Archives

May 2009
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

What features do you think all manufacturers should copy ?

The latest Auto Car India has an article on features that manufacturers provide which are not useful in India. Reading that lead me thinking about good features that manufacturers should copy and introduce on all vehicles (since they are anyway copying from each other). This list is primarily from vehicles under 15 lakhs (mostly can be found on vehicles less than 8 lakhs in price).

 

Interiors/Comfort/Convenience

  • Flat dashboard with non reflective surface and anti skid surface allowing small items to be placed there without sliding around
  • A/C vents that can be fully closed
  • Coin holders with soft inside lining that doesn’t rattle
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Cell phone holder on central console/dashboard
  • Glove box big enough to hold more than just a few papers with soft lining to prevent rattling
  • Cooled Glove box
  • Central console/dashboard space big enough to hold Cd’s
  • Front passenger under seat storage. Has to be reasonably sized – otherwise don’t bother. If it is lockable even better.
  • Storage space for 1 litre bottles in door pockets.
  • Netting in boot for luggage/straps
  • Clutch foot rest
  • Clutch lock that requires clutch to be pressed before cranking engine
  • Follow home lighting and theatre style dimming of cabin lights.
  • Lighted ignition key slot on the dashboard and easy to see rather than on the steering column (I know the photo does not have it on the dashboard).
  • Keys that have remote lock/unlock built in.
  • Valet keys that do not open the boot or lockable glove box. You can give these to the valet without worry of your valuables.
  • 60:40 split rear seats with adjustable tilt
  • Double/flat folding rear seats for storage
  • Fully flat reclining front seats – dangerous since they do not secure the passenger in case of an accident or sudden stop, but good for pulling over to the side of the road and catching some Zs.
  • Adjustable seat belt height
  • Height adjustable headrests front and rear
  • Steering mounted audio controls that can work with all stereos !
  • Power windows and remote central locking 
  • Lighted power window and other switches  
  • Auto up/down power windows
  • Power windows that close automatically when the vehicle is locked
  • Anti -pinch power windows
  • Stain proof fabric for seats.
  • Height adjust for driver seat
  • Pedal reach adjust – helpful for short drivers
  • Arm rest for drivers seat and for rear passengers. Armrests with storage space are useful to stow small items.
  • Access to boot through rear seat armrest/console
  • Rear seat/Boot hooks for shopping bags
  • Power adapter in luggage bay/ in reach of rear passenger
  • Middle row tray tables for SUVs/MUVs
  • Sliding middle row seats that move back for more legroom in SUVs & MUVs.
  • Flat folding 3rd row seats for SUVs/MUVs
  • Anti glare rear view mirrors

Exterior

  • Blind spot convex mirrors.
  • Parking sensors front and rear. I wish there were side sensors too :-)  (rear camera optional).
  • Roof Rails: Contrary to what ACI says I think Roof Rails for luggage are needed more for hatchbacks than for sedans or SUVS since they have minimal boot space. Well integrated good looking roof rails like the ones on the Chevy Spark but with additional rails to make it functional would make hatchbacks a really practical option for people on a budget not wanting to spend an extra lakh or so for boot space that is used a few times a year.
  • Under body rust proofing & cavity rust proofing from manufacturer included in warranty. Why nag us with it later for every service
  • Well integrated rubber “rubbing” strips around. Body color or close to it would be best.
  • Grab type exterior door handles
    Tilt steering wheel 
  • Lighted engine bay and luggage areas
  • Rear defogger and wash and wipe
  • Outside rear view mirrors on the driver and passenger side should be made mandatory

Engine /Technology 

  • Distance to empty indicator and rpm and speed ranges for maximum mileage. (“Green” driving performance indicators may be too much to ask for but would be good to have.)
  • Tachometers for all trim levels. Teach people to drive for mileage and performance.
  • Automatic time based switch off of roof lamps and headlamps if engine is off unless a specific override like keeping doors open is present.
  • Micro hybrid technology for all cars. Retrofit kits for existing cars if possible
  • Hands free in-car blue tooth kits.
  • Have ABS standardized on all trims. Lowered cost if it is mass produced.
  • Speedometer linked audio systems (automatically reduces volume at lower speeds by a little bit)
  • Speed sensitive steering
  • Radio antenna integrated into rear windshield glass
  • Cruise control for highways. (ACI believe it or not, 0n some of the highways in India we can actually use cruise control.)
  • Central locking which lets you open the doors and hatch/trunk without requiring you to stop the car and give the key to someone, especially for security checks at offices and hotels.
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Make tubeless tires standard. 

Dear Readers:
Can you identify the cars whose features I have listed ? (At least the ones in the pictures I have used.)  
Any good features you have come across that I have missed ?
 
Source of images: Maruti, Hyundai,  Mahindra, Skoda &  Ford product websites.

9 comments to What features do you think all manufacturers should copy ?

  • Thats a long list of what you want, I can say confidently say that atleast 90% of the stuff is required in this modern day of automobiles.

    Audio controls on steering wheel because useless if you go for aftermarket ICE, which most of us tend to do. Clutch rest is a very important feature which is missing in successful cars like the Swift :@

    And this idea of omitting left side rear view mirror and tachnometer is really very sick. How much do these manufacturers save by cutting such essentials.

    BTW Sushil, very well written article, deserves a stumble. I have stumbled it, keep up the good work.

  • Sushil

    Thanks ICB. Really appreciate your comments. One can always dream correct ? :-)… this post is yet another dream – of cars with a while lot of features that are affordable to the common enthusiast.

    Talking about cost cutting, I was reading about manufacturers cutting costs by reducing mounting screws, minimizing painting (unpainted door handles, bumpers etc) – exterior rear view mirrors, single reverese lights, no defoggers the list is on and on.

  • As usual, another top class piece from Sushil. I think as Fasi said, the rear view mirror on the passenger side is vital and to me is a safety feature as well. In countries like India, drunk cyclists are aplenty and they ride so close to vehicles in traffic. One wrong steer and they get sandwiched between your can and the adjacent one.

  • Thanks IAB. To add to your point of the outside mirrors – they also make sure there is a few inches of space between your car body and the other vehicles. When folded in or when not present people can come close enough and scrape the car sides.

  • Manoj Kumar

    I am delighted to see that you thought of this topic, very practical and important topic. Today, on roads, most drivers are owners or family members than say 10 or 20 years ago. My priority may be different because I find cars are very unsafe (<7-8L).
    Interior
    Front seat belts with anchor height adjustment and with latest ELR & pretensioners
    ABS and airbags (at least option in every variant)
    Rear Defogger with timer (why people are forced to buy top end model for this basic safety feature)
    Tilt and telescopic steering wheel (good driving position is crucial)
    Driver seat height adjustment
    Clutch foot rest
    Electronic Stability Control (ESP, VSC etc. – option)
    Front Active head restraints
    Cabin light with time delay
    Real time FE display (will help people to be good driver)
    etc. etc.
    Exterior
    Four mud flaps (Splash from the car next to you, can blind you)
    Parking sensors
    Reduce blind spots
    Better and powerful headlight or fog light
    etc. etc.

    Some pictures are from i20!

  • Sushil

    Thanks Manoj – glad you liked it and I also see you have some personal favourites as well. Glad you noticed the I20 pictures. I agree with you that safety features seem few and far between on cars less than 8L. Even in the 8L range there isnt anything much. This is one of the main reasons I went in for a Swift ZXI which at the time when I bought it had ABS & Airbags which were not available in most cars at 8L. :-).

  • Manoj Kumar

    I did not mean to disagree with your list. It is a very fine wish list. But in this era of financial constraints, we need to prioritize and demand few features, which are relatively more useful and will not increase cost of the car – in mass production as you mentioned.

    I am sure if they fit ABS in every car, cost differential will not be more than Rs. 12K as opposed to 20K+ as an added option. I think, all cars get underbody rust proofing during manufacturing process now, but still dealers want to make money for nothing. Further, India is not like West where salt is sprinkled on road during snow, which causes rusting etc. etc. I would like to see more ICE with USB port, it is such a versatile port. I can charge even my rechargeable batteries while driving. But I am against using cell phone while driving without hands free operation. It has become illegal in USA due to too many accidents and a source of distraction.

  • Sushil

    @Manoj – I was once actually asked to do underbody rust protection from the same Ford dealer who had done the underbody rust protection already !!! It is useful when you drive through slush and then do not do any kind of high pressure wash for the underside of the car.

    Also this is a wish list – may take years to become standard features.

  • Thanks for the wishlist. I think all the ideas on here are good ones. Hope to seem them implemented, too.
    .-= car accessories´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>