Millions confused by car’s hi-tech features and ‘hidden extras’

Almost half (48 per cent) of the 2,000 car owners polled in a recent survey 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. 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. See YouTube video below: 


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.

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. 

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

Says Mark Carpenter, CEO at Motorpoint:

“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.

“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.”


1. Reliability

2. Good fuel economy

3. Low servicing and maintenance costs

4. Build quality

5. Strong resale value


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


Chris Price