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Old 20th July 2018, 14:58   #1
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Default The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

It's common knowledge that new tech first debuts on luxury cars (e.g. the 1+ crore rupee S-Class) before gradually entering mass production and watering down to the mainstream segments. Airbags, ABS, sunroofs, touchscreen ICE, keyless entry & go.... the list goes on - all of them started off at the top of the automotive food chain. No surprises there & this thread isn't about that.

But that doesn't mean manufacturers stop thinking out of the box. Have you come across any feature in a mainstream car that swept you off your feet? That just made you go "wow, this is so incredibly clever"? A feature whose maker was an innovator? What an idea sirji? Let's list them in this thread.

Here are a few such unique features which well & truly stand out. @ BHPians: Please add to this list in your replies .

Curve guidance
This feature is available on some Hyundais (including the Verna and Creta). It gives a "curve ahead" audible warning to the driver when approaching a curve on the road. Can be useful when you are driving on an unknown highway or when there is limited visibility. The feature works even when you are not using the onboard navigation:

Link to review

Walk away lock
The Renault Captur comes with a walk away locking feature. As the name suggests, the car locks automatically if you walk away from it with the key in your pocket. A clever one for those who forget to lock the car & sheer convenience for the rest:

Link to the review

Emergency Assist System
Ford's Emergency Assist System will automatically call 108 if the car is involved in an accident and the airbags have deployed. It works when your phone is connected to SYNC. Could be a lifesaver as it will get help in the crucial golden hour. More details here and here:

Link to review

Max cool
The 'Max Cool' button of the Honda Amaze will run the air-con at full blast to cool the cabin as quickly as possible. This is useful when you get into a car that has been parked under the hot sun:

Review coming up in 2 weeks

Fitness band
This isn't a lame band like the Tata Nexon's; it's one which looks cool and has high utility too. The SX(O) variant of the Hyundai Creta comes with a fitness band. The band includes a sleep monitor, a step counter and a calorie counter. Along with that, it can be used to open and start the car, without the key. Considering the popularity of fitness bands today, we predict a lot of Creta owners will wear these on a daily basis. Further, many people going to the gym or a run will prefer to not have the keys on them while exercising:

Link to review

UV Cut Glasses
The Maruti Baleno comes with factory-fitted tinted glasses called UV Cut Glasses. As sunfilms are now banned, this feature is a boon in our hot temperatures. The UV Cut Glasses are provided for the side windows and quarter glasses, thus reducing the sun's sting. It does make a difference (especially for the driver's arms):

Link to review

Animated instructional video
So many cars come with touchscreen ICE that can play videos, but how many manufacturers thought of making things so simple for their customers? You'll find this interesting feature in the Mahindra e2o Plus. Some of the 'how to' instructional videos that come with the car are animated. Most owners may never go through the owner's manual, but presenting it in an animated video will surely catch their attention:

Link to review

Stop light becomes the indicator
Thanks to BHPians blackwasp and CrAzY dRiVeR for bringing this up. Whenever there is an issue with the rear indicators (e.g. a blown bulb) in the Fiat Punto, the tail lights automatically act as indicators. This works on the Abarth Punto as well. Damn impressive touch. A video by CrAzY dRiVeR:


Smart Trunk
Available on the Hyundai Verna and the Elantra. Walk up to the boot of the locked car with the key inside your pocket. If you stand at a distance of less than 1 metre for over 3 seconds, the boot automatically opens. No more searching for the keys with bags in both hands:
Name:  autoboot.gif
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Eco Savings
Eco-lovers & taxi / fleet owners rejoice! The Toyota Innova Crysta comes with an "Eco Savings" calculator (bottom-right image) which tells you just how much money you have saved in ECO mode. No better way of getting the point across than showing someone the money!

