Easter eggs aren’t just a delicious chocolate treat dished out in order to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday – not that many people think of that when they’re enjoying their sweet treats - but it is also the name given to inside jokes and hidden messages in video games, comic books, movies, and TV shows.
The name originates with a 1979 video game for Atari 2600 console called Adventure, which was created by designer Warren Robinett. Disagreeing with Atari’s policy not to include the designer’s name in the credits, he hid the message “Designed by Warren Robinett” within the game; only players who moved their avatar over a specific spot during the game would ever see it.
Pixar studios are perhaps the best known modern exponents of the Easter egg, with various characters, places and even vehicles appearing in different movies. The Pizza Planet delivery truck first seen in Toy Story has a cameo in every Pixar film, apart from The Incredible.
Easter eggs are common throughout popular culture, but drivers may be surprised to know that some of the biggest car manufacturers in the world also like to include a few hidden surprises in their vehicles. From unexpected technological features to secret storage spaces, motorists can sometimes take weeks to find all the Easter egg features hidden within their cars and also within some of the biggest-selling pickup trucks.
20 Smartphone App For Towing
Pickup trucks are just as likely these days to be used on the morning commute, as they are to actually do the kind of towing work they were designed for. However, owning a pickup does give you the option to tow stuff as and when it is needed.
Unfortunately, if you aren’t used to setting up for towing a trailer or driving with one, the whole process can be a bit tricky, which is why so many Easter eggs are technological solutions to towing problems, like the smartphone app that is available with the Chevy Silverado 1500, which includes a towing checklist on how to set up and test a trailer.
19 Power-Operated Tailgate
For years, pickup owners have had to put up with tailgates that slam into place when you open them, inevitably leading to increased wear and tear on the hinges. It may seem like an obvious solution, but it has taken a surprisingly long time for an automotive company to come up with the concept of a power-operated tailgate – one that can be lowered and raised by using the same key fob that you use to start the car.
The 2019 model of the Chevy Silverado may be the first to have this particular feature, but it won’t be the last!
18 Rear Camera Mirror
Rear-facing cameras are becoming par for the course in many new cars and pickup trucks, and they have proven to be so useful when reversing and parking that some motorists are even having them installed in older vehicles. However, while the majority of trucks display the picture from their rear camera on the infotainment system’s screen, there are some vehicles which have added a nice touch to this feature, by allowing drivers to view the image from the rear camera in their rear-view mirror.
The new GMC Sierra is just one of the 21st-century vehicles with a rear camera mirror.
17 Truck Bed Stereo
One of the best things about driving a pickup truck is the access that it gives you to the great outdoors. Not only can they drive on off-road tracks, but their storage space has plenty of rooms for mountain bikes, canoes or even enough room to pitch a special truck tent on the cargo bed!
To get the most out of spending some time in the great outdoors, some pickups have a few extra features which can make sitting by the campfire a little more enjoyable, including the Honda Ridgeline which has a truck bed audio system, allowing drivers to play music through “outdoor” speakers.
16 Blind Spot Monitoring
Any driver in any vehicle has to be careful to take their blind spot into consideration before they make a maneuver, but this can be much more difficult when you’re in a pickup truck that is towing a trailer or caravan. The blind spot when towing is in a slightly different place and is also larger; something which any new pickup driver can find difficult to get used to.
Ford has developed new technology which aims to help any motorist towing trailers to avoid accidents by monitoring their blind spot using radar which is housed in the vehicle’s rear headlights.
15 Pickup Truck Trunk
One of the main advantages of owning a pickup truck over a normal car is that you have a lot more storage space when it comes to transporting larger items. Of course, the disadvantage is that the cargo bed of a pickup truck is open to the elements, and even if the owner invests in a cargo bed cover, the area is very insecure.
Lots of pickup drivers use lock boxes to keep their tools or other valuables safe from thieves, but the Honda Ridgeline has gone one step further and has actually installed a traditional trunk under the cargo bed of the truck, providing safe and weather-resistant storage.
14 Cargo Rail System
Even if you are using a pickup truck to transport larger items, perhaps for work or DIY projects, you need to be careful to ensure that everything is packed properly, otherwise, you could find that objects slide about on the cargo bed, either damaging themselves or the trucks.
Until now, owners had to install after-market systems which would use metal hooks and straps to secure items in place, but now the Nissan Titan comes fitted with its own patented Utili-Track cargo system, which has strips of metal built into the cargo bed, which can be used to hold larger items securely in place.
13 Bird's Eye View Camera
Rear-view cameras have only just become the next big thing in motoring, and already they are being overtaken by newly-developed technological innovations. The fact that new cars and pickups all have large infotainment screens in their dashboards means that there is always potential for using cameras to help drivers maneuver safely.
The Ford F-150, one of the best-selling pickup trucks of all time, doesn’t just have a rear camera to assist drivers; it also has a 360° camera which helps to create an all-round image of the vehicle, including a bird’s eye view, to help motorists get safely into their parking space.
12 Multi-Functional Tailgate
The power-operated tailgate of the Chevy Silverado is small compared to the engineering marvel that is the GMC Sierra’s multi-functional tailgate. This creation, called the Multi-Pro, has six different incarnations; a regular tailgate, two different cargo-bed extension lengths depending on what you are carrying, an easy access setting, which allows drivers to get closer to the cargo bed, a built-in step, and a built-in workbench for carrying out any odd jobs that need done while on the road.
Like the Honda Ridgeline, the GMC Sierra Multi-Pro even has an audio speaker built into its bespoke tailgate, which offers maximum flexibility and usefulness.
