I’m going to add this one even though it isn’t my car. My BF’s cousin got a new Infiniti SUV and on the dash there is a console screen and a camera somewhere on he back of the vehicle. When she puts the car into reverse, what ever is behind her shows up on the screen, so she can see how much room she has backing up.
It’s not very common at all, the only manufacturer I know who regularly puts it in cars is (rather ironically if you’re an American) Ford. It would be more common if it didn’t cost £200 to replace the windscreen! And air-con makes it pretty much obselete.
The best gadget in my car is probably the minidisc player, it just looks so cool when you eject/ insert the discs
After that it would be the wonder that is Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control (VTEC), I can make my car sound like a normal car or a race car
I am SO jealous of all you guy’s stuff. The best my '77 Cutlass can do is a quadrophonic 8-track and a cb.
I would kill for a HUD.
We have 2 Ford Foci. Each has a feature on the radio that raises the volume of the sound system to compensate for road, engine and wind noise based on the speed you are travelling.
E350, 7.3 L diesel, with 800 watt stereo, alternating high-beam flasher (wig-wag), CB, block heater/battery warmer, security system, a custom tail deck in place of the rear bumper, an inverter to run AC appliances, and I can take the key out of the ignition while it is running, and leave/lock the vehicle.
1989 Cadillac Sedan DeVille.
Instant/Avg Fuel Economy, Range to empty fuel, fuel used - all on one gauge.
Outside Temperature Gauge on the air conditioning panel.
AM Stereo / FM Stereo / Cassette Radio - the AM Stereo sounds great when you find a station broadcasting in such. Also, when you turn the key off, the radio stays on until a door is open.
Aftermarket - well, I love my Icom 2720H ham radio. It can receive from 108MHz to 999 MHz, transmit in the 144MHz and 440MHz bands, and has instant access to weather channels. How geeky is that?
Yep, cadolphin just confirmed that I am, in fact, a geek.
I can live with that.
One of the coolest trucks I ever drove was our 1943 Mayflower Moving Van. It had:
Vacuum wipers – the more vacuum the engine pulled, the faster the wipers would go.
An (electric) rubber-bladed fan mounted to the dash for a defroster.
A huge leather seat, stuffed with horsehair – 3 adults and a kid could sit comfortably side-by-side.
A 4-speed transmission and a 2-speed axle. The 8 gears were not in 1L-1H-2L-2H-3L-3H-4L-4H order. IIRC they went 1L-2L-1H-3L-2H-4L-3H-4H. Shifting the axle just involved flipping a switch, then when the clutch was depressed the axle would switch. All shifting between gears involved double-clutching, as the tranny didn’t have synchro-mesh.
If the truck was empty, you could just leave the axle in high after you got to 1H, and you could start out in 2L. Other wise, shifting up went like this:
1st Gear, Axle Low; Clutch Out
Double-clutch; 2nd Gear; Clutch Out
Clutch; Flip to H; Clutch; 1st Gear; Clutch Out
Clutch; Flip to L; Clutch; 3rd Gear; Clutch Out
Clutch; Flip to H; Clutch; 2nd Gear; Clutch Out
Clutch; Flip to L; Clutch; 4th Gear; Clutch Out
Clutch; Flip to H; Clutch; 3rd Gear; Clutch Out
Double-clutch; 4th Gear; Clutch Out
Top speed was 45mph. Downhill. With a tailwind. Gas mileage was 6mpg, loaded or not, but it had about 150 gallons capacity, including the 35 gallon tank under the seat (yikes!).
The electrics were 6V positive-ground, but we upgraded them to an 8V system – made the headlights a lot brighter.
What he said, except mine is a 1988, not 89. But if this counts, my ultra fave thing has to be my custom floor mats.
They have channels in them and tall “walls” all around, so that melting snow/mud/road salt stays in THEM and doesn’t run all over your carpet.
In my Volvo XC90:
Something I originally thought was silly but have grown to love-a rain sensor embedded in my windshield. It senses how much rain there is and adjusts the speed of the wipers accordingly. Very handy during those it’s sprinkling-now it’s pouring-now it’s just sprinkling again-type of showers.
Something I don’t like-the autodimming rear view. Sure it’s handy to have it adjust for you, but it lacks the little toggle, so you can’t operate it manually. Parents know that flipping the mirror down can allow you to glance at your kids in the back.
