Something we don’t talk about enough ‘round these parts are key fobs. I’ve either laid eyes on or used pretty much every one of them at this point, which is simply just a hazard of the job. I know. Real tough. But that also makes me qualified to say if a key fob is good or bad.
OEMs come out with new designs every 3-7 years seemingly, and while some use universal fobs for their entire lineups, others will have a couple different fobs depending on the model, even going as far as designing unique versions for special performance variants. And yes, some even still offer a physical key that you have to put in an ignition and turn. Scary!
It’s that very lack of keys no longer needing to be keys that has brought upon the sheer amount of variation in design over recent years. If the key can be any shape or size, what should it be? Spoiler: There is no universal answer.
Anyway, this list is where I finally get to give you my key fob hot takes for every major OEM selling cars in America, and you can give me yours in the comments below. Let’s have some fun!
Acura – A 10/10 key, especially for the manual Integra Type S that is uniquely shortened (by eliminating the remote start button). Great button action, plenty weighty, not too big. Good work, Acura.
Alfa Romeo – Jeepers this thing is big. Nice touch with the “Alfa Romeo” script, but it feels sorta cheap and is rather bulky in the pocket.
Audi – Slick and sleek. Beautiful shape, glossy black fits well with the car’s interior; I even like the button action. Solid key.
Bentley – The Brits sure don’t mess around with how big that “B” is, and honestly, good on ’em. It’ll just be easier to identify amongst the other supercar and ultra-luxe car keys floating around your mansion.
BMW – Thank goodness BMW doesn’t have that key with the screen on it anymore. The new one is neat and has an easy-to-find lock button, but it takes up a little more pocket space than I’d prefer.
Bugatti – You got me, I haven’t used this one yet. But I guess it says Bugatti on it, so it must be alright.
Buick – Boy was this a hideous one, but the new fob for the Envision is standard GM fare, which is perfectly acceptable.
Cadillac – The Blackwing fobs with the color-matched inserts rule. It’s not overly bulky. I like this one.
Chevrolet – Chevy’s version of GM’s fob is just like the others, but it has a bowtie on the back. A little low-rent looking, but it’s fine. The Corvette key is good, too, but nothing special.
Chrysler – The Pacifica’s fob is classic minivan style with a dizzying number of buttons, but it’s logical and easy to use. In case you were wondering, the 300’s fob is the same as the Charger and Challenger.
Dodge – Speaking of the devil, this fob is fine, but boring unless you get a Hellcat. Then Dodge uses red plastic instead of black. Hell yeah, brother.
Ferrari – I think the new design introduced with the Roma is quite possibly the coolest key on the market. It’s just a Ferrari badge on one side with stitched leather on the other. That rules.
Fiat – Yeah, there’s still a Fiat on sale in the U.S., the 500X. Its key fob will garner as much attention as the car itself (that is, very little), though I do enjoy the big Fiat logo on it.
Ford – Visually unappealing with far too much chrome. Even the Shelby and Raptor-specific fobs are super meh.
Genesis – Easily one of the best in the game. Wild geometric patterns, and awesome metal buttons – I love it. The GV60 (and perhaps others?) comes with a set of two, and they’re different colors and made with different materials. Now that’s an awesome idea.
GMC – What I said for Chevy, minus the Corvette compliments.
Honda – How cute! Love the rounded edges and small size in general. It’s a fob that I don’t actually mind having in my pocket. The red “H” badge on the rear of the Type R’s is a nice touch, too.
Hyundai – Perfectly fine, but not as enticing to look at as the cars themselves. The Ioniq 6’s unique fob sure is strange, but I appreciate that Hyundai is going for something.
Infiniti – Eeek. Worse than most.
Jaguar – The raised and depressed buttons for lock/unlock are a stupendous idea, and I don’t know why more OEMs don’t copy it. Nothing special to look at, but functionality is top-notch.
Jeep – I feel like I need a purse just to carry the Wrangler or Gladiator’s fob around. Key designers, I know the trucks are rugged, but this is getting out of hand.
Kia – One of my favorites with the detonator-style lock button design. I can feel like a cool guy walking away from an explosion each time I lock the car.
Lamborghini – It’s just a re-skinned old-style Audi key. But who cares, you’re driving a Lamborghini.
Land Rover – Same as what I said for Jaguar. This is a really good key fob design!
Lexus – It’s extra swoopy. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. It’s simply inoffensive.
Lincoln – It’s a Ford key with a Lincoln badge on it, and you already know what I think about the Ford key. Try a little harder, please.
Lotus – The Evora’s key (this was one you had to twist) looks straight out of the year 2000. But the Emira’s is completely modern and totally rules. It literally says “For the drivers” on the side of it. That’s the sort of attention to detail I can get behind.
Lucid – I had to Google and make sure Lucid provided a key fob before writing this. Apparently, the whole thing is a button that you press in different patterns to control which function you want. Two taps to unlock, long hold to open the frunk, and so on. Weird.
Maserati – The new fob for the latest models like the MC20 and Grecale is minimalistic awesomeness. They’re kinda squishy, too, which is different.
Mazda – Wish the buttons were easier to press on the sides, but it’s a slim design that’ll look good years from now.
McLaren – It sure does look nifty. Outside of Ferrari, this might be the best in the supercar biz.
Mercedes – Classy as can be, and the materials used for its construction are befitting of a car with the three-pointed star on it.
Mini – Hard to find a weirder key fob, which is perfect for the brand. It’s not the easiest to use, nor is it convenient to have in the pocket, but I sure do find it charming.
Mitsubishi – There isn’t much going on here. It’s about as bland as most of the vehicles in the lineup.
Nissan – The new style is certainly better than what’s been offered for years now, but it’s still rather low-rent feeling. At least it’s a small, pocketable design.
Polestar – It sure does feel like recycled plastic. That said, the buttons are super tactile, and I think the rectangular shape rules.
Porsche – Any key that mimics the shape of the car is a win, and Porsche also wins by making it a proper size with satisfying buttons. Can the good folks in Stuttgart do anything wrong?
Ram – Those are some big-ass buttons for your big-ass Ram pickup truck. I do wish the fob was a little smaller, but that’s its only true offense.
Rivian – Maybe the most innovative design of all. There are plenty of brands that preach how outdoorsy their vehicles are, but do any of those vehicles come with a key fob that has a built in carabiner? Yeah, I thought so.
Rolls-Royce – What’s it matter when your chauffeur is the one handling it anyway? But check that, because the key is actually pretty great and exudes that some quiet luxury as the cars do.
Subaru – Talk about bland. Subaru could take a page out of Rivian’s book and make its key fob as fit-for-nature as its lineup is.
Tesla – What key? I’m kidding, there is indeed an available Tesla key fob, and it takes a page out of Porsche’s book by using the shape of the car. That’s rad.
Toyota – It gets the job done, but there’s nothing special about any Toyota key, and that’s completely fine. And a special shoutout to the Supra’s fob, which is just an old-style BMW fob with a Toyota logo on it.
Volkswagen – VW had the coolest key in the game when it had the switchblade key portion that could be intimidatingly flicked out at a moment’s notice. Volkswagen owners, you know that was fun. Nowadays, the key is a little less exciting, though the glossy black finish both looks and feels rather premium.
Volvo – Save the best for last? Honestly, maybe. I’ve been obsessed with Volvo matching the interior upholstery color to the key fob color for years. It’s something that more OEMs should’ve copied, and the opportunity to do so is still there!