Tag: Styling

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 18, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T, Image: Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars

As Tim Cain put it so succinctly earlier this afternoon, the seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata’s exterior design, coming on the heels of the quite edgy 2011-2014 model, didn’t set American’s hearts aflame.

Even as standard content increased and the model’s value proposition burned just as brightly as before, its distinctively watered-down design turned off buyers. Well, Hyundai wants its apology heard loud and clear. For 2018, the Sonata atones for the previous generation’s sins by showing up with something to look at.

Namely, a brand new face. Oh, and how about that rear end, now with less ovals? While fore-and-aft facelifts are the hallmark of a mid-cycle design refresh, the 2018 Sonata’s changes aren’t just skin deep. (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2017

ff91

We’re not going to recap all of Faraday Future’s staffing issues, financial hurdles, or uncouth business practices. If you’ve visited this website within the last year, you already know the company has some serious problems to overcome.

Despite these hardships, Faraday remains convinced it’ll resume construction at its stalled factory site in Nevada and someday bring the FF91 to market. However, we haven’t seen much of the EV since the debut of the beta version at CES in January — and it was beginning to look like we never would.

Then, without much fanfare, a video of the electric crossover surfaced on the company’s YouTube page on Monday. The new video shows a decidedly less beta-looking vehicle than Faraday has previewed in the past. That doesn’t mean this is a production car, but it does seem to show what one might look like if FF can weather the storm.  (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 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 4, 2017

citroen-numero-9

Pininfarina SpA will be see Carlo Bonzanigo succeeding Fabio Filippini as the Italian styling firm’s reigning design director on January 9th.

Filippini’s decision to leave Pininfarina for “personal reasons” comes during a difficult time for the shop. While his responsibility for heading new projects is essentially over, he has promised to remain on board as a personal advisor to company CEO Silvio Angori, and will continue to provide oversight for old projects leading up to a concept car unveiling at March’s Geneva Auto Show. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2016

Why Drive Honda When You Could Drive BMW?, Image: BMW of Sarasota

How ’bout that new Civic sedan? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the boldest mainstream design I’ve seen from a Japanese manufacturer since Honda got rid of the hidden headlamps on the Accord back in ’92. It’s got a ton of surface texture, a vicious fastback profile with a tiny trunk opening, and big wheel arches like a show car.

There’s only one problem; it’s a clear and present riff on the Audi A7. But as we’ll see, this is a game Honda has played before.

(Read More…)

By on August 9, 2016

Hyundai Tucson, Image: Hyundai

Here’s something to depress our older readers: There is an entire generation of drivers that has never known a world without Lexus. Note that I did not say “Lexus and Infiniti.” The majority of American drivers probably have no idea Infiniti exists.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way. I was there at the start, working for a BMW dealer, and I can tell you that many people on the retail side of the business thought that Infiniti would prove to be just as successful as Lexus. Maybe more successful. All of the momentum seemed to be on Nissan’s side: They had the near-legendary Nissan Primera as Infiniti’s entry-level car, beloved of autowriters and cognoscenti everywhere. Toyota had a Camry with frameless windows. Infiniti had the mighty, dream-crushing Q45, which was as fast as a V12 Bimmer and styled from nose to tail in an original, tasteful, fake-wood-free fashion. Toyota had a store-brand copy of the S-Class.

It didn’t turn out that way, of course. We now live in a Lexus world. The brand is so strong that other brands, like Cadillac, obtain the bulk of their sales volume selling knockoff versions of the RX350. I don’t have access to hard numbers, but I would suspect that Lexus dealers are more profitable, per unit sold, than any other franchise south of, say, Porsche.

And where is Infiniti? Nowhere. Lost. Sinking. The reasons for the brand’s failure are too numerous to consider in a single article. But I’m going to discuss what I think might be the most important reason here, because it doesn’t just apply to Nissan’s boutique brand and it continues to affect everyone from Honda to Hyundai.

(Read More…)

By on July 16, 2016

2018 hyundai accent

It looks like the awkward years are over for the subcompact Hyundai Accent.

Our first glimpse of the next-generation Accent comes courtesy of leaked photos from China, where the model goes by the name Verna. In them, the Accent appears all grown up, adopting a large grille and styling reminiscent of its bigger brother, the Elantra. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2016

7072

Jeremy writes:

I’d love to know your thoughts on the proliferation of plastic cladding on pretty much every CUV/SUV on sale today. I’ve noticed that pretty much everyone does it now – Toyota, Mazda, Ford, Jeep, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, the list goes on.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2016

mercedesbenz-12-1333727944

Joe writes:

Can you explain black plastic on cars? I saw an Audi Q7 with black plastic all over the bottom, but then a Q5 doesn’t have it. Sometimes the plastic isn’t black but color coded like an Eddie Bauer Ford or something else.

(Read More…)

By on May 27, 2016

2017 Subaru BRZ

Are modest improvements in looks and power enough to revive consumer interest in the Subaru BRZ? The automaker sure hopes so.

A host of small changes were just announced for the rear-drive coupe’s 2017 model year, which sees its sister car (the Scion FR-S Toyota 86) switch identities. Every change aims to nudge the BRZ closer to what the public feels it should be — a performance car worthy of special status. (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle’s days are numbered, but at least it will go to its grave with updated looks.

Design changes are coming for the 2017 model, with a host of new trim lines on tap — in Europe, at least. Expect the updated model to be the resurrected nameplate’s last makeover, as production is said to end in late 2018. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

2002 2

Just in time for the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’este, BMW revealed a stunning concept today that is just magnificent. Unlike last year’s concept, the automaker chose to blend retro and contemporary styling cues to give every kidney grille fan a real treat.  (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

cover

One of my CCS Design professors had a saying: it’s all about Proportion, Proportion, Proportion. Just typing that makes me cringe. Perhaps it’s a popular phrase for car design wonks, or a riff from the restaurant business.

However, the theory is valid: Imagine if the Pontiac Aztek was proportioned a la Range Rover Evoque. It’s a fair notion. If that were the case, the Aztek may not have been bound for every “Top 100 Ugliest Cars” list since 2000.

Proving the theory is this 1988 Jaguar XJS. It’s a beautiful grand touring coupe because the proportions are right. (Read More…)

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