Cars with push button start

A simple push of a start button is enough to get a car started

Aug 31, 2018

Push button start is probably the most literal description of a car option you’ll ever come across.

It’s a button, that you push, to start your car. It’s a relatively modern feature for cars and first came to prominence in the early Noughties. Initially, it was used on high-end models, but since then, it's been incorporated by pretty much every car manufacturer.

And we have to admit, thumbing one does make you feel a bit like Bond (or Roman Pearce from 2 Fast 2 Furious) getting ready to use his ejector seat. Which is neat.

What is a push button start?

Essentially it’s a button, usually in a similar place to where a key would go, that when pressed, starts the car. There’s no need to insert a physical key into an ignition at all.

You may also see it written as keyless ignition. These types of systems allow you to start a car without having to turn a key because the car can detect that the key fob is in the car with you.

In theory, they make starting a car easier as you don’t need to go rummaging around in pockets and bags for keys. As long as you have the key with you, the car will start.

However, there’s one caveat that is important to remember. The key only needs to be in the car to start the car. Once the car has started you don’t necessarily need the key any more.

For instance, (for most types of systems), you can start the car with a key in your pocket. If you then leave the car running, nip back to your house, accidentally leave your key in the house, and drive off, the car will let you. But once you turn off the engine you’ll have no key to start it back up.

Push button start: the good

✔  Quicker to start than more traditional methods
✔  No need to search for keys in bags
✔  Neater design

Push button start: the not so good

More expensive to replace than traditional keys
Can take longer to exit a vehicle
Yet another electrical element to fail and to fix if buying used

What else is push button start called?

As mentioned above, push button start may be referred to elsewhere as keyless entry. Different manufacturers tend to use ever-so-slightly different names for it too. For instance, Porsche will refer to it as its Keyless Entry Security System (or KESS) whereas Mercedes refers to it as Smart Key System.

Which cars have push button starts?

Most manufacturers use these types of system. If you’re buying a new car, you’ll struggle to find a car without keyless entry/push start.

As mentioned, Porsche and Mercedes both use them, as do other high end manufacturers like Audi and BMW. More humdrum manufacturers like Ford and Vauxhall also use it, as do Renault and Peugeot too.


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