I'm a meat-and-potatoes guy. My needs are few and simple: Eat, sleep, sex. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So it should be no great surprise that I look for simplicity in the cars I drive. Basic. Nothing fancy. Just four reliable wheels to get me from point A to point B with little fuss. I shun options such as power windows and remote door locks – I know how to roll down a window or open a car door. My only indulgences are air conditioning (nobody, repeat nobody, should be without it) and cruise control (I do a lot of highway driving).
Now don't misunderstand. I marvel at a fully loaded ride as much as the next driver. And if you can afford it, hey, go crazy. Personally, I just don't care to pay for all the bells and whistles. And, for every cool car toy or gadget, there are those options that leave me puzzled – the ones that really aren't worth it.
1. Automatic transmission
Back in the day, you had to know how to drive a standard transmission – it was a point of pride and a rite of passage. Not today. Most young drivers have no clue how to work a stick. The majority of cars sold are automatics – and that's a shame. Where has the fun gone?
2. Heated car seats
This is Canada, people. We're a hardy breed. Have we become so soft that we can't stand a couple of minutes of derrière discomfort on a frosty winter morning while the interior of the car warms up? Chill out and suck it up, buttercups.
3. Premium rims
A couple of years back, I had ordered a new vehicle from a dealership but, because it was an end-of-year clearance there was some difficulty getting me the specific model that I wanted. Cue the aluminum alloy wheels. If I wanted the car, I was going to have to bump up to a costlier package in which the aforementioned rims were featured. Say what? It was a freaking econobox and, with premium rims, it was akin to putting whitewalls on a garbage truck. I hung tough and eventually got the car I wanted, sans alloy wheels. Funny how that worked out ...
4. Dual/Tri-zone climate controls
Ahh, the good old days – when restaurants, bars and airplanes had designated smoking sections. As if the smoke knew to stay within the roped off area or at the rear of the plane. So, too, with controls that lets the driver, passenger and/or rear seat riders select different temperature settings. Who's zooming who here? Do you really believe that it can be 18C on the left side but 22 C on the right?
5. Colour-keyed door handles
Seriously? Motorists are so vain that door handles have to match the body paint? Black goes with everything, you know.
Queue jumpers, lane blockers, gas pump dawdlers, parking lot prima donnas and stop-sign Samaritans: it's enough to make you road weary