Car News:  Oversteer

Modern Car Amenities We Take for Granted

RELATED READING
See all Plymouth Horizon articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Eric Brandt July 2017

Now that I've regularly driven an economy car from 1986 for a while, I've been noticing how many amenities are standard on almost all modern cars that we take for granted. I really enjoy driving my Plymouth Horizon, but I still can't help but miss some of the features that have spoiled me in just about any car from this millennium. Here are just a few:

Abundant Storage Compartments

Climb into just about any new car and there are map pockets in the doors, a cavernous center console, a glove box, an overhead console, dozens of beverage holders, and cubbies all over the interior for all of the junk we think we need to bring with us on every drive. You know what my Horizon has? A broken glove box. That's it. The thing I miss the most in terms of storage is a spot to put my phone. My normal move is I open the car door, I remove my phone from my pocket, I climb in the car, and put my phone in one of the many available cubbies. If I leave it in my pocket, it's a pain to take it out if I need to look up an address or play some music (not while driving, of course). The plus side of not having a spot for your phone in an old car is there's no aux jack or Bluetooth connectivity, so you really don't need to have your phone out in the car at all. Speaking of which...

Bluetooth

Now, I know there are a lot of modern cars that don't have Bluetooth, but it has quickly become standard on a ton of cars in just the last few years. You can get a brand-new 2017 Honda Fit in the base LX trim for just over $16,000 that comes standard with Bluetooth streaming audio and a hands-free phone interface. My 2013 Ford Focus ST has Bluetooth, and it has me extremely spoiled. Phone call? No problem, just push a button on the steering wheel to answer. Entertainment? I can stream my music and podcasts effortlessly. My car even reads my text messages to me! If anyone needs to get a hold of me while I'm driving my Horizon, they're going to have to wait ... which, OK, is actually kind of nice.

Speed-Compensated Volume

Now here's a feature you might not even know you have. What started out as a bit of a gimmick in the 1990s has become a staple of most -- if not all -- modern car stereos. With speed-compensated volume, the volume of the stereo automatically adjusts according to the car's speed. That means you don't have to turn it way up when you're on the highway or turn it way down when you get off the highway. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but until you hear Stevie Nicks scream at you about the white-winged dove through two 30-year-old speakers when you reach the end of an off-ramp, you don't really appreciate this modern feature.

Sound Deadening

Why is Stevie Nicks being so loud, you ask? Old cars don't have anywhere near the built-in sound deadening of modern vehicles. When you're on the highway in an old car, your stereo better sound good when it's loud, because there's a ton of road noise, wind noise and engine noise battling it out in the cabin. Have you ever noticed how flimsy the doors and the floor feel in cheap old cars? That's partly because they aren't packed with the sound deadening we're spoiled with today. Another reason for the extra engine noise in my Horizon is there's no plastic second hood under the hood like on most cars today. You open the hood and it's just engine underneath -- imagine that.

Reclining Seats

Most economy cars in the base trim today don't have power seats, but they at least have more adjustable seats than they used to. In an old car, you could slide the position of the seat forward and backward, but that was usually it. It's not terrible, but it would still be nice to recline it a few clicks to get it in just the right spot. The lack of this feature is especially noticeable on longer trips. It also adds a challenge to sleeping in your car when you're on a road trip and feeling too cheap for a hotel.

These annoyances are pretty minor on their own, but they add up to make for quite a different driving experience than the one I've been spoiled with. Despite the quirks and lack of amenities, there's still an inimitable charm that comes with driving an old economy car that a touchscreen could never replace.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
The Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Museum Exists and Is Free to Visit
Autotrader Find: 1995 BMW M5 Touring -- for $130,000
Here's a Kia Sorento Driven by the U.S. Government

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Modern Car Amenities We Take for Granted - Autotrader