By on August 30, 2013

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Gather ‘round, everyone, because it’s now time for the third installment of my recent “Question of the Day” spurt. Today, I’m listing the answers to my pressing and highly important question, “What automotive details are you missing?” In my original post, I named a few missed details – all brilliant – and asked you to provide your opinion on some others. These are the posts I felt were most deserving of inclusion here. (In other words, these are the posts I most agreed with.)

Automatic Up Windows – davefromcalgary

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I’ve never understood why automakers are willing to include windows and a sunroof that open automatically, but they can’t make the very same windows and sunroof close automatically. User davefromcalgary – a man named Mark who lives in the Des Plaines, Illinois, area – feels the same way. This is a missing detail that you notice a lot, especially if you spend a lot of time going through drive-thrus.

Split Rear Hatches – meefer

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Here’s a feature we all should have. In most SUVs or hatchbacks, you can’t really do much sitting once you’ve opened the tailgate. That’s a shame. The reason for this is that most tailgates are one-piece units that pop up in their entirety, meaning you’d have to slink down to the bumper height if you want to sit down when the tailgate is open.

This isn’t the case in a few cars, such as the Range Rover and the Honda Element. More automakers should adopt this design, or at least consider adopting this design before ultimately banishing it for being too expensive. It’s the thought that counts.

Rain Gutters – drtwofish

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In my Range Rover, the window switches are mounted so close to the exterior of the vehicle that they may as well be on the wing mirror. The result is that when you put down the window and there’s even the slightest bit of rain, or even the residue of rain, the water sloshes down on the window switches and you have to deal with whatever happens when rain gets inside a Land Rover window switch. (In other words: complete vehicle shutdown.)

This problem isn’t the case on cars that have rain gutters, as drtwofish brilliantly points out. Sadly, I don’t think anyone is doing this anymore. It’s a great detail and it’s sorely missed, likely in the name of style.

Turn Signal Lane Changer – ezeolla

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This is a great feature that’s very much missed on cars that don’t have it. Here’s how it works: you want to make a lane change on the highway, but you don’t want to devote any part of your attention to holding down the turn signal lever so people can see where you plan to go. The solution is the “lane changer,” which provides three quick flashes with the slight push of the signal stalk. This feature is sorely missed in vehicles that don’t have it, which is way too many.

Speed Limits on Navigation Systems – jacob_coulter

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I’ve driven cars with this feature and it’s absolutely awesome. Imagine cruising down the road and you realize that you have absolutely no idea what the speed limit is. So you glance down and… there it is! Then you can immediately slow down, or maybe speed up. It doesn’t matter. The point is there’s a clear indication, right there in the gauge cluster, that helps you with this highly important matter. After all, isn’t the speed limit just as important as, say, your battery voltage?

Cornering Lights – most TTAC users

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Automakers, if you’re listening, here’s an easy one: put cornering lights on your vehicles. A few brands already have them, but it seems like a lot of people want them back. This surprises me, as I find them to be rather unhelpful, not unlike memory seating for the passenger side. But people seem to like them.

For those who don’t know, cornering lights activate with the turn signals at low speeds to illuminate the curb you’re about to run over. These days, they’re mostly used on Nissan products.

Vent Windows – most TTAC users

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Here’s another topic suggested by an inordinate amount of the TTAC populace. Another explanation for those who don’t know: vent windows are at the very base and front of a car’s driver and passenger windows. They were common in the past because they could blow some amount of air into the cabin, but not a huge amount of air.

Apparently, people want these to come back. Surely, they were discontinued when mirrors needed to be powered, then heated, then include turn signals, which requires the amount of wiring in a wing mirror to be roughly equal to the amount of wiring in Jamaica.

And so there you have it, folks: today’s missing automotive details. Are you listening, automakers? We don’t have very complex demands. We just want some rain gutters, vent windows, and windows that go up automatically. Is that too much to ask?

@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars and the operator of PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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192 Comments on “Answers: Missing Automotive Details...”


  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I miss floor kick vents. My 69 Mustang had them, so did my 85 S-10. where did they go?

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      My 70 Mustang had them too, even with factory a/c. Some cars of the era mostly GM which had those chrome pull levers deleted them when you ordered a/c.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      I’m clearly a young’un, because I have no idea what this is.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Way back in olden times, there was an air vent in the foot well next to the driver’s left foot and the front passenger’s right foot. Open it up (a door or slide) and you got fresh air from those vents in the fenders behind the wheel (when they were real vents), or from under the car. There were also vents in the C pillars that let the air out of the cabin so they could call it flow-through ventilation. The foot well vents have now been replaced with dash vents.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Didn’t Studebakers have those throughout the 50’s?

          • 0 avatar
            Wheatridger

            The day I realized the flow-troruh ventilation was gone, I cried a little. On a cold winter day, nothing was better than setting the heater to warm your feet and hands and windshield, while also enjoying a cool breeze around your head.. Now that’s “dual-zone climate control”! Some of the incoming air didn’t pass through the heater core, and it was independently controllable. It prevented warm air from rising to the top of the cabin and pooling by your head

            Even the cheapest cars had some form of it, back in the seventies and sixties. It must have helped us get over the loss of wing windows…

  • avatar
    redav

    “Turn Signal Lane Changer”

    I do not like that feature. I disagree with the whole logic behind it. Using the turn signal doesn’t take more effort or concentration than tapping it once; if you are in a situation where three blinks is enough, then things are open enough to not have to worry about effort/concentration, and all the real-world driving I do, three blinks is not enough, so the feature is of no use, anyway.

    I completely agree on the auto-up windows. There is no excuse for omitting that. And a speed limit gauge is brilliant.

    • 0 avatar

      Same here. Most cars already have a far superior feature: a two-stage blinker switch. I just use a finger to hold it for the necessary duration of the change — which is never the 3 blinks that auto-blinker does. The downside of the auto-blinker is extreme though.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        Am I missing something? When I tap my turn signal it stays on until I either turn it off or make a 1/4 rotation of the steering wheel. What cars have turn signals that you have to HOLD to stay on?

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          As Pete said, such cars have a two-stage blinker switch. Tap gives you three blinks – but you can also hold it manually down as long as you want.

          If you push hard – harder than in your car probably, to clearly differentiate between old school and tap – it does engage with a click, and stays there until deactivated manually or the counterturn of the steering wheel.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Most cars have the “lane change” function which is when you hold the lever, without engaging the detent for “normal” signaling. With the “one-touch,” any time you “click” into that area, you get the three blinks. (I use that all the time in light freeway traffic; it’s the law, plus hitting the signal stops the Lane Departure Warning in my Accord from beeping at me when crossing lanes!)

            Of course, the fly in the ointment has to be the completely electronic signals on BMWs and the like, which return to center before a normal turn is completed, and, from what I understand, are a real PITA. More complexity for complexity’s sake? @krhodes1 or someone else, perhaps you could comment on that.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The BMW turn signal setup annoyed me when I first encountered it – it seemed wierd. But once I got used to it, I prefer it. You can cancel the signal by tapping the lever in EITHER direction, and the detent between momentary and on is quite strong. And the lever is always in the proper position – there is never a need to LOOK at the lever, so why should it stay in one direction or the other? And having had to replace a number of worn out self-canceling levers over the years on various old cars, it will likely never break. It is a much simpler arrangement – the car has to have a steering angle sensor for the stability control anyway.

            The number of lane change flashes is adjustable up to 5, I have mine set to 3 which seems right for the times that I use it. If I need more than 3 flashes, then the signal is ON.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This. If you’re signaling a lane change with three blinks, you’re being a dick.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        I have it. I use it. I think it’s not a good thing.

