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Monday, 20 April 2015

Ford's clever gadget definitely deserves the boot


TYPICAL. Only a week after one manufacturer teases us with a reason to get rid of all the gimmicks in the nation’s new cars, another gives you something entirely sensible I’m surprised wasn’t invented decades ago.

Ford has clearly been listening to people like my sister – parents who happen to use the C-Max in their tireless quest to ferry their offspring and all the associated clobber to school and back.

A trick Ford has already tried on its Kuga off-roader is now being applied to a small MPV clearly aimed at young families – a boot release you can operate with your foot!

I genuinely don’t know why more manufacturers aren’t offering this sort of thing, seeing as you don’t need to be someone raising a brace of snotty toddlers to appreciate it. While cars with boots that open electrically aren’t anything new, they tend to be pricey optional extras and they’re only as good as the wires behind them. This is a much simpler premise – using your foot to do a job your hand can’t.

Anyone who’s ever made the mistake of manhandling a flat pack shelf through IKEA’s car park on a busy Saturday afternoon and then wished they could sprout a third arm to operate the boot release will know exactly what I mean.

You’re able to somehow operate the remote central locking, but using either of your hands to physically open the boot is going to risk dropping the entire shelf and damaging it.

In the past elbows, knees or even noses have been forced to act as impromptu substitute hands to end the misery and get the boot of whichever MPV or estate car I’m using open, but while it’s only an occasional bit of IKEA-based suffering for me I feel for the thousands of mums and dads who have to put up with this inherent car design weakness every time they go on a family outing.

That’s why Ford – and indeed – any other manufacturer who’s got a similar system on the cards – should be applauded for reasons their customers do not have three arms.

Without wanting to sound like a political party broadcast, no family in this country should have to put up with fumbling around on a rainy Thursday night with an armful of shopping and Fisher Price toys and an audience of two screaming toddlers while they fumble around attempting to get the boot of their brand new car open.

I know most car gadgets solve problems that don’t really exist – that’s you, power steering and lane departure warning systems – but once in a while someone comes up with something genuinely clever.

Foot-operated boots are in the latter category. I’m sure the nation’s mums and dads will agree.

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