Decades ago, luxury could be defined as having power windows and leather seats.
Our family once had a 1987 Toyota Camry, Luxury Edition, complete with automated seatbelts, power windows and door locks, alloy wheels, and premium cloth seats.
Half a century ago, air condition and a proper working automatic transmission would be considered a big deal. In 2014, these so-called luxury items are common place.
So the question is, how do we define luxury now?
Luxury auto brands approach it in different ways. Mercedes always comes through with tremendous technological advances in their S-class models. Bentley and Rolls-Royce define it with great materials, effortless power, and overall heft to the actual car. Surely, we can be more creative than that.
Here are a few ideas.
We have heated and air-conditioned seats trickling downstream from luxury brands to modern estates and sport utility vehicles.
Would it be too much to get heated or air-conditioned cupholders for long road trips? We can put heat or cooled-down air into the ring around the cup, can’t we?
Have you listened to your air-condition fans? Even in luxury brands, they can be quite loud at full blast. Can’t we find better ways for air to flow unobstructed to lower cabin noise with the fans on? Are motorized fans really that loud? They don’t need to be.
How about having a USB key or two? Imagine putting a USB key into the ignition, and immediately having your driving position, mirrors, and car settings all adjusted simultaneously. Now, add the music to your favorite playlist and most common navigation locations uploaded immediately. Why push a “1-setting” on the driver’s seat? Why adjust the car through all of the driving menus again? No information needs to be saved onto the car’s system. If the car is stolen, there’s no information to retrieve.
Navigation gives turn-by-turn instructions. Can I have a screen equivalent in size to an Ipad? Can I have a corresponding list that is five steps ahead with remaining distance to go? This is a simple feature, but it gives the driver a better estimate of arrival time and time to think ahead for crowded areas once he or she is near a dense parking area.
What about automatic auto tinting to the front and rear windshield to whatever the legal limit may be? Understandably so, front windshield tinting is illegal in most states, but can make a strong case when it’s raining hard while the sun is shining bright into the windshield. This is more common place in states like Florida, but occurs in California too. The results of accidents from this kind of weather are devastating.
How about a traffic crawl feature? Brands such as Mercedes, Audi, and BMW use laser guided cruise control. What about the times when traffic is less than 10 miles per hour? This feature is a set-it-and-forget-it feature to just keep a driver’s foot over the brake pedal. There would be no more excuses for inattentive drivers to impede traffic. Chances are, it would be easier to switch lanes in dense traffic situations too.
These are just a few ideas. Luxury is all about making the experience more effortless and pleasurable.
We don’t always need night-vision screens or a plethora of driving menus to make driving more effective. We just need to take simple ideas and execute them to the highest degree.
Imagine using that USB key, your car adjusting to you, and turning on the massage seats, as you place coffee in a heated cupholder. Your car would recognize your destination, usually work, by the time of day, and have crawl settings adjusted in traffic. You can get to your next destination in complete peace and relaxation.