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View Poll Results: Digital Instrument Cluster: Yay or Nay?
Yes please! 176 30.14%
No thanks, prefer old school dials. 308 52.74%
Not really particular about digital/analog instrument cluster 100 17.12%
Voters: 584. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 7th September 2020, 15:58   #46
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Always prefer analog dials but like some digital dials (Porsche - analog + digital, Audi etc). The only useful feature of these digital digital would be the implementation of navigation/maps so that you don't have to take eyes off the road. VW group implemented this pretty nicely.

I really loved the Lexus dial as well (skip to 7.50).

Source - YouTube

Some of the digital + analog and full digital dials found in some Indian cars are just pathetic.
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Old 7th September 2020, 16:05   #47
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

I'll any day choose analog dials for speed and RPMs over digital numerical representation, as changing numbers are just illegible on the other hand a shooting needle also gives you an idea of the acceleration along with the speed. As pointed earlier in the thread, two individual analog dials for speed and RPM with all other info thrown in on a display between them (akin Kia Seltos) is the best arrangement.

I hate when a analog meter is mimicked on a display, it's just counterproductive. Worse is when that meter changes the scale (it's fine if they change the backlight color and all) according to the driving mode you put the car in. I can just have a quick glance at the speedo and get an idea of the speed by seeing the positioning of the needle without bothering to read the digits, but with a different scale in every mode this convenience is gone. Now, this might not be a bother to majority here but people who have not so perfect near eyesight can have difficulties reading digital displays, as analog just has a couple needles and a bunch of lights.
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Old 7th September 2020, 16:24   #48
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Digtial dials? No way. They look like overkill. Look at the ones in the Tata Nexon, the Renault Kwid, the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. What was wrong with simple analogue dials?The BMW-style digital dials (which are copied in the Hyundai Verna) with the anticlockwise tachometer is also not very appealing to me.
Virtual dials, the way Audi and Mercedes have in their cars, are not bad. They actually mimic the standard analogue gauges in certain modes while the screen can be customized to show useful information like navigation maps in other modes.
But my favorite are the classic analogue dials. Digital dials will become obsolete some time or the other, but analogue dials will remain functional forever. Look at Bugatti. Even with all the technology they pack into their cars, they have retained the analogue dials so that even after fifty years, current-generation cars like the Chiron will not look outdated.
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Old 7th September 2020, 16:25   #49
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

I voted for analog dials but in reality I would like a combination of the two. Analog dials for Speedo and Tacho and Digital bar display for Fuel and Temp. Mostly to avoid parallax.

I guess 2021-2030 will be the last decade of analog dials and from the next decade it will be all digital from at least C segment onwards.
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Old 7th September 2020, 16:37   #50
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Voted for not particular about either.

This is because digital dials these days have analog like dials in most cars and are customizable on top of it so it's the best of both worlds.

I personally wouldn't care about 'extra' information on the Cluster.

One problem I have is that these are more prone to going wrong as compared to analog ones.

The only thing I care about is the needle rising rapidly.
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Old 7th September 2020, 17:03   #51
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

I see a common theme where people like digital dials if done right. And I have the same opinion as well.

I drive an Audi A5 and love the Virtual Cockpit. There is no way so much information would have been possible to fit in an analogue instrument cluster.

I now find looking at the central screen as a distraction. Even more with the way central screens have now moved lower in new Audis' instead of the pop up or fixed ones on top of dash. With virtual cockpit, I do not have any use of touch based central screen (While driving).
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Old 7th September 2020, 17:10   #52
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Voted yes, but they'd need to be done properly.
Digital clusters that are done well look outstanding - not only do they keep the car looking fresh and modern, but you can also configure them to your own preferences.
Conversely, when they're done badly they just spoil the look of the entire instrument binnacle.

Case in point - Audi's virtual cockpit. Everything about it is top notch - the way it looks, the information it's capable of showing, the resolution, colors and contrast ratios, and it's level of configurability. Even if you look at the previous version of these clusters, they're fantastic.

Digital Dials and their increasing popularity-virtualcockpit.jpg
I've seen these in the flesh, and they're outstanding.

And then there's BMW, who've never really managed to get their digital dash quite right. The digital dash for the F series (called the 6WB cluster) looked great, had nice crisp dials, but didn't really offer you much of a step up in terms of functionality over the analogue option (called the 6WA).
But at least it looked good, especially at night.
To be honest, it's on my list of intended upgrades for my F30 328i, even though it's completely pointless.

Digital Dials and their increasing popularity-6wb_04.jpg

And then there's the new digital dash in the G series, which is aesthetically awful, in my opinion.
I'm sure it's functionally superb, but stylistically it's a hot mess.
What's wrong with round dials, BMW? Why are you trying to reinvent the damn circle?

Digital Dials and their increasing popularity-maxresdefault.jpg

In my mind though, the award for the best digital dash goes to the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. The way they've integrated their blindspot cameras into the digital dash is just epic, and something everybody should do.

