Millions of drivers aren’t getting the most value out of their cars

By Richard Jenkins
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 2:33 pm

Almost half (48 per cent) of the 2,000 car owners polled admitted they don’t know everything their car can do.

And of those who activated a new feature, 38 per cent “accidentally triggered” it, while 44 per cent were alerted to the hidden extras by family or friends.

It also emerged that although 49 per cent cite safety reasons in their consideration of high-tech features when buying a new vehicle, 36 per cent feel “confused” by them.

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The survey was commissioned by the nearly new vehicle retailer Motorpoint, which has also created a video showing some of the useful features and hidden spec gems on the forecourt.

These include Skoda’s concealed ice scraper and umbrella, Honda’s Magic Seats and the Ford Puma’s MegaBox.

As demonstrated on the Jazz model, Honda’s Magic Seats flip upwards like cinema seats to allow transportation of tall or bulky items in the cabin.

While Ford’s Puma has a similar party trick, as the MegaBox under the boot floor increases the boot’s capacity and height, making it one of the largest in the small crossover class.

Also highlighted was the centre row of seats in the seven-seater Peugeot 5008, which enables three child seats to be installed side-by-side via individual ISOFIX points.

Fun automotive Easter eggs

Some fun automotive ‘Easter eggs’ emerged on the forecourt, including MINI’s Disco Mode, Vauxhall’s hidden shark emblem and the Jaguar E-Pace cub logo that features on the windscreen of Jaguar’s small SUV.

The research also revealed that when buying a new set of wheels, reliability is the most important factor (74 per cent), closely followed by good fuel economy (72 per cent) and low servicing costs (60 per cent).

And when it comes to standard features, more than half want a lot of boot space, while 47 per cent prioritise a good heating and ventilation system.

Other essential requirements include adjustable seats and a heated windscreen.

However, almost six in 10 have discovered features in their current car that they didn’t know about when they first got it, while 27 per cent stumbled on these features in the manual.

But these discoveries weren’t made instantly, as one in five drivers admitted it took them almost two years to discover some of their car’s hidden gems.

The research also showed that not understanding their car impacted drivers’ confidence, as 51 per cent believe their driving would be better if they knew more about what their vehicle can do.

Mark Carpenter, CEO at Motorpoint, said: “When it comes to technological upgrades in our daily lives, we tend to think about phones, laptops – or even kitchen appliances, but the motoring industry has also had something of a revolution when it comes to car specification.

“Buying a car is a big investment, so it’s important people have access to the right knowledge at the point of purchase.

"Access to an expert who can demonstrate key features before signing on the dotted line and during the handover can make all the difference.”

Learning how to use a car

It also emerged that more than a quarter of drivers don’t use the features in their car because they simply don’t know how to.

Unsurprisingly, 85 per cent believe it’s important that someone explains a car’s abilities to them when buying a new model, and eight in 10 would like to have access to a tech guru to answer their questions after a purchase.

But despite 46 per cent claiming to love their current car, four in 10 said it doesn’t have their ideal specification.

A fifth of those polled via OnePoll also thought their car became obsolete too quickly, because of technology constantly evolving.

This left one in five believing they would have to get a new car every year to keep up with the trends and upgrades.

Mark Carpenter added: “We wanted to share some of our favourite features that make some cars great to live with, but also to highlight the need for good advice when buying and during ownership.

“Ensuring your car meets all your requirements means it’ll be better value and more enjoyable in the long term.”

Brits' top five 'good value' factors when buying and owning a car

1. Reliability

2. Good fuel economy

3. Low servicing and maintenance costs

4. Build quality

5. Strong resale value

Top 20 most important car features for Brits

1. Boot space

2. A good heating/ventilation system

3. Adjustable seats

4. Safety features

5. Leg and headroom

6. Heated windscreen

7. Manual gears

8. Satellite navigation

9. Security features

10. Parking aids

11. Smartphone connectivity

12. In-car storage

13. High driving position

14. Alloy wheels

15. Heated seats

16. Automatic gears

17. Cruise control

18. A good infotainment system

19. Child seat fittings (ISOFIX)

20. Leather seats

Top 10 hidden features and Easter eggs in cars

1. Skoda Kodiaq – Ice Scraper

2. Skoda Kodiaq – Umbrella

3. Honda Jazz – Magic Seats

4. Ford Puma – MegaBox

5. Ford Puma – QuickClear Heated Windscreen

6. Peugeot 5008 – Three separate ISOFIX points in middle row of seats

7. Jaguar E-Pace – Windscreen Jaguar cub logo

8. MINI Cooper S – Disco Mode

9. Volkswagen Golf GTI – Golf ball gearstick

10. Vauxhall Corsa – Shark emblem