Back in the 1950s and ’60s, air conditioning and seatbelts were rare options, and cigarette lighters were standard.
When I drove an old beat up 1974 Pontiac Ventura in college, the original owner had apparently passed on carpeting as an option. That spartan vinyl floor may have been cold but it was easy to clean, especially after a friend with a few too many drinks in his system threw up in it.
By the time I was out of college and bought my first new car, the cool option in that 1986 Buick Skyhawk was a cassette tape holder. It only held 3 tapes, but to me it was the most impressive option and it sold me on the car.
In the 90s it was the heated seats that suckered me into a Saab.
Even though my butt was always toasty warm, it was the worst car I ever owned. Read about that here: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/my-saab-story/
Fast forward to today, and seatbelts, air conditioning and carpeting are all standard and some of the options are truly amazing. The hot new option that Kara and I love in her new Buick Verano is an app, that allows you to start your car from phone, and check your mileage, tires, and your checking account. Alright, not your bank account, but pretty much everything else.
For a few reasons, we leased this car, and the constant upgrading of technology is a major factor in our decision making. Automotive engineers are making so much progress at such a rapid pace, some of the goodies in a 2008 model are kind of old school now. Who knows what automakers will be offering in 2020.
By the way, Kara’s car is made in her home state of Michigan!