Car Buying

Will a Modern Car Be Too Complicated For You?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If it's been a while since you bought your last new vehicle, you might be worried about climbing behind the wheel of a modern car. After all, new cars offer a lot more technology than ever before, with screens, gadgets and features in basically every direction you look. So if it's been a while since you bought a car, should you prepare to feel overwhelmed when it's time to shop for a new one? We have some answers.

It Depends on the Car

Before you go shopping for your next car, it's important to understand that not all cars have turned into rolling computers. Many mainstream models -- compact cars, midsize cars and even popular SUVs -- are still available with only the most basic features. Yes, you'll probably have a hard time finding a car without power windows or power locks, but if you're worried about the onslaught of infotainment systems and active safety features, fear not: There are still many models that don't include those items on their list of standard equipment.

With that said, many modern cars have incorporated a wide range of new features and technology beyond what you're probably used to. In fact, the last few years have seen upgrades in just about every area, including stereo and climate controls, transmission levers, gauge clusters and more. As a result, we strongly suggest test-driving every car on your list to decide whether you can handle all the new equipment and technology.

Don't Worry

Fortunately, there's a silver lining to all these features. Despite the new gadgets, cars still operate almost the same as they always have. You still turn the key (or, in some cases, push a button), you still put the gear selector in drive, and the turn signals, mirrors, accelerator and brake are still in the same location as they've always been.

As a result, it's important to remember that even the most high-tech new cars can still be driven a lot like older models. Sure, it's true that you probably won't be taking advantage of all the features your car offers, but if you don't need them, you don't have to use them. In virtually all new cars, you can still drive the same way you always have, regardless of equipment.

A Thorough Delivery Is Key

Although buying a modern car might seem like a daunting proposition, it will feel a lot less intimidating if you get a thorough delivery. What we mean by this is that you should make sure the salesperson goes over every aspect of the car before you drive off the lot -- including all the buttons and the features. Many times, waiting around is the last thing you'll want to do after buying a car, but we recommend it anyway.

The reason we suggest getting such a thorough delivery is that most new features don't exist to make cars seem more challenging or difficult. In fact, it's the exact opposite: Many new features are there to make your life easier, safer and more convenient. For instance, a blind spot monitoring system may initially seem like an unnecessary extra that's perched on your mirror to distract you from driving. But you'll quickly find that it can be very helpful, and will alert you to cars in your blind spot that you may have otherwise not seen.

So while it may seem easier to ignore these features and continue driving like you always have, we suggest at least trying out some of the latest technology. After all, you might end up liking it.

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.
Will a Modern Car Be Too Complicated For You? - Autotrader