Hooniverse Asks- What Feature do You Wish Cars Had?


You’d be surprised at the age of certain automotive convenience features. Auto tune radios, cruise control, running board-mounted dwarf valet, they all go way back. Modern technology – notably the electronic revolution – has accelerated many convenience and safety feature adoptions, but there’s still an empty place that many drivers feel inside, every time they get behind their feature-laden wheels.

Your seat may be powered. It may – depending on the season – either heat or cool your crack. It could even massage your tired back while your in-dash communication system tweets the fact.Yeah, cars and trucks today are almost overburdened with features, so much so that their owners manuals have ballooned to hundreds of pages just in the description of their individual use.

But what, in your mind, is missing? What feature – either convenience, safety, or performance – is going unfulfilled by today’s selection of automobilia? Are you desperate for an in-car bidet – which I just embarrassingly learned is only for after the fact? What missing feature do you think cars today should possess?

Image source: [avism]

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104 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Feature do You Wish Cars Had?”

  1. lincoln Avatar

    I wish every single model ever produced was available in a 2 door manual. no exceptions.

  2. Josh_Howard Avatar

    The feature I miss most would be a more efficient transmission. Sure, I love to drive… but the 4 speed slushbox with 226k miles isn't doing my car any favors. Hell, because I use it for a commuter 95% of the time… I'd even take a CVT if it had one. Mainly a manual trans though. Efficiency is my number 1 priority given how many miles I drive. Low stress and easy to drive is #2. When I've not got much stress, even the crappiest car can feel fun to me. That is, as long as I don't feel like it's trying to kill me.

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    Ballistic Missiles.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I would settle for a lock box for a full size handgun.

    1. Alcology Avatar

      oil, coolant, transmission fluid and gear oil. One of my cars doesn't have taps, but I somehow feel like it leaves a little taste of those fluids wherever it goes.

  4. Vavon Avatar

    <img src="http://www.a2zscraplets.com.au/images/big/fun.jpg"&gt;
    Because, sadly, it's lacking in so many modern cars.

  5. P161911 Avatar

    If the windshield wipers are turned on, turn on the headlights! What is the downside to this? How hard would it be to do? I can't imagine it would cost even $1 to the manufacturer, especially with cars that already have automatic headlights.

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      Why has this not been done yet?

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      No thank you. Yet another link between otherwise completely separate systems for no apparent reason. It's crap like this that caused a faulty dome light switch in a friend's '99 Tahoe to cost $150 and three troubleshooting attempts by the mechanic to correct.

      1. I Think Not Avatar
        I Think Not

        What do you mean no apparent reason? This man is trying to save us from the plague of idiots who cannot seem to make this logical leap:
        It's raining, so I need to turn on my wipers to see.
        I sure wish it were easier to see other cars.
        Oh hey, I want others to see my car better, maybe I should turn on the lights.
        Most places, it's the law, but I am not sure I've ever seen nor heard anyone pulled over for a violation, despite seeing it all the time.

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          This, from the ordinarily anti-nanny crew? Yea, let's remove one more thing from the driver's control, just because some other guy can't be bothered to use it correctly.
          As my father-in-law used to say, "It's idiotic to think that you can out-think an idiot."

          1. I Think Not Avatar
            I Think Not

            How about this, then?
            I'd like to see the wipers = headlights feature on cars typically driven by automatons who derive no joy from motoring.
            Cars the likes of us would not buy. Something beige with a 4 cylinder and a torque-converter automatic.

    3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      While the law in most states say that if you are using your wipers, your headlights must be on, there are instances that would justify not adhering to the letter of the law, while still following the intent. Just because something is on your windshield doesn’t mean that conditions necessitate, or even warrant, headlight usage, and I’d personally rather someone flout the law to avoid flashing their headlights when they need to clean a bug off of their windshield, or an adjacent car hits a puddle.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        The lights wouldn't come on if you use the momentary switch or just the sprayer.

