Tag: Design

By on August 14, 2017

2018 Hyundai Kona - Image: Hyundai

Getting a new or redesigned model off the drawing board and into showrooms isn’t like designing and posting a meme on Facebook. It’s time consuming, and automakers run the risk of being left behind as rivals cash in on the latest hot bodystyle or styling trend.

Hyundai knows this, having underestimated the buying public’s affection for anything with a high ride height and rear liftgate. The Korean automaker made a bundle on its well-fleshed-out car lineup following the recession, but the seismic shift towards SUVs and crossovers left it scrambling to bolster its three-vehicle utility lineup. The result? Stagnant sales.

This won’t happen under a new plan, the company’s senior vice president of design claims. Hyundai’s hitting the product throttle. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2015 Nissan Juke, Image: Nissan

Today’s Question of the Day is the inverse of one I posited back in March of this year. At that time, we took your suggestions for current vehicle designs which you thought would stand the test of time.

It’s now time to cover the other side of the ugly coin; the vehicles on sale today which will become dated-looking quicker than all others.

(Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

Image: Assorted tail lamps from four vehicles.

Last week, we showed you four different vehicles, each with strikingly similar taillamps. So began the Taillamp Identification Challenge. (Un)fortunately, Flybrian was around, and came up with the correct answers just 10 minutes after the post went live.

So, the challenge was short lived, and all props go to Flybrian’s keen taillamp eye. It’s almost like he knows cars, or is a car dealer perhaps. Time for the official results.

(Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

2011-2015-2018 Hyundai Sonatas - Images: HyundaiAfter the forgotten third-generation car, the odd and bulbous fourth-generation car, and the dull fifth-generation car, the sixth Hyundai Sonata was unveiled at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. It was surprising, even shocking, that Hyundai so dramatically transformed its staid midsize car into a radical “fluidic sculpture” sedan.

In the United States, after averaging 132,000 sales over the previous half-decade, the Hyundai Sonata exploded. By 2012, Hyundai sold more than 230,000 copies, and the Sonata averaged 215,000 U.S. sales between 2010 and 2014, a 63-percent increase compared with the previous half-decade average.

The momentum was not sustained. The seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata debuted in the United States at 2014’s New York International Auto Show. Where did the fun go? Where was the drama, the cat-like headlamps, the desire to stand out from the pack?

“We went from a very striking design, to a very beautiful car, but it just didn’t turn heads like the car before it did,” Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of product planning, Mike O’Brien, tells Automotive News. (Read More…)

By on July 31, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry production line - Image: Toyota

Take a mental trip back to the late 1950s. Imagine, if you will, a Detroit Three dealer’s lot. Tailfins lifted themselves towards the heavens, slicing through the air in a bid to capture Sputnik 1. Conical headlight assemblies and bumper guards jutted from the chrome-laden fronts of America’s Interstate cruisers, virilely thrusting through the air as the country’s economic climb continued its dizzying ascent.

Sex was everywhere, just not on film. Well, for the most part. Images of Jayne Mansfield mingled with thoughts of powerful rockets and ICBMs in the minds of Detroit designers busily crafting the next jet-age car for nuclear families living in the Land of the Free. Let the Soviets have their gray, uninspired, designed-by-committee Commie runabouts.

While the need to draw eyes to new vehicles hasn’t faded from the automotive business model, the sources of inspiration have changed. It’s much more diverse (and far more PC) these days. While the latest crop of family sedans weren’t sculpted by designers with sex or weapons on the brain, you’d be surprised what object actually held sway over the final shape. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2017

2018 Honda Accord Touring - Image: HondaThe 2018 Honda Accord will be assembled in Marysville, Ohio. The overwhelming majority of its sales will occur in the United States of America. Its dimensions, inside and out, suit the U.S. market. In 2016, the Accord ranked second on Cars.com’s American-Made Index.

Open its trunk and a family of bald eagles fly out, having successfully incubated apple pies, having binge-watched every season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. There’s a subtle Statue of Liberty easter egg on the windshield, Hollywood signs engraved in its cupholders, and a 3D hologram of Mount Rushmore featuring a fifth character — Soichiro Honda — that emerges from the glovebox if you shift the manual transmission into sixth, say VTEC three times, and spit over your left shoulder.

The Accord, according to lead exterior designer Tetsuji Morikawa, “is an American car.”

To make sure of that, however, Morikawa said the design team, “wanted to feel like Americans.” And they wanted to finish their design of the 10th-generation Accord in the United States, not Japan. (Read More…)

By on June 19, 2017

2018 Cadillac XTS, Image: General Motors

Thanks to China’s media, as well as General Motors’ aggressive pursuit of new buyers in that populous, prestige-seeking country, we’ve already seen the facelifted 2018 XTS sedan. The Chinese market model appeared a month ago, powered by a downsized motor you won’t find in U.S. variants.

Despite this, the refreshed XTS is now official. Cadillac has released details and photos of a model that wasn’t supposed to have a second act — until it realized you don’t drop a vehicle with steady sales, no matter how outdated it may appear. Say hello to Cadillac’s front-drive full-sizer, now gussied up to look like Cadillac’s rear-drive full-sizer. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

2018 Lincoln MKC , Image: © 2017 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Carse

Lincoln’s littlest utility vehicle, the MKC, always risked being overshadowed by the larger offerings emanating from the resurgent luxury brand. That doesn’t mean it’s forgotten — either by the buying public or its builder.

The four-cylinder-only MKC went on sale in May 2014 as a 2015 model, heralding a new, decidedly non-Ford-like design direction for the brand’s utility vehicles. Sporting a toned-down version of the whale-like corporate split grille, the little utility was Lincoln’s first attempt to tap into the growing compact luxury CUV market. No longer was a Lincoln utility just a warmed-over Ford with a revised face and taillights.

Now that Lincoln’s moving away from the whale look, the 2018 MKC, judging by these spy photos, will follow the brand’s recent “Make like Continental!” design philosophy. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

Image: 2017 Rolls-Royce Sweptail, image via Rolls-Royce

Sweeping fender flares sculpted by hand, luggage trunks affixed to the rear by the help, and huge headlamps housed in metal spheres. These details come to mind when considering the old era of coachbuilding. Grand vehicles reflected personal touches and design cues requested by the customer, which the coachbuilder was all too happy to include in the vehicle in exchange for large sums of money.

This tradition is alive and well today at Rolls-Royce, which recently debuted a one-off bespoke coupe for an unnamed customer of taste and subtlety in design.

I present to you the Sweptail.

(Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

 

BMW Concept 8 Series

If your 7 Series has friends and club patrons pretending not to know you, BMW has the answer: its upcoming, resurrected 8 Series. Once again, BMW has decided to carve out some space at the top of its model range, this time to rebuff efforts by Mercedes-Benz to lure buyers in the six-figure luxury market.

It’s big, it’s long, it’s expensive, and it’s…a concept. While buyers can expect some deviations between the BMW Concept 8 Series premiering at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and the final production model, this vehicle seems pretty fleshed out. Also, unlike such styling efforts as the Buick Avista, this vehicle will actually see production. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

[Image: Autohome.com.cn]

The crossover is king and Cadillac doesn’t have nearly enough of them. As it works to correct that problem, the automaker hasn’t completely forgotten about the segment that once made it the first name in American automotive opulence.

As many of its models are now global, it’s not surprising our first view of the refreshed Cadillac XTS front-wheel-drive sedan hails from China — General Motors’ main growth engine. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2017

1979 Lincoln Continental Collector's Series with Tom Selleck,Image: Old Car Brochures

TTAC Commentator Towncar writes:

I have some piddling little aggravations and head-scratchers, and it appears those serve to entertain the B&B as well as anything.

  1. Black Pillars: When and why did the black B-pillar take over the world? Presumably it’s to make you think it’s not there and the car’s a hardtop, but there’s never been a single case where that worked — not one. Even on a black car, the finish is sufficiently different that you can tell the pillar is present.
  2. Colors: Why are there no good interior colors anymore — red, blue, green? The only current one I know of, fairly recent, is the Rhapsody in Blue interior on the new Continental, and you have to buy the ultra-highline Black Label edition to get it. Which brings up the question: why do so few interiors really match anymore? It used to be that two-tone interiors looked designed that way, but now they just seem to have been put together from parts for different cars.
  3. Gas Fillers: Have any of the fool engineers who put gas fillers on the passenger’s side ever tested this concept out by going through a gas line backwards? (By the way, this pertains to the G6 convertible you advised me to buy about four years ago, and belated thanks, it’s generally great.)
  4. Wipers: Why has the old-fashioned opposed (clap hands) style come back of late years? I saw some kind of little Ford with this lately, and I think a Honda or two. And pertaining to the newer parallel style, what determines which side the wipers “point” to?  It’s almost always the passenger’s, but I can think of two cars having them point the other way — the suicide-door Continentals of the ’60s and the Avanti. Why?
  5. TPMS: OK, this is actually semi-serious. How good are these things? The G6’s dash display gives pressures, but seldom agrees with my trusty tire gauge at the best of times, and changes in temperature and even bumps in the road sometimes trigger the warning light. Can the sensors be adjusted and/or calibrated for accuracy? And are the retrofit kits you can buy for older cars any good?

(Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

[Image: Lincoln/Twitter]

“We like to think some things are worth the wait,” tweeted Lincoln Motor Company this morning.

Ford’s premium division had a reason to be cheeky when it teased the backlit face of its next-generation full-size SUV, as the Navigator hasn’t seen a full redesign in 11 long years. That’s an eternity in the automotive world.

When the current-generation Navigator began production in August of 2006, Twitter was a month old, the American job scene and housing market seemed sturdy, and Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer were looking forward to long, happy futures. So, this week’s New York International Auto Show should be quite the momentous occasion for the resurgent automaker. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

ROLLS-ROYCE WRAITH AT THE GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED 2015, Image: Rolls-Royce

Three and a half years ago, I found myself blitzing down Wilshire Boulevard behind the wheel of what was then the only Rolls-Royce Wraith in the country. There was much to admire about the car: the saturnine (as in Saturn V, not the dour deity) thrust of the blown V-12, the transcendent sound system, the Starlight Headliner that makes every late-night date a romantic one. Truth be told, I expected all of that. What I did not expect was to be utterly smitten by the Wraith’s two-tone paintjob.

What was the last mass-market passenger car to be sold in the United States with an optional two-color finish? Don’t tell me that it was the ’90s Explorer Eddie Bauer, because I don’t want to think about that despicable slug of a trucklet. Perhaps it was the ’80s Town Car? The bustleback Seville? And could two-tone paint jobs ever make a comeback? I think they might, and I’ll tell you why.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2017

[Image: Infiniti]

There’s no debating this. The Infiniti QX80 isn’t just the most overdone vehicle in the full-size SUV segment — it may be the most ungainly looking utility vehicle on the market today.

Oddly proportioned and baroque, Infiniti’s flagship is an affront to the eyes when contrasted with the crisp, creased and traditionally boxy silhouette of, say, the Cadillac Escalade. Well, not for long. (Read More…)

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