Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

How many extras do our cars really need?

stanhope column sig

By
From page A2 | December 15, 2013 | 9 Comments

I was watching TV the other night and a commercial came on for a luxury vehicle that retails for nearly $100,000.

Not a bad price.

For a house. (Rimshot!)

But seriously, folks (as the audience laughter dies down) . . . if you spring for $100,000 for a vehicle, shouldn’t you get a lot of great stuff? With this car, paying $100,000 still leaves you without some of the awesome optional equipment. Let me tell you, there are some awesome options – because that’s what the commercial focused on.

As I watched it, I laughed. Then I thought about it. Then I lusted for the extras. Then I realized it was ridiculous and went to the garage to reassure my 20-year-old Toyota that it was more than enough for me.

Among the items for this particular luxury car were a “hot stone massage” system in the seat and an aromatherapy system – which allows you to infuse the cab with the smells “Nightlife,” “Downtown,” “Fireside” or “Sport.” The names remind me of looking for a deodorant at the store . . . when I end up choosing between “Midnight Passion” and “Workout Glory,” when all I really want is a basic deodorant.

But the luxury-car folks assure us that we can get our own scents, too. We aren’t limited to their choices – and I suspect we may see a successful aftermarket business, selling “Mom’s pot roast” or “Fresh Bubble Gum.” Or maybe even “Car.”

While the aromatherapy seems silly, the “hot stone massage” could be dangerous. Once it goes bad – and let’s face it, even on a $100,000 car, there’s bound to be electrical problems – your back may be pummeled by a deranged massage system, resulting in bruises, burns and some erratic driving as you careen along Interstate 80.

There’s more: This car (and others like it) have large information screens, Wi-Fi hotspots and even colors for the audio system (colors for an audio system? What’s next, aromatherapy? Never mind.). There’s a heated steering wheel. And more.

Which leads to the question: What do you really need in a car?

My standards are low – after all, I’ve had three in-my-garage car accidents, so spending big money would be a waste for me.

But here’s my list: Steering wheel. Windows that can roll up and down (electric is nice, but not mandatory). Radio. Seatbelts. Defroster. Exterior lights. Windshield wipers. Locks. Heater.

That’s about it.

Come to think of it, my 1988 Hyundai went without locks for the final few years I owned it. (No one broke into it – one of the advantages of driving a car that looks like it was stolen from a junkyard.)

My current car lacks a heater – which seemed unnecessary until last week, when the freezing weather chilled me. Had my car caught fire, I would have stayed inside to get warm.

Maybe a hot stone massage would have kept me from shivering so much. Adding a campfire scent would have made it seem cozy.

Maybe the luxury-car folks are on to something after all.

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or bstanhope@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is the Daily Republic's news editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 17 years as a sports editor and three years as the associate editor before spending three years away from the newspaper (though continuing as a columnist). He returned in December 2010 as news editor. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.
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Discussion | 9 comments

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  • I like the Music in this, builds tension that can only be released by the purchase of a Luxury ConveyanceDecember 15, 2013 - 8:38 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5sqKrBgqGE

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Self-Driving Car Test: Steve MahanDecember 15, 2013 - 8:46 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgQpa1pUUE

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jeremy's P45 - Smallest Car in the World!December 15, 2013 - 8:52 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFdBcYN3sNw

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Flying Car - Terrafugia TF-X introductionDecember 15, 2013 - 8:59 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUgsyYotLkQ

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • If someone cuts U off in traffic...Forget giving them "the finger"....instead...December 15, 2013 - 9:09 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMfYUyrKRng

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Top Gear : Pagani Zonda F vs Bugatti Veyron Drag RaceDecember 16, 2013 - 7:09 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyC3CWDlEzY

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NFSD...Riders In The Sky - The Christmas YodelDecember 15, 2013 - 9:24 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQm6nptAdzQ

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • HANK SNOW - The Reindeer Boogie (1953)December 15, 2013 - 9:29 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbRaHKHmO7o

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • A Fool Such As IDecember 15, 2013 - 9:38 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx7sZ0WgP7o

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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