Spending almost his whole life testing and reviewing cars for magazines, TV shows, and websites, James May has plenty of experience behind the wheel. But as you’ll know from his YouTube videos and his car collection consisting of a Tesla Model S and previously a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai, May is a real tech geek.
But now The Grand Tour presenter has admitted that he’s getting “separation anxiety” when he drives cars that don’t have the latest in technology and features.
During a radio interview, James was asked: “Do you ever look out the window at your drive and at your car, and think it’s just too clever for me?
“There’s too many features and modes, and it’s just totally beyond me?”
This question arose after it was confirmed in a recent study by the AA in the Sunday Times that drivers weren’t “fussed” by the latest technology such as cruise control and automatic parking.
“To some extent,” James admitted. “I have become a great fan of connective cards to the extent that I get a bit of separation anxiety if I’m in one that isn’t connected.
“And I love tech features and reconfigurable dashboards and all the rest of it, but I would admit there are bits of this stuff that I don’t use.
“I don’t think I have ever used the auto park on one of my cars apart from on the day I got it to see if it worked.”
May however warns drivers that they shouldn’t be “dependent” on these features:
“I’ve got that on a couple of cars, and I do use it occasionally, but I’m not dependent on it, and I don’t think you should be. And I think that warning is in the owner’s handbook.”
He continues to argue that software engineers are designing features we don’t need:
“Some things that are on cars, I think, are there because they can be, and we have a lot of software engineers, and they need something to do.
“And that’s not just true of cars. You get that with features on computers and tablets and washing machines.”
The ex-Top Gear presenter was then asked where he thought the future of cars are heading, asking specifically if he believes they’re going to be “stripped back” to more basic designs: