The Foot Brake
This design isn't unusual at all for Americans, as foot-actuated parking brakes have been common on U.S. vehicles for decades. As seen here on a Toyota Sienna, most foot brakes are simply pressed down into position, then released either with a separate handle, or by pressing the brake lever a second time.
Electronic Dials And Buttons
Similar to foot pedals, electronic brakes are becoming more common in modern automobiles – much to the bane of enthusiastic drivers wanting to execute neat handbrake turns. Electronic brakes can be anything from a simple toggle switch on the centre console, to basic buttons like one featured here on a Chrysler Pacifica.
Single Modern Paddle
We're seeing more automakers swapping the basic handle for something more like a paddle or an animal paw. This palm-friendly brake from the Citroen C4 Aircross is mounted in the traditional location at the centre console, but features a button underneath the large handle to release the brake.
On The Steering Column
Here's Tesla's take on the electronic brake. Instead of a button or a small lever in the console or dash, it's simply part of the car's column-mounted gear selector switch.
On The Wrong Side
Handbrake placement near the door instead of the centre console is rare. Perhaps best known on the Porsche 944 or Jaguar XJS (pictured here), the location offers a cleaner centre console but can be problematic for drivers wanting to exit the vehicle with the lever engaged.
Aircraft Throttle: Part One
Mixing aircraft design themes with cars certainly isn't new, and hey, who doesn't want to feel like a fighter pilot behind the wheel? Several vehicles have offered interesting handbrakes that mimic the throttle quadrant of a jet aircraft; the Pontiac Sunbird was famous for this in the 1980s. But the first-generation Ford S-Max MPV featured here continues that theme many years later.
Aircraft Throttle: Part Two
Not all jet throttles have two levers, and frankly, we also love the quirky Subaru SVX too much to not give it a slide all its own. Mixing the previously seen paddle theme with a throttle-style design, the Subie's handbrake is still one of the coolest of all time.
In The Dash: Part One
Dash-mounted parking brakes of the non-electronic variety are actually found in a range of vehicles. There are some noteworthy styles that we'll look at individually, starting with the pull-and-twist type seen here in an older Toyota Hilux.
In The Dash: Part Two
The tiny Renault Twizy EV runabout would be a perfect candidate for an electronic brake, but that consumes electricity. The solution was a manually operated brake mounted low on the dash that operates with an awkward pull/depress action.
In The Dash: Part Three
Lastly, we arrive at what could be the weirdest parking brake of them all. Naturally it comes from Citroen, specifically the GS offered through the 1970s and 1980s. It's another in-dash design but instead of making it a subtle feature, it's mounted prominently in the centre of the dashboard where you'd expect to find a radio. Pull the large handle out to set the brake, and release it by pressing a button.
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