B2B – 6 features you may not find in your next car

Posted on: Jan 23, 2013 - 9:20am IST

A lot of poets, automobile journos and car aficionados compare the car to a human being. However, unlike human beings who have stopped evolving visibly, cars continue evolving.

Car with a veil on it

Additions like ABS and airbags which were the most sought-after features are becoming necessities today.

With each passing year, customers are demanding more features in their cars. This means that some features are going to get obsolete. So here is a list of six features that may not be present in your next car –

  • CD player

After cassette tapes, CD ROMs are becoming increasing obsolete. Drivers prefer either using a pen drive or an AUX port or playing music via Bluetooth. In fact, when Honda India launched the Brio, they did not bother putting a CD player in the proposition. In the future, more cars will ditch CD players in favor of USB/AUX/Bluetooth connectivity. We could even see normal hatchbacks having their own storage solutions on-board.

  • Hydraulic power steering

Now, this may not seem like a step in the right direction for us petrolheads but it is going to happen in the future. Most cars are adapting electric power steering (EPS). The benefits are obvious –

  1. No hydraulic pump required so the cost of manufacturing goes down.
  2. EPS draws no power from the engine and can be tailored for weight and resistance.

But on the negative side, we will lose the true steering or torque feedback. EPS replicates the feel of steering which may not be absolutely accurate. For example, the Ford Classic (previous generation Fiesta) uses a hydraulic steering whereas the current Fiesta uses an EPS step up. That’s a big change for a company that for ages has produced cars that are driver-centric.

  • Dashboard buttons

Any avid gadget freak (such as moi) can tell you buttons are passé. These days even washing machines come with touch-screen functionality. Internationally, many cars come with touch screen centre consoles. Here in India, Tata’s designed a small screen for the Manza, making it the first in the B+ sedan segment. The Skoda Superb, Volkswagen Jetta and Passat in India all come with touch screen functionality. In the future, even small, economical hatchbacks will sack dashboard buttons and appoint a touch screen.

  • Stick shift

India is inching towards automatics. Slowly but surely, manual gearboxes are on their way out. Earlier perceived as something only luxurious cars could have, automatic gearbox are becoming more and more mass market. Ford developed a cheaper ‘PowerShift’ dual-clutch automatic gearbox that is as good as a manual gearbox while being more fuel efficient. Whoever can come up with an affordable diesel AT in the hatch and sedan segments under 12 lakhs is going to start this revolution of moving India from manual to auto.

  • Off road capability

As more and more SUVs become tar-hugging soft roaders, they are going to lose their off road abilities. With increasing stress on emissions and fuel economy, the death knell has rung on high clearance vehicles with heavy frames and sub-assemblies.

In future, we will see people developing a strong liking for soft roaders. Hard core, 4X4, body-on-frame off roaders with multi-diff-locks are going to part ways with us.

  • Keys

Don’t you hate carrying your car keys? And if you misplace them, god help you. In the future, you will be unlocking your car using your smartphone. Metal keys will cease to exists and apps will take over the duty of locking/unlocking your car and even starting it.

Have I missed out on anything? You tell me in the comments section.

Next would you like to read more about the or more about Bumper to Bumper?

5 thoughts on “B2B – 6 features you may not find in your next car

  1. madhava says:

    Instrument clusters would be replaced with wind shield heads up displays. Petrol tanks would be replaced by compressed air tanks.

    Reply
  2. Rahul says:

    We may lose the engine of a car. 🙂

    We may see cars powered by alternative fuel like electric motor, fuel cell or compressed air (TATA, I am desperate to drive the miracle!) etc.

    Reply
  3. sandy says:

    I have some more points to add:

    *Our next car engine may shed some cylinder(s) and cubic capacity; and adapt turboChargers e.g. EcoBoost, TwinAir etc. Although in future we may witness Electric motors or Air Engine taking their place.

    *Tires would be replaced by innovative Airless tires e.g. Michelin Tweel, so that one do not need to replace it as it won’t get punctured. Because replacing the punctured wheel is one of the case where owners of an A-segment car finds their car too big.

    *Hand brake leaver would be replaced by switch as luxury touch.

    *Most of the metal parts of the car’s body may be taken over by strong plastics or Foams e.g. JSP foam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg6YnEtGloA.
    We have already witnessed the Brio’s rear and XUV5OO’s front fender had skipped away from metal.

    *In future we may find Automatic transmission taking away the functionality of a throttle.

    Reply
  4. vishal says:

    1. So in the future if i lose my phone I’m not only stuck with no means of communication but also no means of commuting.
    2. Secondly you might want to second guess a large scale movement towards auto-boxes. Maybe let it marinate for another 5-10 years.
    3. Yes I agree with you on the touchscreen controls, but to say there will be no buttons on the dash is overkill. Buttons are still a more reliable and no nonsense means of activating most functions – which often are easier to use and do not demand visual attention from the driver to operate.
    4. I know about product managers trying to keep costs low by getting rid of CD players and offering AUX bluetooth and USB drives – but i hope this disease does not spread as the sound quality on a CD is unmatchable and a good audio CD player in the car is the source of much delight for audiophiles like me. Unfortunately music piracy is killing the CD business and car makers are merely reacting to a larger trend in the music industry. Thankfully there are after market CD players – but it would mean that the now popular integrated audio system without CD players would be a wasteful purchase for buyers like me.
    5. I would tend to agree with you on off-roading becoming a narrower niche than it is today and of course the inevitable proliferation of EPS but India is still way behind in its adoption of dynamic safety features such as ABS and Airbags and a major shift will not occur till manufacturers start packaging their variants well. Right now its common practice to offer these on premium variants where these features are bundled with other accessories for a higher price. In a developing country like India, safety features should be offered as an option regardless of the variant you choose. Let the people decide what is important to them. But that would mean too many low selling variants in the portfolio so I guess car makers will continue to push safety down the throats of the rich and keep it out of reach of the masses regardless of their disposition towards safety features. In that sense we have gone back to the days of offering a car in only one color because it is easy to do that.

    Reply
    1. Nikhil says:

      If you download the songs from some legal website in the FLAC format, the sound quality is much better than CD

      Alternatively, if you can find a source to download songs in a 320 kbps or VBR(variable bit rate), the sound quality is a tad better than CD. CD’s are usually recorded at 128 kbps 44.1 kHz

      Reply

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About the Author
Kaustubh
Kaustubh Shinde

They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store.Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!