Do soft dashes really matter?

mitchell.scott

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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...
My mum's is a 2006 as well. I don't consider the dash to be that soft though, the top half is pretty hard and likes to scratch, but the bottom half is soft-ish. My Accord's is softer though.
Which Volvo was that? My 850T rattled like mad due to the cheap plastic screws holding the interior together.
850 T5, the only rattle I ever had was the glovebox.
 

_HighVoltage_

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Your glovebox opened? :blink: :lol:

argatoga, I don't know which cheap plastic screws you are talking about. Most of the interior is held pretty tightly. My only complain would be the about the screws on the letter trim on the doors, but they don't rattle.
 

rickhamilton620

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That's the problem with the Jetta - the dash *doesn't* look good.
This. There are ways to make hard plastic look like soft stuff. The jetta's is kinda shiny and shaped weird. The previous generation Corolla could show the Jetta some lessons, as it's dash is hard (door trim soft touch) but it never ever looks cheap.

Toyota is similarly guilty with it's oddly grained hard plastic.

When Chrysler was introducing its refreshed lineup, they made a big deal about how soft touch plastics don't only look good, but because vent surrounds and other dash items can "bite into" the soft touch material around them, squeaks and rattles from dash components are greatly lessened. Also, gaps around components can be made smaller.

My car has soft touch dash materials, but only on the lower portion of the dash as a knee bolster component...it's devoid of any real graining..more of a smooth leatherishness than anything, ditto the soft touch (barely..its literally vinyl wrapped around foam the thickness of a few sheets of printer paper) door trim.

When I look at a car, (or sit inside one driven by a friend or someone I know) I'm guilty of checking out the interior materials. I came across disappointed when the last generation Pilot and Highlander had a hard touch dash (and the Pilot's door trim was even worse...blech) and i walked away disappointed. I couldn't see myself paying that much for a meh interior. My dad's early 90's accord's dashboard is very nice as well imo.

In the case of the Saturn, I was ok with the materials used, as the graining on the upper dash looked ok and not overly cheap.

I was impressed by the interior in the last/current Versa SL. Soft touch materials are impressive, nearly everywhere, (even covering the rear doors, unlike the Fiesta) nicely grained and fit well together. The Fiesta's "class leading" interior is disappointing in comparison imo.

EDIT: I think a dash's physical layout/shape/design has a big impact on percieved cheapness. The Jetta's center stack is shaped as if it was made for the easiest installation process possible at the factory, things don't look as integrated as other vehicles, even those with radio's not built into the center stack itself. Another example: The previous generation Sportage. While it's a decent cuv, the dash's overall layout ensures that no amount of soft plastic could make it feel upscale.
 
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mitchell.scott

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Your glovebox opened? :blink: :lol:

argatoga, I don't know which cheap plastic screws you are talking about. Most of the interior is held pretty tightly. My only complain would be the about the screws on the letter trim on the doors, but they don't rattle.
Ha ha. Mine didn't like to close, actually. It'd fly open almost any time I floored it and the turbo finally kicked in :)
 

TC

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For me it depends entirely on the car itself. Is it a luxury car or a sports car, for example. Plus, I think their is a perceived quality that goes along with soft touch plastics that I believe may be false. I mean, what makes it high quality? The fact that it's soft? Or the fact that it's more expensive? Do those things really make it higher quality though? I doubt it. What if the harder plastics are more durable, last longer, do their job better while costing less money and adding less weight? Do those things not matter? Or is it really just the price and softness that make it a quality product?
 

rickhamilton620

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For me it depends entirely on the car itself. Is it a luxury car or a sports car, for example. Plus, I think their is a perceived quality that goes along with soft touch plastics that I believe may be false. I mean, what makes it high quality? The fact that it's soft? Or the fact that it's more expensive? Do those things really make it higher quality though? I doubt it. What if the harder plastics are more durable, last longer, do their job better while costing less money and adding less weight? Do those things not matter? Or is it really just the price and softness that make it a quality product?
It's definetly a matter of expectations. I was shocked when the Genesis Coupe turned out to have a primarily hard plastic interior. If i was in that class where Hyundai plays with the Coupe, I'd expect soft touch materials. The Elantra Touring (i30) has it, although since it comes straight from Europe, the Touring wasn't cost reduced like the last Elantra it only shared a name with.

To some people, the durabilty of hard plastic is an appeal, but I've found that hard plastic well...really that durable. Plenty of hard plastic in cars gouges very easily and unlike soft plastic, they can't "bounce back"
 
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TC

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It's definetly a matter of expectations. I was shocked when the Genesis Coupe turned out to have a primarily hard plastic interior. If i was in that class where Hyundai plays with the Coupe, I'd expect soft touch materials. The Elantra Touring (i30) has it, although since it comes straight from Europe, the Touring wasn't cost reduced like the last Elantra it only shared a name with.
I sometimes wonder though, is it just people getting more and more spoiled, rather than the cars being cheaply made? For example, you can go buy a stripped down Ford Fiesta that is more nicely equipped than a fully loaded Crown Victoria was 15 years ago when it was brand new. It's like people start expecting more and more and more, but don't want to pay the price. If they can't get an in-dash DVD nav-sat, even in a tiny little Fiesta or something, they feel ripped off.