Link to review

Clip holder
Maybe it costs just 10 bucks, but this is so thoughtful! The Tata Tiago gets a nice clip holder on the windscreen. It can be used to display parking tickets, toll receipts, etc. We'd first seen this in the Skoda Yeti:

Link to review

Cool start
The air-conditioning system of the Innova Crysta comes with a 'cool start' feature. When the aircon is switched on, it will NOT blow hot air immediately. Instead, it waits for a few seconds and will blow only when the air temperature reduces. How cool is that!


Ventilated seats
The best 'luxury' feature for India's blazing hot summers. The Verna comes with ventilated front seats on the SX(O) variant – bye bye, sweaty backs! The sedan gets separate controls for both front seats with 3 levels of cooling:


7 airbags
Hat tip to Toyota for being the first manufacturer to bring 7 airbags to the sub-10 lakh price bracket via the Yaris (Hyundai was the first with 6 airbags). In India, we need all the safety we can possibly get. This Toyota was also awarded a 5-star safety rating by the ASEAN NCAP (read more):

Link to review

Rolling up all windows
Passenger windows left open in the Ameo / other VWs? Don't sweat. Long press the lock button on the key to roll up the windows. Similarly, long press the unlock button to roll down the windows. The latter can prove useful when you return to a hot car parked under the sun:

Link to review

ICE with a subwoofer
Okay, this one isn't innovative, but to some of us, music is life and hence, the Hexa's ICE makes its way to this thread! Tata collaborated with Harman Kardon to develop a kickass sound system for the Hexa. Seen here is the tailgate mounted 8-inch subwoofer:

Link to review

Cabin lights automatically switch off
At some point, we've all left the cabin lights on after parking the car (a few would have returned to a car with a dead battery). If you've got a Verna, it doesn't matter. To save the battery, the Verna automatically switches off the cabin lights when you lock the car, irrespective of the switch position:


Magic Seats
Honda's clever packaging techniques! The Jazz came with Magic Seats - these are unbelievably flexible and can be folded in several ways to accommodate all kinds of things in the car. Owners can even put in surfboards, bicycles, flower pots & more in the hatchback. The base of the rear seats can be folded up (tall mode) to accommodate tall plants. The front seats also fold flat so that the rear seat passenger can stretch and relax. Unfortunately, this feature is no longer available in the 2018 update. Honda has taken a step backward:
The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars-imgonlinecomuatwotooneokaik1lkgkw4u.jpg
Link to review

Last edited by GTO : 20th July 2018 at 14:59.
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Old 20th July 2018, 15:03   #2
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Default re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing, Chirag! Rating thread a full 5 stars.

My goodness, Hyundai sure dominates the list above. Here are two more from my end.

Foot ventilation in my Jeep! Feeling too hot? Just push this flap open with your foot and the footwell gets a draft of fresh air. Trust me, it make a noticeable difference:
The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars-img_2105.jpg

The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars-img_2098.jpg

And one more that left me go 'wow' at the time of my Elite i20 Official Review. Walk up to the Hyundai Elite i20 (and some other Hyundais) with the smart key in your pocket and the ORVMs will automatically unfold. Sick!

Link to review
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Old 20th July 2018, 15:13   #3
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
[b]

Foot ventilation in my Jeep! Feeling too hot? Just push this flap open with your foot and the footwell gets a draft of fresh air. Trust me, it make a noticeable difference:
link to review[/url]


All those who have driven jongas and the Nissan 1 Tons in the yesteryears cannot forget this spring loaded ventilation flap.

Life saver for people like us who used to drive in deserts during day time a lot.
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Old 20th July 2018, 15:18   #4
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

Foot ventilation in my Jeep! Feeling too hot? Just push this flap open with your foot and the footwell gets a draft of fresh air. Trust me, it make a noticeable difference:


I remember the old Blueline buses in Delhi in the 90s. If you were sitting at the front next to the driver, many of them had a small window near your feet. And more often than not, the window would be missing the glass pane. And it did make a big difference in the delhi summers

Could find one Haryana roadways bus on google!
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Old 20th July 2018, 15:27   #5
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Very interesting thread. Thank you for collecting so many information related to smart features. Here are a few which I have found very useful on day to day basis.