Digital Dials and their increasing popularity-sonata.jpg
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Old 7th September 2020, 17:43   #53
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Voted yes, but with an exception of having critical info such as speedo-meter or at-least, fuel gauge to be analog. Simply because too much electronics is fine, however if there is a console malfunction or dashboard niggles, then it's very handy to have a functional analog meter to help you complete the journey. Rest of the information can be digitized aesthetically [unlike the new Tata Nexon dash, which seems to be designed by college students for science project.]
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Old 7th September 2020, 18:14   #54
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Voted Option 3. I fully agree that instrument clusters need to be well designed, legible, and intuitive. I believe that this can be achieved with analogue metering or with digital displays. However, ultimately, all the data collection in modern automobiles is done through digital sensors - and the analogue physical displays or digital clusters are just means to represent that data.

To use GTOs example, there are no self winding or hand-wound watches in the automotive instrument cluster world - you have a chip calculating time, and either moving physical hands to display it on a dial, or displaying it on a digital screen.

The only car with a fully digital cluster I have used is an E450 AMG I rented in Germany last summer. I dont think I bothered to change any of the settings in that car, and found it showing whatever I needed during the roughly 800 km (if I remember right) I drove in it. I noticed the adaptive cruise control, and various other features - but the display itself was not essential to me.

For those who worry about reliability, I must say that electronic components are far more reliable than mechanical ones, and there is a value to being able to upgrade a car through software. What you need is that designers dont use easy upgradability as an excuse to launch Beta versions of their products onto unsuspecting consumers.
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Old 7th September 2020, 18:18   #55
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

I don't care how it's "driven," but I want dials. If it looks real, I don't mind if they are created by a display.

To echo many others: I want simple, easy to read at a glance, information, not a video game. And... anti-clockwise dials? Didn't even know that was a thing until I read it here. Some design nutter's idea of graphics over functionality, I suppose.

The Audi "virtual cockpit from a couple of posts ago looks great. I wouldn't mind that it is virtual: it is the end result that counts.
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Old 7th September 2020, 20:21   #56
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Voted a Gleeful NO!

Dials any day. The catch is not to over digitalize. Of course shuttles, case in point where human machine conflict can be reduced to a bare minimum as any redundancies whatsoever to reduce the man-machine error to a minimum is a great pave for the path indeed.

But, crappy MIDs/Digi these days with out of shape dials, and 90's 30 Rupees watch-ish readouts really seem to leave a bad flavor in my mouth. I for one, prefer the simple, sexy old analog dials. The analogs have come a long way, and they still look sexy for what they have to offer. They offer form, factor and oomph far far better than a blank screen with tetris blocks.

Don't get me wrong, they are great on some cars, but these days Hyundai, Renault and Tata have gone overboard and made it really a brow beat sort of stuff. This is where Maruti has done well, they stick to old ethcis (not just the needle, but overall as a package), with a tinge of freshness that's why, they being what they are (lo and behold) still gets to know the pulse of the Indian market well.

The key is not to overdo it. The crappy KIA SONET dials, just horrendous IMHPO, just one example. The analog still has a tons of creativity to it, and do it right with the right colors and fonts, nothing -- literally nothing can beat an analog dial. The sheer joy of seeing them move and dance around, pure petrolheads will revere it forever.


Last edited by VijayAnand1 : 7th September 2020 at 20:23.
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Old 7th September 2020, 21:35   #57
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Don't have voting rights yet. But it's a NO to digital displays. Digital dials are great if you can park the car to the road side under ideal lighting conditions and have all the time in the world to browse through the readings and make sense of the numbers. On the hot seat, putting pedal to metal, all an enthusiast need is an no-nonsense display for key metrics like Revs, Speed and possibly Engine temp and Fuel. All other gimmicks can be hosted on digital dials
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Old 7th September 2020, 21:46   #58
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

I love the dials in some of the Fiat cars. The ones in some of the later Lineas are beautiful.

Digital Dials and their increasing popularity-31315_fiatlinea_125s_018.jpg

That said, a classy and hybrid cluster that is tastefully done would be my choice.
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Old 7th September 2020, 22:32   #59
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

Glad that I was able to buy the 4th gen Honda City with an analog tachometer and that glorious redlining 1.5-liter I-Vtec. Just hate the tachometer on the new Creta kinda feels the same size as my humble Alto K10.
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Old 7th September 2020, 22:34   #60
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Default Re: Digital Dials and their increasing popularity

I am fine with either as long as they are readable/understandable even from the corner of my eye.
For speedometer: if digital, the numbers should be very big. If analog, the needle should be thick and visible.
For Tachometer : if digital, the bars or graphics must be bright and clear, if analog, the needle is fully visible, even better if it turns red at the redline.

What I personally detest is overlapping dials (Mini ?) or partially hidden needles, like the ones I experienced in first gen Honda Brio. It used to take more time to register where the tachometer needle is.
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