        Here’s the only way it works semi-passably:

        1. You’ve looked in the mirror and quick once-over shoulder.

        2. You’ve changed direction slightly, but more importantly you’ve shifted the weight of the car already, in a way that though you’re still definitively in your lane, an abort procedure would very much create a situation you must work hard to control.

        3. You tap just as your front tire is about to touch the lane.

        Problem: you should be already blinking so people you MAY NOT HAVE SEEN see you and warn you.

        What do i do it? Requires too much force to engage with a click, probably to allow the stalk wider latitude in the tap procedure.

      • 0 avatar

        If you’re on an open highway with some, but few, vehicles around, it’s really useful.

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          If the nearest car is far enough behind you that the ‘three blink’ will work, then you don’t even need a signal at all. Just move over into the empty lane.

          If there are cars directly behind you, then you should use a full signal and give them some time to recognize it.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            You need a signal to be legal, that’s where I see it as a benefit. In traffic situations, lots of cars, you need more notice for the drivers to pause between sending text messages to notice you want to move over. But when there is very few cars around and you are just moving over, the 3 blinks is to avoid a ticket and to be courteous.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        If you are in a situation where you need more than three blinks to simply change lanes, you probably shouldn’t be changing lanes to start with. It happens of course, but in those situations the right course of action is to put the signal ON, and make sure that those around you are well aware of your intentions.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      Three blinks is long enough for people to notice. If the driver pulling up behind you happens to glance at his mirrors during the three-tenths of a second your blinker takes to complete a single blink, he may miss it. With three blinks occuring over a second and a half, he likely won’t.

      It’s a nifty feature, and greatly appreciated. It’s not absolutely necessary, but then, neither are airconditioning, power windows, power steering or hydraulically assisted brakes. Your mileage may vary.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It shouldn’t be about blinking just enough that people paying attention will probably notice a single blink. It should be about blinking for enough time before you start the change that your intentions are clear, and then throughout the duration of the lane change.

        That’s almost never fewer than eight or nine blinks, even for a fast lane change.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Too much warning is just as bad as too little, when someone indicates a lane change I expect them to follow through. If your signal goes on too long my first thought that runs through my mind is “What do you want, an engraved invitation? Change lanes, already” If I have to start second guessing what a driver wants to do, I could be wrong and things could get ugly. So a couple of blinks warning, then do it!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Two blinks is perfectly sufficient as warning. But if you give two blinks’ warning then your three-blink auto-signal will shut off when you’ve barely started the lane change.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          How far does another driver have to get into his or her lane change or turn before you notice he failed to signal for it? That’s right – you know almost as soon as he initiates the maneuver. If you know at that point what he’s doing, any signaling from then on is superfluous.

          Also…try making a lane change take ten seconds…that’s about what 9 blinks is. Nobody takes 10 seconds to change lanes.

          The auto-blink feature is usually adjustable – in VWs it’s set at 3 blinks, but you can do 4 or 5 also with the MFI. That’s plenty.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Any signaling from then on is superfluous.”

            Nope. That’s not true under the law (signaling is legally supposed to last through the entire lane change), and it’s not true from a safety perspective either.

            You’re not just signaling for the benefit of people behind you, but also those beside you. Your signal may indicate to someone who is planning to change into the same space from the opposite direction that the space is already partly taken.

          • 0 avatar
            niky

            Is that universal, though? I was under the impression that most places merely required you to signal before initiating the change (in the US, for at least 100 feet before the change), not through it. (though this is recommended, I cannot find any state laws requiring it).

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Guess in lower-speed 35-40mph traffic I should be using more than one well-placed blink then? Only the person behind me in either lane needs to see.

          At highway speed, I leave it on until fully in the intended lane.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Whatever. I find that the fact of someone actually doing something at the same time they’re signalling gets my attention much more than the signalling does.

            And under the law, we’re all supposed to be going 55 in a 55…but not many of us do.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      There is a reason for not having one-touch-up windows; kids. Leave them alone in a car with the windows still capable of moving, and they’re likely to guillotine the dog or each other. From what I understand, it has happened, and the tragedy–and the lawsuits–that result are a force to be reckoned with.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        That is exactly correct. They won’t coming back. Ever.

        • 0 avatar
          bk_moto

          They are here, and have been for at least 13 years, in VW (and presumably Audi) products. They are included with a pinch protection system which detects blockages and reverses the window if its travel is obstructed when rolling up. I sacrificed my arm to test it out; works pretty good.

          Leaving kids alone in a car at all these days is asking for trouble, let alone whether they can operate the windows.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I am confident this is an engineering issue that can be overcome. You make it sound like a scene from a Final Destination movie.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    VWs have that “cornering” light feature. They turn on the fog lamp related to the directional that is flashing. Even the humble Falcon does it.

    The drip channel is gone (methinks) mostly for aero reasons. Toyota used to integrate them neatly.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Seems like the foglight is not all that useful it is a forward shining light, at least compared to the old GM cornering lights, which would light to the side of the car.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        This is true. Growing up we had a 92 Lesabre, 88 Delta 88, and my dad currently has a pristine 92 98 Touring, and they all lit up corners exceptionally well. Quite a nice feature because we lived outside the city.

        • 0 avatar
          Brawndo

          My first car was an ’88 Delta 88 and now that you remind me of it, it did have pretty great forward/corner lighting. It also had one of my favorite features now sadly missing from today’s cars, a whorehouse red velour interior.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Next time you’re driving at night, flip on the fogs – and you can see that they shine way out to the side compared to the regular headlights. Fogs have a very short, broad pattern and using them like VW does as cornering lights works really well – mine does it.

    • 0 avatar
      IndianaDriver

      My wife used to have a Mercury Villager with the cornering light feature. I really liked it, but I don’t see it offered anymore on new cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      My Tiguan’s cornering light feature is really helpful when turning into my dark driveway at night. Especially since 2/3 of all pedestrians seem to be wearing black. The light comes on with the turn signal, before I turn the wheel, and that light would give a pedestrian a little extra warning not to step off the curb as I approach. Next time I visit my mechanic, I plan to have him activate the 2009 GTI’s hidden feature that lights the fogs in a low-speed turn.

      Overall, the AFS steerable headlights are my favorite feature of the Tig. On curvy roads, you feel like you’re chasing your own headlights around the corners!

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Yep, adaptive HIDs are a much-appreciated feature and are a real safety advance. Those plus the cornering-fogs make a noticeable difference to me.

      • 0 avatar
        sckid213

        I agree that cornering lamps are great at night. My mom’s ’94 Deville had them. But the thing that I didn’t like about her particular cornering lamps is that they’d turn on whether it was day or night, independent of whether the headlights were on. Just looked dorky during the day. As if driving a Deville in the ’90s under the age of 70 wasn’t dorky enough.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Details like vent wing windows, rear passenger windows that rolled down all the way into the door or even a pop-out window for rear passengers harken back to a days when not everyone drove an air-conditioned vehicle.

    Living down South, god help you – if your A/C dies on a modern car.

  • avatar
    Power6

    I think I explained it last time about the auto-up windows…they cost more due to the “don’t strangle your children” features required after Subaru got sued years ago.

    What I can’t work out is how much more it costs..i.e. how much Toyota really saved by removing the “all auto” windows from a Camry and replacing it with just the driver’s auto-up/down.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My Toyotas (2010, 2012) have auto up and down on all windows. Odd that the Camry doesn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Yeah it is very odd. The nicer models used to have the all auto, but the new 2012 Camry, they went to drivers only. Maybe the customers to don’t care, I myself find them very useful.

