With the new 15 registration plate arriving on March 1, many people will be thinking of changing their car.
On a recent launch, myself and another motoring hack were discussing the increasingly extensive list of options and customising kit available to tailor a car to your needs and tastes.
It all used to be so easy – stripes, spotlamps, mudflaps and floor mats was the order of the day when I was young.
Now the brochures for all those options and accessories seem to have as many pages as the ones for the cars themselves.
Anyway, while driving the new Volkswagen Passat – a car that comes with a lot of class and creature comforts as standard – we discussed what we’d be prepared to pay extra for if we were shelling out our own hard-earned cash.
Safety plays a big part in any buying choice now and there are some excellent accident-avoidance systems out there to detect vehicles in your blindspot and even stop the car if you are not paying attention or another vehicle pulls out or pedestrian steps in front of you.
We also decided we like those traffic sign monitoring systems which flash up the speed limit on the instrument cluster in case you have missed the sign.
And jet fighter-style head-up displays which project essential information, such as speed and instructions from built-in sat-nav systems, on to a screen on top of the dashboard, so it appears to be floating over the front of the bonnet, allow you to keep your eyes on the road and take in data without being distracted.
And if a digital DAB radio was not standard I would happily pay more to have all those extra stations.
So they’re all on the wish list then, but what would I not pay extra for?
Bigger wheels for a start. They may fill out the wheelarches and look good but they often have lower-profile tyres so ride comfort suffers and there is more road noise – my ‘boy-racer’ days are long gone.
And heated seats – the bane of my life and a positive pain in the posterior.
I find that feeling of getting warm round the nether regions rather disconcerting. And I clearly never got over being told that if I sat on a hot radiator on a cold day I would get piles!
I’ll happily put up with a numb bum but when my wife sees the heated seat buttons she’s quite content to roast her rear even in the height and heat of summer.
Sometimes she presses the wrong button or both of them so, without warning, I get a warm feeling which is even more worrying.
And don’t get me started on heated steering wheels – they really leave me cold. You really don’t need one if you’re wearing your string-back driving gloves!