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Not all cars are made equally, obviously. Here are five practical features that we wish more car manufacturers would adopt.

10 May 2021


Cars these days are all packed full of equipment and features, both simple and complex. And, of course, every car is designed and built differently. Expensive luxury cars obviously feature a lot more equipment and luxurious appointments befitting of their status and pricetag.

Some features, especially safety ones like ABS or collision alerts, are important and ubiquitous, but you rather not have to ever use them. Others have become basically a norm for all modern cars, like auto head lights or reversing cameras.

Wireless Apple CarPlay is a nifty feature to have, but it's really not so hard to just plug in a cable
Some features, like wireless Apple CarPlay or a head-up display, are good to have but you can easily get away without them. And, some features are just, well, not particularly useful on a day-to-day basis (BMW's Gesture Control comes to mind).

But, when it comes to features, the ones that stand out and stick with us are those that deliver simple yet practical solutions that priorities convenience and ease-of-use. Simply put, these features make every day driving easier, simpler and better.

Having driven so many cars, we pick out some of favourite innovative solutions that we wish more car manufacturers would adopt.

1. Ventilated seats (Kia/Hyundai)

Given Singapore's sweltering heat, ventilated seats are an absolutely godsend 
In Singapore, ventilated seats should basically come standard for all cars. The other day, I was driving and the external temperature reading on the dashboard read 46oC. FORTY SIX!! Ventilated seats are a quick and effective means of getting your body cooled off, and keeping your body cool.

Ironically, ventilated seats are most commonly found nowadays on Kias and Hyundais, the so-called 'cheaper' brands in Singapore. We really wish more premium carmakers would include this feature as standard as well.

2. Brake hold (Mercedes-Benz/Porsche)

Mercedes' brake hold operation, whereby you just step hard on the brake pedal to engage, is fuss-free yet highly practical
Brake hold is a useful function. Most brands feature a button when you activate/deactivate brake hold. Problem? Sometimes you want to ride the brake (most notably when you're parking), and the brake hold kicks in when you least want it to.

The most elegant solution is the one found in Mercedes-Benz and Porsche cars, where if you want to engage auto brake hold, you depress the brake pedal firmly. This allows you to ride the brake pedal when necessary, without having to worry about the car suddenly braking while you're trying to reverse into your parking lot.

3. Hand-free locking/unlocking (BMW)

Simply walk up to the car and it automatically unlocks
BMW calls this its Comfort Access feature. Simply put, when you have the car key on you, all you need to do is to walk up to the car and it automatically unlocks.

Similarly, walk away and it will automatically lock the car (Renault has a similar walkaway auto lock feature). This means you don't have to ever take your key out of your pocket/backpack/handbag. 

It's as simple as that. It's a practical and seemingly simple solution with almost no perceivable downside at all. Why doesn't every single other car have this feature?

4. Hand-free tailgate (Kia/Hyundai)

Stand close to the tailgate with the key on you, and it will automatically open after a few seconds
Many brands offer hand-free tailgates of some sort. You can press and hold the boot release button on the key, wave your foot below the bumper or swipe your hand on the boot. 

So far, our favourite is Kia's Smart Power Tailgate. Basically, when the car is locked, just stand close to the tailgate with the key fob on you, and after a few seconds, the boot will automatically open. No need for any flailing limbs whatsoever. This also means that you can open the boot even when your hands are entirely full. 

5. Vertical wireless charging (Audi)

The vertically mounted wireless charging pad is a neat and elegant solution
Wireless smartphone charging has become pretty much ubiquitous across the industry now, but thus far the most elegant solution we've seen is Audi's. Instead of having a flat horizontal pad that takes up space and can look somewhat unsightly, Audi instead mounts its charging pad vertically. Cleverly, the charging pad is also mounted in the centre console storage area (where your cup holders typically are). 

Not only is this an extremely visually tidy solution, it also actually frees up more space, since a vertical charging pad would have a much smaller overall footprint than a horizontally mounted one.

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