        • 0 avatar
          OneidaSteve

          i caught my sons arm in a rental caravan back window, and I was shocked how tight it pinched him. He was wailing like crazy, and it left quite a mark. I would not want auto up on all 4 windows.

          • 0 avatar
            bk_moto

            VW has been doing auto-up on all windows for at least the last 13 years. VW does it right by including pinch protection – i.e. if a window is going up and it’s blocked from closing all the way (by somebody’s arm, for example), it will stop and reverse.

            I presume that building in the pinch protection functionality requires some additional minor cost that most automakers don’t want to bother with.

            Auto-down with no auto-up is crap. Auto-down only on the driver’s window with no auto-down or auto-up anywhere else is crappier. Why bother at that point?

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            All auto-up windows have pinch protection, that is the feature that makes it presumably cost a bit more, auto-down doesn’t need pinch protection.

            It does seem the windows have some force either way. One of those things you know the safety is there, but you don’t really want to test it by sticking your child’s limb in there.

        • 0 avatar
          Slave2anMG

          All three of my VWs (a 2002, a 2005 and a 2013) have the auto up feature…love it.

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            Our old ’00 Passat had auto up and auto close for the sunroof. You just put the key in the door, turned to lock but held in that position. All windows and the sunroof would then close and the alarm would chirp.

            I also installed a little circuit (similar to the Mini hack mentioned below) that allowed you to crack the windows slightly open just by clicking the remote key FOB. Holding down would put the windows all down. Great for hot days, but very BAD when it was raining!

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            They all have auto-up and auto-down on all windows. Also you can code them so that you can roll all the windows up and close the sunroof, or roll all the windows down (not open the sunroof, though) from anywhere within key fob range, just by pressing lock and unlock buttons and holding them. Let go when they are rolled up or down as far as you want, and they stay there. I use a good sunshade to keep my car cool, but to cool it even more, as soon as I walk out the door from work, or from my house, store, etc. I press and hold the unlock, and over the next 30 seconds it takes me to get to the car, it’s vented a TON of heat.

            If you have keyless, you lock the doors by touching the spot on the ouside door handle…but in addition to that, if you touch and hold on that spot, the same as you would with the lock button on the keyfob, you can roll up the windows and close the sunroof. Super-handy when I get out and realize something’s been left open.

            Also, if you get the auto-wiper sensor that comes on some Euro cars and wire that in and do the proper coding, you can leave the car with the windows and sunroof open, and if it starts to RAIN…they will close by themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Windy

      I am sure you are right and the reason that auto up vanished… first on USA spec cars and later elsewhere was fear of lawsuits from the

      “Have you been injured?! call James Jerkalot ATL as you may have won the lottery and be a part of huge class action suit that will net you a pittance while making me mountains of cash!!!”

      My 2004 MINI Cooper S camme with the auto up window feature disabled its a USA spec car and it was quickly noted online that european versions of the MINI that auto up still worked.
      A very clever chap reverse engineers that part of the BMW sourced internal electronics buss system and offered an inexpensive add on tiny circuit board that restored that feature as well as a easy way to disable the DSC for autocross folks that would survive turning the car off and restarting… double flipping the window toggle in theup direction will auto up the window.
      the inventor worked it up and offered it via the http://www.mini2.com forums

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      My 2013 Volt has auto-down for all windows but auto-up only for the driver’s side, which I find to be an odd arrangement. Also, the detent to discern from regular operation to auto up or down is very slight. I often find myself auto “upping” or “downing” several times when all I wanted to do was open or close the window a little bit.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        Same as my Cruze. They could make the detents better.

        I assume Driver-only auto-up/down is over liability litigation related to the Subaru situation mentioned in other comments.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Sort of, it is a cost issue related to the pinch protection style system that needs to be in place to have auto-up/down windows, which is related to the Subaru situation. So GM is saving some unknown amount of dollars with the simpler traditional window switches and motors on 3 of the windows.

          If it was say another $200-300 on a new car, I know I would want the feature included. It can’t be that expensive, some cars have it some don’t. Camry has just the driver’s window but the base Fusion has all 4 auto standard. As mentioned above VW doesn’t even bother building their cars without auto windows for a long time now.

          For me these go along with mirror/side turn signals. Every car should just have them.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            For most cars, all it consists of is a relay for the windows that can detect the increase in current draw from the window stopping before it should. Or in newer cars it is built right into the window motor. If it cost $2/car I would be shocked. But of course, when you are talking 500K units, it all adds up.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            No it doesn’t. You are correct in that is how auto-down works. But auto-up introduces the possibility of killing your child so they do not in fact work that way since Subaru discontinued theirs in the 80s, hence why they cost more. The noise signal from the motor is not enough to guarantee safety.

            All auto-up windows from every mfr have a motor with progress sensors which feeds back a square wave signal to a module. The module interprets the signal to verify the window is moving between the limits of the track, if progress stops (window hits a limb) the window is stopped and backed off a little.

            The switches are different, they merely signal the module to open/close the window. On the traditional and auto-down windows the switch actually makes the circuit connection that powers the window motor there is no relay involved.

            There is more involved, although it could be as little as $2 worth of stuff we don’t really know that. It costs enough that the mfrs don’t just put it in every car.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            well, Volvo did it that way into the late 90s at least, because I retrofitted auto up/down into my earlier 940s using S70 junkyard parts – just a module wired into the motor wiring. And for sure the 940 had nothing special going on in the window motor department, as it was the same as a 740 from 10 years prior.

            More than one way to skin a cat certainly, and tested with my own arm stuck in the window. Though IMHO, any child dumb enough to muck around in a car needs to be culled from the herd anyway.

            It’s all about cost cutting, and one of those little features to get someone to stump up for an ES350 over a loaded Camry.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            They could have been doing it the old way in the 90s, Subaru style? Certainly not any more, lawyers won’t let em!

            You can tell which type it is, 2 or 3 wires to the window motor is traditional style, 5 or more wires is the “safer” style, a couple wires carry the progress signal back. Sometimes the electronics are in the switch module, sometimes a separate box, but pretty much work all the same way.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      My guess is that the cost savings is less from the technology and more from the legality side. Toyota seems very sensitive to potential lawsuits.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Every Lexus has auto windows all around, Toyota Avalon as well, all the nicer Toyota SUVs have auto windows too. It seems hardly a legal issue, gotta be a cost savings.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    My Subaru wagon has a massive sunroof that goes back far enough to uncover the heads of the rear seat passangers. It’s great, except to get it to open all the way or close I have to hit the button 3 times. Once for the front part tilting open, once for it to open about 3/4 of the way, and then once more to get it to open all the way.
    Then to close it stops about 1/3 open, then it stops at the tilt again, and finally the third time it closes.
    I’ve had to start the closing process when I’m still about 1/2 mile from my destination.
    The sunroof switch on my old Audi was one of the few things that I loved about that car. Well, before the mechanism physically broke and was no longer able to be opened – about 1 year after I got it.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      What year and model? We have the 05 Outback with the big roof. It only needs 1 push to open. but does need the 3 pushses to close. Even the “normal” sunroof in the sedan in this year needs 2 pushes to close, ridiculously it stops half way for no reason at all. My 09 WRX was 1 touch open and close so Subaru must have wised up, but I don’t know they ever did that with the big roofs.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        2007 LGT. I know there’s a “mod” for one touch but it doesn’t bother me enough to go hacking up the wires.
        Now you’ve got me questioning myself. I know it has at least 2 pushes to open because the first 3 months I owned it I didn’t realize it opened all the way. Maybe just 2 to open.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Hey you know I checked tonight, it is 2 pushes to go all the way back, but the first push goes about 90% of the way, I think the first position is similar to the “comfort” position in the VW Beetle you get more wind buffeting if you go all the way back.

