No, we’re not referring to a stray Kinder Surprise that’s accidentally fallen between the seats; ‘Easter egg’ is also used to refer to a small or hidden feature that’s been intentionally included as a joke or as a knowing nod to something specific.

Some examples of this form of Easter egg include the image of an old-school Fiat 500 that’s imprinted into the new Fiat 500e door handles, or the ghost motif found on many Koenigsegg models, which is a nod to the Swedish Air Force squadron once based at the brand’s HQ. Many people will also be aware of Skoda’s Simply Clever’ features which are often thought of as Easter eggs – although we think an umbrella hidden in the door or a built-in ice scraper are more practical additions than fun design flourishes.

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With that in mind, here’s a list – in no particular order – of our favourite in-car Easter eggs from across history. If there’s something you think we’ve missed, let us know on our social media channels. 

Finally, we’d like to wish you a very Happy Easter from all of us at Auto Express! Now without further ado…

The best ‘Easter eggs’ in cars

Our favourite light-hearted ‘easter egg’ features from across the automotive world… 

10. Jaguar XE – The beating heart of a Jaguar

If you’ve ever driven a modern Jaguar model, you may have noticed how the start/stop button pulses red before you start the car. Well, the rhythm of the flashes actually mirrors the heart rate of an actual jaguar cat as it’s ready to pounce. It’s just a shame that the rattle of a 2.0-litre diesel engine can’t quite match the drama of said animal’s menacing roar.

9. Tesla Model Y – Mario Kart… in a Tesla?

Tesla models are infamous for the sheer number of Easter eggs buried in the touchscreen – from changing the sat-nav maps to the surface of Mars, to whoopee cushion seats and swapping out the image of the car for James Bond’s Lotus Esprit. However, our favourite has to be how, if you pull the Autopilot stick four times in a row, it transforms the on-screen road graphic into that of the Rainbow Road track from Mario Kart. Thankfully, doing so shouldn’t encourage other drivers to start throwing shells or bananas at you.

8. Renault Twingo RS – Pause/play pedals

We all know the accelerator pedal means ‘go’ and the brake pedal means ‘stop’, but the Renault Twingo RS took that a little bit literally, with ‘play’ and ‘stop’ signs imprinted on the pedals – just like on an old cassette or CD player. This Easter egg has also since made its way to Volkswagen’s latest line-up of ID.-badged EVs, although being fully electric, these don’t have a clutch pedal with the ‘pause’ motif like the Twingo.

7. Volvo XC40 – Swedish spearheading seatbelt safety

Volvo is perhaps the first car brand you’ll think of whenever safety is mentioned; the Swedish marque was the first to introduce several handy and life-saving features including side curtain airbags, blind spot monitoring and a built-in child seat. However, the most famous is certainly the three-point seatbelt, which was introduced in 1959 and to mark this, ‘Since 1959’ is printed on every Volvo seatbelt buckle.

6. Jeep Avenger – Easter egg overkill in Jeep’s EV

Most of the cars on this list have one, maybe two Easter eggs hidden at most. The new Jeep Avenger, on the other hand, has a grand total of eight – at least, that’s how many we’ve managed to spot. These include a nod to Jeep’s seven-slat grille on the speakers, a compass on the radar sensor showing where the Avenger was designed (Turin) and an image of a child (supposedly the designer’s son) looking through a telescope on the windscreen.

5. Vauxhall Corsa – “We’re gonna need a bigger… Belmont”

You might associate Vauxhall with the griffin on its logo, but did you know almost every new Vauxhall comes stamped with a shark, too? What started with an idea from 2003 Corsa designer’s son has since become a tradition. Every new Vauxhall (and Opel) since then has come with a shark motif hidden somewhere in the interior. If you don’t believe us Vauxhall owners, go outside and have a look!

4. Toyota Corolla – Try not to spill the water!

If you’ve ever watched the street racing-themed anime, Initial D, you’ll be familiar with how the protagonist, Takumi Fujiwara is able to drive his Toyota Corolla (specifically a Sprinter Trueno) at high speeds without spilling a cup of water. Seemingly as a nod to this, Toyota introduced an app in the early 2010s that used the accelerometer and GPS in your phone to track the smoothness and efficiency of your driving with a glass-of-water graphic. This eventually became part of the brand’s Touch 2 Go infotainment system, too.

3. McLaren Artura – Shining a ‘light’ on the secret McLaren logo

Several manufacturers are now integrating illuminated logos into their cars – see the rear of the new Volkswagen ID.7 – but did you know that McLaren has been doing this all along? Take a look at the headlights of McLaren P1, or even the new hybrid-powered Artura, and you’ll see that they are almost an exact match of the brand’s ‘speedmark’ logo. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this shape is actually supposed to represent the vortices created by the rear wing of McLaren’s Formula One cars. 

2. Mazda RX-8 – Pythagorean powertrain

The Mazda RX-8 was famous for its ‘wankel’ powertrain, and as a nod to this, the Japanese brand hid a plethora of triangular trim pieces in the car’s interior – a reference to the shape of the rotors inside the engine. The gear stick knob is triangular, as is the gap in the headrests. The climate controls and radio are all arranged in a triangular shape and, if you squint hard enough, you’ll see there’s a triangle-shaped handbrake, too.

1. MINI Cooper – Out with the new, in with the old

It’s debatable whether this is an ‘Easter egg’ per se, but we just had to include it given how cool we think it is. The MINI Cooper comes equipped with ‘Experience Modes’, which are essentially drive modes that also enhance the way the car sounds, as well as the look and feel of the infotainment system and ambient lighting. Our favourite has to be ‘Timeless’ mode, which swaps out the graphics on the touchscreen to replicate the dials of an old Austin Mini, and also plays that car’s exhaust note through the speakers. Dig hard enough and you’ll also find MINI’s latest infotainment system even comes with an old arcade-style rally game – although you can’t drive as the Monte Carlo-winning rally car, sadly.

Are there any famous automotive ‘Easter eggs’ we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments…

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