>>Not quite like buying a microwave or TV is it, really.
I think it's exactly like that for a large part of the population. They don't own a car, they own car keys. They've no idea how anything works (other than the infotainment) and have no interest in finding out. They can't even change a wheel nowadays as they probably don't have a spare.
I know drivers that had the same car for ages and didn't know the headlamps had a thumbwheel for aim adjustment, never used the cruise control and took the car back to the dealer to pair their phone to bluetooth (but then still used it handheld because they forgot the instructions). Others didn't use the aircon because they didn't know the car had it.
Most on this forum are here because we find cars interesting in some way.
For many others they are simply transport - cost, space, comfort etc are key drivers. Lots of folk don't like the car buying experience where they feel intimidated and at a disadvantage.
Differences between cars in a similar market segments has diminished over the years as they all use similar design software and technology. Small variations in handling characteristics, standard gizmos etc make little difference to the uninterested buyer.
The only real influence in vehicle selection is probably brand built up over decades - this is to do with perceptions of the buyer (not the car) by others.
With so many cars now sold on PCP or lease deals the purchaser no longer carries the burden of depreciation - and with new vehicles - reliability. Companies make the process simple - click, click, click - and you have a new car delivered to your door with the old as a trade in.
So I expect to see online car sales grow rapidly - certainly within a large part of the total market.