Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Skip These Bells & Whistles

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Skip These Bells & Whistles

Article excerpt

Like most newspaper columnists, I tend to be a glass-half-empty kind of guy. So it's been easy for me to list the advances in cars today that disappoint me.

Still, I do try to look on the bright side of life; I've postponed this column to experience these advances more often and see if they continue to annoy. (Regular readers will recall the August column in which I highlighted some of the best things about new cars.)

But perhaps my negative outlook can benefit you, the reader, and keep you from spending money on options you might not need.

Keyless ignition: This advance allows drivers to keep the key fob in their pocket and use a starter button. But the only time I know the exact location of my keys is when I'm driving, because they're in the ignition.

A recent experience confirms my initial reluctance.

The Seat Family Pontiac Vibe was the subject of a recall, so I scheduled a visit to the dealer. Because I work nights, Mrs. Passenger Seat met me on my way home from work, and I picked her up in the 2014 Nissan Versa Note I was testing that week. The Versa Note had the optional keyless ignition system.

The dealership lighting left a lot to be desired, so we hunted a long time for the night key deposit. When we finally solved the mystery, I happily filled out the envelope, dropped the key inside, and dropped it in the lockbox slot.

We proceeded on toward home in the Nissan. About a mile from the dealership, I noticed a dashboard light blinking. A light shaped like a key. Oh, it must have lost contact with the key fob when I got out of the car, I thought to myself. I wonder why ...

"OH, NO!" I shouted.

Mrs. Passenger Seat, startled, asked, "What's wrong?"

I started fishing in my pocket and I pulled out ... the keys to the Vibe.

Now I had to go back to the dealership, leave a second envelope with the right keys and an embarrassing note explaining to the dealer what a bonehead I was. Fortunately, we had another car at home to get around in, because the Versa Note would be useless after I shut it off.

It just seems too easy to do. And for what? So I don't have to twist a key when I start my car? …

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