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Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Acer
Date: July 11, 2009 12:26PM
Poll
Do you prefer having the speedometer in the center of the dash?
Only registered users are allowed to vote for this poll.
52 votes were received.
No 42
 
81%
Yes 10
 
19%



Just went out to test drive some new cars. Who really thinks having the speedometer in the center of the dash, between driver & passenger, is a good idea? I certainly see the value of having it high on the dash, so your eyes remain closer to the road. But why not put it high but keep it in front of the guy who really needs the information the most, like, oh, I dunno, the driver? Sure, I'd get used to it, but I fail to see what the gain is.

Does anybody with one see the advantage?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2009 12:26PM by Acer.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: July 11, 2009 12:28PM
Quote
Acer

Does anybody with one see the advantage?

It makes it easier for back seat drivers to offer up opinions on your driving.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: July 11, 2009 12:33PM
That was the major reason I didn't buy a Saturn Ion. I love the Saturn but hated having to look to my right to see the speedometer.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 11, 2009 12:37PM
Really, freerad's response seems the only real reason for such a design.

Acer, what models did you see with oddly placed speedometers? Did any have the tach on the hood? (OK, probably not.)

From time to time I've seen a car with the tach front and center, and the speedo to the left or right, obviously to enhance the "sport/race" image. But instrumentation in the center? Only the radio, Nav stuff, and A/C.

An attempt to make drivers more socially responsible to their passengers? Seems unlikely.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: July 11, 2009 12:39PM
Same dash for right and left hand drive countries.

FWIW-Porsche does it right--I front of the driver and the Tach is and should be the most prominent. Performance drivers turn the orientation of the tach so that Red line is straight up (twelve o'clock position)



The ignition key is also place to the left between the door and the steering wheel as a tribute to the old LeMans 24 hours days when the racing drivers sprinted across the track to jump in the cars.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2009 12:39PM by Ken Sp..
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Acer
Date: July 11, 2009 12:48PM
I drove a Prius and Yaris with the indicators in the center; the Matrix had them on the driver side.

The Prius was not too bad, as the speed indicator is a large digital, and is on the left end of the display. Still not ideal. But the itty bitty numbers on the analog Yaris were nearly useless. In fact, I'm not sure I ever properly locked onto my speed with my eyes during the short test drive. I drove the Yaris second.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: July 11, 2009 12:54PM
Only other reason I have seen for a center cluster and speedometer has been low cost models also offered in left-hand drive versions for export to countries such as the UK. Then there is some cost savings by using a common instrument panel in both right and left-hand versions.



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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Doc
Date: July 11, 2009 01:16PM
Centered gages don't get blocked by tilt-steering.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: July 11, 2009 01:22PM
I made a mistake--I voted "Yes" before I read. I thought you were referring to having it centered behind the steering wheel, a location I most definitely prefer.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Dick Moore
Date: July 11, 2009 01:26PM
There are so many other changes for left- or right-hand drive, that the cost of having two dash assemblies is negligible spread over thousands of units. I think it's probably just change for change's sake. Think about oil filters -- wouldn't about five oil filters work for every car and truck designed for on-road use? yet there are thousands of different types. Sometimes engineers have to justify their existences, and making changes is one way to do it. I say this as an engineer....



What it is, man, a low-down and funky feelin'
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Kramerica
Date: July 11, 2009 01:50PM
I was guessing moving the related hump in the dash to the center, might slightly increase driver visibility.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: kap
Date: July 11, 2009 02:27PM
Think Different. Charge More.



SoCal for now.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2009 02:27PM by kap.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 11, 2009 02:38PM
Porsche does it right

For a Porsche, or any other performance or performance-imaged car.

But I too prefer the speedometer front and center as it's functionality is far more important to me.

And I really dislike the design trend to have the face of gauges bisected by other gauges, even though a 360d sweep isn't necessary. That look strikes me as a "we gotta squeeze 'em all in there somehow" look.

Also, I prefer the instrument panel back lit such as those of Lexus. They can be a little tough to read in bright direct sunlight (unless that's been fixed) but it's a great look at night.

Oh, and I want a digital HUD to augment analog gauges.


I was guessing moving the related hump in the dash to the center, might slightly increase driver visibility.

I bet that's more of a design affectation than necessity. And it would only positively effect drivers with a low line of sight to the area in front of them. But everybody having to constantly look to the right (I'm in the US) to see their speed would be negatively affected.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: July 11, 2009 02:43PM
Quote
Doc
Centered gages don't get blocked by tilt-steering.

Exactly! My Scion xA, which I don't own anymore by the way, had them
in the center. It took a little getting used but like you say no matter
where you the steering wheel was tilted to , I had a clear view of the
instrument cluster.



Grateful11
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 11, 2009 02:45PM
Acer,

I asked a salesperson at a Toyota/Scion dealership about the center mounted speedometer. He told me the design is intended to increase the driver's view of the road ahead of him/her.

