Tag: Design

By on February 21, 2017

1969 Chrysler New Yorker (Alden Jewell/Flickr)

Those who know me well — the lucky souls who’ve plumbed the deepest depths of my dark psyche and returned alive — know my strange and beautiful lust for 1970s land yachts. It needn’t be seen as a weird kink. I mean, who doesn’t like vast swaths of interior room, pillowed velour, and a narcolepsy-inducing ride? Weirdos, most likely.

If two sad, motherless puppies ever crawled their way to my doorstep, shivering and scared, I’d immediately rename them Brougham and Landau, and I don’t care who knows it.

As full-size cars shrink in popularity, the cues of those past Interstate barges — padded roofs, opera windows, flip-up headlights — are nowhere to be seen in today’s automotive landscape. Another common feature of those overstuffed rides, one that rose to prominence in the heady 1950s and met its death before the end of the 1970s, currently occupies an endangered micro niche.

I’m talking about the missing B-pillar. Yes, the alluring and illustrious pillarless hardtop. (Read More…)

By on February 16, 2017

2018_hyundai_accent_exterior_3quarter_low-2

Does it look familiar?

If you haven’t seen a new product from Hyundai in the past year and a half, your answer is probably a half-hearted “maybe.” However, the 2018 Hyundai Accent borrows enough design cues from the larger Elantra that the answer should be a solid “Oh, definitely.”

Introduced today at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the fifth-generation Accent promises more of the things that matter: interior room, length, width, acceleration and fuel economy.

It also breaks from the past in another way. Due to its growth spurt, the Accent — once among the most diminutive cars on the road — can now be classified as a compact. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

Skoda octavia Jozef Kabaň

BMW has chosen former Volkswagen stylist Jozef Kaban to head design for its core brand. After Karim Habib’s exodus from the company last month, BMW found itself missing an essential portion of its product planning department.

Kaban, 44, has been an important part of Volkswagen AG’s styling department. Most famous for his early work designing Bugatti’s Veyron, he was later responsible for the less-exciting Volkswagen Lupo and Seat Arosa. He also modeled the current generation Škoda Octavia — possibly after having a fever dream about modernizing the Lincoln LS. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

2018 Ford Expedition, Image: [Ford Motor Company]

Ford has released images of the 2018 Expedition ahead of the Chicago Auto Show, and the redesigned full-size SUV looks nothing like what many were expecting.

While it may appear a tad boring, the new generation is sleek and more in tune with contemporary SUV styling conventions. It also sports upgraded underpinnings and an improved drivetrain. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

chrysler crossfire

“God, that looks awful.”

We’ve all uttered the sentence above at one time or another. We’re sitting in traffic and are suddenly faced with something grotesque, something which was undoubtedly “of the moment” for only a moment, and which is now part of recent history best forgotten. But enough about the hooker leaning on a Crossfire.

Today I’m going to ask you to think back in time — up to ten years ago (which may be a challenge for some of our more wizened commenters) — and reflect on car designs. Tell me your pick for the most aged design of 2007-2017.

(Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

mercedes aesthetics a

Mercedes-Benz is giving the world an artful taste of its next generation of compact cars with its “Aesthetics A” design study. The updated design adopts a rounded, flowing look without the complete abandonment of hard edges. Benz claims the new aesthetic is the evolution of the current “Sensual Purity” design’s organic and tapered shapes. Great marketing, but it just makes the next design philosophy sound less intricate and involved. It sounds a little boring, although we won’t know for sure until we see a finished car.

In the abstract, however, the study hints at the general shape of eight new compact models coming from Benz over the next three years. The new A-Class, B-Class, GLA, and CLA will all be touched by the less curvaceous styling identity, which includes an imposing grille. A new compact sedan will arrive to rival Audi’s A3, along with an additional crossover to serve as an alternative to the GLA. All of the vehicles will make use of Benz’s modular front architecture platform (MFA) and move closer to in shape to company’s larger sedans.
(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2016 BMW 7 Series

BMW Head of Design Karim Habib is reportedly leaving the German automaker for the second time in roughly a decade, making him the third major departure from the group’s styling division in the last ten months.

Official confirmation from BMW is pending, but information from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport suggests that Habib may have already made his exit. This widens an already gaping hole in the group’s creative landscape. The company has yet to replace Anders Warming, the design boss for Mini, and Benoit Jacob, who styled BMW’s i-division. Both men departed the company in 2016, lured away by Chinese-financed companies.

This leaves BMW Group’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk, without a creative frontman for every brand but Rolls-Royce.  (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang

After luring journalists away from last week’s Detroit auto show for a sneak peak, Ford is ready to show the world its new 2018 Mustang.

