When you settle in and start driving a car regularly, you find the features that stand out, or make you smile. It might even be a little smile. Of course, what I like best about my little Fiat 500e is its all-electric drivetrain, which means smooth, nearly silent operation and no gasoline–ever! But here are three small things I’ve enjoyed so far.
- Audio controls on the back of the steering wheel
You can get these in any car sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, including Jeeps, Dodges, and now, even Fiats. One of the safest and easiest ways to control your sound, the controls, one on each side of the steering wheel, do what dials and buttons used to do on the dash. Some cars have them on the front of the wheel, but these are better because you don’t even have to look at them (or even can look at them) and take your eyes off the road. Each pad has a round center button and a top and bottom section that you also push.
On the left, the center button skips from one preset to the next. The other two move you through the radio tuner, or tracks of a CD or Bluetooth stream. On the right, the center button changes mode, from AM/FM radio to CD, SiriusXM, or Bluetooth streaming. The other two adjust the volume. Once you get it, it’s so easy.
2. Push to lock
To keep it simple and clean, to lock the door, just push the handle in towards the door. I think this may replicate the way the original 1950s and 60s models did it. See the little red bar? It means it’s locked.
3. World’s easiest push-button transmission controls
With only one speed (electric cars don’t need or use gears), it’s just a D for drive and you’re off. Simple, and takes up no space. Of course, it’s great fun to shift gears manually in a gasoline car, but this is the future, and I’m OK with that. Notice there’s no “L” for Low–you don’t need it. And the shaping of the panel keeps it from looking flat and cheap.