WHILE doing some research for a story, I came across an article about female friendly car features.
The list included features such as parking aids, a builtin vacuum cleaner and even a male gaze detector.
I am sure some women genuinely do appreciate these features that may help them stay extra safe, keep extra clean and deflect amorous extra attention from the opposite sex.
But for me, they came across as somewhat discriminatory, stereotyping women as bad drivers, reminding us that our place lies within the domestic sphere, and sexually objectifying females.
However, they did get me thinking about some of the features that I would personally find useful in a car.
Most are relevant only to female drivers, but male drivers may find one or two features rather useful too.
First up would be a handbag storage compartment. Most days, my handbag goes on the front passenger seat because my daughter sits in the backseat.
When I have an adult passenger in front, my handbag ends up in the rear. And when I am ferrying a car full of passengers, my handbag either goes in the boot or more often than not, one of my passengers will offer to park it on his or her (usually her) lap.
I get by with this handbag musical chairs, but I would much prefer it if cars had a dedicated handbag compartment.
We are familiar with storage in the glove compartment, in door pockets and the centre console. Some cars even have drawers concealed under car seats or storage hidden under the floor.
But all of these tend to be limited in size and may be good for a tablet, a folding umbrella, or a water bottle at best. Capacity, therefore, is an important consideration.
For me, though, the most critical criterion is that the inside of the compartment does not leave battle scars on my handbag. This is one more area within the cabin where it might be worthwhile investing in some Alcantara lining.
I may have bid my stiletto heels goodbye, but I still recall having to stash an extra pair of sandals in the car to change into when I drive, and the hassle of swapping footwear before the start of my journey and after I park.
If it were possible to design heel-safe pedals, if there is even such a thing, they would negate the need for such standby footwear. Killer heels may be bad for our posture, but these specially designed pedals would at least make them safe to drive in.
If there is a way that these pedals can also prevent what I call “driver’s heel” – that black patch on the right heel that we all get from resting or rubbing it against the floor mat, that would address one more issue.
After all, getting an unsightly stain on those pristine Louboutins is the last thing we ladies want. (Did that just sound sexist?)
As a mother and a petrolhead, I am exceptionally particular when it comes to child seats. From the day that we brought our newborn home from the hospital, she has been in a child seat whenever she travels in a car.
However, switching from one test drive vehicle to another involves transferring her child seat from car to car. This was quite a challenge, especially when she was still using the bulkier child seats meant for younger kids.
Now that she has graduated to a compact booster seat, it is less of a hassle, but it would be nice if cars came with the option of built-in child seats.
I first came across this feature in the Volkswagen Sharan. I loved it and so did my daughter. It is extremely convenient and folds away to become a regular car seat. This is a handy option to have in taxis and private hire vehicles too.
These are just some of the features on my wish list that I feel would make cars more user- or female-friendly. Call it wishful thinking perhaps, but a car is for convenience among other things, so any feature that makes it a more seamless part of daily life is a welcome feature in my books.
LYNN IS LOOKING FORWARD TO THE DAY WHEN SHE CAN HAVE A SELF-DRIVING OPTION IN HER CAR, A MUCH-NEEDED FEATURE FOR WHEN TRAFFIC CONDITIONS THREATEN HER SANITY.
Lynn would love to be able to drive safely while wearing a pair of “killer” heels.
" A CAR IS FOR CONVENIENCE AMONG OTHER THINGS, SO I WELCOME ANY FEATURE THAT MAKES IT A MORE SEAMLESS PART OF DAILY LIFE."