Ally Asks: Which Car Features are Worth the Extra Money?

Recently, we looked at which premium features are worth it and which are not when it comes to spending smart on your car. As we first noted, “Many times, the true value of something has nothing to do with price and more to do with whether you think you’re getting your money’s worth.”

In our post, we gave you the experts’ views. Now we’d like to get your take. So please tell us…

Which of these car upgrades are worth it to you?

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If you haven’t already, cast your vote or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Which features do you opt for when you’re spending smart on a car? Which add-ons are not worth the extra price?

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  1. 1
    stephen parker

    I really like my On Star in my vehicles .. serves several purposes. also give peace of mind in the event of a accident

  2. 3
    George Beltz

    Wish my Chry 300 had the Nav sys in it when I bought it. This feature was not available at the dealership where bought. How much to have the radio with the GPS put in?

  3. 4
    Stanley Myles

    With electric technology still limited by range and cost, modern low-emissions diesel offers a good alternative that lowers pollution while improving fuel efficiency. I’ve owned several diesel cars in Europe and have a VW diesel now. I applaud General Motors’ decision to offer the Opal diesel in the US. I would love to see expansion of diesel models available in the US from all manufacturers.

  4. 5
    Patricia Dilkes

    I think this should be a standard option and not one that has to be purchased every year for $200-$300! It is a very important feature to have in an automobile…a good GPS

  5. 6
    Monroe Alan

    Hmmm… it appears to be more important to people to know where they are headed than whether they get there in one piece! After market GPS is excellent — it can be replaced if needed, serves the same purpose and is cheaper.

  6. 7
    john gw finck

    A while ago I wrote to you asking if you would consider lowering my monthly rate. I am in my third year paying off my used car and have never missed a payment. I have received offers from other financial institutions offering much lower payment options. I would like to stay with Ally but these other offers are very appealing. Is there anything you can do regarding this?

  7. 9
    Jerry G

    Because I am direction deficient, I do appreciate the function of the GPS as well as to make phone calls while Iam driving is nice.

  8. 10
    william e.williams


  9. 14
    Phyllis Ziemke

    If you travel alot, this would be an excellent add on…but it is not that necessary, as hand held units plus ready equipped phones will suffice…also….

  10. 15
    Galen Beamer

    Being a grandfather, Safety is my most important feature
    in any auto. A gps can be purchased at most sporting good stores, and diesel is not as economic as you think due to higher maintenance cost and the current price of fuel. FM radio is fine with me

  11. 17
    Laura Maythenyi

    Safety Options are definately number 1. ! After that would be the GPS Navigation !

    The rest is just fluff and not a necessity. For the amount of time a person spends in their car, Most of the fluff is not even used.

  12. 19

    I can not figure people out any longer, as why on earth would a GPS be more important than a life? I’m all for helpful features, but what good are they if your fancy, shiny new auto is not safe to drive? Oh well that is just my thinking. Thanks.

  13. 20
    Over The Hill Bill

    Built in GPS: People don’t know how to read maps? Buying Diesel: Bad choice especially when diesel costs so much more. DVD System: More distractions for already overly distracted people. Makes safety the only choice in my opinion!

  14. 21
    Cecelia Mills

    The built-in GPS and voice command options should be an option that can be purchased in all vehicles.
    My hubby got a new truck with the GPS already installed.
    It is great to know that you will never be lost and the driver doesn’t have to push any buttons or look away from the road while driving.
    Husbands will never have to ask for directions again.
    Hallelujah!!!! This is truly amazing!
    Thank you for asking Ally!!!

  15. 26

    I would not buy any of these options. GPS can be purchased on line for a heck of a lot less than the dealers price.

    Safety options are just that, extra stuff while all the mandatory stuff is in the base price.

    Diesel, maint costs are high, fuel costs are high. Why diesel in a car?

    DVD, not for me.

  16. 27
    Matthew Lee

    I would say Safety Options with an addendum. I learned to drive without ABS and Traction Control. While I like the idea that newer drives are using these options, I still have the skill to drive without them and wished it was something that would be taught to new drivers under the concept of defensive driving (as it is was called in my Driver’s Ed class). I would like GPS to be classified as a safety feature. While GPS would not replace the importance of paying attention to your surroundings and not replace the need to plan a new drive ahead of time, it can help to prevent people from trying to look for a building number or find the road sign behind the branch while watching the surrounding traffic.