That face. Online backlash was moderate to severe when leaked b-roll footage of the new ‘Stang appeared online last night, with some wags claiming the updated model must be unhappy. Beneath the downturned face, however, there’s a host of upgrades designed to satisfy performance-minded enthusiasts.

On that front, ‘Stang purists can breathe a sigh of relief. The 5.0-liter Coyote V8, rumored to be replaced by a 4.8-liter unit, won’t disappear after all. But one long-running engine choice had to skip this party to attend its own funeral. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

toyota camry

Toyota is hoping to inject some vigor and flair into the best-selling car in America. With the midsize-car market shrinking thanks to affordable gas and a generational shift toward crossovers, the Camry has lost ground for the second consecutive year. While it is undeniably clear that something needs to be done to recapture buyers’ attention, the methodology behind Toyota’s response is more enthusiastic than sound.

The company says the 2018 Camry has a new “emotionally-charged design,” but the mood its designers tapped into must have been bitter sadness. It is an almost unfortunately futuristic modeling of a car. Following some of the Prius’ head-scratching styling cues, the Camry’s new look stands to be extremely polarizing.

Its face is exaggerated and slightly hostile, though the merkinized grille seems to be covering up a damaged — or perhaps missing — piece of bumper. Thankfully, appearances aren’t everything.  (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

2018 Lexus LS at NAIAS Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

It wasn’t long ago that Lexus could reliably sell 20,000-plus LS sedans in the U.S. each year. Certainly, the model’s pre-recession sales performance fell under the heading of “reliable,” with over 35,000 sold in 2007.

Ever since great economic upheaval sent American buyers fleeing in increasing numbers into the arms of crossovers and SUV, the Lexus sedan that created tsunami-like ripples through the luxury car field in 1990 has seen its customer base erode. Just 5,514 U.S. buyers saw fit to take an LS home in 2016.

Could a redesign bordering on the radical be the medicine the LS so desperately needs? (Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

ff_91_exterior_8

One year after Faraday Future (FF) revealed its futuristic and racy FFZERO1 concept, the company has pulled back the curtain on its first production car.

The FF 91 is cut from cloth similar to the recently revealed Lucid Air. Both cars are being built by California-based, Chinese-backed companies. And both are scheduled to follow Tesla into the EV Super Sedan market as Trump’s first term hits its midpoint. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2016

infiniti-qx50-concept-jpg

Infiniti has had enough of the QX50’s voluptuous curves.

An edgier future awaits the brand’s midsize crossover, as shown by photos of the QX50 “Concept” released ahead of the North American International Auto Show. If this concept looks almost production-ready, that’s because it is.

Borrowing heavily from the earlier QX Sport Inspiration concept, the QX50 Concept’s updated design language isn’t the only way Infiniti plans to lure prospective buyers. Underneath the newly creased sheetmetal beats a very different kind of heart — one two decades in the making. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2016

2018-toyota-c-hr_04

The upcoming Toyota C-HR, which never had a chance to officially wear its former Scion badge, is on a mission.

Toyota is treating its strategically edgy subcompact crossover as something of a canary in the marketplace coal mine, betting on a big consumer response based solely on its styling. The company that built its reputation on staid, reliable, beige cars wants to know what happens when it lets its hair down.

And no, it doesn’t care if you’re offended. Toyota wants to push your buttons, turkey. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2016

2018 Volkswagen Atlas, Image: Volkswagen

There’s no doubt Volkswagen needs its new midsize Atlas to be a home run (or, at least, a ground rule double) to keep its American dealers appeased following the now-year-long diesel emissions scandal. Even before the scandal, Volkswagen USA could neither create a product mix befitting American sensibilities nor price its ill-marketed product at price points palatable to the American public.

Yet, Atlas — Volkswagen’s crossover slotting between the compact Tiguan and upmarket Touareg — wears sheetmetal penned by Ativan-popping designers, and one of Volkswagen’s design employees agrees.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2016

2018 Toyota Camry (Image: Toyota)

Midsize cars just don’t excite like they used to. North American buyers have happily made the switch to voluminous crossovers and SUVs, turning the once top-ranked segment into a raisin on the vine.

Toyota hopes to change that, announcing that next month’s North American International Auto Show will reveal the next generation of the first midsizer off anyone’s lips — Camry. Perhaps realizing that name recognition and safe styling is no longer a surefire plan for sales dominance, the automaker has scheduled its uber-sensible sedan for an image makeover. (Read More…)

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