        1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

          Rationally, I like the idea, allowing for those exceptions, but it wouldn’t work well for me, in particular. I tend to turn the wipers on/off rather than use the mist setting. Then, trying to accommodate that situation, the question becomes what sort of delay would you want between the wipers turning on, and the headlights coming on? Maybe no delay on, but 30 seconds delay off? That way, you’re not flashing lights, and it would ensure the lights stay on in even those rare situations when you’re driving through a misting rain with no visibility issues, but have to occasionally do a single swipe with the wipers.
          I’m still not on board, but I will concede that most of my concerns could at least be addressed, whether to my satisfaction or not.

    4. Alcology Avatar

      I leave the headlights on my car on 24/7 and they shut off automagically when the key comes out.

      1. danleym Avatar

        I've tried the same thing in the past, but then the car automagically won't turn on the next time I need it.

        1. Alcology Avatar

          Too many times to count. 97 subaru legacy.

    5. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

      My '05 Town Car does this when the headlight switch is turned to the automatic setting.

  6. racer139 Avatar

    Feature that is missing from all cars and trucks these days.. A real base model stripper vehicke. Yes I know you can buy a base model of any car, what I mean is a car that is not equipped with any nanny or advanced safty features… a true stripper. like a toyota taco that has no modern nannys and a base interior and a row yer own transmission would tick all the right boxes for a whole lot of folks. Also I dont mean no airbags, I mean stability,traction,yaw, blindspot, etc etc etc, anything that dumbs a car down.

    1. danleym Avatar

      So this is what you're looking for?
      <img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1070/619945714_b43b4f13ec.jpg&quot; width=500>

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        I would not object to a car equipped with those nannies.

        1. danleym Avatar

          Just make sure you bring your own safety features.

      2. racer139 Avatar

        Yes, yes I am. Also I'll take a set of those airbags.

      3. danleym Avatar

        By the way, be careful googling "truck with stripper pole" at work. I made sure the filter was on it's strongest settings, and it was still a little iffy.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          Brave man

          1. danleym Avatar

            It's all for you guys.

        2. OA5599 Avatar

          I have it on good authority that if you do happen to have a vehicle equipped with a stripper pole and are cruising around a small town with a girl on the pole, be absolutely certain that she isn't the daughter of the police chief's best friend.

      4. pj134 Avatar

        He asked for the stripper, not the whore.

    2. pj134 Avatar

      As of the 09 MY, you could still get a vinyl interior wrangler with manual everything. ESC is government mandated now, but it comes pretty damn base and has the perfect height windows for arm restitude.

    3. K5ING Avatar

      +1 Bring back the Biscayne! Full sized car with no options, and cheap. These days, to get a large car also means having to get a luxury car.

      1. mappo Avatar

        Isn't that what the latest Passat is?

        1. K5ING Avatar

          The Passat has rubber floormats instead of carpet, manual windows, no A/C or radio, vinyl seats, will seat 6 comfortably and is priced around $15K? I didn't know that.

          1. mappo Avatar

            Well, no, but radios and A/C are hardly luxury options in the 21st century.

    4. JayP2112 Avatar

      Chrysler just announced at the Chicago show the SRT8 Core- Like a $5k price drop by deleting the crap that isn't a V8.
      Hell Yea.

  7. engineerd Avatar

    Everything in this video:
    [youtube wUG1GexVz2k http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUG1GexVz2k youtube]

    1. vroomsocko Avatar

      You beat me to the oil slick and smoke screen. However, I had the 8-bit version in mind.
      <img src="http://www.skunkworx.org/goa/games/s/spy-hunter/nes/screenshots/oil-slick.png&quot; width="400">
      <img src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/images/2008/01/27/spy_hunter_smoke_screen.jpg&quot; width="400">

  8. P161911 Avatar

    Easily selectable options, a la cart, without having to get packages, and the ability to get all the rebates on a new vehicle without having to "take delivery from dealer stock". There are a few things I would have liked differently on both my truck and the wife's Trailblazer.

    1. lbreevesii Avatar

      I'm lookin at you Fiesta ST HID headlights!