    • 0 avatar

      On my Cruze it only takes one click of the button to go from vented (flipped up in the back) to fully open. Same to get it back.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        On Hondas with the switch on the overhead console, there is full auto-open/close with pinch-protection, plus venting, with one touch/push to activate. If the roof is open, pushing the switch will automatically close the roof, then vent it. (Handy if, once on the freeway, the wind buffeting with the roof open becomes uncomfortable.)

    • 0 avatar

      My 2001 Outback takes three pushes to open and close really annoying

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    I must have missed the original bleg post, but I want to add (if someone else hadn’t already): crotch vents. Sometimes you just need a cold blast to the nether regions.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I absolutely despise the multi-blink signals. Hate them. Every time I marginally bump the stalk (which is surpsisingly often), my fellow drivers get the impression that I’m actually changing lanes, not just making a little blip mistake.

    I’ve never in my life thought “You know what’s annoying? How I have to hold the stalk for a few seconds while changing lanes.”

    A good, tactile detent point on the stalk allows this just fine — manually — and you’re already moving the wheel in that direction. Ergonomic beauty. Older, crappier blinkers were full-click on, full-click off (nothing in between). And manually, you can tailor the blinks accordingly. Heavy, slow traffic, maybe 10 blinks. Wide open interstate with lots of space between cars, just 1-2.

    But I ackowledge that I’m probably a one-percenter motorist. These things are just a pet peeve of mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I can’t believe you guys use turn signals for lane changes. Nobody around me does it. I do it mostly, but I’ve found Prius and BMW drivers behind me in the lane I want to move into who see me signaling will speed up alongside me so I can’t get in front of them. For them, I just make a sudden move to the right or left, assuming they can make evasive maneuvers.

    • 0 avatar
      DaveDFW

      Agree! My E550 has the three-blinks-if-you-brush-the-stalk, which I find annoying. If I accidentally brush the stalk, instead of just getting a partial blink the car decides to signal several times for an action which I don’t intend to take. And you can’t cancel the three blinks.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I like the speed limit/GPS thing and wish we could get every municipality on board with this, REQUIRING them to list all speed limits in real time. I recently got busted doing 51 in a 35 construction zone (no workers, Sunday morning) in part because Garmin still thought it was a 55mph road. It was. Before construction. I saw the cop, thought I was several mph under the limit, and carried on.

    It was a speed trap, no doubt, but if we could find a way to align GPS/Google Maps and local speeds accurately, I’d be thrilled. This feature has saved my bacon MANY times over the years. The problem is that speed limits change so frequently with construction zones.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Around here, construction zones are heavily marked and include the warning “fines double.” That should tell you there’s a “revenue opportunity” ahead.

      My biggest beef with construction zones is that no one obeys the reduced speed limit. In heavy traffic, if you do, you’re just a rolling obstacle.

      That said, and given the fact that a semi truck recently tossed a car over a “Jersey Barrier” and off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (miraculously, the driver survived), if I were working in one of those zones, I’d sure as heck feel a lot better if the semi’s weren’t zooming by at 65.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I was using a Garmin that is about a year old the other day and noticed that a couple of the speed limits it was displaying were wrong when programmed or that they have been lowered since.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Tom Tom lets you manually override info like speed limit red light cameras etc. it even allows you to indicate where various speed traps are located and let’s you input the corrected/new data, if your system is net integrated it sends the info to Tom Tom where everyone can then upload user corrections when you update your GPS

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My fear is that this integration will lead to control of the car, as in some parts of the U.K., where the throttle is governed to keep the car at the (underposted) limit.

      IMHO, most limits are ~5mph too slow anyway, plus such a system wouldn’t allow you to accelerate out of an accident situation!

  • avatar

    I had two Saab 900 Turbos, an 82 and an 86. At the time Saab had an accessory litter bin that could clip under front seat(s) occupying the void space between the seat bottom and floor. I wish more manufacturers offered something like it.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The wife’s Volvo has something similar: its a mesh pocket on the lower front of the seat… it appears to be like a map pocket but in place where you can actually reach it. Seems to work good for holding cell phones, lose change, a flashlight, a pen or other similar small items.

    • 0 avatar
      Hobie-wan

      As I recall my mother’s Stanza Wagon had some slide out trays under the seats. They were pretty much just good for magazines or maps, but still handy and better than having stuff sit on the carpet and slide around under the seat.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Here is another, seats that don’t adjust up and down. I don’t care if manual or electric, but for visibility, headroom, legroom and other reasons, front seats, including the passenger, need to adjust up and down. Hello brand new Acura RDX that doesn’t allow this on the passenger side.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      A few years ago, that was considered VERY unusual on manual seats. One of the things that VW always offered, even on their basic models, but most of the competition didn’t. Just like tilt & telescoping wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        That’s one of the features that keeps me in the VW camp, being about a 10th-percentile body type. How can you simply say, “One size fits all” when adult human heights vary by two feet?

  • avatar

    Unlike my 300SRT My uncle’s MKS 2013 Ecoboost doesn’t have:

    #1 auto-tilt-down mirrors in reverse
    #2 flat-fold rear seat

    The one feature his car has that I want is a power lumbar massage in the seats. A feature I truly miss from S550, but present in my XJ-L.

    I couldn’t possibly care less about:

    “Automated parking”.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      “#1 auto-tilt-down mirrors in reverse”

      I drove a car with this feature a couple of days ago. It freaked me out as I had the mirror in one position and it kept stubbornly tilting down when I shifted into reverse. Then I understood what was happening.

      Said car also had a reverse camera, which I seldom use and automated parking, which I haven’t tried… yet

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My Impala does have the three-blink lane change feature, which I discovered by accident. When I did, I thought: “Cool!”

    I miss vent windows, too. Also, openable windows on mid-size coupes. On small cars meant to be 2-seaters, where the rear seat is just there as a “shelf” to satisfy the insurance industry, fixed rear glass doesn’t matter, but it would be nice if they flipped open. I suppose universal A/C supposedly negates the need? To me, it just makes the car more inviting.

    You won’t ever see pillarless hardtops again except on M-B, at least so far. Side impact standards prevent this, but I still miss the style so prevalent so many years ago that added a certain (to me) “gotta have one of my own” panache. Nothing like all-windows-down-with-no-B-pillar cruising!

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Some more or less coherent thoughts on the “Magnificent Seven” listed above:

    1) Automatic Up Windows – YES. Great idea, but could be dangerous, although one would think that blockage-sensing technology would now be available in case you kid’s or dog’s head gets jammed in there.

    2) Split rear hatches – YES. Excellent: no argument there, but I’m a pick-up fan,so anything that resembles the tailgate on a truck wins for me!

    3) Rain gutters – YES. Ostensibly removed because of turbulence generation and aerodynamic drag. But the 2004 Honda CRV has a fat, wide one that is quiet, and doubles the roof carrier attachment rail, and it works just fine. Some car makers put a rubber-molding type within the door sheet metal, so you don’t see it: doesn’t work well for slushy snow loads! (Ask me how I know…(^_^).)

    4) Turn Signal Lane changer – YES. My BMW has one, and it is VERY useful in Europe on the autobahn and other high-speed, congested environments where keeping you hands and attention on “strictly ahead” is needed. I enjoy using mine here (USA) on multiple-lane, loop roads around big cities during rush hour.

