Makers of wheeled conveyances have been steadily ramping up interior features ever since the first sore-bottomed cart driver realized some padding for the wooden bench would be nice. When wheeled travel went horseless and mass-production took full hold, interior innovation truly went into high gear. And why not—the inside of the car is where you touch everything and everything touches you, so all the better to make it comfortable, easy, and convenient. Window cranks? Bah. Let’s have a motor do the glass raising and lowering, please. Levers gave way to buttons, and now screens. Seats got softer and velour-ier or firmer and bucket-ier, depending on your sporting or luxury pretensions. Dual-zone climate control. Massagers. Cup holders. Cubbies. So much stuff, year after year, automakers keep giving—and occasionally taking away, see GM and Carplay. Why? But we digress …
OK, to the question: What Are The Car-Interior Features You Can’t Live Without? Seat-memory sure is nice if you’re sharing. Maybe you’re a big map-light geek. Gotta have substantial storage between the seats, perhaps? You tell us!
Oh, and attention wise guys who can’t wait to tell us you can’t live without a steering wheel: in 1958, GM said you can. So there.
Image: GM Heritage Archive
Top image: The Autopian
I drive a 2015 Fit.
I would be dead without my backup camera. There are almost always two mountainous vehicles parked on either side of me.
I also love my Lane Watch passenger side mirror. It’s saved me several times.
I also love the cupholder to the left of the steering wheel as it’s a perfect place for my phone mount/phone.
Honestly, the volume/pausemute/skip knob in the Mazdas. It is the 3 most common activities with the radio, on one knob, and every single action feels distinct and good. Mazda just has the car interior solved in a way no other manufacturer has come close to.
“What Are The Car-Interior Features You Can’t Live Without?”
Mine has been amazing! Check that option on your next car purchase and you’ll never go back!
(The trunk is technically part of the interior, right?)
Sort of related…what would the g-forces acting on Chim Chim and Spritle in the trunk of the Mach 5 actually have done to them?
Probably kept them from spending their free time doing things inappropriate for a kids show. Or any show. Except maybe for some specialized Japanese entertainment genres.
As I drove a borrowed vehicle this morning, I was reminded that a great front seat is essential to any car I own. It chased me away from GM and Subaru, and made me a servant to Munich. I would love a Bolt, if only I could bring my BMW sport seats with me (mental note, I should check out my bolt patterns and think about fabbing) ! I need to give Volvo another shot for the next car. I don’t care if the seat is power or manual, but the ability to have adjustable and supportive bolsters and lumbar is what I need.
I love the seats in my Polestar (they’re just Volvo seats really, straight out the XC40). The most comfortable seats I’ve ever had in a car by a long way. They don’t have adjustable bolsters, but they do have good adjustable lumbar support.
Rubber floor mats. Why do they even put carpets in cars? It’s like the Brits who are known to put carpets in their bathrooms. Like the worst idea ever.
sound deadening, so you can’t hear the gap, tire, and engine noises as much!
Nah, you don’t have use carpets for that, there’s other options available that would work as well.
Well, next to the post of Lightning (steering wheel, heater, 12V, bluetooth radio) I would add a fuel gauge. My ’67 standard bug doesn’t have one and it’s a pain in the ass when you coast to a standstill on a busy road because you forgot to check the tank level.
The concept of not having a fuel gauge is absolutely bonkers to me. Never even considered that something wouldn’t have it.
My motorcycle (Harley Iron 883) doesn’t have one – it only has a low fuel light that comes on at about a gallon left (for a 3 gallon tank). My way of telling whether I need to stop for gas is to shake the motorcycle before I start and based on the sloshing noises in the gas tank, I can tell whether I have enough left for that day’s commute.
Steering wheel was what I was thinking reading the title. Add a heater, radio with FM and a 12V outlet for my $15 bluetooth FM phone connection and that’s all I need.
My daily Subie wagon has crank windows, a manual transmission but no tach, no right side outside mirror (OK, that’s exterior), no power locks, no cruise control, the AC hasn’t worked in 23 years (I don’t need it in Alaska, though I’m thinking of fixing it for a cross country road trip), and I’m happy with all that. My nicer car is a newer and non-stripper version of the old with a tach, power windows/ locks/mirrors, working AC, and cruise control, but they are things I could live without.
I don’t even need seat heaters in Alaska (having never experienced them). I can’t say I have a cold backside while driving in the cold.
There are interior “luxury” feature that I don’t like in theory – add simplicity, lightness, and all that. For example, power seats. I see the value of spending money on something ridiculous even, let’s say, $3K for some manual reclining Recaros to get ergonomics and comfort just right in a car worth less than $5K, but I reject that any adjustments have to be powered. (Same reason I reject the idea of electric derailleurs on bikes over cabled shifters.)
Digital gauges are grainy and ugly and have no reason for being skeuomorphic. If you want a dial gauge, use a dial gauge. Don’t make a fake dial gauge on a screen. There are other ways to display speed and rpm that take less space on a screen than two big mechanical dials.
Digital dial gauges are like those websites and apps that display magazines and coupon books like actual physical brochures complete with page turning effects. It’s a dumb use of tech that betrays a lack of understanding of the medium.