    2. I Think Not Avatar
      I Think Not

      Dear Christ, there's nothing I hate worse than, when perusing a new car's options on the internets using the Build Your Car feature, with this popping up when I request the engine upgrade:
      "This selection requires the following:
      – WXYZ package, $15,200: includes thermonuclear testes warmer (guarantees female children!), reciprocating seatbelt cleanser, fold-away bumper-mounted toilet seat w/paper roll holder.
      – carpeted floor mats, $65"

  9. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    How about an electric heating element in the dash vents to allow defrosting before the engine is warm. Or, a transparent heating element within the laminate to allow the windshield to heat directly (although that might make windshield replacement a costlier affair)

    1. Feds_II Avatar

      The Delica has this, albeit confined to the bottom 6" of the windshield. Keeps ice from building up on the bottom.

      1. danleym Avatar

        I've seen on some Subarus (and presumably other cars, too) that have heating elements where the wiper blades rest, so you can keep them from frosting up. Not quite the same, but still a cool feature.

        1. discontinuuity Avatar

          My dad's Subaru has this feature. The only problem is that it caused the windshield to crack on a very cold night, due to heat stress.

    2. salguod Avatar

      Didn't Ford do this in the 90s? I seem to remember Crown Vics & Town Cars with copper colored windshields due to the heating element laminated in the glass.
      What happened to those?

  10. LTDScott Avatar

    There have been lots of times where I wish my car had an electronic signboard it so I could show another driver what I feel about their driving. Just have a few presets for the most common aggravations:

    1. danleym Avatar

      I have a friend who has said he wishes you could call up other cars based on their license plate- some sort of car to car communication system, or just dialing their license plate into your phone and their phone rings. His whole reason behind this is so he can cuss out the moron hanging out in the left lane.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        That would work too.
        As a person who works in internet/phone based retail, it's my life's goal to develop slap-through-phone technology to smack some sense into some of the people I talk to. My idea would work well along with your friend's.

        1. danleym Avatar

          Considering the other things that can be done through a phone- didn't Japan come up with some hugging thing with a special sweatshirt or something like that?- I'm sure a slap-through-phone feature wouldn't be too difficult.

          1. Vairship Avatar

            If they have a hugging feature, surely a strangling feature can't be a very difficult modification…

    2. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

      Definitely. If not that, at least a rear horn. Tell me you haven't wanted to honk at someone behind you.

  11. racer139 Avatar

    Dodge has the same.. My brother has a 11 3500 diesel crew cab. With vinyl mat vinyl seats power windows and locks a/c and a six gear manual. He bought it new and had to special order it (as he says) because the local dealers didnt have one with both vinyl seats and floor mats. Has abs but I dont believe it to have traction control. I believe the gubment should let us pick if we want our vehicles with all the things that make driving a "no brainer" as your brain should be fully engauged in driving and not relying on the gizmoes.

  12. Impalamino Avatar

    I always said I wanted a strippo special W/T. Ended up getting one (2004 2500HD), and it even has a manual transmission and a V8. I guess it's the stripper version of a 3/4 tonner.
    But yeah, rubber floor, crank windows (which no one can even believe), manual locks…the only options that it does have are A/C, cruise control, and a 4:10 rear gear. I could live without everything but the A/C. Oh, and I replaced the factory AM/FM (no tape deck, no CD player) with an old CD head unit I had laying around.
    I think you're right about the traction control being mandatory.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      As I have mentioned before, when I bought my 2011 Silverado WT the only options were the CD player (it has the 3.5mm input jack for a MP3 player) and a limited slip diff. Also, I got it in black because I wanted it to match the cheap black plastic grill. I didn't special order, but did get it brought in from a dealership about 15 miles up the road. I was in the market for a Daddy-mobile and after a really bad experience with a used BMW wanted something with a warranty (especially the wife). We are eligible for a GM family discount (wife's grandpa is a GM retiree), I am generally opposed to FWD and Asian cars, so Chevrolet it was. The only thing in my price range that I liked was the Silverado extended cab.

  13. jbkjbk Avatar

    Fog lights that shut off above 20 mph. They're not helping the driver and they're blinding everyone else.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      I have a car again with fog lights and I like to have them on more often than I should. It's peculiar, with the way the roads get all cracked-up and pot holed here and the slush now, I think the shadows are more prominent which lets me more easily see what's on the road, plus there is that more light down low to the sides. It might be one of those makes me more comfortable things than anything else (like how my wife likes to see the side of her car in the driver's side mirror) but I like it that way. Do the fog lights really dazzle other drivers? They do not affect me that way when they are down in the lower corners.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        I think he's talking about the (very bright) rear fog light.