Automatic Rear Wipers
A smart feature noted on the Fiat Punto. Unsure about other cars. When it is raining and the front wipers are on, you stop and engage the reverse gear, the rear wipers gets activated automatically. Very thoughtful feature.

Automatic Audio Pause
In certain Volkswagen cars, when the audio is playing music and you engage reverse gear, the audio gets paused automatically.

Double Crank Protection
In the world of push button starts, this feature is forgotten to great extent. But, My Punto and Vento prevents me from double cranking the engine. The super silent Jazz doesn't offer this and I ended up double cranking it a couple of times. I find this feature really useful and I believe all cars should get it until Push Button Starters becomes part of standard kit.

Automatic Hazard warning lights
My Vento turns on the hazard light in the case of panic braking signalling the people at the back, preventing a possible rear ending. However, In India, hazard lights signal going straight in a cross road.
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:01   #6
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Memory lock in VW Vento - Lock the car with the rear doors open, it will automatically lock the car once you close the doors. Very thoughtful, I use it every day!
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:01   #7
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

My Mazda 626 had front airvents that oscillated on pressing the 'swing' button.
Have not come across this feature in any other car.

Representative video below:

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Old 20th July 2018, 16:06   #8
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
[b]Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing, Chirag!

Foot ventilation in my Jeep! Feeling too hot? Just push this flap open with your foot and the footwell gets a draft of fresh air. Trust me, it make a noticeable difference
This feature was there in our 89 and 91 model omni's too. Instead of a flap there used to be a small sliding window in either of the footwells for fresh air. Not sure if that's available in current crop of omni's.

Contributions from my side:

1) Lane change indicators (first I saw on my Figo) where the indicators blink thrice when the stalk is pushed slightly.

2) Emergency Brake indicators (again on the old gen Figo). Where the lights blink for some time when the brake is applied at high speeds.

3) Delayed swipe of wipers to wipe away left over water.

4) Single side Parking lights (can be seen in aspire and Figo). The parking lights of either sides could be lit when the stalk is shifted to respective left right positions when the ignition is off. Useful when parking beside a busy road when you don't want both sides of the lights to remain on.
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:08   #9
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Really interesting thread. Adding my 2 cents regarding the 2 cars in my garage :

1. Skoda Octavia - Connection between the rear seats and the trunk.

The middle seat armrest when down, exposes a latch, which when pulled reveals a decent space to take out something from your trunk. Originally it was designed to aid in the keeping of skis, but in India, it's sooooo much more useful to take out your umbrella from the trunk. Even the chauffeur does not have to soak himself to get the umbrella to protect you. A really clever measure.

2. Hyundai Grand i10 - Autolocking doors after 10 mins of inactivity.

Once, I parked my car in the mall parking lot and in haste to catch the movie on-time (it was a Nolan flick :P), forgot pressing the lock button on the remote. Panicking mid-way and trying out all permutation-combinations in my head of how my vehicle would be stolen, found it parked in pristine condition, as if smirking at me, in locked condition. Later on, I read the owner's manual which informed that the car doors, would automatically lock themselves after a while, if they were unlocked, and no key was inserted in the car. Nifty feature.

Last edited by sharktale : 20th July 2018 at 16:09.
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:27   #10
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

One engaging reverse gear, my 320D side mirrors use to tilt automatically in such an angle where you could see the rear tyres. This used to be a very helpful feature while reversing in tight spots.
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:28   #11
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

A very small twist to an existing feature but quite useful I believe. Cup holder near the air-con blower. Not found in all vehicles but quite useful to keep your drink cool during a hot summer drive.

Found in Honda Jazz

From Team-BHP official review:
http://www.team-bhp.com/carpics/2015...da-jazz-16.jpg

Another very useful feature, lights on the doors or at the bottom of the side view mirrors. Useful when getting out of the car in dark places.

