Option overload?

Time 11:12 am, October 10, 2008

061025100_1208466250.jpgBUYERS are calling on makers to fit less gadgets to their cars!

A recent survey by shows that over two-thirds of drivers want fewer accessories in their cars. Motorists reckon they’re more distracting than noisy passengers, complex road signs – even a barking dog!

The worst offender is sat nav. A third say that, rather than being a useful aid, it’s actually a major driving distraction.

Fiddly in-car entertainment systems send one in five motorists barmy, while one in 10 just can’t get on with fussy steering wheel control buttons or bleeping parking sensors.

By way of comparison, motorists were also asked to list non car-related distractions. Smoking topped the list with 23 per cent citing it, while eating and drinking scored 8 per cent, children came in at 10 per cent – and pets? 5 per cent.

Katie Armitage, marketing manager for said: ‘Many modern cars are filled with gadgets and gizmos, and for many drivers, are seen as not only confusing to use, but also a major cause of distraction for both themselves and other drivers.

‘On the back of these findings, we are urging manufacturers to ‘Go back to Basics’, and to consider the safety of drivers and how they use the add-ons – with the emphasis being placed on not losing concentration.’

Interesting stuff. If this survey is right, it should be worry for car makers and dealers alike. If buyers are deeming gadgets a distraction, will this mean they’re less likely to trade up or plunder the options list?

It just goes to show the importance of explaining gadgets fully, particularly during test drives and handovers, to ensure motorists don’t become frustrated in the manner this survey suggests.’s list of gadgets motorists love and hate – with the reasons why…


Parking sensors
Particularly the ones that give ample warning that drivers are getting too close! A boon on cars such as Land Rover’s Discovery.

Simple, easy to use sat-nav
The one offered as an option in the new Honda Jazz – on sale this month – is beautifully simple and easy to use.

Stop-start systems
Cars that turn off at traffic lights whenever you slip the gears into neutral and let out the clutch – such as the MINI and many BMWs. To restart, the driver only need ‘dip’ the clutch again before pulling away in the normal manner. Motorists appreciate the ‘fuel saving feeling’.


Touch-screen controls

It’s too easy to hit the wrong button while on the move – they’re on some Jags, Audis and VWs.

Cars that’ll let you lock your keys inside

This can be particularly distressing for parents if young children are trapped.

Cruise control
Great if you’re on a long, high-speed journey across Italy, Germany or France, but pointless on the UK’s busy roads. Fitted to innumerable executive-class saloons, MPVs and off-roaders… and never used.

Car Dealer Magazine's avatar

Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

More stories...

Server 190