I need to vent about the impolite piece of yet-to-become e-waste on wheels that is my rude-ass car. You've heard versions of this story before, nothing is particularly novel in the shock department, enshittification is everywhere, etcetera... but I need the catharsis.
I knew car software was bad, but I only realized how bad it truly was once I got some first-hand experience.
What I want in a car
For a car, I want a means to transport kids and their associated heaps of stuff around in a safe and relaxed manner. Some functional wheeled metal cage to participate in the joys of fucking over the climate at 100 km per hour. I don't even want my car to go fast anymore because I'm too sleep deprived to enjoy the experience anyway, and gas is not getting any cheaper.
You turn the key, the car comes alive to help you whatever needs done. Maybe rev that 0.9 liter econobox engine for the hell of it, but then quickly shift it into gear, subdue your hi-torque dreams of smoking rubber for another day, and drive off. Utilitarian, sensible. A functional, trustworthy tool that doesn't get in your way.
The actual experience
To my chagrin, the actual experience of driving my recently manufactured car is one of incessant, pointless whining. Operating this machine is like visiting the average news website. At every turn, rude-ass automotive software you didn't ask for clamors for your attention.
Unlocking the doors
Use your remote to unlock the doors? Better not be encumbered by groceries, screaming kids or other luggage because if you don't open the doors within 15 seconds of unlocking, they close again. Presumably this is done for my own benefit, as everyone knows that leaving a car unlocked for more than a minute immediately invites thieves to come feast on the crumbs of rice crackers littering the back seat.
Closing the trunk
Did you put stuff in the trunk? Press a button and it will attempt to close itself (at a glacial pace). I say 'attempt', because if there is any item placed within 50 cm of the edge of the trunk, it will loudly complain and open again at a significantly brisker pace (so it could move faster when closing, it just won't). What problem is this solving exactly? Me waving my arm up and down to close the trunk? What was a 1 second operation now takes at least 10 seconds, and often a lot of angry beeping.
Starting the engine
DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!
Six obnoxiously loud gong-like sounds reverberate through the interior of your car upon pressing the 'start/stop engine' button. But, only if you put it in neutral first, refrain from even thinking about touching the accelerator pedal, and fully depress the clutch (even though you just put it in fucking neutral)
Using your turn signals
Conveniently, the outside mirrors have a little orange dot indicating cars in your blind spot. Less conveniently is the additional auditory feedback that - you guessed it - whines its warnings at you when you use your turn signals to change lanes when there is someone nearby. I get why this exists, I see the utility and I can even force myself to feel unbothered by the ridiculously high sensitivity.
However. If you're at a traffic light, in the rightmost lane with two lanes turning left, of course the demented tamagotchi on wheels thinks you are about to sideswipe the car to your left. Because this pisses me off so badly, I've taken to not using turn signals in such cases, to avoid triggering this "feature".
Coming to a full stop
There's a lane keeping assistant, which understandably enough wants you to keep touching the steering wheel. If you bring the vehicle to a full stop with the lane keeper on, it will still demand that you wiggle the steering wheel to signal that you aren't suddenly taking a nap or changing someones diaper in the back seat. Traffic jam? Traffic light? Parking your car somewhere? DING! DING! DING!
The goddamn tires themselves
This must be a simple mechanical defect with my car but the tire pressure sensors trigger after prolonged (> 1 hr) driving at high speeds (~ 130 km/hr). It complains about low tire pressure, and invariably when I measure them, they're just fine.
Getting out of this physical incarnation of an AliExpress storefront
You arrive at your destination, blood pressure off the chart, an angry vein throbbing in your neck. You open the door. DING DING DING! ENGINE STILL RUNNING! DING DING! DID YOU LEAVE ANYTHING IN THE BACK SEAT! DING! DON'T FORGET YOUR PHONE!
Can it really be that bad?
Just typing this makes my blood boil. I realize I haven't even touched upon emergency evasive movements. A slow car swerves across lanes, ending up front of you? You want to pull on the steering wheel to avoid a collision? Well fuck you because now you have to fight the lane keeping assistant because how dare you get out of your lane without first signaling your "I have 0.67 seconds to move or else my license plate gets replaced by an entire Renault Twingo" action.
You're being histrionic.
The infotainment unit is surprisingly good.
Save for the fact that in the past year, it has asked me to accept four different, updated versions of the Terms and Conditions. I'd gladly just click the button that means "whatever" because, you know, who has the energy to care about the next adtech grifter selling your butt's temperature profile to 721 interested third parties? But out of sheer spite and loathing, instead I keep hammering the one that says "don't accept for now, but keep nagging me forever until I accidentally click on the other button". At least I'm familiar with this particular enshittified experience from interacting with other, non-automotive appliances.
P.S.: for the record, this is about a Kia Ceed SW, but I feel it's not that important as I'm sure 90% of all 2023 cars run on the CAN bus equivalent of a 10.000 line, 100 cell Jupyter Notebook that was last restarted in the fall of 2018.
There's a Dutch translation available, should you prefer Dutch.