New Car Features Have Passed Me By - I don't need another phone

Let your car do it all

Let your car do it all, it's just a big rolling smartphone

New cars have passed me by, or more to the point, the amazing new apps for in-car digital electronics leave me wondering if everything is now aimed at hipsters or other young and plugged in vehicle operators, ... not drivers, because none of this has to do with driving, it's for the smartphone obsessed who find themselves in a car every now and then. Of course, self driving cars are coming soon to a highway near you so why not turn your car into a smartphone, too?

Look at these news releases from Ford:

  • Gracenote Powers First-Ever Voice-Activated, Mood-Based Music Listening for Ford SYNC AppLink User
  • Parkopedia Launches In-Car, Voice-Activated Parking Spot Discovery App for Ford SYNC AppLink
  • Parkmobile App to Add Ford SYNC AppLink Compatibility So Drivers Can Pay for Parking On the Go
  • ADT Pulse Customers to Access Home and Business Security Systems Using Ford SYNC AppLink
  • Domino‚Äôs Pizza, Ford Unveil Latest Ordering App Innovation Using SYNC AppLink System

Just as you can still make phone calls on your smartphone, I'm sure these brave new cars will still respond to the usual driver inputs and move from place to place, but really, voice activated mood music or parking spot discovery? In car pizza ordering? Can't your already multitasking smartphone do that?

I suppose the automakers are trying to deal with the increasing number of young people who don't hold cars in high regard and who often are in no rush to get a license. It's a real problem, if you can't hook 'em while they're young, who's going to buy your cars in the future?

But, these new features leave me cold, I feel a bit sad, maybe a bit nostalgic. I love high tech and the constant advance in every area, but it's beginning to seem that cars are searching for a new buyer, offering the car as appliance, and you can drive it, too, but only if you really want to.


  1. says

    Yes, they’ve passed me by too. That’s why my latest car is a 2002 Honda Civic Si. No traction control, no stability control, no backup camera or sonar, no touch screen, etc. I could do without power windows and power door locks and the moonroof, which I’ll never use, but it’s just spartan enough for me.

  2. Thomas B. says

    All they’ve managed to do for me is to price me out of the market. The newest four wheeled vehicle I’ve got is from 1993, and if that drops out on me, I’ll probably be searching for something older and carbureted. Much cheaper to keep running, aside from fuel mileage, which I haven’t actually been much impressed by for the new vehicles anyway.

  3. zipidachimp says

    the first car that struck me as an appliance was my 1973 Datsun 510. That car took me and the wife from Toronto to Los Angeles and up to Laguna Seca in ’73 without generating any “soul’ vibe.
    Totally anaesthetic. I was amazed though. Agree with your sentiment.

    • Rick says

      We had a 1972 Datsun 510 wagon. My dad still talks about that car..” 92 hp @ 5600 rpm”, 4 speed. Great car..

  4. Lee Wilcox says

    I expect to have a new car to put lots of miles on for as long as I continue to drive. The 2013 Nissan Cube that I drive has navigation and power windows. That’s about it. Otoh, I have a work truck from 95 that has power windows I could do without. It has almost 200kmiles and I expect to get 300. If anything goes bad with it I think I will put the 57 chevy back into commission. I might just never buy another and considering the song and dance I got from the car lots last time, I don’t want to.

  5. Tom says

    I’m too old to be a hipster so I don’t fit into that category, but besides power windows, locks, mirrors, cruise control, and maybe a backup camera (I had one in a rental once and was really surprised by how much I liked it) I would prefer that they have a blue tooth hookup for my smartphone that would take care of the entertainment and GPS functions. I bought a new Jeep a couple months back and I am still trying to figure out all the functions in the built in system that came with it. GPS that never updates maps was never a good idea.