Home » I Can’t Decide If These Weird Slots On The VW Tiguan’s Dashboard Are Useful Or Stupid

I Can’t Decide If These Weird Slots On The VW Tiguan’s Dashboard Are Useful Or Stupid

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The lone relatively “modern” car in my ragtag fleet is my wife’s primary car, a 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan that has proven to be a handsome and comfortable way to turn gasoline into occasional motion and an extremely effective way to be sure my bank account isn’t burdened by too much excess money. Lots of things have gone wrong with that needy thing, but my wife likes it because it really is a comfortable, pleasant car to drive around. The tech is a bit dated on the inside, but it mostly works and the overall interior design and layout is airy and quite good. The dash is made with materials that feel good to actually touch, and seems thoughtful and well-considered. There’s really only one thing on that dash that actually baffles me: some little slots, set in plastic. What are they? Are they a vent? A sensor? Do they do anything? I’ve since learned what they’re for but I’m very conflicted about what I’ve learned. Are these stupid or not?

Here’s another closer look at these things, in case you’d like to, you know, really scrutinize them:

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They’re just two little narrow slots, inset in a plastic housing, set into the dash. They’re not a vent, they don’t have any sort of sensor behind them, no speakers or anything like that. They don’t actually do anything, at least not actively. But they do have a purpose, something that I think all of us can envy. If we refer to the Tiguan Owners Manual, Psalm Upper Center Console, Fig. 6, the purpose is revealed:

Ownersman1

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A “card holder!” VW seemed to think these were important enough that there’s another bank of these on the lower center console, just above the shifter:

Ownersman12

So, card holders. Of two orientations, it looks like, with the upper ones seemingly designed to hold a standard credit card-sized card short-side-first, and the lower ones holding the cards with the long side inserted. Okay. But, um, why?

What are these for, exactly? Are they for credit cards? Are there people who don’t want to carry a wallet and prefer to have a 3,800-pound self-propelled wallet? I guess if you’re going through a drive through it’s a handy place to stick your debit car while you creep towards the window to get your bags of piping-hot chowder or whatever?

Oh, maybe if you have a key card that opens a parking lot gate? That could be handy! You could keep it in there and never lose it, and I guess that’s somehow better than the four or so other easily-reachable little cubbyholes on the dash?

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VW gives you four of these, and in some looking around online, it looks like if that’s not enough for you, you can replace the useless airbag warning lamp with another pair of card holders:

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So, in theory a really card-blessed Tiguan (or other VW Group owner – these were on other VW/Audis, too, like Passats) could have up to six slots for key cards or credit cards or gift cards or business cards or thin, resilient crackers or whatever little narrow somethings you want to cram in there.

I’m conflicted about these because while I can mostly picture a context where one of these might be useful, I’m just not sure I can imagine anyone actually using these things. Do people use them? When I started wondering about this, I saw I wasn’t the first to raise these difficult questions, as it comes up on VW/Audi forums.

[Editor’s Note: I could see their most clutch use being at a toll booth. You know, the ones where you have to take a ticket, and then when you get 15 miles down the road you have to frantically search for that ticket while 25 cars are waiting behind you looking for an excuse to use their horns. -DT]. 

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The results are pretty mixed; lots of confused people, some people who have lost coins in them, and, yes, some people who use and love them.

I’ve not personally witnessed anyone actually ever using these things out in my real-world interactions with VW/Audi owners/operators, but oh, I’d love to. Somewhere out there must exist a debonaire Golf GTI owner who has every one of these little slits populated with a parking card, a Diner’s Club card, a cut-down semi-nude Polarioid of a recent lover, a gym membership card, a joke “License to Kill” and a mini-CD that was stuck in there, irremovable, from a previous owner.

So, let’s discuss: are these a good idea? Or are they just a half-assed way to eat up dash space, only a half-step better than a blank panel? I can’t decide. Help.

 

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SLM
SLM
10 months ago

“and an extremely effective way to be sure my bank account isn’t burdened by too much excess money. ” . This is the reason, the plan was making those real card readers and make you pay multiples subscriptions for maintenance so you would need not one but 8 credit cards.

Space
Space
10 months ago

Will a floppy disk fit?

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago
Reply to  Space

One of those new-fangled 3.5″ (not so) floppies would probably fit in the landscape version of the slot. Might be able to cram some punch cards in the portrait versions.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
10 months ago

I’ve had a few vehicles with these, and as many have noted, I’ve used them for toll roads (the ones that give you a toll ticket, anyway) and airport parking tickets. Handy, but hardly necessary.

Bruno Hache
Bruno Hache
10 months ago

My 2023 Ford Escape has one right below the shift wheel. It’s very handy for my work card.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
10 months ago

I distinctly remember one of the auto mags specifically calling out these slots in the then-new B5 Passat as a nice little thing to have for parking passes. I feel like that’s where it first became more common although I swear I’ve seen it in other European vehicles too.

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
10 months ago

In addition to parking passes, I’d note another Euro-spec use: retractable bollards. In the centers of a lot of cities, there are streets that are mostly pedestrian-only, but if you live there, you get access via retractable bollards. I don’t know for a fact that they’re card-activated, but I’m not sure how else they’d work.

Incidentally, my AllTrack has, in addition to quarter slots (less useful than they used to be, what with street parking kiosks, but still handy for Aldi shopping trips), SD card slots. What!? Really. We have the optional CD player in the glovebox, and it also can take an SD card full of music, if that’s how you roll. And so there’s also a couple slots for storing said cards.