    5) Speed limits on navigation system – NO. This is one more little gadget thing that seems superfluous. If you can’t read posted limits or don’t know where your driving, should you be driving? Don’t want one more thing cluttering up my instrument panel! (But then again, I’m an old #### who likes 6 basic gauges and a few basic switches, and that’s it.)

    6) Cornering lights – YES, resoundingly! I still think the “Tucker 48″ got it right. Just turn the bloody things with the steering wheel, and don’t tell me that is too hard with modern technology!

    7) Vent windows – YES, but these went away because of manufacturer’s cost considerations and people complained because they leaked; and because of styling designs that could gave a single sweep of glass on the side. But functionally, there did serve a great purpose, and as one reviewer above pointed out, were a life-saver when the air conditioner went south. (If your in the South, do air conditioners go north? :) .)

    ——————

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      NMGOM

      I am a young ##### but I totally agree, I only want 6 analog gauges in my cluster please. Speedo, tach, Fuel level, oil pressure, electrical, and water temp. Big, with easy to read labeling, symmetrically laid out please.

      I found the 2002 Sonoma SLS gauges particular pleasing.

      A 3 line display showing fuel economy or range to E is the only screen I would allow there.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Highly agreed on the split tailgate. That’s one thing I love about my LR3. Great for changing shoes after mountain bike riding, football tailgating….among other things.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      And I disagree. Most tailgated SUVs’ bumper heights are no lower than normal chairs. So to “slink down to bumper height” isn’t a challenge. The lower portion of a split tailgate would be bumper height plus a few inches of its own thickness. Carry a cushion and do it right! My old Forester made a fine easy chair– sitting sideways, the edges of the hatch were at perfect angles for back comfort, and you sat in the shade of the full-width tailgate. Very cozy, it was.

      The drawback of a split tailgate? The lower part, when opened, separates you from the cargo you need to load and unload, making for a stretch. to reach even the closest items.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Split tailgate? Lots of issues. Extra noisy, another area to leak dust and water and more maintenance. Besides you have to reach over the bottom half of the tailgate to get to whatever cargo you may have back there.

        So why do I like my Aztek with the split tailgate? It has a tray that can support up to 400 lbs. that allows you to slide your cargo out to you so you don’t have to bend waaay over to get at it. (Some SAABS had this, too) Also, the lower tailgate has seats and cupholders molded into it so you can sit there in (relative) comfort.

        But when it comes to getting the next SUV-like appliance, it will be a hatchback. Even if I DID have a choice in the matter, it would be a hatch.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    My X5 has several of the things you pine for: auto closing on all windows and sunroof, fold down lift gate you can sit on, and cornering lights. Missing detail: a “dual” button for the climate control to unlock the two temperature dials. As it is, you always have to adjust each side’s temp separately.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s crazy – so it’s ALWAYS in dual mode?

      • 0 avatar
        E46M3_333

        Yep, every BMW I’ve owned with dual climate controls has been like that. As far as I know, that’s how all BMWs are.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          The only dual-zone climate control that makes any sense is between the front and the rear of a minivan or 3-row SUV. The idea that you’re going to set the driver’s seat temp at 78 and the front passenger seat at 68 is a fable – they’re 9 inches apart with no way to prevent the air from mixing. You’re going to get maybe 3 degrees of temp difference, and that’s hardly worth bothering with.

          • 0 avatar
            bk_moto

            Agreed, dual-zone climate control has always seemed like a worthless gimmick to me.

            I get hot easily and my gf gets cold easily. Solution: roll the windows down and fire up her heated seat. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            I have to disagree on the dual zone climate control. I like having the cold air blowing at me, and my wife is perpetually freezing even in the dead of summer. She can have warm or even hot air and I can have the cold air. Rolling down the window only helps in winter not summer, and heated seats would be nice to have but won’t solve the cold air issue.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You guys obviously never travel with women, do you? If you are comfortable, she will be too hot or too cold. In the Saabs and BMWs I have had with it, you can have a BIG difference side to side, not just a couple degrees. In the BMW you can literally have full bore A/C on one side and full bore heat on the other. Maybe cause a thunderstorm in the middle of the car? :-)

            My BMW is actually 3-zone, you get side to side plus you can adjust face vs. feet. Which is great, because my feet are always cold, but I like cooler air on my face.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          They changed it on the 3-series for ’11. Probably the rest of them too. But they took away the “rest heat” feature, which I think is more useful so I coded it back in on mine.

          Seems like those smart Germans could have the button activate “dual” when the car is running, but “rest heat” when it is shut off. I had a Saab 9-5 with their version of rest heat and it was AWESOME. Park the car in the winter, turn it on, and the car is still toasty warm when you come back from dinner or shopping or whatever. It just keeps the coolant circulating through the heater core until the engine cools off, which takes a surprisingly long time even when it is cold out.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Subaru is this way too, I have to turn two dials to change the temp of the whole car…

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      While driving a 2011 Impala loaner for a week while waiting for my new Accord to be delivered, I noticed that there was no such setting; mind you, it was manual, not automatic.

      If an Accord (which comes standard with dual-zone auto climate, at least in the States) has that functionality, why in bloody he11 doesn’t a $30k+ Beemer??!!

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Love the 3 blink auto off blinkers. Nothing irritates me more than following behind someone who has left the damn blinker on. Especially at night. In the rain. BLINK BLINK BLINK…

    Ford has taken to putting auto down/up in some of their cars (my ST has it for example, my buddy’s brand new explorer doesn’t) and I think it’s wonderful.

    VW’s sunroof controller wins. Hands down. Turn the dial to the desired setting and done. Every sunroof should be operated in this regard. Also, I loved the the ability to open / close windows (close the sunroof) with the key and it’s a feature I sorely miss in the ST. For some reason I have a habit of forgetting to close windows until I am out of the car.

    An option that I thought was ridiculous until I had it: proximity keys. Now that I have it I really can’t live without it. Anytime I walk up to someone else’s car and they fumble for the fob with both hands full of items I secretly laugh at their misfortune. Does this make me a bad person?

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      +100!

      The keyless ignition is meh, but the keyless entry is pretty nice!

      (Although, the keyless ignition comes in handy when I’m leaving, and realize I’ve forgotten something in the house. I don’t like turning a cold car on, then back off right away, because of potential wear issues I read about in “Drive It Forever.” I realize that those issues are probably non-existent today, but I still err on the side of paranoia! ;-)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I have the three-count turn signal on my car. I never use it, because three isn’t enough.

    A three-count is fine if you want to rationalize cutting off other drivers. If you actually intend to use signals to, er, signal your intentions in a safe manner, then it’s next to useless.

    If it had a seven count, then it would be helpful. But otherwise, it’s an annoyance.

    In any case, turn indicators must be highly unreliable, as I rarely see anyone on the roads who uses turn signals at all…

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I think NMGOM is partially right that the turbulence generated by rain gutters created noise issues. My old truck that has them is too noisy for me to hear the rain gutters. They aren’t good for aerodynamics mostly, but I think the *real* reason they went away is because the methods of manufacturing automobile bodies dramatically changed. Back when everything was body-on-frame, a roof stamping was a single solid piece that had to be fastened to the side-panel stampings that created the tops of the door frames. They generally left a flange around the perimeter of the roof and flanges along the tops of the body sides and where the spot-welded these flanges together they formed them into rain gutters to finish out the sheetmetal edges. Where there was no body stamping to meet the roof (i.e. the tops of the rear window) the edge was less finished and highly subject to rusting. Once unibody cars became ubiquitous this method of attaching the roof to the bodyside was identified as being a massive limitation in the structural stiffness of the body. The body sides could be made stiffer (and less subject to sagging when doors were open) if the sides extended upward around the corner into the near-horizontal plane of the edge of the roof. There were unique stampings welded across between the B-pillars to stiffen further, then the roofs became simpler sheets that essentially glue between the side stampings. Even on modern vehicles that are not unibody this new technology has spread preventing the practical implementation of a rain gutter.

