The strong design of the exteriors is carried over to the cabin as well and this, along with impressive interior quality, makes the Beat quite a special place to be in. The switches and buttons operate with a meaty feel and the nicely textured plastics are among the best we have seen in a small car.
Slip into the driver’s seat and you are literally hugged by the generous bolstering and soft cushioning. Lower back support is terrific but sadly the short and sloping seat base offers little under-thigh support.
Front passengers are greeted by the terrific-looking twin cockpit (as GM likes to call it), which swoops into a central V. The dashboard is as functional as it is stylish and the Beat’s engineers have cleverly carved out storage space wherever possible. There’s a plethora of cubbyholes and the small niche (for your mobile) just behind the steering wheel is a neat touch. Even the door pockets are large enough to take small bottles. The dashboard’s cool blue lighting looks great but the Beat’s party trick is the instrument pod which sits on the steering column.
There’s a conventional- looking speedo but the silver, oblong LCD display for the rpm, odometer, fuel gauge and clock looks like it’s been plucked off a superbike. Unfortunately, this toy-like display doesn’t work as well as it looks. With rising revs, the rev counter scale goes from big to small. It should have been the other way around for the driver to better judge the rev limit. Also, tall drivers will find the speedo masked by the slightly large three-spoke steering wheel. Adjusting the column (for height) won’t help as the instrument pod moves up and down with it. There are other ergonomic glitches too. The dash is a bit high-set and the lack of seat height adjust could pose a problem for short drivers. Also, the small rear screen and the blanked-out area in the place of the rear three-quarter windows hamper visibility. And the gear ever (which has an oddly shaped knob) is set a bit too far back to accommodate the front cupholders.
Moving to the rear seat, the dark interiors and small windows have no doubt made the ambience a bit gloomy but it’s not as claustrophobic as we expected. Legroom is surprisingly good and despite the sloping roofline, headroom isn’t bad either. Overall, it’s reasonably comfy for two at the rear on the soft and springy seats but, like with the front, under-thigh support is in short supply. The 170-litre boot is disappointingly small and best for just a few small soft bags. What’s more, the narrow opening of the tailgate doesn’t make loading luggage easier. The car is very well equipped though. This top-end version has two airbags, ABS, climate control, CD player with USB, alloy wheels and power windows.