Clark B
Clark B
10 months ago

If you have to scan a parking pass every day, they’re amazing. I used to stick mine in the gap between a couple dashboard trim pieces on my old CC.

Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
Jesus Chrysler drives a Dodge
10 months ago

Fun fact: in the euro-spec version these are called parkenkartengrabbenschlotz

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
10 months ago

I’d put them to good use by using it as a joint holder…

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
10 months ago

I’d use those to put gift cards in, so I remember to use them. I forget to bring them with unless I have a specific plan, so this would be good.

OnceInAMillenia
OnceInAMillenia
10 months ago

IIRC it’s for parking cards, like when you need to provide the card in order to exit the garage.

The US-spec mk7 Golf family has one of these next to the hand brake and 12V outlet, along with coin slots that can only hold 1 quarter each. I assume these were designed for 1 Euro coins, but who is still paying for anything from the car that only costs 1 EUR? I guess this could be for the Aldi shopping cart token, but then why do you need two? And why immediately at hand?

There are an additional four – individual – coin slots and another card holder in the glovebox, though this seems like it’s wider and meant for more than one card. I keep my AAA card there.

It’s all a colossal waste of space. I would much rather have a small tray or another 12V outlet than a feature I have never needed and coin slots that can’t hold multiple coins at once.

Last edited 10 months ago by OnceInAMillenia
GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
10 months ago

Are those supposed to hold coins? Seemed like they would just eat any currency that would fit in them. I tuck my Costco card usually in the slot by the visor mirror but throw it in the console card holder as a reminder to grab it on the way in or getting gas or something. To me it seems just too easy to knock something out of it where it would disappear under the seat right when you need it, to keep it there on the regular. But maybe I’m just clumsy.

The electronic parking brake console (only Rs IIRC over here) did bring a small tray. Personally I’d take some kind of light at night for literally anywhere in the center console – the cubby below the HVAC controls, ambient over the console, something.

M K
M K
10 months ago

These are placeholders for the eventual future where you need to insert a valid credit card to drive you own car or use any installed features.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  M K

And we can already see how poorly thought out the end results will be.

It’s going to get expensive, so you will need multiple credit cards (they must be inserted for feature to operate).
Each one will have a digital counter that will let you know how close to maxed out that specific card is.

“Crap! My tire PSI card just got declined, they’re deflating.
Hmm.. I guess I can still make it home if I swap it with the infotainment card.

Oops, that was the seating position card… ow ow OUCH! Mother Fu…”

*screams muffled by seat cushion*

HOT_HATCH
HOT_HATCH
10 months ago

It’s important to have a CC close and at the ready when you own an early Gen 1 TSI powered car.

Live2ski
Live2ski
10 months ago

I found a phone holder which uses that slot. Also 3d printer instructions to make your own. It’s nice since before the phone was in front of the air vent.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Live2ski

I was thinking this could be a fantastic use for these. Kind of like the Maverick’s little plastic placement kits.

Glad that exists. Sad I don’t have a 3D printer and a Time Machine.

Jason pollock
Jason pollock
10 months ago

We have them in our Chevy work truck and they are life savers for the fuel cards. The don’t get lost when different people drive the truck

Ophidia
Ophidia
10 months ago

My brother has those in his Tiguan. He uses them for a parking ramp keycard and a toll card. To my knowledge he hasn’t engaged in any unholy acts with them, so I think he’s nailed their best use case.

Data
Data
10 months ago

Drive-thru chowder. Now the fate of the Autopian Test Vehicle is explained (before it begin it’s afterlife).

Brian Gray
Brian Gray
10 months ago

These are for sticks of gum, and beef jerky.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago

cool looking blank

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago

I just keep trying to shove my chapstick tube in there.
Thanks mom!
This is why you should let your kids play with shape sorting toys at a young age people!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
10 months ago

You need my Focus (see below).

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Am I trying on your bifocals now?

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
10 months ago

My Focus has a weird collection of “holders” for things on the underside of the central armrest/storage compartment thing. Including for lip balm. I’m serious, it’s labeled.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Now that’s luxury. A Six Sigma styled central storage.
Labeled like tool tracings on a wall of pegboard.
This I can get behind.
But they never quite get it right do they?
Some things you just gotta do yourself.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
10 months ago

If I jam it in there good, a pen will fit. Which is much more useful.

And yep, it also has a “card” holder, but it’s oddly done as protruding prongs rather than a slot.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I hope that pen is a Zebra F-701.
The only pen worth its price.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Also… are we not doing phrasing anymore?

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
10 months ago

I wonder if these started off as the delightful, spring-loaded card drawers that appeared in B6 Passat but were de-contented to just a simple slot.

https://youtu.be/pprW1OqQfyY?si=4FeOASmRTA0F0nRe&t=525

Strangek
Strangek
10 months ago

I have an access card for my work parking garage. I guess if I had these slots I could put that card in there! Instead, I have to put it on the little shelf below the radio like some sort of unfrozen caveman lawyer.

AutoPartsGuyBuffalo
AutoPartsGuyBuffalo
10 months ago

I was just thinking about these the other day!
But not on a VW…but I can’t recall what vehicle I did see them on. A mid-90’s Ford perhaps?

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
10 months ago

I’ve cut my daily carry down to my driver’s license, a single credit card and some cash.

I can’t say I’ve ever wanted these in my dash, though.

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