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Who's getting this right, if anyone?

The LEAF for example has a very atypical layout in terms of its dials and dashboard(s). In some ways it's quite modern, but in others it feels a little like a parody of itself designed to look like its from the 90s. It also feels a little "unfamiliar". And the trees, why am I growing trees when I drive a car, any car?!

When I sat in the VW e-Golf I was surprised how "normal" it felt. The dials were regular dials, it was just a car. The units changed, but the presentation was "safe", it was like my wife's old Beetle, but battery powered.

Then you have the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S, which seem to be trying to take it all up a notch (in their own ways) with digital displays (that still for the main look like "dials" and the massive iPad-like centre panel.

Are car manufacturers generally thinking that us EV types are also tech-types who like to move on and challenge the status quo? Are they right? Or are VW making the right choice by making a new tech feel more familiar?

Personally, I really liked the VW and think they may have actually got this right. But I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise.

This can also extend to gear levers, steering wheel buttons, "infotainment" and all the other bits that make up the experience operating the vehicle.

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I prefer the neatness of Tesla's speedo - current speed at a glance, other stuff there if you need it.

I don't really like tablets as center consoles. I'm not a tablet fan in general. The stuff on the tablet is a bit 'for the sake of it' rather than necessary.

I don't really see the satnav as a necessary item in an EV - you can't go that far! The screens end up in places that aren't easy to see - if anything the satnav should be infront of you where the speedo is.

I like BMW's gearstick placement.

I'd rather see climate controls and radio/cd controls on the steering wheel - don't need cruise control, lane assist, etc. The main stuff I use is climate and music.

Once you've moved the climate/music, and ditched the iPad - the centre console gets much cleaner - lots of opportunities to design something nicer...

So overall I think the i3 wins. Then Tesla, then Leaf, then Golf.
 

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I like that there are menus and options to customise these digital displays somewhat..maybe they could have kept an analogue display as another option for those who might prefer familiar dials..there are GPS speedo apps available for phones that give this option,so why couldn't a car do so? The Fluence ZE has dials,but they went all out digital with the Zoe..Dunno about the Foliage thing..must have been a focus group taking the "Green" theme and "We're doing this for the environment" to a conclusion..
 

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I would have voted for dials previously, but the Ampera's screens are growing on me.

In the future I could see the centre screen as a tablet that includes a car app.
 

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My initial impression of the LEAF dash was that it was a bit too Japanese and gimmicky – reminiscent of those monster hi-fi receivers from the 80s with lcd displays. It's still quirky and will date quickly (but I guess that's what the manufacturer wants) but I recognise the value in some of the displays and functions.

I like the Tesla centre console display and that's clearly going to be the trend for the next few product life cycles. VW has always been conservative – look at the evolution of the Golf over seven new models – so it would be a real surprise if they veered too far away from what their customers find familiar.
 

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They are all ok in their way in that there is no pleasing everyone. So in choosing any vehicle you either like it on the whole or not and accept the newness of it and adapt accordingly.
That said, once you have settled in to a car some things you really like others start to niggle.
I can only comment experience wise on the Leaf.
I like the big digital speedo. Ditch the trees and put the drive mode sign there. Gear knob I like but want to be able to say what default drive mode I want with first shift.
Two different clock times what’s that about these days?
The satnaff is only acceptable with a co-driver.
And lots of stuff I haven’t troubled myself with.
Generally I love my Leaf, but don’t ask what I think of the back end view.
 

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I've read that the Tesla touchscreen grows on you, but I'm doubtful that virtual controls are as good in a car as physical ones.

But please don't leave the iMiev off your list. You could say it represents the minimum of instrumentation required.
 

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When I test drove the E-Up! I thought VW had gone too far towards making the dash "normal". If you're paying more than for the old ice version, then you want more/better/different in as many ways as possible. Tesla's model S speedo with the energy flow built in is just perfect!
 

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The biggest bug bear I have with the dash on the model S is the use of blue for the speedo. Whilst driving at night I keep checking I haven't got main beams switched on.

TBH The analogue representation of speed isn't necessary, and I'd switch it off if I could. My view is it's only there to add design balance.

I'm getting used to the centre console. It is neat engineering solution to both weight saving and cost issues. Especially for a company that hasn't got a parts bin to draw from. The fact it is so marketing department friendly is obviously a big bonus too.
 

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I think the future is LCD screens for both the centre stack and the area behind the wheel, (look at the S Class and Lexus LS) which are configurable to some extent. The Leaf is an odd blend of "cool" stuff and old fashioned little lights for the indicators or full beam etc.

The golf seems to be in keeping with the rest of the VW line, the Phaeton doesn't have digital gauges. It won't be long before they do look like old hat, although the Leaf will look outdated and tacky long before that!
 

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They are all ok in their way in that there is no pleasing everyone. So in choosing any vehicle you either like it on the whole or not and accept the newness of it and adapt accordingly.
That said, once you have settled in to a car some things you really like others start to niggle.
I can only comment experience wise on the Leaf.
I like the big digital speedo. Ditch the trees and put the drive mode sign there. Gear knob I like but want to be able to say what default drive mode I want with first shift.
Two different clock times what’s that about these days?
The satnaff is only acceptable with a co-driver.
And lots of stuff I haven’t troubled myself with.
Generally I love my Leaf, but don’t ask what I think of the back end view.
I agree with Richard on the LEAF dash. I find it very easy to take in all the info at a glance and find there is more than enough info to get the best out of the car, with the exception of the drive mode indicator which I always have to scan for. I don't see why it would date any quicker than other cars. I think the gear knob is great, it looks good and is very user friendly. I would prefer last used drive mode also and last used screen on the centre screen would also be a big plus especially without the need to accept the terms every time.
The steering wheel controls for cruise and audio are back to front to what I am used to seeing in several other cars I've had and really are fiddly to use anyway. My wife and me always end up with the horn blaring when trying to set the cruise and we both find it easier to adjust the volume on the radio itself rather than fiddling about on the steering wheel.
 

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i3 wins for me. I was really impressed how good it looked. The outlander. I don't like the Tesla's massive tablet screen.
 
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