Rain-Sensing Wipers
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Cars.com’s 10 scariest features

Rain-Sensing Wipers
Cars.com, an online guide to new and used vehicles, is fed up with some frightening trends in the automotive world.

“We like heated seats and high-end stereos as much as the next car shopper, but some of today’s automotive features provoke more fright than delight,” editor Kelsey Mayes writes. “We chose 10 not-so-delightful features in today’s cars, from chairs that perform pneumatic jujitsu on your back to owner’s manuals that could qualify for a summer reading list.”

Click through this gallery to see what gives them the shivers.

10 -- Rain-sensing wipers

Rain-sensing windshield wipers generally use infrared sensors to monitor a certain section of the windshield for moisture or dirt; the wipers respond according to a threshold the driver sets. When one editor’s Volkswagen Jetta tester had its rain-sensing wipers suddenly spring to action one cloudless night, it was mildly frightening, to say the least. (Cars.com)
Ford Flex’s cooler
9 -- Soda can cool zone

Various automakers offer air-conditioned compartments to keep sodas and other sundries cool, like the one pictured, in the Ford Flex. The problem: Those cool zones get hot in the summer when the car is off. Cars.com’s editors had a couple of sodas explode in a certain Dodge after a 90-degree weekend. (Ford Motor)
Smart car and its transmission
8 -- Smart transmission

The Smart Fortwo deserves its own category. The minicar’s automated-manual transmission shifts gears with its own electronic clutch while the driver sees a traditional automatic setup. Drive the thing, and you feel as if you’re on a bucking bronco. (Daimler)
Chrysler Town & Country’s power sliding doors
7 -- Power sliding doors

Parents, rest assured that the power sliding doors on upscale minivans employ all sorts of electronic cutoffs to ensure that they won’t eat your Brownie troop. But we’ll note that the prospect of power doors that can do their thing by remote 20 or 30 feet away can be a bit dicey. (Chrysler)
Multiple owner’s booklets
6 -- Multiple owner’s booklets

The thought of wading through an owner’s manual to figure out how something works is daunting enough. Try wading through 10 or more of them; that’s the number of pamphlets, manuals and quick-start guides included in some cars’ libraries. With online directories only a click away, do you really need a state-by-state list of dealerships? (Cars.com)
Lexus LS self-parking guide
5 -- Self-parking cars

Lexus’ self-parking feature is optional on the LS sedan. Line up the superimposed square in the backup camera with your intended parking spot, then gently let off the brakes, and the LS will slowly steer around adjacent cars as it backs into the spot. You have to press the brakes to bring the car to a stop at the end. We didn’t know Big Brother had a valet job, either. (Toyota Motor)
BMW’s iDrive
4 -- iDrive

Even among the trio of similar dashboard interfaces from Audi and Mercedes-Benz, BMW’s iDrive is utter knobsense. Directional inputs send you to various submenus, but in most models there are no shortcut or previous-screen buttons around the knob. If you get the hang of it, you’ll be ready for “Survivor” tryouts. (BMW)
Nissan’s voice navigation system
3 -- Voice turn-by-turn navigation

Navigation systems have been barking out orders for years. Some systems try gamely to pronounce street names, but the result is usually anything but clear: You’re cruising along, and “she” suddenly directs you to turn left on ... what was that? (Nissan)
Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator
2 -- Heart-rate monitor

You read correctly. Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator monitors the cabin and pulses a light on your key fob if your car has an unexpected visitor inside. The thought of having this feature is scary in and of itself -- not for fear of being carjacked, but because we wonder what sort of paranoia would drive you to want it. (Ford Motor)
1 -- Overly aggressive seats

Driver’s seats run the gamut, from flat benches to the sort of hip-huggers you’d get in an F-15, and some of the more extravagant ones don’t sit so well with us. The BMW 7-Series offers a massaging driver’s seat, but its throbbing motions feel downright Frankensteinian compared with a real massage. In some of Mercedes-Benz’s more expensive models, active side bolsters automatically inflate to hold you in as you take a corner. They’re convenient on highway offramps and winding roads, but 90-degree city turns can result in sudden rib pinching as the seats go hog-wild to keep up. (Mercedes-Benz)