2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo: Pop-Out USB Port
April 12, 2011
The devil is in the details in everything from carpentry to car design, and it's usually the little things that delight or bedevil the user over the long haul. While few drivers plug their iPods, iPhones and USB thumb drives (yes, we've listened to your suggestions on that last one) into as many cars as we do day in and day out, the simple yet ingenious design of the pop-out USB port and aux-in jack in the 2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo deserve a shout-out.
In some cars, the USB port is buried deep in a center console, as in the 2010 Toyota Camry shown below at left. And you can't see how to plug it in while it swallows your whole hand. Or it's tucked in an inconvenient location on the dash, as in a Mini Clubman shown below at right. And with the kludgy sliding cover, you need two hands to plug in an iPod.
I didn't even notice the difference in the Regal till I pulled out of Edmunds' dark, subterranean parking garage one day. I was fumbling to find the USB port to plug in my iPhone before leaving the garage, but sometimes even in broad daylight the process can be a pain. A designer at Buick must have realized that just a little bit of leverage, as shown below, can make a big difference.
Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology