The evolution of safety features, technology, and overall vehicular upgrades has been astounding to track over the years. It’s amazing to see how much we can now do in our cars – and how much our cars can now do for us!
It really wasn’t that long ago that our cars barely had basic consoles and bottom-of-the-barrel gauges in them. All you have to do is go back 39 years and take a trip down memory lane to recall what cars were like in the ’80s. That’s not too far back in time, yet the differences between the cars of the ’80s and the cars of today are quite remarkable. Not all cars even came with automatic power windows back then – can you imagine not having one now? Even simple things like side impact airbags didn’t make their debut until the late ’90s.
Cars in our current market are so much more advanced now, and we have come to expect that they are loaded with the best and newest features. Enhanced 3D navigation, intuitive driving features, and even self-driving features have now become the norm. The possibilities are endless, and the car makers are coming out with some pretty cool features in an attempt to out-do one another and reign supreme in the consumer market. Here are 20 that we didn't even know about.
20 Perfume Dispenser – Fiat 500
Although this doesn’t seem like an essential feature, it really goes a long way in creating an ambient driving experience. Those driving a newer model Fiat 500 can add the perfume dispenser as an enhancement to their car purchase.
It’s a cute little upgrade that plugs right into the cigarette lighter adapter and offers drivers 3 unique fragrant options to select from. While this feature may not enhance the performance of your drive per se, it certainly will add an element of comfort to it. It’s a neat little add-on, we’ll take it!
19 Traffic Light Countdown – Audi
Let’s face it; stopping at a red light basically prompts us all to start to do other things in our cars. Whether it’s grabbing a few bites of food, sipping a coffee, or checking our phones, we’re all guilty of taking our eyes off the road to multitask while stopped at a red light. Well, if you’re in an Audi A4, A5, Q5, or Q7, this is not an issue for you, since these cars have the traffic light countdown feature that not only counts down the seconds until the light turns green but also sends a little gentle “beep” your way, to nudge you along.
While we can’t condone being distracted in your car for any reason, we think this is helpful, handy, and adds a safety element, not to mention it prevents the car behind you from having to honk for your attention!
18 Foot Massager – Audi A8
It’s going to be tough to find anyone that declines this feature. The Audi foot massager is a cool add-on that comes with newer model A8’s, allowing passengers in the back seat to recline and enjoy a classic foot massage, courtesy of Audi. What better way to pamper your passengers than complimentary foot massages?
If you’re tired of driving and want to pull over for a break, then driver foot-massage perks exist as well! We’re hard-pressed to find a reason NOT to add this feature, and we’re giving Audi some props for putting some comfortable enhancements into their cars!
17 Headlight Lasers – Audi
Audi tops the list again with front and rear lasers within their HD Matrix LED lighting systems. These lasers appear within the high beams themselves and actually serve to double the range of the high beams when traveling at speeds faster than 43 miles per hour, according to Car and Driver.
These adaptive lights are on the cutting edge of technology, adding incredible visibility for the driver. Safety and comfort are checked off with this one, as it’s easier to drive without stress, knowing that the road ahead is adequately and intuitively illuminated. Rain, fog, snow, it doesn’t matter – Audi has you covered and visibility won’t be an issue.
16 Pre-Safe Sound – Mercedes
Mercedes gets points for forward thinking with this breakthrough technology. This incredible feature predicts imminent danger and pre-empts itself into sending a “safe sound”, which is ultimately an interference signal for your eardrums. It is designed to shield you from the loud and sudden sounds of a collision, preventing hearing damage.
Incredible. Not only does it effectively arm itself, but then it shields one of your most sensitive senses. We didn’t even know this feature existed, but now that we do, we can’t think of one good reason not to have this in any car. Perhaps Mercedes is the pioneer that will prompt other car makers to follow their lead.
15 Built-In Vacuum – Honda Odyssey 2013-16
We didn’t realize this was an option, but we’ll take it! Let’s face it, if you’re driving an Odyssey, then chances are you’re transporting children, items, supplies, or passengers, and in all cases, you could sure benefit from easy access to a vacuum. It doesn’t get much easier than having one mounted right into your back seat. Not just a run-of-the-mill vacuum, either. There’s a genuine Shop Vac in there! The canister is hard-wired into the car and you can have all of this for $2,300 USD. Ouch.
We can think of features that are way more fun than this and cost a lot less, so the price may deter a few shoppers, but it’s a cool feature that comes in handy, and it’s hard to argue those points!
14 Heart Rate Sensing Seats – Ford and Toyota
Ford and Toyota have taken safety to a whole new level with the introduction of heart-rate sensing seats as a feature to their higher-end vehicles. These seats use authentic ECG to monitor and track the heart rate of the driver. When heart rate levels are elevated beyond the normal level, the car’s intelligent system can take over the controls and safely bring your vehicle to a stop. If you’re connected to OnStar technology, it can also dispatch emergency workers to your location.
This feature aids in ensuring the safety of the driver, passengers, and all others on the roads that could potentially be negatively impacted in case of a crash. Now that we know about this, it seems silly not to add it.
13 Sky Control – Mercedes Benz
This is an enhancement of luxury for those who are interested in purchasing a Mercedes SL class or SLK class produced after 2012. This light-managing feature can aid in the ambiance of your drive as well. The panorama sunroof is essentially equipped with an electrical current passing through 2 panes of glass. The driver is able to select opaque or clear glass for their drive, enabling them to allow sunlight in as easily as they are able to shield themselves from it.
This is known as the “magic” sky control, and it also filters UV, making every drive easier on your eyes. We had no idea this was possible, and the $3,000 price tag is a bit steep, but if you’re buying an SL or SLK class, that’s probably a non-issue.
12 Seat Coolers – Volkswagen
As much as we love the summer season, the intense generated from humidity and the sun pounding on our cars can make for a sticky drive. Those with leather seats can especially relate to this situation. Many car manufacturers have heated seats, which we’re all familiar with. The cooling seats are a fun feature that we didn’t all know about. The seats have internal fans which work to reduce the heat by generating cool air through the venting system.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a sticky, sweaty seat, and an uncomfortable driver is less likely to be a safe one. We’re convinced that once you try these cooling seats, you’ll never want to give them up.
11 Magic Body Control – Mercedes
This feature is exclusive to the S Class models and is so cool, so intelligent, and definitely a new necessity now that we’ve discovered it! Mercedes really hit the mark with this intelligent system which allows your car to pre-adjust its suspension system. It works by scanning the road ahead, and then adjusting your car’s suspension to effectively glide over potholes, uneven roads, and whatever else is thrown into your path!
This feature is integrated with the car’s camera system, and not only anticipates the levels of your road but then adjusts to best tackle them. Saving money on flat tires and giving your passengers the safest, smoothest ride is a no-brainer – we all want this!
10 Retracting Hood Ornament – Rolls Royce
The signature hood ornament which appears on every Rolls Royce is also known as the ‘Spirit Of Ecstasy’, and this is a trademark which is synonymous with the brand and does more than just accessorize the hood of this car. Standard to all Rolls Royce models built after 2003, these beauties revert and retract upon contact. You heard that right – try to squirm one of these bad boys off to keep as a souvenir, and you’ll see its self-defense mechanism kick in.
The ornament retracts right into the vehicle and closes up, becoming flush with the hood. Not only is this a cool anti-theft device, but it also just adds to the list of awesome things on this car that amplifies its bragging rights!
9 Hidden Door Pocket – Porsche Carrera GT
Ok as far as cool features go, this is the coolest, and we definitely did not know this existed. Leave it to Porsche to make this ultra chic, very well concealed door-pocket possible! When the driver’s door opens, there’s a little interior spot that actually makes contact with the frame of the car, upon closing and you guessed it – it opens and leads to a hidden compartment!
We’re not suggesting you have anything to hide, however, you could probably find a use or two for this. It’s about the width of your hand and you can easily stash, ahem – store, anything you want in there. Surely it was designed for mints and spare keys! Whatever you end up doing with it, it’s just cool to have and definitely adds a little mystery to an otherwise sleek and sophisticated sports car.
8 Elevating Gear Knob – Jaguar XF
Nothing says luxury like a retracting and elevating gear knob! That’s what you’ll find in a Jaguar XF, and we had no idea this was possible! When the car is on, the shifter knob rises and takes on a normal positioning. When the car is turned off, it retracts into the console and disappears.
While we can all agree that this is virtually useless since the knob isn’t in the way if you’re not even in the car, it’s a super neat trick and adds a signature impression to this vehicle. This makes an already cool car, even cooler & we may be turning the car on and off just to watch this a few times!
7 Sports Response Buttons – Porsche 718
Yessssss! Let’s do this! When behind the wheel of a Porsche 718, why not also add a sports response button for an extra little boost of torque and speed ?! We love this, and think it belongs with its rightful owner, as the prized feature within this amazing car! Located conveniently within the controls on the steering wheel you will find the sports response button, and when compressed, it responds with 20 seconds of peak engine responsiveness, jolting the driver and passengers with every possible ounce of output energy.
This button is exclusive to Porsche, and we love that! Most people don’t know this is a feature within this vehicle, but it quickly becomes a favorite once the secret is out!
6 Coach Doors – Rolls Royce
We can always count on Rolls Royce to manufacture cars with features that are miles ahead of any other car maker. While the rest of the players brag about soft-closing doors, Rolls Royce owns the rights to the Coach Doors, which close at the mere push of a button.
Exclusive to the brand, we are green with envy at this cool trick. Simply pushing a tiny button upon entering the vehicle brings the doors smoothly and effortlessly to a close. Of course, if you’re driving, or being driven in a Rolls Royce, you wouldn’t want to be having to manage your own door with any effort greater than a push-button option!
5 i –ELOOP – Mazda 6
Let’s throw a more daily-drive into the mix and take a look at the 2014 Mazda 6. We bet you had no idea this car comes with incredible inbound technology. This technology stores energy, and upon braking, it actually converts this energy into electricity and uses that to power things such as the headlights, the AC, and the car audio system.
This is not only an advanced feature we didn’t know about, but it also plays a role in reducing our carbon footprint, as it equates to less fuel consumption too!
4 Bioweapon Defense Mode - Tesla
This Tesla-exclusive feature is cutting edge and exemplifies leading technology. It transmits cleaner, crisper air into your vehicle, leading to a more optimal, oxygen-infused driving environment within the cabin of your car. It’s the difference between breathing in normally filtered air than using this feature to then breathe in hospital-grade oxygen.
Keeping the driver alert for the duration of the drive, we think this is a wonderful idea and that more car manufacturers should jump on the bandwagon. It lends to a healthier environment and a more attentive driver, which equates to heightened safety for all.
3 Brake Drying – BMW
This nifty feature actually helps to dry your brakes as you drive. It’s activated and directly correlated with the windshield’s rain sensor. This system assumes that if your windshield could use a wipe, your brakes probably could too! When activated, the brakes move closer to the rotors and work to keep the brakes dry.
This not only improves braking in wet conditions, but it also enhances safety for everyone in the car, and around it! Those who had no idea this was an option, it definitely is and we think all cars should jump on board and offer it too!
2 Airscarf - Mercedes Benz
It’s not enough that you have a convertible Mercedes, but you can now also benefit from their Airscarf feature so you can enjoy rides with the top down, even in cooler weather. This is a must-have, and since we discovered it, we’ve wanted it in all drop-tops on the road!
The Airscarf works by warming the headrest of both the driver and passenger seats, allowing for a warmer driving experience when the top is down. This built-in heating system means you can extend the night a bit longer before having to close up the top of the car. It allows you to fully enjoy the vehicle, even at high speeds or within weather that would otherwise leave you feeling cold and wanting to cut the ride short. This is a Mercedes winner!
1 Eyesight – Subaru
Subaru drivers are lucky to reap the benefits of this newly-discovered feature. The Eyesight technology scans the road and will beep to notify you if you’re stopped and distracted with something in your car, or if traffic ahead of you starts moving. We’ve all been caught off guard by how fast a traffic light changes, and are happy to lean on this technology.
This driver-assist system will notify you if there is a sudden crash ahead, or if you need to smarten up and stay within your own lane. It’s such an added safety benefit that we’d struggle to find a reason not to use this feature!
Sources: Car and Driver, Jalopnik, Wikipedia