Last edited by sunilch : 20th July 2018 at 16:29.
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:28   #12
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Great thread Chirag

Some of the features that I have noticed in my previous car (Getz) and the current stead (Polo):

- Rear seat tilt/recline
Getz was probably one of the very first hatchbacks to offer this feature, which really improved the sense of comfort for the rear passengers, in an already spacious cabin.

- Driver side armrest
Again, Getz was probably one of the only (if not the first hatchback) to come fitted with a driver side armrest. Very useful during those long drives.

- Memory door locks on Polo
German engineering at its best!! You have some stuff to take out of your VW car, and cannot pull the key out of your pocket to lock the car? No worries, as you can just open any door (except the Driver side), and press the lock button on the key fob before putting the key away in your pocket. Take your stuff out of the car, and shut the door securely to lock the car.

- AC switches off soon after an engine shut down
I have observed many people just forget to switch off the AC and Audio before shutting down the engine. VW have this covered, as the AC never switches ON the next time you start the ignition/car.

- Long press the Trunk button to pop the boot lid
If a single press of the Trunk button from the key fob unlocks the boot lid, a long press actually pops the lid out slightly.

- Hazard lights and Indicator
The hazard lights blink at various speeds based on the vehicles condition on VW cars. If you have the engine running, they pulsate at normal speed. Switch off the engine and the speed reduces just so slightly to alert the other commuters that there is a possible breakdown.
The best part is, with the hazard lights activated, the moment you turn on an indicator (Right/Left), the hazards are cancelled until you make that turn and only the indicator blinks
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:29   #13
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
My Mazda 626 had front airvents that oscillated on pressing the 'swing' button.
Have not come across this feature in any other car.
It is there in the Toyota Crown higher variants since the late 80s. Me thought it was a Crown defining feature. , and here we have it in a Mazda.

Even the present Crown, launched last month, has the swinging A/C vents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blow Horn Ok View Post
This feature was there in our 89 and 91 model omni's too. Instead of a flap there used to be a small sliding window in either of the footwells for fresh air. Not sure if that's available in current crop of omni's.
Made so much of a difference.

Used to feel that the air coming through the vents was cooler than the air coming through the side windows

Nope, the later versions had them removed. If am right, maybe the 1998 face-lift took away the vents.
But it is definitely not there in the present model (from 2005).
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Old 20th July 2018, 16:38   #14
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

Two I know from my Polo,

1.

- Cabin lights switch on automatically when engine is stopped and key removed, if cabin light switch is in on position.

- Cabin lights go off automatically regardless of switch position when you lock the car.

- More interesting, lights go off automatically after some time if doors are closed and cabin light switch is in on position even while the car is unlocked. They turn on when any of the doors is opened.

2. Tail lights double as turn signal in event of any turn signal bulb failure.
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Old 20th July 2018, 17:02   #15
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Default Re: The cleverest & most innovative features you've seen in mainstream cars

On my Jaguar when I put it in reverse, the right outside mirror (this is a left hand drive) tilts downwards, so you can see the curb and your right rear wheel.

This thread makes me feel very old, because I have been exposed to almost 60 years of clever and innovative features over time.

So here is an old one: We are talking the 60s. Most cars had a simple system to spray the front window. Usually, some rubber bellow that you would stomp your foot on and water would shoot out the little jets. A big advance was for instance the system as installed on the VW Beetle. It had a little pressurised reservoir. The only thing, it was your spare tyre, which sat in the front in a Beetle, that provided the pressure. Using your window spray a lot and you were left with an empty spare tyre.

I remember one of my Dad's new car (Either the VW1600 or VW K70) it came with a little electric pump!!

The neighbourhood was in absolute awe. Everybody came and everybody had to have a try, pressing a little button and water sprouts out! It was something akin to a miracle.

We have come a long way. But also, it shows we see so much innovation and new stuff, none of it is real special. It can be very handy, convenient, but I dont think any of my kids were ever in awe over anything on any of all my car. There will never be such a "press a button" moment for today's driver.

jeroen

Last edited by GTO : 20th July 2018 at 17:39. Reason: typo
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