Fad or Fab? 4 Unusual New Car Features

Pop-up headlights? Hidden gas caps? Record players? These may not come standard on the car you drive, but automakers have been innovating with quirky features like these for decades. While you probably don’t have a third headlight on your car, as the 1948 Tucker Sedan did, some of your 21st century ride’s standard features might have seemed like sci-fi 65 years ago.

Below, we take a look at some interesting features on cars of the 2000s. Who knows — maybe they’re the wave of the future!

MINI’s Openometer

Ever wonder how much time you’d spend with the top down if you owned a convertible? Well, if you buy a MINI Cooper Convertible or a MINI Cooper Roadster, you won’t have to guess. MINI’s Openometer measures and displays how long you’ve driven with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin — let’s just hope it doesn’t rain.

Kia Soul’s Optional Speaker Lights

The Kia Soul stands out with its unique, boxy look, and it also proves that you don’t need to spend luxury car money to get a stereo system that adds some visual appeal. The Soul’s optional Infinity Audio System comes with speakers that light up, and can be set to pulsate with the beat of the music. The system is also created to sound as good as it looks, with a central speaker, a Subwoofer and an external amplifier.

Volkswagen’s Kaeferfach


Everyone can spot the Volkswagen Beetle’s iconic shape and flower vase, but it has some other features that may not be so well known. For example, have you ever heard of the Kaeferfach? It’s the Beetle’s second, upper glove box (I used mine for my sunglasses!). It’s a fitting name, too — if you don’t speak German, “Kaeferfach” means “Beetle bin.”

Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat

If you like that vibrating chair on display at Brookstone, Cadillac’s Safety Alert Seat might get your attention. Available on the Cadillac ATS and XTS, the seat vibrates to help alert drivers to potential hazards on the road. If you get too close to another car while you’re parallel parking, for example, or if you drift out of your lane, the seat will vibrate to alert you of the issue. Unfortunately, Shiatsu massage isn’t an option yet.

Whether it’s for style or safety, fun or entertainment, these are some of the innovations you can see at car dealerships today As automakers continue to innovate, do you think any of these unusual features will become the new standard?


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