Technologies that previously were reserved for luxury vehicles have become commonplace, even in the most affordable models.
The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 sports car driven by James Bond in Goldfinger was equipped with numerous hidden features that would be of questionable use to the average car owner but that were lifesaving for Bond. The equipment included a hidden telephone, radar tracker, revolving number plates, front turrets, wheel-mounted tire scythes, and of course, the famous ejector seat.
In today’s cars, both high-tech (and some low-tech) features focus more on vehicle safety and making the driving experience more pleasurable. Technologies that previously were reserved for luxury vehicles have become commonplace, even in the most affordable models.
Automobiles are the incubators of rich and robust technology and the rate at which innovations are introduced to the automotive industry only continues to accelerate as costs diminish. The reverse cameras, navigational devices, and touchscreen displays that have become standard features in modern vehicles provide drivers and passengers with more sophisticated and safer rides.
Many car buyers are now asking about such features as adaptive cruise control, smartphone integration for hands-free driving, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warnings, just to name a few. Others have these features on their cars but are either unaware of them or don’t know how they work.
The following are 20 hidden features most people don't realize their cars come with.
20: Umbrella Hidden In The Door
The umbrella is an awkward device (except perhaps the collapsible version) to store anywhere and in a car, it is entirely out of place. It is best stored in the trunk, out of sight and where it doesn’t occupy a seat or leg room on the floor. However, when it suddenly starts raining, a driver who parks their car in the grocery store lot can get soaking wet in just a few seconds from walking to the rear, fumbling with the keys, and opening the trunk to retrieve the umbrella.
Car manufacturer Skoda has the solution: a hidden umbrella in the door panel, where it is out of sight but readily accessible once the downpour starts. The feature is also available in a Rolls-Royce (at a slightly higher price than the Skoda).
19: Volkswagen Beetle Flower Vase
For years, the Volkswagen Beetle came from the factory with a tiny flower vase, blumenvasen, mounted on the dashboard. It’s not clear if the partially hidden vase was inspired by the “Flower Power Hippie” years or placed in the car to confirm the assertion by some critics that the Beetle is a “chick’s car.”
Owners who opted for the flowers usually used fake ones to avoid the watering requirements and withered appearance of real flowers left in the car under the hot sun. The most practical use of the vase was to hold lipstick and pens, easily accessed when the need arose.