Festivus Main

December 23 is the "official" date for the made-up Seinfeld holiday known as Festivus. I'm perhaps the world's biggest Seinfeld fan, so I do celebrate Festivus. No, there's no feats of strength or even a pole, but it's a good time to have the airing of grievances. If you're not familiar with Festivus, there's a video at the bottom explaining this made up holiday from the "show about nothing."

So with that, in lieu of my weekly "Week in Review" roundup, here's my official Festivus Airing of Grievances as it relates to the auto industry. As Frank Costanza shouted: "I got a lot of problems with you people!"

Start Stop

Start/Stop technology

Every vehicle I get to drive seems to have start/stop technology. And each time I find a way to disable this annoying feature. I know it allegedly helps improve fuel economy, but this has been mostly debunked. Even if it improves fuel economy, the annoying aspect of it is just not worth it. And I know I've heard from some of fellow automotive writers who agree with me.

Lane "assist"

Just because you have the technology doesn't mean you should put it in every vehicle. Lane keep "assist" is one such technology. Well intended, but annoyingly executed. The rare time it might help when you aren't paying attention and sway across a line, it's oh-so-annoying when you do a quick lane change and forget to put your blinker.

And yes I know if I use my turn signal, it's less annoying but let's be honest who puts their signal on with every lane change? I sure don't, therefore, Lane Assist is on the naughty list.

CVTs

I literally just reviewed the 2023 Infiniti QX55 and the biggest issue was the continuously variable transmission (CVT). I've yet to find a single CVT that I like. This is another (alleged) fuel-saving technology that is annoying. 

With the push toward hybrids and electrification, we will thankfully see less CVTs, and for that I'm thankful.

Mazda infotainment

Mazda's infotainment system

This is where I might diverge from others, but I'm sorry, Mazda's infotainment system is the worst in the industry. It feels so dated, clunky and is just not intuitive. As good as Mazda's vehicles are, the infotainment system just is such a detriment.

Lexus was the holder of the title of the most confounding infotainment system with their touchpad interface, but they've now phased that out with most of their vehicles. Hopefully future models of Mazda vehicles follow the lead of Lexus.

Electrification

Cramming EVs down consumers' throats

I am a fan of many electric vehicles (EVs). They're fun and beautifully styled. I am fine with development of future EVs by all auto makers. What I take issue with is the forced deadlines of product lines being all electric. These are still niche vehicles that the American consumer is lukewarm about (at best). 

Automakers that are choosing a cutoff date in the 2030s are living in a dream world and will regret that decision. Toyota recently announced they would take a wait and see approach when it comes to full on electrification and that's the right approach.

Let's not forget much of the United States is not ready for millions of EVs when it comes to the charging infrastructure.

Egress

Egress and ingress

PT Barnum once famously put a sign on his circus attraction that said this way to the great egress. Egress of course means exit. When it comes to the auto industry, getting in and out (ingress and egress) can be difficult when doors are either too light or too heavy and don't stay open or don't open wide enough.

It seems like such a simple engineering concept to build a vehicle door at the right proportion with the right weight to stay open. It's almost 2023, surely we can do better with the doors on today's vehicles!

Conclusion

Whether you celebrate Festivus or not, I'm sure there are grievances you want to air. And with Christmas in just a couple days, let's also put our grievances aside and find peace and joy this holiday season too. As we head toward a new year, the auto industry has a bright future, despite my above "grievances." Next week I'll feature some of the things to look forward to in the new year. Until then, have a wonderful Festivus, Christmas and any other holiday you may celebrate!

Jimmy Dinsmore is the Automotive Editor The Weekend Drive, a nationally syndicated automotive journalist and published author of two books including Mustang by Design (available now) and Ford Trucks: A History of the Ford F-Series (available this fall)