Car reviews - Mini - Hatch - Cooper
1 Jul 2002
By BRUCE NEWTON
A MAJOR attempt has been made in the interior to pay homage to heritage, with an enormous speedo placed in the centre of the dash above the centre console and the tachometer sitting in behind the steering wheel. But in Australia federal design rules have forced the two instruments to swap positions - so now we have a huge tacho and small speedo, although at least the latter is now surely in a more sensible spot. The speedo actually sits on the steering column itself which ensures you do not lose sight of it when adjusting the wheel up or down. Inside the speedo there's also various warning lights, the cruise control activation light and the odometer and tripmeter. The world's largets tacho is presented in the same metal-look and also has a group of warning lights dotted in a semi-circle in the top-half, while an outside temperature gauge, fuel and coolant temperature gauges sit below. The tacho joins the speedo, Mickey Mouse ears-style on the steering column, when satellite navigation is optioned. Seed-shaped metal-look stalks sit in behind the two-spoke steering wheel, the left-hand stalk looking after indicators and lights while the right-hand handles front and rear wiper-washer functions. The steering wheel's two spokes are massively thick and the Mini badge in the centre boss similarly imposing. A steering wheel with multi-function operation is an option mated to cruise control.
Did you know?Original Mini designer Alec Issoginis was so determined to maximise space utilisation that he came up with the idea of placing the engine transversely, with front-wheel drive, a layout almost unheard of at the time
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