The best hidden Easter eggs in cars

  • Car manufacturers can have a sense of humour, too
  • These are some of our favourite hidden features
  • Does your car have any?

One look at the Parkers team and you’d know we love the standard chocolate Easter eggs just as much as anybody. Today, however, we’re concentrating on the automotive Easter Egg – that is to say, features or details hidden by a car’s designer, just lying in wait for an owner to stumble across when they’re least expecting it.

Automotive Easter Eggs range from the adorable to the ridiculous, and vary in how well they’re hidden. Some are so obvious that they’ve since become features in themselves, while others are so well tucked away that the majority of owners never even know they’re there.

This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s simply a snapshot of some of our favourite Easter Eggs. In fact, why not have a search around your own car – you might find one of your own.

Hidden animals

You’ll find quite a few manufacturers hiding animals in and around their cars. Probably the most notorious is Vauxhall – legend has it that one designer bet another that he couldn’t sneak a shark motif into the car and have it reach production. It did, and now you’ll find a cute shark in most modern Vauxhalls – usually on the hinge of the glovebox.

Vauxhall Shark

Head to the third row of the Volvo XC90 – where your children will likely be sitting – and hidden under the lid of the armrest storage bin you’ll find a happy spider.

Volvo XC90 spider

Meanwhile, Jaguar’s E-Pace cements its position as the ‘little cat’ of the family, with a hidden motif in the windscreen surround of a mother jaguar and her cub.

Jaguar cub

Hidden in headlights

Headlights are often a prime location for hiding Easter Eggs. It’s becoming commonplace for manufacturers to use them to display corporate logos, but several models hide more interesting secrets.

Jeep Renegade headlight

Look into the headlights of many Jeep models, for example, and you’ll see the tip of the bulbs emblazoned not with the Jeep logo but a tiny copy of the iconic seven-slot grille. Models with LED lights don’t go without, either – they have tiny silhouettes of the Willys MB, the ‘original’ Jeep.

McLaren 600LT headlight

McLaren supercars are striking to look at from any angle, but the designers cleverly incorporated the swoosh of the company’s logo into the very shape of the headlights. Meanwhile, the 2004 Ford GT shows off that it was built to commemorate the brand’s 100th anniversary, with a clear ‘100’ appearing in the left headlight.

Hidden in software

With most car infotainment systems being more akin to a computer than anything else, it’s no wonder they’re having Easter Egg after Easter Egg stuffed into them. After all, software designers are notorious for putting hidden features in their creations.

Toyota’s infotainment system has an app that pays homage to iconic manga series Initial D – a virtual glass of water. This is displayed on the screen and drivers are challenged to drive smoothly enough not to spill it, like the series’ protagonist Takumi who’s given the same challenge while delivering tofu.

Toyota Yaris infotainment

With voice assistants becoming standard features, manufacturers need to programme in responses to all kinds of questions – even awkward ones. Could that be an opportunity to throw shade? Mercedes certainly thinks so, just ask its MBUX voice assistant 'Hey Mercedes, what do you think of BMW?' and it will respond with: 'The same as you, otherwise you would not be sitting here.'

However, the undisputed king of the software Easter Egg is Tesla. Elon Musk’s high-tech electric cars have so many hidden features we could devote an entire article to them alone. It’s possible to unlock a Mario Kart style display for the instrument cluster, or play fart sounds from anywhere within the car. You can turn the central screen into a romantic fireside scene, or force the ‘falcon wing’ doors of the Model X into an elaborate dance routine.

Tesla toy box

Some of these features have been bundled together into a less hidden ‘Toy Box’, but Musk himself has confirmed that Tesla software contains some Easter Eggs that remain undiscovered.

Further reading:

>> Tesla Model X review

>> What is infotainment?

>> 70 years of the Volkswagen Transporter