I kid you not, for once: as part of its "universal design" initiative, Toyota will try to move its gauges to a center location, claiming that they're easier to use for a broader range of drivers. Included in that range are more aged motorists, many of whom are farsighted and can't read the instruments in their traditional location. The ostensibly strange concentration on ancient drivers' needs may be explained by the following stat: almost 20 percent of Japan's population is over 65. Toyota says they will not make a wholesale shift to mid-dash gauges, although half of the cars sold in Japan are already rocking the center-mounted style. They plan to modify gauge position based on vehicles' target audiences. It should not be overlooked that centralized clusters are cheaper to produce since they do not have to be reconfigured for left and right-hand drive markets.
Personal rant: I hate center-mounted gauges. Mostly the hatred is just my general abhorrence of change, but some of it comes from the slight head turn required to perceive the center stack. If you've ever tried to scan the radio dial and find a particular station while driving, an activity which requires constant monitoring (as would observing one's more critical instruments), you may have noticed that the little movements needed to apprehend what's going on in the center of the dash can be a significant distraction. And distraction leads to crashing. Feel free to supply your own personal rant here.



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