Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bells and Whistles

I like gadgets and new features on cars always interest me. And as I rent cars quite often, mainly when I'm in the UK, I get to drive a reasonable number of new models. A while back, I rented a VW Polo, which I have to say is a really good little car.

My favourite feature (other than the engine noise, which reminded me of an Australian V8 Touring Car racer, but without the speed to match) were the indicators. When I change lanes on the motorway, I usually (OK, sometimes) just flick the indicator stalk quickly to show I'm changing lanes. As I'm usually driving faster than anyone else on the motorway, this is mainly out of courtesy rather than being any use to anyone, but I figure it's polite. When I tried it on the Polo, the lights kept flashing though, so I flicked the switch the other way to cancel it. But of course this just meant that the indicators on the other side of the car started flashing. So I flicked it back to the right again.

By now the car must have been looking like a Christmas Tree with the lights set to flash randomly. But I finally worked it out. Those helpful German engineers had come up with the brilliant idea that if you just flick the switch, the indicators will flash three times. Flick the switch, change lanes and you don't have to worry about turning it off.

Now whenever I rent a car I'm annoyed if this feature isn't there. I call it the indicator test. If a car doesn't have it, it's a bad car. I know it's not that simple, but it works for me.    


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