Naughty or Nice: Key Fobs

The holidays are upon us, and we've decided to spotlight the year's best and worst in the car world over the next 12 days. We're looking at automakers that wowed us, along with those that earned our collective ire.

We begin with the vastly overlooked key fob.


Naughty: Jaguar XJ/Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Luxury automakers do a lot to make their fobs stand out. Porsche even crafts them to look like the cars themselves. There's no question, though, that many believe weight adds to the luxury feel, and if that's the case, no car is more elegant than a Jaguar XJ. The key fob weighs an astounding 3.80 ounces. (I used my kitchen scale to check. It's the same weight as a kiwi, by the way.) It's so heavy and so bulky, you never want to leave it in your pocket ... which is exactly where remote entry and start key fobs should be.


Nice: Nissan, Kia and others

The convenience of remote entry and keyless ignition isn't relegated to the upper crust anymore. Many automakers, such as Nissan and Kia, are adding the feature to many cars either as an option or standard across their lineups. A neat, tidy key fob like Nissan's is so compact that I've actually forgotten it's in my pocket, though that led me to heading home one time with it, leaving another editor sans keys for his ride.



I'm with Jag. Hand feel trumps pocket feel (which i cant fathom noticing). Substantial > light and plasticky.


I have a Nissan and really enjoy the keyless start. As stated, the fob is light and compact and fits easily onto a keyring and in pockets. Same can be said for Honda.
Hyundai, on the other hand, use a huge and heavy fob that is bulky and uncomfortable to keep in a jeans pocket, and causes unwanted and embarassing bulges in the pants!

If it were filled with liquid you couldn't get it past airport security!


I own a key, but I love key FOBs! They're so convenient, wish I had one!!

Amuro Ray

I think Nissan has nailed this one on the key fob. Not sure if the others are similar (those with keyless start). The key fobs are light, yet the buttons are big if u need to use them. I'm a big fan of KISS, and this is KISS, like most of Apple's products.

I was given 2 rentals recently, both for 1 week duration. Honda Civic (last gen) and Dodge Avenger (2012). No keyless start for those. Boy, the keys are heavy, and the key fobs themselves are bulky too! It's like, they require AAA batteries in them!


I have always been a fan of Audi/VW switchblade keys/keyless entry fobs. They also are the only cars I know of that allow the windows and sunroof to be opened and closed by turning the key in the driver's door. Any fob with a plastic key loop is prone to breaking. I've also never been a fan of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep fobs that are integrated directly onto the key itself.


The article is right on many points, I hate key fobs that are oddly shaped or too big and heavy. At the same time, I don't want one that is shoddy or so cheaply make that it will be useless in a couple years. I test drive vehicles quite frequently, I lived in an area saturated with car dealers. Overall, the best car fob I've encountered recently was on a 2011 Suzuki Kizashi. It was the perfect size, wasn't too heavy, and great functionality, and nicer looking that most of the other ones out there.


Am I missing the keyless start button on the Nissan remote? I don't see it.

Keyless start/ignition is different than remote start. One allows you to keep your key in your pocket and hit a start button on the dash. The other starts the car remotely. We're talking about the first kind. It should have said remote entry and keyless start. I'll fix that.


Why doesn't any one car company come up with a fob that can be worn as a thin and light-weight wrist band? Would be far easier to keep track of.

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