGs, my definitions follow that will hopefully help you understand the difference: ;-)

    - The Manumatics are basic hydraulic Automatic Transmissions that have aspirations of being Manual Transmissions when they grow up.

    - SMGs/DSGs (et. all) are similar in nature to the type of transmission common these days in racing, and are, for all intents and purposes, mechanical gear boxes with computer controlled clutch actuation and gear change mechanisms. These types of transmissions have aspirations of being Automatic Transmissions when they grow up.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    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?

    I would think that the motivation behind the self-locking doors is to increase passenger safety by reducing the likelihood of the doors opening during an accident. For the airbags and restraints to work effectively, the passenger needs to be held in the seating position.

    That, and it's just one of those gee-whiz features when you first encounter it. In our culture, we define "luxury" as "not having to do very much"...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "I would think that the motivation behind the self-locking doors is to increase passenger safety by reducing the likelihood of the doors opening during an accident."

    That used to be the case back in the 1950s, however, modern doors are just as secure in an accident regardless of whether they are locked or unlocked.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Take this for what you will, but according to Public Citizen:

    Each year 7,300 people are killed each and nearly 8,000 are severely injured when partially or fully ejected through vehicle doors, windows and moon roofs. An estimated 1,300 lives could be saved each year by improving the strength of side and rear windows enough to retain occupants. And many of the 2,500 annual door ejection deaths could be prevented with upgraded locks and retention components that keep doors from flying open during crashes.

    I don't know whether those figures are accurate -- I'm not exactly Joan Claybrooke's biggest fan -- but I can see why automakers would be motivated to add a door-locking feature, if but to prevent some lawsuits.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Locked or otherwise, the door latch is still the door latch. I don't see anything in the above quote that suggests otherwise. Either your car has a latching mechanism that will prevent the door from opening upon impact (ala. BMW) or it doesn't, the door lock itself doesn't affect the efficacy of the latching components one bit.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Either your car has a latching mechanism that will prevent the door from opening upon impact (ala. BMW) or it doesn't, the door lock itself doesn't affect the efficacy of the latching components one bit.

    OK, but you don't agree that a locked door is less likely to open than an unlocked door? Surely the resistance created by the lock that makes it more difficult to open (which is what makes the lock effective in the first place) plays some role here.
  • au1994au1994 GAPosts: 1,648
    I'm with ya on all of these.

    What is also frustrating is the way manufacturers are bundling their 'features'.

    Want a sunroof? Sure, just buy the 2800 premium package and get leather seats, navi, wood trim, power passenger seat and we'll be glad to throw in a sunroof.

    2019 Subaru Crosstrek Limited Venetian Red over Black
    2017 BMW X1 Jet Black over Mocha

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "OK, but you don't agree that a locked door is less likely to open than an unlocked door?"

    I wouldn't agree with that. Often times, all the lock mechanism does is disengage the handle from the latch mechanism. The lock doesn't reinforce the door latch one iota.

    I think the only benefit from door locks in a crash would be if somehow, the accident itself activated the handle mechanism. If the doors were locked (handle disengage from latch) then you would see some benefit.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "OK, but you don't agree that a locked door is less likely to open than an unlocked door? Surely the resistance created by the lock that makes it more difficult to open (which is what makes the lock effective in the first place) plays some role here."

    I absolutely do not agree. To the best of my knowledge, there have never been any findings (since the new two stage latches came into being in the 1960s) that suggest that locking the doors will cut down accident related injuries even by one.

    Another thing to consider, I have worked on many car doors (from cars built in Europe, America and Asia) and in every case, their latch assemblies lock [or otherwise disengage] the door handle NOT the latch (that by the way is why "Slim-Jims" work to unlock a locked car).

    More recently (than the 1960s that is), I've noticed that many cars (my Passat and both of my BMWs for instance) have what can be best called a "Multi-Latch" arrangement which consists of the standard door latch and a secondary latch that is only activated by the deformation of the side of the car due to an impact. In such an impact the door latch is basically of no use, it's just too damn fragile, however the "Crash Latch" is there to save the day as it were.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    My car's automatic door locks can be programmed not to lock automatically.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "My car's automatic door locks can be programmed not to lock automatically."

    Yeah, our last five cars have been programmable as well, usually by the dealer. As long as I can turn them off I won't refuse to buy a car that has them. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    "I think that you are confusing Manumatics with SMGs, my definitions follow that will hopefully help you understand the difference:

    - The Manumatics are basic hydraulic Automatic Transmissions that have aspirations of being Manual Transmissions when they grow up.

    - SMGs/DSGs (et. all) are similar in nature to the type of transmission common these days in racing, and are, for all intents and purposes, mechanical gear boxes with computer controlled clutch actuation and gear change mechanisms. These types of transmissions have aspirations of being Automatic Transmissions when they grow up."


    I like your descriptions. :) Yeah, I know the difference between the two. My point was more about the lack of a clutch for both types of systems and the increasing use of technology that seems to lessen driver participation. I don't think of things like those as "features".
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    a time when car door locks were actually a separate lock, like the deadbolt on your door at home?

    Nowadays all they do is disengage the latch from the handle. There is no separate lock.

    I am SO GLAD my truck allows you to program it NOT lock the doors when you start moving. What a pain. Under the default programming, it doesn't unlock them again until you turn the engine off. So if you are just dropping someone off, they start tugging on the inside door handle until they tell you "it's broken..."

    :surprise:

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • sls002sls002 Posts: 2,788
    With six and seven speed automatics, the manumatic gear selector allows for a simpler selector. Otherwise, having 7 positions for forward gears plus neutral, reverse and park would mean 10 positions. I generally only use the selector for hill holding or to keep the transmission from trying to run in overdrive in mountains.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    My old 1995 Chevy Beretta, while a good car in many respects, had not only the annoying speed-sensitive locks and the irritating daytime running lights, but offered as standard perhaps the stangest seatbelt design ever...

    The belts were mounted on the door frame, with the tensioners/reels within the door itself. The idea was that you were supposed to leave the seatbelts buckled at all times. You could then open the door and slide in or out, since the belt system moved with the door.

    Needless to say, neither I nor anyone I've ever seen used them this way. :) Did any other makes offer this? It was perhaps even more annoying than the passive seatbelt/mouse thing.

    I've always thought it was an odd-ball GM attempt to get ahead of some imagined future govt regulation, like that weirdo '80s Corvette "big foam pillow on passenger dash" idea they had... ;)
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    Early '90's Honda Civic's - at least the hatchback - had the belts mounted on the door. Quite a number of GM products as well used this design. If the door opened in a collision the driver and/or passenger were ejected. It was really not a safe design at all.
  • bmk32bmk32 Posts: 74
    Factory installed remote start is an excellent feature, especially if you live in the snowbelt. It will start the car and let it run with the doors locked for 10 to 20 minutes (I can't recall the exact run time), then it shuts off if you haven't put the key in the ignition. You leave the heater/defroster in the on position and they run while the car runs.

    If someone were to break a window and gain entry to the running vehicle, the second their foot hits the brake to shift out of park, the car shuts off.

    When you enter the car, just put the key in the ignition and turn it to the "on" position and away you go.

    GM offers this as a factory installed option, others may too.....
  • bmk32bmk32 Posts: 74
    This is also a useful summer feature for the hot spots in the country too, just leave the a/c in the on position and the car will cool down the interior before you get in.....
This discussion has been closed.