Where some manufacturers make sure that everything is standard, others offer a long list of optional extras. If you’re not careful, ticking those boxes can quickly raise the price of your car by hundreds of thousands of Rands. A few weeks back I suggested the five options you need on your next car, but this week I highlight the top five car options to avoid.
Five Car Optional Extras To Avoid
1. Satellite Navigation
Current satellite navigation systems are clumsy, have terrible user interface and are outdated too quickly. More importantly, none in South Africa support traffic integration – which is where the applications from TomTom, Google and native app maps on your smartphone, or simple Garmin plug in GPS are the way to go. Also, because satellite navigation in a vehicle can run up to R25 000, where most of the apps are free or a tenth of the price, updated more regularly and integrate the voice turn by turn by streaming through your car’s sound system. Until they integrate satellite navigation from your smartphone, don’t bother.
2. Lane Departure Warning – Upwards of R8K
This safety system warns you of other vehicles in your cars’ blind-spot using radar. The warning is usually displayed in the side view mirrors and also has an audible warning. That said, the systems I’ve used rarely work properly, and at the current price for the technology, you could rather just crane your neck like the rest of us.
3. Adaptive/ intelligent headlights – Upwards of R10K
Adaptive or “intelligent headlamps” as they are also called, are coupled with Xenon headlamps to ensure better visibility at night around corners and in other areas. The headlamps can turn and vary their spread, as well as automatically switch on high-beam (brights), and off again, using light sensors. The technology is fairly new and expensive, and LED headlamps making their way into the market will do all this without it being an option. Unless you live on the twistiest bit of road in SA, I’d say don’t go for it. For the cost the benefit isn't that much better.
4. TV functionality – Upwards of R8K
Let’s be honest, if you can afford a car with TV functionality, you’re probably not watching our terrestrial offerings, which is all it can accommodate (SABC and alike). In most cases it can only be used when you’re stationary, and even if you’re in the back seat, I’d say you’d probably be using a DRIFTA from DSTV for real news. Give it a skip, and watch on the couch like the rest of us.
5. Bigger rims – Upwards of R4K
This is bound to cause a lot of consternation but hear me out. Unless you’re using your car on track days or the standard tyre and rim combination uses a hubcap and looks poor, I’d steer clear. Bigger rims more often than not take the ride from comfortable to terrible, as they crash over bumps and imperfections in our wonderful South African roads. Let alone their inability to handle potholes, which means you’ll be forking out money for low profile tyres and replacing buckled rims in no time. Yes they look better, and definitely allow better handling, but at the end of the day, public roads aren't a racetrack, so go for whatever came standard, and drive comfortably.