My husband’s Audi has not only heated seats but a heated steering wheel. Oooooh.
The GLX VWs have rain sensors and the auto-dimming rear views and seats with memory programs for postion, an option not available for the TDi. Unfortunate.
A thing I forgot, but it’s not so much a gadget really, is that instead of having an “Oh sh*t” handle for the driver’s side (one assumes you’d be hanging on to the wheel, I guess) there is a flip-down sunglasses holder. Very handy, and kind of a fun feature because I didn’t see it mentioned in the video, the driver’s manual, or the sticker list of features, so when you finally notice it, “what the heck is this?” It could also fit a pack of cigs, but it’s shaped more specifically like a shades case, so that’s what the general consensus is that it is.
In my BMW 325:
I can punch in a distance (say 150 miles), then it gives me an ETA, and continuously updates. It’s spookily accurate. I’ll have 30 miles to go, be driving 80 mph, it’ll say I’ve got an hour to go. “WTF?” thinks I. Into wicked bad traffic go I. An hour later, I get out at my destination. I wonder if my car has some sort of mind control over other drivers.
Also has instant MPG and two average MPG, a timer, external temperature, average speed and probably some other gadgets I can’t think of off the top of my head.
And a “mute” function on the radio. I always thought this was common (probably because my home stereo also has it) but none of my friend’s vehicles have it. Push the button, it instantly drops the volume 20 dB, very useful for when the phone rings; push it again, it ramps the volume back up so you don’t blow your ears out if you don’t want to.
Doing this one from memory, but in one of John D. MacDonald’s Travis Magee novels he mentions a feature on Miss Agnes, his vintage (1923, IIRC) Rolls-Royce that has been converted to a pickup. The feature was a way to adjust the carbureation from the dashboard to compensate for change in altitude.
My Nissan 350Z has:
[ul][li]Auto climate control: set the temp, and it provides the right amount of heat or AC to achieve that temp.[/li]
[li]Outside temperature readout.[/li]
[li]An adjustable shift light that I’ve set to blink before I hit the rev limiter. (Useful on the track.)[/li]
[li]It has tire pressure sensors that read out on the dash (also useful at the track).[/li]
[li]I’ve had 6-point Schroth racing harnesses installed to keep me firmly in place while going fast (on the track). [/ul] [/li]Useless gimmicks on my car:
[ul][li]Self-dimming rear-view mirror. [sarcasm]I’m so glad I don’t have to reach up and flip that little lever anymore![/sarcasm][/li]
[li]Elapsed time clock[/li]
Not very accurate MPG and Miles-To-Empty readout[/ul]
Not my car, but my dads old car, a 1995 Subaru Legacy, had a button that made the car go up higher! It actually increased the clearance of the car by a couple inches, coolest thing I have ever seen
This reminds me of a car review by the great Jeremy Clarkson during Top Gear in which, while reviewing a car which to say the least was … ordinary, he mentions that he car was truely unique in that it was designed for every convinence. To prove this he pulls open a little compartment that he shows seems to be designed for the sole purpose of storing celery safely
Unfortunately I can do very little in text to properly express the sheer dry wit of that show. For those of you who do get the BBC and care in the slightest about cars, I strongly recommand Top Gear.
Australian whiteware company years ago diversified and made a car.
The Washburn Zeta
It had three cylinders and no discernable power whatsoever, but it did have a bit of a party trick. If you turned the key backwards the starter motor went backwards and so the motor went backwards. Result: one forward gear and four reverse.
The other redeeming feature was that it was light enough to push long distances when it invariably broke down.
Aftermarket GPS navigation computer. So dam’ cool, and very, very useful.
Being too cheap to pay car payments, my car is a 96 Mazda 626 that I paid cash for. The coolest thing about it is the little lights. When you pull the door handle, a little light emits from the keyhole so you can find it in the dark. Same light in the ignition switch. Since I leave for work at 4:20 AM, I really appreciate this feature!
Man, if I ever get around to getting a new car I think I’m going to be overwhelmed by all the gadgets!
The coolest thing about our family car is the high horsepower, quiet, smooth and economical V8 under the hood. It flat hauls ass!
Where the hell did my sig go?
I love being able to roll down the windows from the keyless entry in my Accord. But that’s the only real gidgy-gadgety thing on it. For a 2003 car, it has no MPG computer, no RDS display on the radio, no heads-up display… pretty basic. But a great car.