    Thank you,
    Matthew Lee

  17. 28
    Bob Bradley

    Survey is misleading. The question “Which of these car upgrades are worth it to you”? is misleading, whereas is is worded in such a way that more than one choice is possible. I would have initially checked two items, Safety and Navigation, but the survey only let me acknowledge one.


  18. 29

    I opted for safety features. Built-in GPS doesn’t seem worth the extra cost they get when you can buy a GPS unit for $100 or less these days. DVD systems appeal to those with kids, for baby-sitting them on long trips. And diesel fuel may get you greater mileage, but the cost-per-gallon premium is too high for the extra mileage you might get.

  19. 31
    William Thomas

    I think a GPS should be in all autos as a standard piece of equipment. Also, safety is definitely an important.

  20. 32
    Queen Tahata

    GPS is essential
    Improve phone essentials,for easy use
    Automatic doors,windows both sides
    Automatic seats adjustments

  21. 34
    L Word

    I use my phone for GPS. It is usually more up to date than the GPS systems in cars. So for me safety is number one and built in Nav is at the bottom.

  22. 37
    william pitchford


  23. 38

    My Cadillac CTS GPS, is no comparison to my old Garmin, and it costs as much as a new Garmin, with free updates, just to update the maps!.

  24. 39

    I agree with previous comments, the built in Nav is so far behind on technology it’s pretty sad. Do we use it, yes. Does it help sometimes, yes. Should it be a lot better. YES! Google Maps is decades ahead of whatever is in the Tahoe. You’d think for the cost of the upgrade it would be great, but quite the opposite.

  25. 40
    Andre K

    I really like the built in navigation. It comes in handy when I’m going to new places, saves fuel too as I no longer get lost. I also like On Star in my Cadillac. Last year after hurricane Sandy, when there was no power in My house, no home phone, no cell service due to downed cell towers, I was able to go in My car, and make calls via On Star. On Star calling has also been helpful to Me when I drive in remote locations, that have no/poor cell service.

  26. 41

    Safety features are my most preferred item. I made a onetime purchase for a GPS and with On-Star, you keep on paying every month.

  27. 43
    simply me

    I really wish my cruz had a built in GPS and I didn’t have to pay extra for Satellite service in order to have it. All vehicles should come equipped and fully loaded at no additional charge.

  28. 45

    I love Ally and would use them for a new or used cae, however I do believe safety is #1 concern.
    Lately I tried to get a used car but have had trouble working with LoneStar Chevrolet.As a consumer surveyor its sad to find out they are only after the money and a sale. Sorry to find this out but its the truth. Im really disappointed and very hurt. I needed a larger vehicle than the one I have because my mother now has cancer and uses a walker. I went to the used car dealership and found one that I really wanted. It was not easy working with these guys at all. The manager was very hard to deal with. Even though he came down on the down payment, he would not even come down $40 dollars on the monthly payments. Being a huge company and claiming to be #1 they could do it, but alas no they did not.
    I wanted to trade in my Sonic for a Captiva.

  29. 46

    Safety 1st of all. The basic advantage of built-in GPS would be that it would be harder to steal. I really prefer my GPS which can be moved from one vehicle to another. In our case, the maps can also be updated free. Would this be part of a built-in GPS?

  30. 47

    Recently I had an accident. Before I could put my car in park on star was on the phone with me. helped called the police and my husband at home. I will never give that up.

  31. 48

    Unfortunately the onstar navigation has not worked yet for us. two times we asked them for directions and the first time the system was on the fritz and they couldn’t help us, Good thing i had a good old “Hudson” map book, The second time we needed directions, we lost contact with them and he never called us back. Having the built in phone has been the only feature worth having because syncing the phone up with the vehicle has been a nightmare too. And the Equinox itself we are finding is a poorly designed vehicle. Should have bought a FORD.

  32. 50

    Safety 1st. (Usually get insurance discounts as a bonus) Diesel 2nd. (Motor lasts longer, better pulling power, & retains better resale value) Built in Navigation system – not worth the cost. Have one and never use it…. Use a GPS unit instead, or my smartphone when not driving.
    The portable GPS unit is less expensive, easier to program, and can be transferred to a different auto.

  33. 53

    Ally is a wonderful Finance Company to deal with, I appreciate this Bank of Finance and will continue in Many years to come, Thank You Ally.

