Top 10 weirdest feature locations in US-spec cars
With hundreds of features being crammed into roughly a 6x15 area covered in leather and other materials, some features find homes in the weirdest locations, and sometimes, there’s no decent explanation from the manufacturers either. Here are 10 of the weirdest feature locations.
10. Pontiac Fiero Fuel Door Release
The Pontiac Fiero was GM’s attempt to take the Corsair’s quirkiness and revive it with an 80s sports car vibe.
What we got was a relatively mild mannered, but radically styled sports coupe that made enough power, and people loved it. What I can’t imagine anyone loving was the location of the fuel door release. This release lever is located at shoulder height on the driver’s side door. I guess the thought is that you wouldn’t have to reach down into the Fiero’s tight cockpit to find the release, and instead it’s readily available after you’ve exited the vehicle – bearing in mind you know where it is and don’t have to duck your head inside to find it.
9. GMC Terrain’s Gear Selector
Americans are known for their ridiculous gear selectors, whether we’re discussing Chrysler and Ford’s dials, Lincoln’s push-button and now “piano key” selectors, or even Buick’s BMW-esque shifters.
But GMC has all of them beat in the new Terrain though – the gear selector is located in the center console, right below the AC switches.
Not only does this cut into prime coin throwing and phone storing real estate, but its also relatively far away from the steering wheel. A column shifter would’ve been more practical, but I guess GMC decided that this is what the Terrain needed to continue its subpar assault on the compact crossover market.
8. Chevrolet Silverado’s Electronic Parking Brake
While several other manufacturers put their parking brakes below the gear selector or include a foot-operated parking brake, Chevrolet decided to make a push-button parking brake a feature on the new Silverado, and placed it just out of immediate sight.
I almost didn’t notice that it was there at all when I drove one earlier this week, and I was genuinely bothered by the fact that it was more noticeable, especially in a world where vehicles that are supposedly in Park can suddenly roll away from a stop. I would be okay with the position of the button if it had been more eye-catching like a chrome border or something to that effect.
7. Chevrolet HHR’s Console Mounted Window Switches
While the facelifted HHR featured a traditional set of window switches on the drivers side door, the first few model years of the HHR featured console mounted window switches.
I don’t know why GM has a hankering for placing important features down low in the center console, but the spacing of the switches makes it even more difficult to roll down all four windows at the same time. Luckily this was corrected on later models, but the HHR I almost bought had this bizarre feature.
6. GM’s All-In-One Stalk
While this Swiss Army Knife of a stalk actually freed up a lot of space in GM vehicles, this stalk is downright menacing at first glance.
It not only controls the hazard lights, but it is a turn signal, wiper control, intermittent wiper control, and a cruise control module.
I remember driving my aunt’s 1998 Oldsmobile Silhouette with this stalk and how fragile it felt after years and years of use. I genuinely don’t understand why GM did this with their turn signal stalk, and the multitude of all-in-one iterations that have spawned on several other vehicles over time.
5. Chrysler’s First Autostick System
While I commend Chrysler for picking a name as brilliant as Autostick to describe a manual mode for their automatics, I have to laugh at the location of this feature, because instead of it being off to the side of Drive, it was behind Drive, and then the driver had to push the gear level to the left or right to change gears manually.
Every other shiftgate is in a vertical line, even the rocker switch ones on most of the heavy duty trucks is placed in a vertical manner.
This system was also particularly interesting because it was originally made available on Chrysler’s four-speed automatics. Shiftgates make a lot more sense nowadays since transmissions have 8+ gears in them. Typical Chrysler: innovative, but roughly five years too early.
4. GM’s Trunk Release in the Glove Box
This one hits home considering I won one of these delightfully peculiar vehicles, but for a time, GM put a trunk release button in the glove box of their vehicles.
When I got my Buick Century, I thought that GM had done some clever cost cutting and not put a physical button in the car, because the trunk release on the fob works as long as the car is in Park, and since the fob has to be in the ignition with the key, that puts the trunk release in a rather handy location, or so I thought.
I don’t remember if it was a video or a friend of mine who was poking around in my glove box and found it. To be fair, it’s not prominently located when you pull down the glove box, its tucked out of the way so that the glove box doesn’t hit it accidentally, but if I never found it, I might not have noticed it was there at all.
3. Ford Escape's Hazard Lights
The latest Ford Escape is a brilliant SUV: it's stylish, powerful, and for the most part, the interior is reasonably well laid out, until you get to the infotainment in the center console.
The central controller is mounted in the center, which is useful for easy navigation, but right next to it, where your wrist would probably fall to when using the central controller, is the hazard light switch. While they go off with a push of a button, I can’t imagine the number of Escape owners who have accidentally turned on their lights while operating their infotainment screens.
2. Lincoln Continental’s Door Handles
The Lincoln Continental is a brilliant car, even if it isn’t long for this world. The fact that Ford made a modern version of Lincoln’s most iconic vehicle to date shows the company's dedication to Lincoln as a brand, and the latest lineup shows that Lincoln is back, and in a big way.
The Continental was the first vehicle of this Lincoln renaissance, and it featured some of the coolest interior amenities in the industry. On the outside, the Continental hides the door handles in the beltline of the doors. I maintain that this is one of the best features on an American, with the exception of one feature in particular.
1. GM's In-Dash Storage Box
This is my favorite thing in the world. GM in their infinite wisdom decided that they would put a secret storage box behind their infotainment screens in several Cadillac and Chevrolet models.
Access to these hidden boxes requires a tap in the right spot on the console, at which point, the screen will drop down, or in Cadillac's case, the capacitive buttons will raise up revealing a hidden storage compartment, and some of them even have a charge port inside. It's without a doubt the weirdest thing in the industry, because it's so random, and yet so very useful.
American engineers must get really bored at work, because they are constantly trying to reinvent things to make them more interesting and exciting. That's all well and good, until they decide to place this incredibly useful feature in the most ridiculous locations in the industry.
What do you think of this list? Did I miss your favorite weird location? Comment Below!