    2. Alcology Avatar

      Automatically adjusting fogs? I feel like I'm blinded by every car on the road anyway due to the ride height of most cars. Headlights are aimed at my eyeballs and I have to use the white line on the right to see where I'm going!

  14. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Those are all excellent suggestions. What I'd also like to see is a set of electrodes that self attatch to a drivers testicles if he neglects to indicate a lane change.
    Also, A.I in voice control telematics systems so you can ask it to tell you a joke.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      From my experience, greater than 50% of the no-signalling crowd lack testicles.

  15. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    A removable full windshield and top that swaps out for a low racing windscreen.
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/pugette-windshields.png"&gt;

    1. Vavon Avatar

      And interchangeable hoods and trunklids are great too!
      PS: The Peugette should be a hoot to drive.

      1. danleym Avatar

        Why stop at just the hood and trunk lids? How about having interchangeable front and rear doors and fenders, too?
        <img src="http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/1960s-amc-concept-cars-8.jpg"&gt;

    2. Vavon Avatar

      I don't know if you have already seen this, if not it's an interesting read. The picture size is 2048×1600!
      <img src="http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4072/4440972708_69658556ee_o.jpg&quot; width="670/">

  16. Devin Avatar

    A small vacuum under the center console that can collect all of the crap that falls in that space where your hand can't actually reach in.

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      I kind of like this idea, but it doesn’t even need to be a vacuum. Just add a slide out tray spanning the gap. Drop something between the seat and console? Slide out the tray!

  17. I Think Not Avatar
    I Think Not

    A coffee brewing and dispensing machine with reservoir from which I can sip like a greedy hamster.

  18. I Think Not Avatar
    I Think Not

    This is less a feature, more of a packaging thing — the ability to order the upgraded engine with a manual transmission, and in the base model without all of the frills you neither want, nor want to pay for.

  19. POLAЯ Avatar

    For those big enough to admit they can't drive worth a Farthing, an optional Roof-top Stig.
    <img src="http://stuffpoint.com/top-gear/image/33850-top-gear-stig-lying-on-the-car.jpg"&gt;

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        Awesome movie.

      2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
        Dean Bigglesworth

        Accidental downvote. Awesome movie. Here's what some of the dudes from the film were doing in -82. Most f the songs are obviously in Finnish, but this one's in English and involves a Peugeot 404.
        [youtube gIgG5yl9pGc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIgG5yl9pGc youtube]

  20. PotbellyJoe Avatar

    I want an LED sign on the lower portion of my rear window and buttons on my dash that activate it, so I can say, "Thanks," "Sorry," and "Please."
    Politeness and humility would probably reduce a lot of road rage. And i figure if we're all happier on the road, etiquette at lane merges and such will flow smoother, thus reducing traffic.

  21. Andrew Avatar

    Adjustable spring rates (on non-leaf-sprung cars). It would make daily-driving an autox car so much nicer.

  22. Preludacris Avatar

    I want taillights to come on automatically along with the DRLs. Here in Canada where daytime running lights have been required for about 20 years, there are an awful lot of people who assume because they can see (dimly) ahead of them, I can see their dark grey car ahead of me, in the rain, at dusk.
    <img src="http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z313/ndrwhrnr/2012-09-13164301.jpg&quot; width="600">
    One more thing… said taillights should be the full width of the car.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Does the center part light-up? Anyway, DRLs in Volvos from the '90s worked like that. It annoyed me, but there was a screw you could turn to disable that. Maybe that was the right approach.

      1. Preludacris Avatar

        No. Rear fog lights were placed there in markets requiring them. And before the 1990 facelift, the reverse lights were awkwardly stuck in there too.

  23. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    I like having cooler air on my face and warm air at my feet in winter. So just some way to do that again would be nice. In older cars there were the windolets, in my S90 it just does that all by itself really well (even documented, so it's not like something else is broken), and 850-ish Volvos had a little air mix dial for the center vents. I have not been able to find a new car that does this right in a long time now. Maybe the new Phaethon?