  34. 54

    With technology evolving as rapidly as it does, after-market GPS units make more sense; they’re feature rich and many of them come with lifetime map updates.

    “Safety” shouldn’t be an option. Anything that enhances safety ought to be standard. Safety should be available to everyone, not just those who can afford it.

  35. 55
    K Edgington

    Diesel? The purchase cost are high, maintenance cost are high, but if you need the horsepower, there’s no comparison. Double the torque, double the mpg, triple the longevity. Gas engines just cannot compete with Diesel engines, when it comes to towing.

  36. 56
    Louis S

    I enjoy having GPS navigation in my car. However, it is not cost effective when renewal is $300/year and needs additional renewal services from XM/Sirius (traffic is xtra). I know others who have Nissan vehicles with Navigation (and it isn’t an extra cost item). I purchased a separate GPS unit with lifetime maps & traffic for less than $150. and just as important, when I am not in my car (travel), I can bring the unit with me. IMO, GPS on phones is convenient, but unless you have a large enough screen and fast response time, it isn’t a safe option to depend on. It also uses up data limits and a long trip, you better have good battery life.

  37. 58

    The safety features, confidence, and driving comfort are unsurpassed in my 2006 Crown Victoria Sport Sedan with Interceptor engine and suspension financed with the help of Ally. I did not think I would ever own such a reliable vehicle!

    Also, I hope to l finance a diesel truck with Ally as soon as the right pick-up comes along.

  38. 59

    The built-in navigation system is not essential whatsoever to me in a vehicle. We must remember how to read a map, plan ahead, and be prepared to make decisions for ourselves when unforeseen circumstances occur.

  39. 60

    Safety is of course the most important options. I love some of the new safety technology such as side blind spot detection. rear view camera (I think it may be mandatory for 2014) for backup, and hopefully in the not too distant future collision avoidance as a common option on all cars. And yes GPS is a great option. but the dealers have to get real about cost. Of course it should be a little more for factory installed, but not 500% more than a portable unit.

  40. 62
    Paul T

    Extra for GPS depends greatly on HOW MUCH extra. Plug-Ins are usually far les expensive and work just as well.
    Safety Options are also ify. Most are aimed at family with children. Not worth much to older or single drivers.
    Diesel – worthless. Why would you want to spend more and get less mileage?
    DVD system – It’s a car/truck – not a theater. Only good to those wanting to keep the kids occupied on a trip.

  41. 63

    My first car was a 57 VW with 36 horsepower and worked quite well for me. i also drive a 54 Chevy truck that has everything a new truck has but electric windows and door locks and i never use the ac. i bought the Terrain because it had very little addons and canceled Sirius right away and only keep Onstar for lock out. i have had the vehicle since Oct. and have only used 20 minutes of phone. when i travel long distance i use the 54 and a portable GPS that i borrow from a friend.

  42. 65

    On Star Navigation has failed me on several trips, but the emergency program has proven a valuable asset. I rely on my Android smartphone for GPS. Safety features is my priority.

  43. 67
    John Yardley

    I did think that buying a diesel was the way to go. Now after owning one? They are so junked up that you save nothing on mileage. The sensors go out so often that you hope they go out before the warranty is up because it is going to cost you six hundred to eight hundred a pop to replace one. Exhaust fluid? What a pain in the neck. Then there is the price at the pump. Enough said.

  44. 68

    We looked forward to the On Star system, but found that at least in Oregon it is almost worthless. Many of the roads we use feature hills and mountains that shield the signals; as it does with satellite radio. Discontinued both services…

  45. 69

    I love having the Buick Enclave,I drove cadi for a year & traded for this one,more room and more bells & whistles than I ever owned.As for as what I’d pay extra for would be onstar-safety is very important;grands love the dvd system(a must);the phone system I’ve got to have; I love the folks at Ally ;y’all are the best & I’d like GPS however I’m living without so it ‘d depend on the price.

  46. 71

    I voted GPS just because it’s nice to have, however, the mfgrs charge WAY too much for it, about $2000+ from most automakers for factory nav which is a crazy rip off.

  47. 72
    Jeffrey Kweller

    Safety,is the most important. Way too many gadgets in a car already. I would even take out cup holders. A car is not a traveling fast food store. Pay attention to driving and learn how to really drive your car.