    Aside from assembly-method reasons for or against rain gutters, and having owned a truck with rain gutters, they’re useless. Modern vehicles with curved glass have a design element called “tumblehome” that describes the degree to which your side glass departs from the vertical. As the rain gutter is by necessity above the window, it would have to jut out from the body side far enough to cover the bottom window gasket, which on anything other than a FJ40 or Land Rover would be like 4 inches. On older vehicles this could still work because there was far less tumblehome but also because NOBODY flush-mounted side glass! My 1988 Dodge has curved side glass, (very) mild tumblehome, but effective rain gutters because there is at least 1″ inset from the window out to the door panel surface! A 1/2″ rain gutter was more than enough because of inset glass, which is a horrible contributor to noise and bad aerodynamics. Rain gutters are dead, buried, and we’re all better off for it.

    Vent windows and cowl vents (lap coolers? crotch vents? You mean vents you pull open and allow air from the cowl to flow through the kickpanels toward your legs?) do need to return. Modern cars get too stinky with pets and kids and it’s too hard to air them out without collecting tons of dust/dirt on the acres of dashtop surface. Vent windows were excellent for blowing off the top of the dash. The real reasons they died were they were an excellent entry point for vehicular thieves and because everybody started to abandon the habit of smoking while driving (although here in the home of Phillip-Morris you wouldn’t know it). Also because A-pillars are so far forward of the steering wheel now (they didn’t used to be) a cigarette in your hand probably wouldn’t line up with the inner edge of an open vent window anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Yup, the vent windows in my old Toyota pickup were of no practical use (because I had AC), but were a great way for someone to break in to the car without having to smash the main window.

      I don’t know that they need to return – I air out my cars using the built in ventilation system and keeping it off recirculate; a vent window doesn’t add anything to that, does it? Certainly not my recollection of how they worked in my pickup…

      Especially compared to opening the actual windows some…

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        What if the vent windows were powered, similar to Lincolns and maybe Cadillacs of the day? (When you hit the window switch, those would go down first, followed by the rest of the window aft of the vent.)

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    There used to be a pull knob near both driver and passenger footwells that when pulled opened a vent near your feet or the kick panels. This would bring in a huge amount of fresh air into the cabin.

    I also missed (although my LS430 has a single one) A/C vents located low in the dash-under the steering column on drivers side-that blows A/C toward the drivers….well crotch. Great feature especially for cooling off quickly with shorts. My wife loved this also but I assume it helped her to keep refusing my advances.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Lack of adequate ventilation is one of the saddest chapters of the modern automobile. Just cracking a window open an inch on a modern car creates so much noise and whistling that you can’t hear yourself think. A car from the 60s however… well you usually have little vent wing windows, back windows that roll down whether it is a coupe or a sedan, lower vents you can open yourself… lots of way to get air in and out to keep fresh air flowing.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I think this problem (along with rain gutter issue) is the result of all the aero styling. Old cars were bricks thus they pushed a big hole thru the air, opening a window let a gentle breeze in. But today opening a window complete disrupts the airflow around the vehicle causing the noise and buffeting problem. Its almost impossible to crack a window open these days without the noise driving you nuts.

        However was IS missing and could easily come back is a HVAC setting for “fresh air”. My older Honda’s had this (’85 Civic, ’89 Prelude). You could turn off the fan and still get plenty of good fresh air flow by moving a slider over to the icon that showed outside air versus the recycle air icon – which everyone seems to just label as “max” on the HVAC panel these days. My Dodge truck in particular suffers from this: if the fan isn’t on there is NO airflow at all.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          My F150 Heritage is the same way. No fan, no air, literally. My wife’s 2005 Vibe however – no fan and you can still feel the air coming through the system with that outside “fresh air”. Love that feature.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I like the HVAC on/off with fan for another reason: my parents always taught me to start the car without the A/C on. (See my post above about wear issues!) During hot, humid stretches, I leave my auto climate control on “AUTO,” then shut it off with the fan’s on/off when I park. When I start up, I let the idle stabilize while I buckle up, then turn the fan on, and drive off.

        • 0 avatar
          E46M3_333

          I find you can mitigate some of the noise from cracking a window by also cracking one on the other side of the car.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Actually the old brick cars made so much wind noise when the windows were CLOSED that opening them didn’t make much difference. New cars seem so loud when you open the windows because they are so quiet with them closed.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Does having the fan off help somehow?

          Fresh air means outside air, not lack of a fan, in my mind.

          (I hate recirculation and only have it on when, oh, near a paper mill or following a tar truck…

          I just don’t mind having the fan on to do it.)

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Not always. My four-door GTI will cruise quietly at speed with windows open a small bit, IF I experiment to find the right combination of small window gaps. Usually I start by opening the left rear window an inch or two. Then maybe an inch down in the right front. It’s not hard to find a good combination of window settings this way that’s quiet and comfortable. And tipping the back of the sunroof is another, even easier way to ventilate. If, on the other hand, you’re stuck with only two openable windows, you might be out of luck.

        The wrong way is to open one window all the way, at speed. That creates such an awful buffeting that most folks won’t try open windows again.

  • avatar
    tienbac2005

    I would like to have a horn that is easily “honkable”. In my 1993 Honda Prelude, it was one of the early cars that had airbags, so they had 2 buttons on each side of the wheel for the horn. Later on, you could actually press on the airbag cover to activate the horn, which took care of the issue of how to find the horn when turning.

    However with the newer cars and all of the fancy buttons and trim, you actually have to take off your wheel in order to find the sweet spot of the horn. An example of this would be the 2013 Civic, where there are tons of buttons on either side, silver plastic trim around the middle part, and then you finally have the maybe 3×3 inch patch where the horn will actually activate.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It doesn’t matter. The sound of horns today is so crappy, I’m too embarrassed to even use mine. the puny beep sounds like my microwave Hungry Man dinner is ready.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        This depends on the car. Some manufacturers are more notorious than others for crap horns. Toyota in particular seem to give a weak little “meep.” Was surprised to find my GTI has a rather loud and even somewhat abrasive tone. Good NYC horn.

        If you want a decent horn, replace your stock ones with Hella Supertones (if they still make ‘em) or the ultimate ear cannon, the Stebel Nautilus.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Honda Accords went from wimpy Jap horns, to Jap horns with a little gusto, to American-sounding horns, and back to crap with the new ones (2013+). Fortunately, a Honda dealer in Wooster, OH sells a plug&play replacement set which brings back the American sound!

        As I’ve said in this forum (I think), it’d be nice to be able to mount a set of horns which sound like a train horn, in order to clear the left lane when necessary! ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Huh.

      What do you use your horn for?

      I can’t think of a time I’ve intentionally used the horn on any of my vehicles, with the exception of a specific stretch of dirt road on the way to a campsite, where there’s 1.5 lanes and a blind turn, and instructions to honk repeatedly to alert oncoming traffic…

      Apart from that I literally wouldn’t even notice if my vehicles *didn’t have horns*.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        the last car I owned had inoperative horns when I bought it; I went to replace them and got interrupted. I drove the car for seven years, I never replaced the horns. Living in a mid-sized city in the Midwest USA, I almost never have a need for them.

