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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019

10 genius car design features that should come as standard

From flexible seats to magnetic sun visors, make sure your next car has these.

Image: Shutterstock/BLUR LIFE 1975

AS SOMEONE WHO test-drives a different car almost every week as part of my role, I’m pretty up-to-date on changes and trends in vehicle design.

Many new cars can feel quite similar, which is why simple little extras or smart design features really do make a vehicle stand out from the rest.

Here are just some of the features I wish all manufacturers would include as standard – and a few you should definitely look if you’re in the market for a new set of wheels.

1. Skoda’s hidden umbrellas

Source: Newspress

Skoda is known for it’s clever extras like the ticket holder on the windscreen and the ice-scraper in the fuel cap, but the wisest of all are the umbrellas hidden in the doors. It’s the perfect design feature for Ireland’s unpredictable weather.

2. Tesla’s magnetic sun visors

Source: TC Tech YouTube

One of the more practical design features that I love from Tesla is the magnetic sun visors found on the Model X, held on the top of the doors until you need them.

Convenient, yes, but it also means the driver has better visibility when the visors are tucked away. Now, if I could just arrange for every car to have Tesla’s falcon wing doors, too…

3. Honda’s flexible seating

Source: Honda Media

Honda’s Magic Seats definitely live up to their name. The back seats don’t merely fold down, they can flip up too. There are 18 different configurations meaning you can transport almost anything and even turn the seats into a bed if needed.

4. BMW’s false/folding boot floor 


All cars should have a false boot floor to hide objects underneath, as seen in the BMW 5 Series Touring.

Drivers can securely accommodate small and large objects by fastening a bicycle holder on the loading platform or hiding items beneath the folding boot floor out of view from prying eyes.

5. Porsche’s hidden compartments

Source: Doug DeMuro YouTube

In my opinion, all cars should come with at least one secret compartment for hiding valuables – or concealing your secret Haribo addiction.

The best secret stash compartment is the Porsche Carrera GT’s door-in-a-door, but a more practical example would be the storage compartment under the driver’s seat of the SEAT Ateca.

6. Citroën‘s Body protectors

Source: Newspress

The ‘airbumps’ found on the Citroën Cactus are flexible air-filled capsules that help your car to resist knocks and scrapes, so there’s no need to worry about car park damage and the urban rough and tumble. Genius.

7. Ford’s door protectors

Source: Newspress

Door-edge protectors can be seen on the new Ford Fiesta and Skoda Kodiaq and protect other cars from your car doors. The plastic strip pops open when the door is opened and limits any damage caused if your door hits off something.

8. Volkswagen’s longer doors

Source: Paddy McGrath

Some car manufacturers now make doors that extend under the doors sills so you don’t get muddy legs when exiting the car – a miracle solution for those fond of wearing white trousers. For examples, check out the Volkswagen Tiguan and new Skoda Karoq.

9. Renault’s sliding centre console

Source: Renault BeLux/YouTube

Need extra room from time to time? The Renault Scenic features a clever centre console that can slide backwards or forwards to allow more space in different areas of the car.

It was especially handy when I had a car full of passengers and needed space to store my handbag without impinging on anyone’s legroom.

10. Honda’s in-car vacuum cleaner

Source: Honda North America

Cars get filthy and it can be a pain trying to keep them clean. Honda realised this and added a HondaVac into its Odyssey MPV, with two attachments and a hose long enough to reach the whole cabin. Smart or what?

READ: Whatever body style you like, these cars have the biggest boots >

READ: 6 parking behaviours that need to be banned immediately >

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About the author:

Melanie May  /

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