Voices

Car keys… when did they stop being a key?

It wasn’t all that long ago that a car key was actually a key, that you could use to insert into a lock…

LAST WEEK I WENT and collected a brand-new car for reviewing and if you Like Us on Facebook (hint, hint) you’ll probably know where this is coming from… the key to the car was sitting down in the cupholder and I paid it no heed as I thumbed the starter button.

Well, what I actually did was reach around behind the steering wheel, almost wrenching my arm out of its socket to stab at the starter button with my index finger (the ergonomics of this car will be explored in further detail in the review), but ‘thumbing the starter button’ sounds cool, right. No? Okay, moving on.

Starter buttons I get, and I started reviewing cars when they were first being introduced and I can still remember writing lines, like ‘with a racecar inspired starter button’ thinking they’d be a novelty only. Now, starter buttons feature on everything from cheap and cheerful runabouts to luxury land barges. But I digress.

Then there were auto-up-down windows and the hand-winder became like the video cassette. Dead. Of course, the cassette player went the way of the dodo years before that.

And now it seems the key is being made redundant. Our lives have clearly become so busy that we can’t possibly remove a key from our pockets, insert it into a key lock, turn the key and then unlock the car and then take the same key, which is likely to still be in our hand and insert into the ignition barrel. And then, once your seatbelt is clicked home you then twist the key in the ignition and the car fires up. Simple.

Only it clearly isn’t. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love keyless entry as it makes me feel like I can use the Force to open a car’s door. My kids love it, too. They’re not old enough yet to understand how it works… can’t fool them when there’s a button you press on the door handle, though. And, yes, that seems as stupid writing it as I’m sure it does reading it – a button on the door handle you press to open it; instead of using a key.

I wonder how long it will be before the Keeper of the Keys at the Tower of London becomes the Keeper of the Key Card?

Back to the key in this press car, which caused this rant. It was indeed a key card and not only does it look cheap and chintzy, it feels cheap and chintzy. And when I pressed the Lock symbol on it it felt like I was crushing it. It cracked (it didn’t actually crack, it just sounded like it did) and creaked. And it feels super light. It feels like leaving it in my pocket and sitting down could break it. But the worst thing of all is there’s nowhere to connect my house keys, so, I now must carry a pocket full of keys.

I have a hard time keeping track of all things I carry around as it is, and having to remember two sets of keys, one of which doesn’t look like a key at all is just too much for my tiny man brain to handle.

Look I’m not a luddite, but I just don’t get this ridiculous key card thingme that Renault, oops, has decided to assign to the Koleos. Yes, I know it’s been doing it for years… stay with me. Surely, like other brands with keyless entry and starter buttons it could just be a small fob with a key ring on it that allows me to carry my house keys and the car, er, key together.

Alright, rant over. Resume what it was you were doing.


4 Comments

  1. Monty
    November 28, 2016 at 9:03 am — Reply

    I have a real key to start my new car. It’s a terrible strain on the wrist, I don’t know how I cope.

  2. AJN_89
    November 28, 2016 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    A relative has a similar style (read: exact same style) ‘key’ to their Captur (don’t laugh – we thought it was a good idea at the time). I agree completely with the sentiment. It hardly seems worth installing a push button if it forces the key to now become cumbersome. My Evoque’s is similar to the old style flip-out keys, without the flip-out key. I do hope they’ll end up a bit smaller soon. And another thing on the Renault’s – what’s the point of putting the key into the little reader thing near the gear stick? I haven’t been able to work the practicality of that out at the moment…

  3. SgtCarlMc
    December 4, 2016 at 11:15 pm — Reply

    All Army vehicles don’t have keys, all start with a red push button, don’t have to worry if some-one gets shot with the car keys, anyone can drive as long as they know where the red button is

  4. Territory46
    December 5, 2016 at 10:17 am — Reply

    When I started driving (OK, some years ago now!) many cars had a push-button start- think Mini etc (my original car, a Renault 4CV had a lever to pull up between the seats to activate the starter). An ignition barrel with a key to start the car was luxury. As the saying goes, everything old is new again!

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober