A ‘Key’ Surprise at the 2015 NY International Auto Show

Two more manufacturers were discovered to have joined hidden keyhole club at the 2015 New York International Auto Show; Mercedes and Porsche. We found five at the Show’s 2014 edition, so this could be seen as an improvement. Of course, the list of those not employing this pet peeve of a feature is getting shorter and shorter.

However, to our surprise, one of the original ‘offenders’, while remaining on the list, has in fact managed to improve on the problem.

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VW Door HandleA look at the door handles of cars with hidden keyholes invariably shows a seam near the rear one third of the handle. Note the image from a 2015 VW Golf. The handle on a new Mercedes C Class shows this seam as well.

Until now, getting to the keyhole required prying the rear portion of the handle from the car. The instructions for doing this are now locked in the car, of course, which prompts a call to a service department or roadside assistance. If you have never tried to convince someone over the phone that this is what needs to be done and that it won’t hurt your $50,000 luxury car, you haven’t lived.

Lexus NX Door HandleHowever, the Porsche 911 and the Lexus NX and RC F models have a solid handle! Note the image to the right from the Lexus NX. This needed further exploration to discover just how one would get into the car in a pinch.

NX Handle PulledSpeaking only for the Lexus, it turns out that access to the keyhole requires only a tug on the handle itself, which is not normally required to open the vehicle. Note the illustration to the right. The Porsche handle and key hole are similar.

We continue to view hiding the keyhole to be an unnecessary embellishment that can leave a driver vulnerable if the key fob has gone dead. However, a simple pull of the handle to reveal the key hole is a massive improvement over prying off a cover. As always, the instructions remain locked inside.

In the meantime, we noted at this year’s Show that each and every Volkswagen on the Show floor had its key hole hidden. No other manufacturer has taken this feature this far. Please, if you own a late model VW, familiarize yourself with the procedure to get at the key hole and download our app (below)!

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At DashboardSymbols.com, we developed two Mobile Apps to help drivers with the most common questions asked of service departments everywhere: “What is this light on my dashboard?” And “My car says ‘Key Not Detected’. How do I get into and start my push-button start car?” With these two apps, we have your back. Check them out here.

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