Features that were once the domain of luxury automobiles tend to trickle down to the spartan econoboxes that we’re driving now. For example, stability control used to be exclusive on range-topping versions of the already upmarket W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But now, even the fleet-spec Toyota Vios has it. Advances in technology have made such systems progressively cheaper to build, which is why even the most basic cars have things like antilock brakes and dual airbags.
But what about stuff that is far simpler to engineer and doesn’t need microchips or sensors? One that, in theory, is so easy to build and integrate in practically any automobile that it’s just plain stupid for all cars not to have it. I’m talking about the built-in umbrella holder.
Now, you might think that grabbing an umbrella to shield you when Mother Nature empties her bladder is a task so trivial that it doesn’t really require engineers to spend $1 million to solve a $1 problem. But automakers allocate funds to develop better driver aids in order to make the task of driving less stress-free. And in that respect, I think a simple umbrella holder should at least be given some attention.
Rolls-Royce has umbrella pockets in the doors of its cars. Not only does it elevate the experience of riding a Phantom, for example, but it also makes the lives of everyone just a little less difficult. Simply having an umbrella easily accessible by the occupants is something that all cars should offer.
One automaker understands these little details. Some Skoda models like the Superb, the Kodiaq and the Scala all have umbrella compartments in their doors. Apparently, the company has been integrating umbrella trays in its products since 2003, and it might have been Rolls-Royce following the Czech firm’s lead in clever automotive solutions.
The all-new Fabia recently joined the party of umbrella-carrying Skoda cars. And if a humble subcompact hatchback like that has such an ingenious feature, I see no reason why equally common family cars can’t have it. What do you think?