To some people, the durabilty of hard plastic is an appeal, but I've found that hard plastic well...really that durable. Plenty of hard plastic in cars gouges very easily and unlike soft plastic, they can't "bounce back"
It depends. Have you ever seen those old vinyl dashboards in old American cars? The ones that dry out in the sun and split and crack? If you poke the soft touch plastics with something sharp, it may do more damage than with a hard plastic dash. It may not always bounce back. And if you really wanted to, you could repair a hard plastic dash. You could use certain fillers and just paint it, if worst comes to worst.
 

mitchell.scott

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It's definetly a matter of expectations. I was shocked when the Genesis Coupe turned out to have a primarily hard plastic interior. If i was in that class where Hyundai plays with the Coupe, I'd expect soft touch materials. The Elantra Touring (i30) has it, although since it comes straight from Europe, the Touring wasn't cost reduced like the last Elantra it only shared a name with.

To some people, the durabilty of hard plastic is an appeal, but I've found that hard plastic well...really that durable. Plenty of hard plastic in cars gouges very easily and unlike soft plastic, they can't "bounce back"
The Elantra Touring has the same interior as the standard (now last-gen) Elantra had, but your point is well-made.
 

Rossco

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Personally If I wanted to buy a car with a hard plastic dash, I'd buy this.

 

NecroJoe

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Cars with soft dashes seem to be quieter on the inside, or at least to a better job of filtering/absorbing the high frequency sounds...but it may just be that those softer dashes tended to be in higher-wuality-to-begin-with cars.
 

Evel

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To me a soft dash would only matter in a premium/luxury car. Audis, for example, seem to have soft-touch materials in places you will probably never touch no matter how long you own the car, and I would appreciate that if I'm spending the coin on an upscale car. However, if I'm buying something cheaper, then it's not as much of an issue so long as it looks nice.
 

GRtak

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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.
This was 1971. People didn't wear seatbelts then. Which is why NHTSA started mandating padded dashboards starting around 1970.

This is really not that important anymore. Airbags will cushion your face meeting the dash right after it punches you in the face.
 

Initial_B

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on a new luxury car, sure, why not. but since i have a Corolla, i really don't care....




but then again, why does my 2006, as well as brand new Corollas, have hard dashboards and panels, while my mom's 93' Corolla (an 18 year old vehicle) could have soft panels/dashboards?
 

argatoga

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Your glovebox opened? :blink: :lol:

argatoga, I don't know which cheap plastic screws you are talking about. Most of the interior is held pretty tightly. My only complain would be the about the screws on the letter trim on the doors, but they don't rattle.
I had an 855T. The trim was falling off in the back due to failing screws. There were creaks in the front dash too. I never discovered where exactly.
 

GM_IV

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on a new luxury car, sure, why not. but since i have a Corolla, i really don't care....




but then again, why does my 2006, as well as brand new Corollas, have hard dashboards and panels, while my mom's 93' Corolla (an 18 year old vehicle) could have soft panels/dashboards?
That's likely the problem if you had a soft dash, going back to a hard one is less appealing. My Cressida has a good mix of leather, aluminum and plastic but my dad's Avalon is very much plastic. Of course if I cared that much about how soft the dash is, I wouldn't have bought my Impreza.

In the case of Chryslers...because their ergonomics are generally horrible I wish cars like the Caliber had a soft dash, my right knee would be less bruised had this been the case.
 

ninjacoco

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In a luxury car? Yeah, that's pretty important. You want it to be a nice place to sit in there.

To me, though? Nope, can't find where I stashed that barrel of care. I'd like fewer rattles in the Lancer, but that's about it.
 

mitchell.scott

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In a luxury car? Yeah, that's pretty important. You want it to be a nice place to sit in there.

To me, though? Nope, can't find where I stashed that barrel of care. I'd like fewer rattles in the Lancer, but that's about it.
Rattles already in a 2010?
 

rickhamilton620

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on a new luxury car, sure, why not. but since i have a Corolla, i really don't care....


but then again, why does my 2006, as well as brand new Corollas, have hard dashboards and panels, while my mom's 93' Corolla (an 18 year old vehicle) could have soft panels/dashboards?
Because cost cutting. :p


That's likely the problem if you had a soft dash, going back to a hard one is less appealing.
I'd agree with that. The people who care about interior quality (mostly reviewers and some owners) notice such downgrades.
 
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