        In fact, I’m not even sure my current car’s horns work… I’ll have to try it next time I’m in it…

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          The only time I use my horn is a short little “beep” as a “hello signal” (if I pass by a friend’s house, and they’re out in the yard).
          Today’s horns (with the added weight of the airbag) have such heavy springs, it’s REALLY DIFFICULT to modulate, and thus, many attempts at a friendly “beep” cross over into an angry “BLAT”. (as in: “Is he MAD at me?”)

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Rain Gutters: A nice feature that I’ve had on almost all of my cars, modern cars have ditched them for style and some classic VW guys take them off in the name of style, I say none of these people drive in the rain.

    Automatic Up Windows: I’m used to cranking windows, if I can get power windows that work than I’m happy, holding a switch for a few seconds isn’t that hard.

    Split Rear Hatches: Too costly in todays uber cost competitive market.

    Cornering Lights: Sounds like a neat idea but I never really needed them.

    Turn Signal Lane Changer: As one of the few who uses their blinkers I’m fine with the old up-down set up, I just slap it and turn, slap it again if it stays on, why can’t more people just slap their stalks?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Rain gutters are probably gone due to the quest for noise reduction.

      Split hatch/tailgates are rare because they are an inconvenience 99% of the time. People use these vehicles for carrying stuff far more often than for tailgate parties. A tailgate is then just something that you have to lift everything past and that you have to close separately from the hatch. People went for Ford’s ‘no hands’ hatch opening. Designs requiring both hands or two steps are not likely to be as appreciated in daily use.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I can understand split hatches going away in that case, but if noise deduction is a concern than I suggest designers to do something about the huge grilles and side details that they often put onto modern cars.

        I do admit that rain gutters do cause some noise at highway speeds but even after a 4 hour trip its nothing that loud.

  • avatar
    Brawndo

    I like the idea of speed limit notification as part of a digital display. I’m not sure if we have this here in the US (since I don’t have any computer maps in my car other than on my phone), but overseas I’ve seen navigation systems that alert you of the stationary revenue traps. We’ve recently suffered an outbreak of revenue cameras here in Chicago and it would be great to have the car warn me where they are.

    Agree 100% on auto up/down windows. If they can make elevator and supermarket doors safe for dummies, we should be able to engineer something for car windows.

  • avatar
    RazorTM

    My 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium has:
    -Auto up windows
    -Turn Signal Lane Changer (I’ve heard of this called Euro style signals)
    -Speed limits on the Navigation System
    -Cornering Lights

    4 out of 7 ain’t bad, and besides, I can’t have a split tailgate on a family sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Agreed. And that brings up the other feature that was not included in this post…the ability to input to the nav while on the roll. VW pops up an “entering complex data while driving is dangerous” screen with an “OK” button. Hit it and you’re good to go.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Mine will let me scan the map, and search for landmarks and use previous destinations on my list, just not type in a new one until stopped or coasting at idle. Makes no sense.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        +1,000!

        You can only crank the interface dial on new, non touch-screen Navs in Hondas through one page of information while the car is moving! Any more (to get to the next page of traffic information, say), and you have to say “Next” to the Voice-Command thingy! Which, unfortunately, is at the back of the class, and nowhere as fluent as Sync, the newer GM systems, or uConnect; it’s as bad as it was in my first Nav-equipped Accord from 2006! This is version 3.0, and no improvement from version “1.5!”

        And of course, try screaming “next” at the top of your lungs in the middle lane of a three-lane freeway with the A/C fan blasting away, and three straight-pipe Harleys at your eight-and-nine-o’clock position! Yup, won’t work! :-p

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    How about the ability to completely disable the Electronic Power Steering above about 10 MPH? It becomes entirely unnecessary after that point. My old Saturn Ion and my current Toyota Prius both have EPS, and while the Prius’ isn’t so bad, when the ION’s fuse blew I actually left the blown fuse in because I liked the steering feel compared to the arcade-game feel of the power steering.

  • avatar
    Tostik

    Left foot dimming switch for headlights. Important safety feature if you do a lot of driving on dark and twisty 2 lane roads, like we have in Colorado. You can keep both hands on the wheel, and quickly dim your headlights if surprised by an oncoming car while driving on a curve around, say, a mountain. I mean, the left foot’s got nothing else to do.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      Speak for your own left foot! :-)

      Yeah those floor-mounted high beam switches have really gone the way of the dodo. Last vehicle I remember seeing it on was my dad’s ’85 Dodge van

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      I should also point out, thought, that the stalk-mounted high beam switch that has replaced the foot switch does not require you to remove your hands from the wheel either.

      • 0 avatar
        Tostik

        When I’m driving on a 2 lane curvy mountain road, I want both hands on the wheel, and, while in a turn, I don’t know how to keep one hand on the stalk for a quick dimming (you know left, then right, then left when driving in mountainous terrain). And it’s just such a situation where you would be ‘surprised’ by an oncoming car.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          Some of us keep our hands near “10 and 2″ position, passing the wheel between hands at curves. That’s not proper racing practice, I know– Richard Hammond told me so. But we’re not driving proper racing cars, are we? And by keeping my hands fairly level, I’m always able to quickly crank in more lock for a tighter line.

          Maybe “Proper Steering Wheel Handling” would a good topic for a future article?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Modern cars have auto-dimming high-beams.

      (I don’t know that I trust them, but they exist…)

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      “I mean, the left foot’s got nothing else to do.”

      Heresy!!!

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    Please, please : GLASS. headlight lenses. Decades old glass sealed beams are still crisp and clear while any parking lot will show you what happens to ‘modern ‘ lights in just a few years. And I don’t buy that ‘plastic is tough ‘ line. I have been driving for 45years and only lost one light to a stone … which would have broken plastic as well.

  • avatar
    matador

    Not necessarily a feature, but missing nonetheless is the station wagon. They were so nice! The other feature that is lacking (in my mind) is the setup of some Ford radios. I looked at a Mountaineer a while back, and it had a secondary radio for the rear seats, where you could plug in headphones and listen to a different station. On family trips, we always seem to argue about the radio. This seems like a nice feature. Sadly, the iPod has made it irrelevant.

    Also, from most vehicles, a missing feature: manual transmissions.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    Two questions for readers of a certain age: 1) How prevalent were power vent windows? Definitely one of the cooler features of the Imperial Crown Coupe, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMtsCfYZlog&feature=player_detailpage#t=150. I assume Cadillac and Lincoln matched this feature. 2) Were manual vent windows always operated with a crank, or were some just a simple push/pull with a latch?

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      In reverse order of ritziness and rarity: power vent windows, crank vent windows, push/pull with a latch. Your Crown Coupe example is pretty good – only Imperials, Caddys and Lincolns reliably had power vent windows, for the most part. Maybe your odd T-Bird or high-end Olds 98 or Deuce-and-a-Quarter, top-shelf Chrysler, etc.

      Chryslers, Buick, Pontiac, Olds, Mercury, Polara…all the one-step-up cars – had crank vents, and regular full-size Ford, Chevy, Plymouth, etc. on down had push/pull.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Only the Imperial Crown had that. Every other vent had a latch-pull, and they were all identical. When I switched from my wrecked ’63 Dodge to a ’63 Chrysler, I replaced the broken latch on the Newport with one from the Dart. A friend with a ’72 Monaco replaced a broken latch with one from a junkyard ’65 Valiant, and it looked like my ’63 ones, so Chrysler didn’t change them for at least a decade.

