Cheap cars tend to get a bad rap. People call them econoboxes or transport appliances, but sometimes these economy cars can surprise us with clever features that more expensive cars don’t have. What are some of the coolest features you’ve seen in a dirt-cheap economy car?
It’s fairly normal for automakers to offer some kind of wiz-bang feature even on their cheapest cars to help them “stand out.” Being the cheapest alone doesn’t get people excited enough, which is why you see stuff like the Dodge Caliber’s “Chill Zone” and its flip-down tailgate speaker. Also why you see blue seat cushions on that Hyundai Casper or the flat-folding, fun-patterned seats on the legendary Twingo.
Cheap cars might even have cool features that are designed to help with their shortcomings, which end up being brilliant regardless of price. The Volkswagen Up has an integrated smartphone mount, for example. UP Drivers might not even bother with its limited infotainment, and could just ignore whatever is on the dash in favor of their smartphones. But I bet that also applies for drivers who opted for a more expensive car from Volkswagen and many other carmakers, too.
Cars from Skoda also do a great job at filling in their feature set, even in models that aren’t exactly known for being luxury cars. These little things in the Skodas range from backlit seatbelt latches to USB sockets mounted on the rearview mirror. That would make dash-cam installation a breeze! It’s these features that help so-called econoboxes stand out, so that in the end they’re not so much cheap cars (with a negative connotation) as good cars that just cost less. There’s something fun about some of these cheap cars quietly outdoing their pricier stablemates.
But what about you? What features come to mind? What are the coolest of these features ever found in dirt-cheap economy cars?