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Thread: Do soft dashes really matter?

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    Can't Start His Wank argatoga's Avatar
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    Do soft dashes really matter?

    I recently read an article at autoblog where the author recounts that when asked about the new Jetta's hard dash his wife questioned why it was important.

    Is there a problem with hard dashes? How often do you touch them as for it to make a difference?
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    I only care if it looks nice. Although nice is subjective.
    I do not find myself touching the dash very often so as long as it doesn't feel like spider webs and is easy to clean I don't have an issue with its texture.

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    Lastsoul's Avatar
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    It's not just about touching or if it's hard or soft (...yeah, it really sounds like I'm speaking about...dashboards), but quality materials just look better and often they're also soft to touch. But it also depends on application. For example in the NA MX-5 the dash is as cheap as it can be, but it's only function is to hold necessary buttons and things and that's it. But then in a comfortable sedan I'd want the interior to be a nice place to be, and hard and often shiny plastic doesn't help there.
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    Previously known as phoenixsac CAPT_Howdy's Avatar
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    As someone who got a bloody nose as a kid from his head slamming into the dash of his dad's '66 Chevy pickup, yes; soft dashes do matter.

    I wonder if the blogger's wife is okay with having formica countertops in her kitchen; probably not. She would probably prefer granite or marble. Well, the Jetta's dash is the automotive equivalent of the formica countertop - its cheapness lets the rest of the car down whether the rest of the car is of quality construction or not.
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    Teen Wankeler thevictor390's Avatar
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    But you constantly work on top of a countertop - you don't necessarily often touch the dashboard. Personally I don't car either way as long as it looks good.

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    If your head hits the dashboard in a crash, something's gone wrong. Either your seat belt wasn't on or your car only had lap belts.

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    It may not in a brand new car, but as a rule, at least in my experience, a hard dash= more rattles over time. My Volvo at 185k miles had fewer rattles than my mom's Legacy GT does at 40k miles.

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    Teen Wankeler thevictor390's Avatar
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    That may be a valid point, my '96 Sebring had a softish dash and was 100% rattle-free, but the RX has a couple of rattles sometimes.

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    Previously known as efoolution Interrobang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by argatoga View Post
    [...]Is there a problem with hard dashes? How often do you touch them as for it to make a difference?
    I prefer soft-touch surfaces inside cars ... "problem" doesn´t cover it, it´s a preference. Hard dashboard/armrest surfaces (even worse when shiny!) give me a cheap and dated feeling since soft-touch surfaces haven´t been around that long in sort of "run of the mill" cars and had been exclusively in the luxury segment (there in the form of all sorts of dead animals). It´s "want", not "need" ...
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    Previously known as phoenixsac CAPT_Howdy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labcoatguy View Post
    If your head hits the dashboard in a crash, something's gone wrong. Either your seat belt wasn't on or your car only had lap belts.
    This was 1971. People didn't wear seatbelts then. Which is why NHTSA started mandating padded dashboards starting around 1970.
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    No, all plastic dashes suck. Give me back my steel and wood dashes.
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    Just to be clear I think the surface material does matter in places you do touch (steering wheel, seats, armrests), for example my aforementioned RX has a hard dash but the center console is lined with leather since it serves as an armrest.

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    Previously known as phoenixsac CAPT_Howdy's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't like to see any cost-cutting evident in my car. If the manufacturer saved money on the stuff you see, what about the state of stuff you can't see? (Like engine, suspension and brake components.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchell.scott View Post
    It may not in a brand new car, but as a rule, at least in my experience, a hard dash= more rattles over time. My Volvo at 185k miles had fewer rattles than my mom's Legacy GT does at 40k miles.
    Hmm, might be just the Legacy, but my parents '06 does also have some rattles. But the dash is soft, so I'm not sure it counts. On the other hand, the 406 has soft dash and it just reached 205k miles without any rattles from interior. Balljoint on the other hand...
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    I lovingly caress the dashboard every time I get in the car, so yes, soft touch materials matter.

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    The Deported Spectre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thevictor390 View Post
    But you constantly work on top of a countertop - you don't necessarily often touch the dashboard. Personally I don't car either way as long as it looks good.
    That's the problem with the Jetta - the dash *doesn't* look good.
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    Can't Start His Wank argatoga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchell.scott View Post
    It may not in a brand new car, but as a rule, at least in my experience, a hard dash= more rattles over time. My Volvo at 185k miles had fewer rattles than my mom's Legacy GT does at 40k miles.
    Which Volvo was that? My 850T rattled like mad due to the cheap plastic screws holding the interior together.
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    "So the [suspension's] spring seats fail every 2 years, so what? They cost less than $250 to fix. And if a person can't afford that every two years, than maybe he shouldn't own a car at all." - _HighVoltage_ on Volvos.

  18. #18
    Captain Volvo _HighVoltage_'s Avatar
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    This is entirely subjective, but there are also different types of plastic dashboards - I much prefer my Volvo's 17-year-old plastic dashboard, than the plastic dashboard of the '11 VW Polo that I test drove yesterday.
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    I don't give a crap about the softness of the dash so long as the steering and gearknob are wrapped in leather

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    Wants Rick Astley's Babies Buba's Avatar
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    I'd say, a properly done "soft" dash should look better then a plasticy hard one. I wouldn't call it important, but a nice cabin is quite a part of the experience in a normal road car...
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