11 Tire Pressure Monitoring
Monitoring the air pressure in the tires in your car or truck is an important part of general maintenance, but if you do a lot of towing, it is just as important to monitor the pressure in the tires of your trailer or caravan.
Rather than having to stop every now and then to manually check that all your tires are properly inflated, you can now buy vehicles which automatically monitor tire pressure, and there are even pickups which offer the technology to allow drivers to monitor the tire pressure of trailers remotely, including the ever popular Ford F-Series trucks.
10 Bedside Storage Space
We have already seen how the Honda Ridgeline has tackled the problem of secure storage in a pickup, by installing an innovative truck trunk under the cargo bed, but other auto manufacturers have come up with equally pioneering solutions. Taking their inspiration from the locked boxes which many truck drivers have installed into the bed of their pickups, Ram has created the RamBox storage space – or cargo management system, as the company calls it – which is built into the side of the truck.
The RamBox can be locked and also has an internal light to help you find what you’re looking for.
9 Trailer Backup Assist
Ford is really at the forefront of developing exciting new innovations to help pickup drivers who do a lot of towing, rather than those motorists who prefer to use their trucks for leisure. Driving with a trailer attached is something of a fine art, and although practice can help, there are ways that the truck itself can actually help.
Ford’s trailer backup assist button, which is available on the 2019 Ford F-150, uses the truck’s own power steering system to take control of the backing-up process, ensuring that the pickup and the trailer end up where they need to be.
8 Crawl Control
Crawl control may not sound like the most sophisticated pickup truck feature, but it can certainly prove useful, especially for those who like to drive off-road. This function has been available in Toyota SUVs and trucks, like the Tacoma and the Tundra, since 2008, and is useful when driving at low speeds over particularly tough or difficult terrain – anything from rocks and steep hills to sand and wet ground.
Crawl control uses sensors to detect ground conditions underfoot, and adjusts the acceleration and brake pedal automatically, allowing drivers to focus on steering – and to enjoy the view wherever they are taking an off-road drive!
7 Built-In Tailgate Step
One of the trickiest aspects of owning and using a pickup is the height of many of the vehicles, especially if you are trying to get to items which you have stashed right at the back of the cargo bed! There are lots of pickup step-ladders on the market, which you can buy and keep in the back of your truck, but it is far easier to buy a model which has a tailgate with a built-in step.
The GMC Sierra has a built-in step as part of its multifunctional tailgate, but if this seems too complicated, then the Ford F-150 truck has a much simpler built-in step in its tailgate instead.
6 Multi-Colored Head-Up Display
Technological innovations are already starting to revolutionize the way we drive, from advanced electric engines with ranges of hundreds of miles to self-driving cars which require little to no input from the driver behind the wheel. Another creation, which seems as though it would be more at home in a sci-fi movie than in a real-life 21st century car, is a heads-up display, which projects important information from the dashboard, like the speedometer and fuel gauge onto the windscreen, so drivers can keep an eye on their stats without looking away from the road.
The GMC Sierra Denali has one of the most advanced, multi-colored head-up displays on the market.
5 Trailer Sway Control
It isn’t just difficult to back up while you’re towing a trailer; even driving forwards in the wrong weather conditions can make towing a tricky process. Strong winds can easily catch hold of whatever item is being towed, making it sway on the tow hitch and making it harder for the driver to control both truck and trailer.
Several auto companies have some kind of trailer sway control built into their trucks, including Ford and Toyota, which automatically slows the vehicle down by reducing the engine’s torque when it detects the trailer swaying or even starting to swing out of control.
4 Horizontal-Opening Tailgate
Aside from hi-tech innovations, the one area where the makers of pickup trucks have really let their imaginations run wild is when it comes to designing tailgates. From simple innovations like tailgate assist, a simple hydraulic system to stop tailgates from slamming down when opened, to the multi-faceted, multi-functional tailgate on the GMC Sierra, it seems that truck owners like to see something different when they check out the back of their pickup.
While most tailgates open vertically, swinging down on their hinges, some models now have tailgates which open horizontally, like a door, or which can even open both ways.
3 Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control is a clever safety feature, which uses radar or cameras to automatically increase or decrease a vehicle’s speed, to ensure that it maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Already available no several cars and trucks as an optional extra, it can also be adapted further in order to take account of any trailer or caravan that a truck is towing.
The Ford F-Series allows you to switch the vehicle to “Tow Mode” while using adaptive cruise control, which increases the safe distance between vehicles to take into account the extra weight and therefore the extra stopping distance required.
2 Automatic Running Boards
Steps don’t just come in handy when the owners of pickups need to access the cargo beds of their trucks; some of the larger models can have cabs which are quite a long way off the ground, and shorter motorists often need a helping hand in order to get into the driving seat gracefully.
Running boards, steps which sit along the side of the vehicle, have long been the easiest way to achieve this, but retractable running boards which automatically engage when the car’s engine is turned on or off, are even better at providing the assistance motorists and passengers need.
1 Truck Bed Outlet
Like the concept of an outdoor audio system in the bed of a pickup, the simple addition of an electrical outlet in the truck has proven to be a useful and popular addition to the Honda Ridgeline. Not only is it a welcome extra feature for those who use their pickup for leisure pursuits, charging devices and inflating air mattresses for camping, but it can also provide at least limited power for workplace equipment.
The outlet is tucked behind a screen for safety, and provides power between 150 and 400 watts, depending on the device which is plugged in.
Sources - GM Authority, Nissan USA, Ram Trucks, Car Buzz, Tech Radar