Luxury vehicles with “smart” Wi-Fi enabled features and complete connectivity have become more common on the roads. So, when it is time to park the luxury vehicle and step into a golf car, the expectation for feature availability and luxury details are at an all-time high. Whether the golf car is manufactured by a licensed auto dealer or modified by an upscale golf car company, luxury features expected from vehicles have certainly crossed over to golf cars. Here are the top five high end luxury vehicle features that have made a seamless transition to the golf car world:

1. Drink Storage

Whether your golf car lives on the green or zooms through RV parks, cold drinks are a non-negotiable. Standard fender coolers have quickly been replaced by center console cooler systems. Borrowed from luxury vehicles such as the BMW 760Li and Range Rover Sport, refrigeration is now an option in a customized golf car. Mercedes-Benz and Garia recently delivered the necessity for cold beverages to the next level when they introduced a golf car with a built in refrigerator located in the dashboard. Designed to maintain refreshments at a chilly 41 degrees F, the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car’s refrigerator is only one of its high end features.

2. Automotive Seating

Long gone are the days of boring golf car bench seating, resulting in a constant fidget. Whether golf car owners prefer lumbar support, contoured seat bases, or bucket seats, there are hundreds of aftermarket seat cushions from which to choose. Spending hours on the greens or around the neighborhood can take a toll on backs when proper posture is not maintained. Some of the features offered by luxury golf car seats include adjustable headrests, fold down arm rests, hand stitching, and high quality foam typically used in high end mattresses. If it weren’t for the balmy breeze, you may mistakenly think you are still in your luxury vehicle.

3. Custom Front Ends

From Ford Mustangs and Shelby Cobras to Jeeps and Hummers, adding a custom front end to your golf car, including model specific grill and headlight package, is not a problem. With various custom golf car shops creating front end molds and companies like Ford and Cadillac providing dealer licensed front ends, creating a custom golf car with automotive body styling and a custom paint job is becoming more common. Enter any golf course community and the golf cars are looking more and more like mini custom cars.

4. Off Road Capabilities

Everyone in the golf car industry is familiar with the usual off road aftermarket upsells, but, just like seat cushions and front ends, available off road features are less like the typical golf car upgrades we have come to know and are more automotive in look and performance. Mansory’s luxury conversion of the Mercedes-Benz G class has inspired a luxury, off road worthy golf car. Large, powerful braking systems, automotive transmission gearing, and a mounted spare tire are reminiscent of a full sized off road vehicle. The interior has also been enhanced to create a comfortable environment, even while blazing trails never seen before by a golf car.

5. Automotive Dash Design

What began as excitement over two locking glove boxes has grown exponentially into vehicle styled golf car dashes that include waste bins, air scoops, charging ports, cup holders, and virtually every feature available in a luxury vehicle. Custom colors with carbon fiber and woodgrain accents evoke feelings of a full sized vehicle as the golf car cruises across the lush green.

What’s Next?

A few of Garia’s prototype show golf cars already have built-in GPS systems and touch screen computers, so what else can we expect from golf cars as it relates to automotive styling? Here are a few ideas:

  • Responsive steering. Steering components in a typical golf car can be a bit laborious. Fine tuning the steering box system may be a welcome upgrade that falls in line with the automotive styling trend.
  • Climate controlled seats. Nothing is better than having your backside cooled as you cruise around in tropical weather. And, conversely, autumn golf car drives are more comfortable with a warm seat. Climate controlled seats are more common in vehicles and would be a welcome golf car innovation.
  • Adjustable seating. Having the ability to independently adjust the driver and passenger seats with the touch of a button, like in a luxury vehicle, would be a welcome golf car upgrade. Golf car seat positions are definitely not a “one size fit all” situation and having a bit more control of seat positioning would make for a more luxurious ride.

As those of us in the industry continue to innovate the classic golf car, it will be interesting to see exactly how far the automotive trend will persist.

Julie Wilson, Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf cart parts, when she founded her business in 2008. Julie’s eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com remains a popular online shopping experience for innovative golf car parts and accessories.