Top 10 car features including golf ball gear knob and Skoda integrated umbrella

Car stuff

The nation’s favourite ‘hidden car features’ have been named – with the iconic, but perhaps not so hidden, Volkswagen Golf GTI golf ball gear knob, pictured above, coming out on top.

The dimpled gear shifter topped a poll of 2,000 drivers by video technology company CitNOW to find the nation’s most popular secret features that some owners didn’t even realise were fitted on their cars!

Other much-loved gizmos included SKODA’s integrated umbrella, the Volkswagen Beetle dashboard vase, Vauxhall’s integrated bike rack and the Nissan ‘curry hook’. 

These memorable features – available on used cars costing less than £10,000 – can often be a surprise when a consumer buys the car on the second-hand market.

Says Ollie Parsons, Head of Sales and Client Services UK at CitNOW:

“The Volkswagen Golf GTI golf ball gear knob was voted as the most iconic hidden feature. It might even be the difference between someone buying the Golf GTI or looking at a rival!

“All these secret or fun features will delight a buyer who’s bought a car before realising they got more than they bargained for.”

Here are the top 10 ‘secret features’ as voted for by UK motorists.

1. Volkswagen Golf GTI Golf Ball Gear Knob – 19.9%

The Golf GTI is one of the most iconic cars ever made and is even more special with a golf ball atop the gear lever. It’s been a feature of the manual gearbox-equipped GTI for many years and is a real delight for hot hatch fans.

2. Volkswagen Beetle Vase – 14.6%

Dating back more than 50 years, the factory-fitted vase adds a floral touch to the popular Beetle. Owners could pop in their favourite flower – or even a pen for last minute additions to the shopping list.

3. Vauxhall Corsa FlexFix Integrated Bike Rack – 12.4%

Bike racks can be expensive not to mention annoying to fit. Vauxhall came up with an innovative solution on the Corsa back in the later 2000s. The FlexFit system appeared behind the rear number plate after you lifted a handle in the boot. You could pull it out, lock it in place, slip on the extra rear lights provided and load up your bikes.

4. SKODA Integrated Umbrella – 10.1%

Ever left the house in glorious sunshine only to arrive at your destination in a downpour? Of course you have, it’s Britain. Skoda’s innovative integrated umbrella hides in the door pocket out of sight ready to keep you dry if you get caught in the rain.

5. MINI Ambient Lighting – 9.8%

If you want to turn your car into a spaceship/nightclub then MINI’s ambient lighting is for you. With lighting strips throughout the cabin it lets you change the colours to create a personal light-show. The tech even beams a MINI badge onto the floor when you open the door.

6. Honda Magic Seats – 9.7%

Honda rolled out its magic seats in the early 2000s and were a highlight of the Jazz before being introduced onto the Civic. The magic behind them is that they allow you to fold up the entire seat to free up floor space for large, bulky items.

7. MINI Convertible Openometer – 9.4%

The unpredictable British weather means owning a drop top can be an interesting experience. How much use will you really get out of it? Well MINI decided it’d tell you exactly how much with its “Openometer”. The gauge records the time spent travelling with the roof down.

8. Nissan ‘Curry Hook’ – 7.5%

You’ve been to pick up a takeaway but don’t want to spill your tikka masala, or any other takeaway for that matter, over your seats or footwell. Cue the dashboard-mounted Nissan curry hook – first introduced on the Almera in 1996. It lets you tie the bag up for your trip back home, safe from potholes or speedbumps making a mess of your motor. Now found in the boot of modern day models.

9. Renault Modus Boot Chute – 4.1%

If someone has parked right up your rear bumper, opening the boot to load your shopping can be a bit of a problem. The boot chute is handy in these tight spots as it allows the lower portion of the tailgate to be tilted down so you can get into the luggage area without lifting the whole lid.

10. DS 3 Integrated Perfume Dispenser – 2.6%

Forget a little tree dangling from your rear-view mirror, Citroen offers a built-in air freshener to pump your chosen scent around the DS 3 cabin. A handy little dial on the dashboard lets you control the intensity so you’re not overpowered by fumes.

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Chris Price
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