  24. superbadd75 Avatar

    Decent looking steel wheels with beaty rings and center caps. Full wheel covers are terrible and fly off, and they don't fool anyone

  25. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

    And Convertible.

      1. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

        Still more fun than the coupe. Just need a hat and sunglasses. Preferably with a false nose.

        1. Devin Avatar

          How about THIS convertible?
          <img src="http://www.ridelust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/2012NissanMurano.jpg&quot; width="500">

          1. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

            Still better than if it was a coupe. Just like being shot in the head is better than drowning.

  26. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

    A docking station for a phone or, tablet for SatNav or portable Sirius radio. I don't like paying extra for the dashboard hardware when I've already got it waiting to plug right in.

  27. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    The ability to properly dial in every angle of the seat, wheel and pedals.
    At 5'11", 150lbs I flop all over the place in all but the smallest Japanese sports cars. Meanwhile, the wheel-to-shoulder and pedal-to-butt distances are never right.
    Bonus points if this is achieved by a preposterous number of manual knobs, levers and dials like some early industrial age steam contraption.

  28. Fritzo2162 Avatar

    Actually…I'd like a radio equivalent of a DVR. I miss a lot of radio shows and interviews…it would be cool to schedule recordings and play them when I'm in the car.

    1. superbadd75 Avatar

      GM has such a thing, at least in Cadillacs, but I believe in other vehicles as well. It's a pretty cool little feature.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      You mean like a tape recorder?

  29. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    An in car monitor that tells me when it's time to do various routine maintenance tasks (oil, plugs, various fluids, belts). I'm bad at keeping track of this. And so was the last owner, so I wouldn't know where to start from. Of course it probably needs everything by now…
    I think maybe real new cars (as opposed to the 11 year old car which seems new to me) have this? I know my friend's Patriot tells him when he needs an oil change, and I think it needs to go to the dealer to tell the car it's been done. This is a stupid way to implement it.
    Besides being easier, the car can keep track of the way it's being used, and determine the necessity of maintenance better than the uniform by-mileage program.

    1. danleym Avatar

      Yeah, they're kinda sorta there now, but I haven't yet seen one really done right.

    2. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      The only car that I have/have ever had with the oil change reminder is my GTO. Honestly, I find that I’m changing the oil about twice as often as the car thinks it needs. It seems to always be shortly after every other oil change that the “service engine oil” notification comes on. It’s clearly not monitoring the oil quality, but rather a (probably) simple algorithm using mileage, hours, and average rpm to decide on likely oil degradation. It turns out, with my driving habits, the car thinks that the oil needs to be changed every 8-10k miles. I change it every 5k. Fortunately, the notification reset is a simple DIY (no special tools tools at all needed)

    3. faster,Tobias! Avatar

      BMW/MINI feature 'Condition Based Service', adjusting the interval dependant on driving conditions such as temperature, highway vs stop & go driving, 'spirited' driving vs passive driving, etc. The countdown to the next service appears in the odometer for a few seconds when you start the car, or by accessing the on-board computer. I'm pretty sure it's that way for Audi and Mercedes also.

    1. Fritzo2162 Avatar

      From the looks of that picture, it was an option on the Porsche 928 then?

      1. vroomsocko Avatar

        Upon further scrutiny, I believe it was was an option on the Porsche 928 and Ferrari F40's love child. Bean Bandit approves.

  30. mappo Avatar

    Windows. Full size windows. Why can't we have them anymore?

  31. jeepjeff Avatar

    Perfection in design is achieved not where there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

  32. Tomsk Avatar

    Imagine how much the accident rates in this country would drop with these as standard equipment!
    <img src="http://www.carbibles.com/images/steering_spike.jpg&quot; />

  33. Maymar Avatar

    I would love for cars that would not allow an unsignaled turn (to prevent the situation where you get caught behind someone because they didn't signal a turn until you'd already stopped), but I recognize that's a little impractical and unsafe.

  34. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    a coin holder that doesn't break! i hate having loose change in the car but ever car with a coin holder/dispenser i've seen has had some flimsy thing that ends up being a broken trim piece and a spring.
    also, ITT people bitching about automatic transmissions and cars with too many features again…come on guys, i don't disagree but can every hooniverse comment thread not be about that

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