Tag: Design

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…)

By on April 6, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback, Image: Subaru

It’s just slightly easier to notice the changes made to Subaru’s 2018 Outback compared to, say, next year’s radically refreshed Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Though subtle, the Outback’s 2018 styling tweaks brings the all-wheel-drive wagon’s design more in line with its corporate siblings, each of which tries to emulate the brand’s endless parade of Viziv concepts. If you were hoping for a power boost from the vehicle’s stalwart 2.5-liter flat-four, well, dream on. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Sit back and place a nitroglycerine pill under your tongue. It’s product announcement time.

As it revamps its utility vehicle lineup, Mitsubishi isn’t letting the looming introduction of the poorly named Eclipse Cross compact crossover stop it from foisting attention upon its existing products. To keep things fresh, the automaker plans to revamp its very own Eclipse Cross competitor — the Outlander Sport — for 2018.

So, say goodbye to the aging model you see above. Wait — hold on. That is the 2018 model. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Redline Edition - Image: GM

After a long eight-year run for the second-generation Chevrolet Equinox, General Motors finally dropped the third-generation 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in September 2016. The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox might not be your cup of tea — I like the look, and the diesel option — but we learned late last month that it could have been downright awful.

How bad was it? It looked too bulky, too odd, too underwhelming, according to focus groups. The Equinox’s chief engineer, Mark Cieslak, said, “What we have on paper we felt was not going to win.”

So GM went back to the drawing board.

But seriously, how bad was it? We want to know, as does Autoweek, which tweeted last Saturday, “We really want to see what the abandoned version looked like.”

GM’s executive vice president for global product development, the Twitter-affable Mark Reuss, responded just 10 minutes later. And, uh, my guess is they really don’t want us to see the first third-gen Equinox. (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

As Jeep super fans nervously await the official reveal of the next-generation Wrangler, images posted online suggest that deeply held fears of an unforgivably altered 2018 model might come to nothing.

Two images appeared on JL Wrangler Forums this week, claiming to show a 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. While the site’s administration says the images are confirmed to be authentic, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hasn’t made a statement backing that up. So, we’re left looking at what could very well be the next Wrangler.

Several changes immediately catch the eye. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2017

toyota-ft-4x-teaser-0

Four words. That’s the extent of the details dropped by Toyota today, along with a picture that displays not quite an entire wheel. Perhaps the automaker should take a page from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and release 397 feature-length films about each of the mystery vehicle’s components.

The four words and one picture depict the upcoming FT-4X, a Toyota concept bound for a New York Auto Show unveiling on April 12. From the few clues we have, this concept — in Toyotaland, “FT” prefixes mean “future Toyota” — should boast some measure of off-roading bona fides, possibly enough to make Jeep worried. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

Refreshed 2018 Acura TLX to Make World Debut

Slowly but surely, the inhabitants of the Acura stable are dropping the toned-down version of the brand’s polarizing “shield” grille in favor of the far more appealing “diamond pentagon” mouth.

That grille debuted on Acura’s Precision concept car before appearing on the redesigned 2017 MDX. Now, it’s the TLX sedan’s turn for plastic surgery. The automaker promises a refreshed and shieldless TLX at the New York International Auto Show on April 11, hoping that a new face might turn the tide on the midsize sedan’s flagging fortunes. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox

To say the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox is an important model for General Motors is to downplay the importance of the crucial compact crossover segment. Lighter, trimmer and more fuel efficient than before, the new right-sized Equinox erases many of the drawbacks of its long-in-the-tooth predecessor.

However, if “Old GM” was still in existence (and some would argue it still is), the 2018 model would have arrived on dealer lots with a built-in drawback approved by Detroit bigwigs. By that, we mean design. According to the vehicle’s chief engineer, the third-generation model’s initial design sent focus groups scurrying up a tree. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, Image: Hyundai

If public backlash against the sixth-generation Sonata, mainly in its home country, caused Hyundai to pour cold water all over the midsize sedan’s edgy design, consider the 2018 Sonata a reaction to its toned-down predecessor.

The refreshed 2018 Sonata unveiled in Seoul, South Korea, today aims to shelter the popular midsize from accusations of “safe” or “boring” styling. While the sedan’s flanks are easily recognized, the previous model’s this-won’t-offend-anyone front fascia has given way to a wholly new design. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2017

BMW Designworks and Deere 1050k Crawler

This week, BMW Group proudly announced that its Designworks styling subsidiary had recently been honored with numerous awards… for its John Deere bulldozers. I had no idea that BMW had any ties — indirect or otherwise —with Deere & Company, let alone that they were absolutely killing it with some of the sexiest designed construction and forestry equipment on the planet.

However, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the flash-masters at Lamborghini started off building tractors and just about every major manufacturer has tried its hand in aviation, industrial equipment, military vehicles, or some combination of the three. Some of even started there. What makes BMW’s involvement with Deere stand out, however, is how much pride the company is taking in the accolades it received for the heavy machinery, even as the Group’s automotive sales took a nosedive last year.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi has lifted the curtain on a new compact crossover with a familiar — but now confusing — name.

Yes, the 2018 Eclipse Cross bastardizes the memory of that sporty coupe your 18-year-old co-worker once owned, but the name is the least of anyone’s concerns right now. Shoehorned into the lineup to give Mitsubishi a new player in a scorching-hot segment, the Eclipse Cross sports styling that can charitably be described as controversial. (Read More…)

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…)

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