  48. 73

    For sure I’m getting A GPS in my next vehicle I use mine all the time in my vehicle for Business but Always disconnect on me
    so definitely I want one In my next car

  49. 76
    Dave Jacob

    I consider 4 wheel drive as very important safty feature with the stabilitrac it really helps keep the vehicle on course. the auto lift gate and power seat and window features are great the on star is way out of line on price Ive had it on 5 SUV and I just let it expire after the trial time. . a radio with XM is worth the money I hate commercials . .dual AC is next my wife likes it warm I like cold

  50. 77

    Safety Features is very close to the top. But the first two things I look for is mileage and if it was a locally owned vehicle and a auction vehicle. I also look underneath to see if it is badly rusted I then if it came from some place that uses a lot of salt on the roads and that is a real big turn off.

  51. 78
    T Allen

    Safety is always the highest priority for me even more than a resale item. The other things are toys. Fun toys but just toys.

  52. 79

    I like a good sterio system, power under the hood, and x-tras like body kit, fin on the back, custom paint, info center on dash

  53. 80

    I think safety options should ALWAYS be STANDARD, period. I couldn’t care less about DVD as I drive a Jeep Wrangler and have had the back seat removed since I bought it. I would definitely pay extra for built in navigation but for now I use my smart phone.

  54. 81
    Cal E

    The GPS and the Safety options are important to me. But the GPS option was $7,000 according to the dealer!! One can buy a newer updated model every few years and be thousands ahead.
    And the handicapped van I bought does not appear to be all that safe. Unfortunately, we had to do a lot of miles for the wife’s medical care right after the purchase and haven’t had time to contact the dealer yet. Hopefully, some corrections can be made.

  55. 82

    Safety is always paramount. Anything else is just a sales tool. GPS / Nav systems are only good if you do not know
    how to use / read a map. They also take your attention away from driving just like a cell phone does.

  56. 84

    The safety of my passengers big or small means a great deal to me.. There are too many idiot drivers out there and if anything is going to happen, I would rather we all walk out with a scratch than sudden death or any critical conditions.

  57. 86

    Safety first…come on now we can use GPS through our smart phones or another portable GPS like a
    tomtom or garmin. Which is much CHEAPER than $1300 upgrade on a stock radio unit.

  58. 88

    I’d like to know where the minds are of the 769 voters that would prefer a DVD system over any of the other options. To me, safety should always take priority.

  59. 89
    Big Tones

    The safety stuff is already built in, so the gps is the most wanted feature for me. All though my car did not have it built in, I use a Magellan all the time, but a built in would be nice.

  60. 91

    thanks ally my problem is i bought a fully loaded ram truck 2013 signed off the checklist that i had every-thing fully loaded but no gps no radio to carry gps instead i have radio/cd, the only thing i got was tricked i went on carfax checked out the vehicle (ram) and there were 4 or 5 thing wrong with the truck. yet you and i must pay for the vehicle. .( to the question i would like gps system/safety in that order)

  61. 92
    Rob McCollough

    Safety options are priceles. GPS options are pretty standard on phones now a days along with movie watching. Save that extra space for soveiners not that bag of dvds that can get lost or damaged during you travels. Diesel is really a personal preforance eithrr you like it or you don’t.

  62. 95
    Debbie deButts

    On Star services serve a duel purpose. With turn by turn navigation & emergency response, I have peace of mind. Thank you, Ally.

  63. 96
    Miss. B

    I have a smart phone with GPS so what I really need is a DVD player to give the children something to do while traveling.

  64. 97
    Wise woman

    Safety is absolutely # 1. Free GPS should be part of any safety package, otherwise buying a portable GPS is a lot cheaper. Convenience is important too, so opening/closing trunk/rear door should be automatic, also SUVs’ rear windows should open independently like some of the competitors’ models do. Rear view camera without back up sensors is useless.

  65. 103

    On-Star is a “GREAT” I had a “T.B.I.” and it aids in getting me to local and distant places. With reminders where to turn. I have traveled with it and without, with is faster, safest, and best for myself

  66. 104

    I like the fact that my 2011 Chevy Equinox has OnStar and safety features, such as installed back-up camera. I feel all vehicles should have back-up cameras. As far as Sirius XM radio, this is a nice feature, but why should I have to pay a monthly fee for it? It should be free. Consumers pay enough for cars already.