  • avatar
    rolladan

    When I was working at a honda dealer we had a lady come in with her car complaining of a horrible smell when the ac was used. This was before cabin filters and the evap water drain wasn’t clogged. I test drove it and no smell. I told her I couldn’t smell anything and she insisted we go together. She pulls out of the lot and I can smell it right away….. Like rotting garbage…. So we swap seats so I can try to pinpoint where it’s coming from. The smell vanishes! We swap again and as soon as we start moving the smell returns. I trace it to none other than near the crotch vent! This lady had some serious crotch rot and the crotch vent was spreading the goodness through the cabin. Ripped the tube connecting the vent completely out. Happiest customer ever! Unless you have a similar problem as this lady crotch vents were such a nice feature.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    My first-gen I30 had HUGE cornering lights, which I really enjoyed using. Sounds like Nissan is still at it. Keep it up!

  • avatar
    George B

    I wish there was a single button to roll down or roll up all windows a fraction of an inch. In hot climates, cracking open the windows when you park is the most common thing you do with the windows. Would also be nice if window regulators had thicker metal for the teeth used in the almost closed position because they wear out prematurely.

  • avatar
    James2

    Rain gutters are gone because, at least in the case of GMC Vanduras and whatever the Chevy version was called, the “engineers” couldn’t figure out how to get them to drain properly. As a result, you see 20-plus years of GM vans with a distinct ring of rust around the windshields. On the plus side, it added extra ventilation to my dad’s non-A/C-equipped Vandura.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “In most SUVs or hatchbacks, you can’t really do much sitting once you’ve opened the tailgate. That’s a shame. The reason for this is that most tailgates are one-piece units that pop up in their entirety, meaning you’d have to slink down to the bumper height if you want to sit down when the tailgate is open.

    This isn’t the case in a few cars, such as the Range Rover and the Honda Element. More automakers should adopt this design, or at least consider adopting this design before ultimately banishing it for being too expensive. It’s the thought that counts.”

    I literally don’t know what that’s referring to.

    I looked on The Internet for pictures of both, and can’t see anything different from any random SUV.

    Can that be rephrased so that it makes sense? Where is the alternative “seating” position that isn’t the bed of the vehicle, when the tailgate is open?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Tailgates are several inches thick and sit above the bumper, so when you sit on one you’re at bumper height plus the thickness of the tailgate. I think. I’ll check the next time I’m near my Element. I will say I do love the split hatch.

  • avatar

    My 2013 Cruze has auto-up windows, lane changer turn signals and even one that should be on the list, that every single GM vehicle has – auto on/off headlights.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Yes! I love the auto on/off headlights. It’s a small detail, but it is so very nice.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Forgot that–my new Accord has the dreaded DRL/illuminated dash combo, but unlike my last car, a 2006 Accord, this one has automatic lights. (You just have to remember to leave the switch on “Auto” and forget about it.) This also has the advantage of activation with the wipers.

        I’ll admit that I did occasionally forget to turn on the lights at dusk in my 2006 (which had a dash like the original Lexus LS, where everything “disappeared” when the car was off; the gauge graphics and needles are still visible when you shut down the new one), until I realized that the dash and Nav screen were getting awfully bright!

  • avatar

    To Doug: Juat chiming in to say that, as a long time TTAC reader and eventual writer, exclude me from the vent windows. Thanks

  • avatar
    kscott

    My list:

    1) Offer manual HVAC as a possibility on the lower trim levels, or at least have the auto unit include a FULL manual mode where the output air doesn’t change its temperature in response to cabin temperature. On all of the auto climate controls that I’ve seen, you can set the air direction and fan to manual, but you can’t disable the annoying thermostatic temperature control. During the heating season, the thing forces the user to continually readjust the temperature knob to keep its air output at the desired constant gentle warm temperature. After having auto climate control on my previous car (Olds Intrigue), any car with auto climate control as standard gets automatically disqualified when I’m car shopping. The ideal HVAC would be dual-control manual.
    2) Cooled or at least ventilated seats. This should be an available option on pretty much any car.
    3) The Intrigue had cornering lights, and they are useless. For cornering lights to be any good, they need to be pointed mostly forward, and angled up to assist in reading street-name signs before you actually get to the street in question. To be turned on manually, on one specific side, only when it’s necessary to read the street-name signs in an unfamiliar area. Of course, this will have a tendency to blind oncoming drivers, so such a thing would probably be illegal and will never get commercially produced.
    4) Three blinks of the turn signals for lane changes sounds like the ideal amount. The signals should be activated first, THEN look to see whether the area is clear. This lets the other drivers have time (1 or 2 seconds) to react to the signaling, during the same time that you’re doing the “look to see whether the area is clear” part. This is all before the actual lane change occurs.
    5) A warning sound when there’s a problem with oil pressure or engine temperature.
    6) The litter bin is a great idea. It should be a universal feature.
    7) An auto-up window is great, but it’s only really needed on the driver’s side for pulling away from toll booths and parking access control gates. On Nissan’s implementation of it (2009 Altima), each auto-up window does add some cost because the window motor then includes an optical shaft encoder.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Interesting take on the CC–at least in spring and fall, you can turn off the A/C, turn the fan to manual, set the mode, and turn the temperature all the way down. Never thought about heat the same way–turning the heat all the way up is going to roast you, even on low fan, and setting the temperature in the middle will gradually cool things down!

      I know that I’m on my third car with auto climate, and wouldn’t go back to the old way! I’d be constantly fiddling with the temperature and fan, but with the auto, I set the temp. at 72 in the summer, 70 spring and fall, and 68 in the winter (when I set my house thermostat there and kick on the furnace). Then I toggle between “AUTO” and A/C-off in the summer, and leave everything else alone the rest of the year (unless I need Defrost)!

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    I believe the vent windows were started by GM and called No-Draft Ventilation. They actually acted more to pull air out of the car (unless you reversed them). Soem of my early cars had a big honkin’ cowl vent. Push the lever down and get a guaranteed hurricane in your car!

  • avatar
    zenith

    I miss separate washer and wiper switches. Instead of getting a dry wipe the first stroke of the wipers, you could get that windshield good and wet before flicking on the wipers.
    Also, you could lean out the door while holding the washer switch down,while the car was in Park and/or on parking brake of course, with your nylon-net-covered bug sponge and get that sponge good and sloppy wet for use on the headlights.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      + This!

      God, I hate those dry-wipes.

      I always have a spray bottle of hyper-diluted Tide and some paper towels in the car for the bug smoosh etc. Great for getting gas smell off your hands, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        My aunt swore by Spic’N’Span not just for windows, but the paint too. She bought only 1950s and 1960s Fords because they had thick paint and she could get it shiny with S&S.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Yo, Lordy… Spic-N-Span.. I remember a store owner I once worked for who thought it was the only cleaning chemical ever inverted..or he was just cheap.. ’cause he insisted on a mop-down of the retail floor each morning with that gritty, slimy, weird-smelling stuff.

          I also remember “helping” my older brother rub down his ’54 Ford with Simonize. 10,000 blackened rags later I thought my little arms would never work again. Judging by the depth of the oxidized layer, that paint was applied with a trowel.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’ve never known a car to not spray fluid before the wipers start to cycle. I just learn where they do, then give the lever a couple pulls before engaging the wipers (or give a couple of shots, then go to the “MIST” function).

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I miss the rain gutters as well, but I have side window deflectors on my vehicles now which act somewhat like a gutter. They deflect the water away from the door and you can crack the windows without worrying about rain getting into you car. In addition mine are tinted and help with the sun. Not the same but they do the job.

    I grew up using VISTA car wax, which would give you a good workout as well. VISTA would go through several layers of dead paint as well, but it was a hard rub.


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