Skoda Knows It's All About The Little Things

Illustration for article titled Skoda Knows Its All About The Little Things
Image: Skoda

When it comes to designing a car, it seems like plenty of manufacturers get so caught up trying to do something Big that they forget that, sometimes, the best changes you can make are the little ones. Skoda has recognized this and, as aa result, kicked off the Simply Clever catalog of features that are the epitome of “why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?” It’s genius.

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Among one of the more recent features is an illuminated seat belt that lets you know if you’ve correctly secured the belt before you take off. It glows red if you haven’t connected the belt. If you securely connect, it glows green before turning white, letting you know that you’re safe to take off.

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Not everyone agrees (there are two whole entire responses to the above tweet that read “Great! another simply clever solution!” and “absolutely useless”), but if you’ve ever tried to wrangle kids in a dark car, a neat little light would just be one of those things that makes life easier. You’ll be able to visually see that you’ve, say, successfully strapped your toddler’s car seat into the car.

It also provides a nice illuminated visual that all your passengers are strapped in—especially if you live somewhere where drivers can be punished for passengers not wearing their belts.

And as someone who (used to) frequently take taxis or rideshares whose belts have been seriously worn out to the point where I can’t tell if I’m safely secured or not, I would really appreciate a handy light to let me know that, no, you actually are not clipped in place.

As part of its Simply Clever initiative, Skoda has filed upwards of 100 patents for new innovations that make car ownership and travel easier. Among some of my personal favorite patents are:

  • A ticket holder in the driver’s side A-pillar to keep your parking lot entrance ticket in one place
  • Folding tray tables on the back of the front seats
  • Bag hooks in the trunk to secure your luggage
  • Storage for umbrellas, hi-vis vests, and trash in the doors
  • Built-in funnels on washer fluid reservoir
  • Ice scraper in the fuel filler flap that also includes a tire tread depth gauge
  • Carpet mats made from hollow fiber that simultaneously hide dirt but are easy to clean
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It's really handy stuff, the kind of details that you don't think are important until one day you're hunting for where you left that parking ticket, or you're halfway through a 2,000 mile road trip and the shit in the trunk won't stop sliding around, or you just cannot seem to get your washer fluid to go in the proper place. It's the little things.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

Cute. Completely unnecessary, and one more thing to break, but cute.

Saab had A-pillar parking lot ticket holders 25 years ago, Volvo had them 35 years ago. Not sure how that is new and patentable, though knowing the Germans who design Skodas, I am sure they have managed to make it complex and fragile, and an expensive PITA to fix. Because much as I love VAG, that is how they roll all too often.

Bag hooks in the trunk are nothing new either, nor are most of the other things. They are just niceties that nicer cars have. If Skoda is bringing them to a lower price point, good for them.