Decision-making aid: Useful and non-useful special equipment when buying a car

Every manufacturer offers huge equipment packages these days. From the third ashtray in the rear to the LED footwell lighting, everything is available for a surcharge. Only: where is it worth paying more? Which special equipment makes sense? On the other hand, which detail is useless and unnecessary in daily driving? If you have the opportunity to configure your new car at the dealership when buying a new car, you should not let the car dealership force you to buy extras, but pay attention to what you are spending your money on and which extras you can save on.

We have therefore compiled the following list of do’s and don’ts when choosing equipment. The list continues to grow.

Useful special equipment

  • climate control: Unlike the manual air conditioner, which only offers “on and off” choices, an automatic air conditioner can keep a set temperature constant. This increases driving comfort enormously, especially on long journeys, and prevents colds caused by over-air conditioning. We have already written extensively here about the advantages of automatic climate control. Price on average: Around the 1500 euros.
  • cruise control or “cruise control system”. Cruise control keeps a set speed constant. A huge plus in comfort, especially on long journeys, but this extra often only costs money 200-300 euros.
  • Park Distance Control The famous “beep” when reversing. The faster the beep, the closer you are to an obstacle. Meanwhile long ago for the front and rear, partly also available for the side. Often optical (display eg via navigation display) and acoustically can be ordered
  • rain sensor Often cheaper than a light sensor, for example. A rain sensor is not only practical because it switches on the windshield wipers when it rains, driving in the rain is really comfortable because it adjusts the wiper cycles/speed depending on the intensity of the rain.
  • Hill Start Assist A relatively inexpensive extra. It recognizes when the vehicle is standing on an incline and stops if the driver takes his foot off the brake when starting off on a hill, continuing to brake until the vehicle starts to move off. This reliably prevents it from rolling back. (hill start article)
  • center armrest Unfortunately, the center armrest often has to be purchased at high cost, especially in compact class vehicles – but it is certainly a welcome extra on long journeys.
  • driver information system or “board computer” A small display that usually shows data such as current consumption, average consumption, driving time, outside temperature, etc. next to the speedometer.
  • daytime running lights (or “LED daytime running lights”) A cheap equipment plus, often already standard. The daytime running light not only enhances the look, but also offers a high level of safety. For short distances during the day through the shade or the forest, you don’t always have to switch on the low beam.
  • shelves or compartments Often also called “storage package” or similar. Create order and protection from objects flying around in the vehicle.

More useful when needed

  • steering wheel heating Audi and Opel were the first to offer this special equipment. A button on the steering wheel heats it up like a seat heater and makes it pleasantly warm. The extra sometimes costs over EUR 100 and is more dispensable than almost any other: Even at -10 degrees, modern plastic steering wheels do not get so cold that you cannot touch them – if you park your car in the garage in winter, this equipment is no longer applicable anyway .
  • sunroof No convertible feeling but nice and airy: Certainly a great extra in the 90s, when air conditioning was not yet standard. Today there are much more aesthetic alternatives for those who want an open top, such as Audi’s Open Sky package, which entails a roof that is a good half glazed.
  • seat heating One may argue about the sense and nonsense of this feature, but it is rarely so cold in Germany that one really has to heat the seats: An extra that costs a lot of money and is often better invested in the upper category.
  • Adaptive cornering light The headlight lenses “rotate” depending on the steering angle. An extra that is used far too seldom in everyday life and does not really provide significantly more visibility, it is often associated with a high surcharge.

The list is still expanding.

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