BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Auto eccentricities: The low end

  • Thrifty trimmings

    Luxury automobiles command top dollar in great part because they offer remarkably bespoke features. From glovebox-mounted perfume atomisers to fibre-optic infused headliners, the only limits on customisation at the high end are set by the width of the buyer’s billfold. But whither the everyman who yearns for self-expression? Luckily, manufacturers are eager to oblige, with a raft of curious add-ons to impress friends and passers-by. Herewith, BBC Autos offers a smattering of the quirk that can adorn even the most humble of new vehicles. (Ford Motor)

  • Nissan Cube, Shag dash topper

    Although it shares lowly roots with the Versa economy car, Nissan’s boxy Cube is a blank canvas for eccentric customisation. There are myriad factory options and accessories, among them rippled roof liners and door-mounted bungee cords, to satisfy discerning buyers. The most unorthodox may be a round carpet sample, mounted to the top of the dashboard with Velcro, creating the automotive equivalent of a Chia Pet – or maybe a soul patch. Warning: pencils and caramels might remain in their place while the Cube is bouncing along, but iPods will not. Price: $25 (Nissan North America)

  • European-spec Volkswagen Golf (MkVI), bottle opener

    Designed to suit the lifestyle of Continental motoring enthusiasts, where bottled beverages are more likely to be in glass containers than in plastic, Volkswagen’s in-car bottle opener provides a utilitarian solution to a tricky task. The one seen here, mounted next to an aluminium can in a sixth-generation Golf hatchback, moonlights as a cupholder divider. Not recommended for use while vehicle is in motion. (Volkswagen of America)

  • Ford Flex, Backseat refrigerator

    For those who need more than a cooled glove compartment to keep perishable items fresh, the Ford Flex crossover offers a backseat-mounted refrigerator in lieu of a middle seat. The “refrigerated console” can chill cheddar at temperatures as low as -5C (23F), and is deep enough to accommodate tall bottles. Price: $795 (Ford Motor)

  • Fiat 500L, Lavazza espresso machine

    With the introduction of a cupholder-mounted espresso maker in its new 500L, Fiat has answered a question that all too few drivers were asking: is it possible to brew a perfect cup of capsule coffee while blazing down the autostrada? Fiat expects the 500L to help the brand reach new sales targets, but the Europe-only Lavazza system is unlikely to threaten the business models of corner cafes. Price: 249 euros (about $320) (Fiat Group)

  • Ford Mustang, pony projection lamps

    Puddle lamps, often mounted to door handles or underneath wing mirrors, are clever bits of auxiliary lighting that can point wayward owners back toward their cars in the dark. The examples fitted as optional equipment on the Ford Mustang, however, are pure theatre, projecting the pony car’s badge on the asphalt, which glows when the doors are open. Caveat emptor: like racing stripes, they will not make your Mustang beat a Camaro off the line. Price: $650 (part of the Comfort Group, which also includes heated front seats and a six-way power passenger seat) (Ford Motor)

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