Consolation Mode: Exploring What Makes Autos Really feel Good

comfort mode

Illustration by Dilek BaykaraAutomotive and Driver

From the April 2022 situation of Automotive and Driver.

I simply had a birthday, and I believe my guarantee expired, as a result of the very subsequent day I harm my again doing one thing so primary that I do not even keep in mind what it was. Did I yawn too vigorously? Elevate too heavy an eyebrow? My mates over 40 inform me that is regular growing older, and I ought to get used to it. Thanks, I hate it.

Spoiled as I used to be in my former, unbroken physique, I by no means paid a lot consideration to the finer particulars of trip high quality in a automotive. I imply, I did my job of declaring sure vehicles to be firmer and extra cranium rattling than others, nevertheless it did not matter to me personally. I’ve ridden by way of Baja in a ’57 Chevy. I daily-drove a Viper for six months. I’ve gone to dinner within the again seat of a Porsche GT3. “A GT3 would not have a again seat,” you are saying. Sure, I am conscious.

Out of the blue I am much less versatile and fewer smug, and I am paying extra consideration to why autos really feel good. The vehicles I most wish to spend time in shock me. It is about extra than simply jounce and rebound. The Bentley Bentayga S, with its massaging seats and a number of suspension modes, is a spa on wheels. But the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, whose closest analogue to a therapeutic massage operate is how shortly you drive it over a rutted grime street, gives its personal type of consolation: the reassurance that any impediment in your path is only a throttle software away from being a former impediment. So what makes a automotive snug? Is all of it within the backbone, or is it within the thoughts?

Asking the web for a “consolation knowledgeable” returns hyperlinks to HVAC set up and restore. Definitely, a automotive that’s too scorching or too chilly is a distress, and heated and ventilated seats are considered one of my favourite trendy improvements. Nonetheless, I do not suppose the important thing to consolation is maintaining one’s bum on the proper temperature. Talking of rump roast, my subsequent search auto­stuffed “consolation meals,” main me to Martha Stewart’s web site, which means that consolation meals are soothing not a lot due to an ingredient, however due to the recollections related to them.

It is not the salt and noodles of mac and cheese that convey peace—it is the subliminal recollections of childhood happiness. That is true for vehicles as properly. Think about that widespread occasion query, “What’s your favourite seatbelt?” Personally, I would describe the GM lap belt I grew up with. Any automotive with that heavy black buckle and metallic-blue middle launch makes me really feel small and (maybe satirically) protected. Security is part of consolation. Though as I lately wrestled with the lane-keeping operate of a Mustang Mach-E and struggled to search out the “off” choice in a menu, I considered one other aspect of consolation: familiarity. It would not matter how intelligent a semi-autonomous choice is, or how heated a seat is, if you cannot find the controls to show it off.

Consolation, then, isn’t just lumbar help but additionally emotional help. A cushty individual is joyful and vice versa. Meik Wiking, founding father of the Happiness Analysis Institute in Copenhagen and creator of a number of books, writes that Danes are among the many happiest folks on earth because of their dedication to a selected coziness they name “hygge.” Like all joys, hygge is just not simply outlined, however Wiking says it tends to be discovered by candle- or firelight, wrapped in knitted blankets, and scented like scorching apple cider.

By that logic, the Hyundai Elantra N, with its crackling-fireplace sound impact, could be very hygge, regardless of a chassis as stiff as a Britisher’s higher lip. I would agree, however not due to the fireside—it is the nice and cozy hug of familiarity and confidence. The simplicity of a six-speed guide, a cheerful (and fast) powerplant, and needle-sharp dealing with made it as snug because the Bentley to me, though my chiropractor would possibly disagree. Now I simply want a 12-volt sluggish cooker stuffed with mac and cheese.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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