3 in 4 drivers want to ditch ‘non-essential’ car tech

Motorists reject overly complicated equipment as distracting, with most using less than half of their own vehicle’s features

More than three-quarters of drivers in the UK want simpler cars with less unnecessary technology, according to a new survey.

As cars become more complex and packed with convenience and assistance systems, the poll of 2,000 people found that the majority of drivers think cars have become too complicated and many would rather have less tech and a lower price.

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The research found that 69% of motorists believe in-car technology has become too complicated and 78% of motorists didn’t want “unnecessary” technology fitted to their vehicle.

While high-end functions such as huge touchscreens, wifi, adaptive cruise control and remote parking are often viewed as attractive selling points for new cars, the poll found that 61% would prefer to pay less for a car with fewer features and around a third thought their own car was burdened by too much tech.

The study was conducted by budget car brand Dacia, which, predictably, prides itself on fitting just the essential technology to its cars.

It found that the average driver only uses 40% of the systems fitted to their vehicle, with systems such as a digital radio, parking sensors and sat nav among the few technologies viewed as essential for 21st century driving.

It also found an age gap amongst tech adopters, with drivers aged 25 to 34 using the greatest number of features in the cars. However, even within this tech-savvy age group drivers said they used less than half of their car’s features on a regular basis.

Three-quarters (76%) of those polled also believed that too much technology in a car, such as menu-laden touchscreens, could be distracting.

Many car makers appear to be in an arms race to include the most and latest technology. Ford’s new Mustang Mach-e features a 15.5-inch central touchscreen, matched only by those fitted to Tesla models. Most brands offer internet-connected infotainment systems with everything from music streaming to news and weather updates and photo galleries, while Hyundai and Kia models will pipe sounds effects ranging from a crackling fireplace to a snowy village around the car.

A growing number of models are also being sold with parking assist which automates parallel parking manoeuvres or remote control parking, which allows the owner to move a car forwards or backwards into a space while standing outside the vehicle.