I say BS.

I've driven a Yaris that has the speedometer in the middle and will say that whatever increase in view it offers is vastly countered by the sheer annoyance of having to constantly look to the right to see the speedometer. The design is moronic enough that it knocked several otherwise good cars off the list of models I'm considering as a replacement for my aging Jeep Cherokee.

To take it a step further, I sat in a Scion Xb which has the speedometer in the center of the console. If the idea was to increase my view of the road, then why did they raise the top of the dash on the driver's side of the car? Any increased visibility is offset by it.

Ridiculous.

Robert
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 11, 2009 03:20PM
I wouldn't buy a car with a center mounted speedo just like I won't buy a phone that sits in a vertical stand with the dial pad facing me (because I either have to reach around behind it or turn it around in my hand.)



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: The UnDoug
Date: July 11, 2009 03:38PM
My Buick Rendezvous has the aforementioned "HUD" (Heads Up Display) in addition to a standard analog speedo. The HUD displays the speed in digital format on the window of the car, just above the point where the dash meets the window. It is *really* cool, and when I drive other cars and have to keep glancing down to see the speedometer, I realize how neat the HUD is.



[www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: July 11, 2009 05:18PM
Gotta say I'm surprised there are as many people even concerned about the location at all. It didn't take me very long at all to get a feel for what speed I'm driving at without having to look at the gauge cluster in either of my vehicles. Now the initial week or so I'm guessing it was an issue but I probably don't have much of a need for the speedo or the tach. Maybe they should make them easily removable winking smiley
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: July 11, 2009 08:20PM
Quote
(vikm)
Gotta say I'm surprised there are as many people even concerned about the location at all. It didn't take me very long at all to get a feel for what speed I'm driving at without having to look at the gauge cluster in either of my vehicles. Now the initial week or so I'm guessing it was an issue but I probably don't have much of a need for the speedo or the tach. Maybe they should make them easily removable winking smiley

I don't think making them removable is anything I'd support, but I agree with you about how rarely I actually need to see the speedometer to know how fast I'm going in the car I drive regularly. I never paid much attention to that until I switched cars with my son a while back and realized I used the speedometer in his much more often over the two days I had it than I would have if driving my own.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 11, 2009 10:57PM
[ It didn't take me very long at all to get a feel for what speed I'm driving at without having to look at the gauge cluster in either of my vehicles. ]

You're just fooling yourself into thinking you know how fast you're driving without using a speedo.

When one drives the same roads on a regular basis, and assuming they pay attention to the various speed limits, one can indeed get a "feel" for certain speeds. Also various squeaks, hums, shimmies, and rattles on your car can give you a "feel" for how fast you're going.

But I'll bet money that if one is taken to a strange road with no traffic and told "Give me 20mph, 25moh, 40mph, 55mph, etc, they won't be able to do it reliably. Repetition in a familiar area will give some people an *idea* of their speed. But luck will play a bigger part than any "skill".

I think all speedometers should removed from cars. Errant drivers can tell the judge "I couldn't have been speeding, It felt exactly 55mph."

The rest can just sweat a little when a traffic enforcement vehicle slips in behind them.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/2009 10:59PM by RAMd®d.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: DaviDC.
Date: July 11, 2009 11:56PM
The people who prefer it in the center are same ones who hang the toilet paper to roll under.



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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Thrift Store Scott
Date: July 12, 2009 02:16AM
Quote
DaviDC.
The people who prefer it in the center are same ones who hang the toilet paper to roll under.
smileys with beer
The "we mount the instrument cluster in the center so both right-hand and left-hand drive versions can use the same dashboard" story is BS. If you look closely at the dashboard of any car with a center-mounted instrument cluster, you'll see that the right and left sides of the dashboard aren't quite symmetrical. Besides, it doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to design a dashboard with same-sized holes on both sides that can accept either an instrument cluster or a passenger side airbag module since both units mount in the same area of the dash (on top) and they're roughly the same size.
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Re: Speedometer in the center...whose bright idea?
Posted by: Harbourmaster
Date: July 13, 2009 02:01PM
Quote
RAMd®d


But I'll bet money that if one is taken to a strange road with no traffic and told "Give me 20mph, 25moh, 40mph, 55mph, etc, they won't be able to do it reliably. Repetition in a familiar area will give some people an *idea* of their speed. But luck will play a bigger part than any "skill".

I'll take that challenge!

I can tell you within 2 or 3 MPH how fast I am traveling at any time, in any gear in my Bug!



Aloha, Ken


“I have developed significant attachments to several members even though I wouldn't recognize them if I sat next to one on a park bench. I'm often tempted when in an airport to walk around, hollering "The Løpe", to see if anyone other than the Homeland Security people will acknowledge me. ” - The Løpe
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