  67. 107
    Ruby Jean Perez

    Built in GPS Navigation. That has really saved me a lot of times when I’ve been in rush hour traffic. In my business, time is money, and I would not go anywhere without my car that has GPS Navigation. I rely on that technology every day of the year.

    • 112

      A DVD system would certainly be a cool accessory. In other amusements, have you ever tried playing the license plate game on long trips?

  68. 113
    Gil Macali

    I already owned a GPS prior to buying my SRX. I thought why spend extra money. Plus I can use it in a friend or family member’s vehicle.

  69. 115
    walter whitley

    I like my OnStar an Sirius Xm When I find A Station I like I Dont Lose IT I also love my buick Enclave Thinks to Ally

    • 122

      A GPS can definitely be a good thing, Linda. Just wondering: Why would you choose a built-in GPS over a smartphone GPS? (We recently covered GPS options in our post, “Worth It or Not? Spending Smart on Your Car” (

  70. 125

    safety-i haul my grandkids around daily. the 2 times i use verbal gps it took me to wrong place-glad i knew where i was going-fm radio is fine for me -haven’t decided whether to keep On star-dealer should provide, not something i have to pay

  71. 126
    Scott Reeves

    If built in GPS had the same lifetime updates as their portable counterparts…It would be worth the extra $1000+ dollars. In my opinion the $250+ update a year stinks, not to mention locking you out of it when moving…ever heard of a co-pilot? Integrate the passenger seat occupied switch (airbag) into the GPS.

  72. 127

    The diesel engine is worth it above all other options, the fuel economy in a car is phenomenal, while in a truck the torque lets you pull most anything with minimal loss in fuel economy; as compared to most gassers.

    Most safety features become standard, GPS can be added with a portable device for use in many applications (you can get a Gramin for under $100 if you shop for a deal), same with DVD systems. When they eventually come out with a diesel-hybrid, be prepared to double your fuel economy.

  73. 129

    People would rather have Sync, Bluetooth and Navigation before Safety….. Why!

    I Love My On-Star in My Chevy and would not trade it for some other feature that does not protect, save or over looks Me in a serious crash or accident.

    Sure, I like gadgets just like anyone else, however; the gadgets I prefer are Kitchen Gadgets and not Car gadgets!

    Safety Measures =’s Happy Measures and DON’T FOREGET IT!

  74. 130
    Carolyn R.

    There were several reasons that I purchased my 2011 Chevy Cruz. The most important to me was the gas mileage (38 hwy, 28 city). The second reason is the safety features, surround airbags, and the final reason that I chose this car was the color, Artic Blue. I call it Artic Ice Blue. Its sharp!!!!!

  75. 132

    GPS is a wonderful tool it can get addictive, it teaches you ways to cut in the back road in cities that you dont know. My other choice was Diesel engine cars

  76. 134
    Chuck DeVivo

    I have On-Star and XM, but I did not keep the directions plan. While it would be hard to justify the price of the On-Star subscription as an extra insurance policy, I do like the hands-free telephone service and use it regularly. The navigation would be useful for someone who travels a lot, but I don’t. I just wish there was an a là carte option for occasional users.

  77. 135

    I need to have my navigation system. I’m literally lost without it. My only gripe is the cost of the upgrade CD. For the price, you would think they were re-routing/mapping out the entire United States. It’s just an update!

    I would also like to have a CD player. I’m old school and like to listen to my old CD’s. It seems like too much trouble to locate the songs that I actually want to hear on my smartphone/MP3 player.

  78. 136
    Scott H.

    Safety should definitely be # 1, and there are many other features that are not listed that are much more important than a DVD or NAV system, such as; gas economy (instead of diesel how about listing electricity or some other source of energy as an option), reliability, and cost to maintain the car are some very important concerns. I am definitely a used car consumer, as I will never purchase a new vehicle for the remainder of my driving days, because the value drops so quickly, and there are thousands of certified used vehicles that are available for sale.

  79. 141

    Safety is important,however, I like the ‘toys’. Built in NAV systems, remote start, lock/unlock with no key, DVD, on-board displays that let you put in personal pictures, USB port to load your own music into a DVD, etc.

  80. 143
    Jean U.

    Since I bought my 2010 Colbot and it has the onstar features I would not give that feature up for the world. It gives me that piece of mind of being safe as I travel alot by myself and help is only a call away.

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