By on January 30, 2015



A Fashionable Savior for the Budget Minded?

Rio is full of beauty: beaches, gorgeous people on said beaches, delicious caipirinhas served beachside andwait for ita healthy alternative to DLO FAIL.

Yes, a way out from the infestation of black plastic cheater panels: triangles of FAIL that plague Car Design from the cheapest subcompact to the most flagship-iest Cadillac.

IMG_4181It’s amazing what happens by removing the A-pillar’s black plastic trim and affixing the mirror directly to the coachwork. Hailing a DLO FAIL free cab in Rio portends to an honesty that all machines need.

IMG_4171Indeed, the first generation Dacia/Renault Logan is a respectable design, bargain basement budget and lack of snob-appeal aside. The redesigned Logan avoids DLO FAIL even better, proving that some designs improve over time.

But there’s no shame in owning a last-gen Logan in Rio. To the contrary, it makes you an object of desire: you have a car and maybe even a place to park it!

IMG_4128Not all is perfect, as this Renault Duster shows. The “footprint” of DLO FAIL is present on the fender. Without that black plastic triangle of super-cheat, it’s clear why a poor meeting of door/fender/a-pillar is a problem in car design.

IMG_4129Implementing the Logan’s footprint-free stamping would clean things up. On the cheap!

IMG_4135Similarly, the 2008-12 Renault Sandero Stepway needed a good Logan-izing around the A-pillar to eliminate DLO FAIL in a low-budget redesign.

I know the photo quality disappoints, but I’m not hanging around to get mugged: photos are quick, walking down the street is done with purpose. Ish.

IMG_4381It’s amazing how the wedgy and minimalist 1980s Fiat Uno(?) looks so out of date compared to modern hatchbacks, even with its “fail-free” daylight opening.

IMG_4383The new Peugeot 208 has a unique take on A-pillar DLO FAIL, pinching it down to accentuate the roof line’s inherent speed. (too bad about the colossal C-pillar FAIL) It’s not horrible, relative to its place in the world of pointless black triangles: we’d be lucky to get this in the States.

IMG_4384Speaking of, Honda’s horrible design failure (a glass DLO extension and a plastic triangle) made itself known in Rio: reminding us that pricier machines (relative to the Logan) aren’t necessarily a better design.

IMG_4170But don’t take my word for it,  agrees…he drove it!

Marcelo suggests it’s an Engineer’s car, not a Designer’s car. Not true: like the beauty of affordable housing from post-WWI to today, the Renault Logan looks good (well, good enough) and doesn’t resort to stupid car design cliches to win buyers around the world.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.


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35 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: The Brazil Vacation, Part III...”

  • avatar

    My guess is that Renault cut so many corners to make a cheap car that the couldn’t afford the plastic triangle.

    I remember when the Logan was designed they made it with symmetrical mirrors so they could be used on either side.


    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think “cutting corners” can be applied to the Logan. Renault set out to build an inexpensive car. They seem to have put a lot of thought and work into that. The success of this car and it’s derivatives would indicate they met those goals. They would not have done that by cutting corners.

  • avatar
    John R

    Ah…the weather must be super amenable. I envy you, Sajeev. Makes me miss Panama.

  • avatar

    Sorry, but that’s hideous and screams 3rd-world.

    • 0 avatar

      It is, and it does. Would look right at home on the streets of Jakarta.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, the third world is much more important now. Taken all family members together (hatch, sedan, station wagon, minivan, pickup) it is the 4th most sold car in the world. Renault-Nissan are making a killing on these things are not a small part in making Renault-Nissan the 4th largest auto maker in the world. Take a look at the new ones. They put some design in now and maybe they don’t offend your sensibilities so much anymore.

      Anyway they are not third world specials. Duster and Sandero are sold in Western Europe while March/Micra/Versa/Tiida are sold in Europe as well as North America. The Nissans and the Logan family are more than cousins.

      The third world must be growing or the first world shrinking or something.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one left that misses operating vent windows? I know they create problems with both aero drag and noise but getting all that lovely fresh air on drives in the countryside without the need to use AC…

    I don’t expect to see them return of course but one of the pleasures of a drive in many old cars is discovering the many way that designers came up with to provide ventilation before the advent of affordable AC. Many had opening vents above or below the windshield and some let you hinge out the windshield itself as the way early jeeps would allow so you did not have to fold the whole structure forward onto the bonnet.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. I loved the wing windows on my 1988 Jeep Cherokee. When I replaced that Jeep with a 1997 Cherokee I was disappointed to see that though it had the windows they were fixed rather than opening.

      I also miss opening rear side windows on (affordable) coupes. I don’t care for 4 doors and am claustrophobic in most newer vehicles because of the ever rising belt lines and enormous center stacks and center consoles. I need opening windows all ’round. The CTS coupe and Dodge Challenger rank at the top of my shopping list, but, cannot get ’round the fact that the rear side windows don’t open. There appears to be copious amounts of space into which they can be lowered, but, no dice….oh well. I’ll have to buy another convertible something or other.

  • avatar

    I like most of the anti-DLO FAIL choices made here, but then they go and paint the b-pillar black, but the black doesn’t QUITE reach the top of the pillar (this is particularly egregious on the Logan), and in any case, no one is going to be fooled that these are hardtops.

    That white 80s Panda looks plucked right out of my DK Eyewitness Books CAR, one of the books that made me fall in love not just with cars as aesthetic objects, but amazing machines. There are few cars where form follows function more than the original Panda.

  • avatar

    The 1980s Fiat Uno, Peugeot 208 and the Honda are exhibits A through C that more cab-forward the design is, the more the DLO failure (or that front DLO failure is a result of the cab forward design.)

    Cab forward design slopes the windshield further forward and shortens the hood at the same time. But, you cannot move the front edge of the door further forward because of the firewall and the front wheel well; so the black plastic triangle is an effort to continue the line of the window glass and the thickness of the “A” pillar rather than having a thick base like the Logan.

    * The 1980s Fiat Uno is a small car, but with zero cab-forward design built in; windshield is at the same angle as the door frame, so “A” pillar is the same thickness, no DLO failure.

    * The Peugeot 208 hs moderate cab-forward design (windshield slope), so it has a small triangle to keep the “A” pillar the same visual thickness.

    * The Honda has extreme cab-forward design (windshield slope), so not only does it need a plastic triangle, but a small window to prevent a massive blind spot.

    The Logan does not have DLO fail, but whether the thick area around the rear view mirror looks better than a plastic triangle is subject to debate. They did not fix the issue; just decided not to stick the plastic triangle on there.

    Another good example of this is the first and second generations of the Dodge Durango. The first generation was a conventional design; there was only a small triangle to mount the rear view mirror to. The second generation went cab forward; and the triangle grew to extend past the front of the door onto the front fender:

    DLO failure on the front will always be an unintended consequence of cab-forward (or extreme sloped windshield) design. The only way to make it disappear is to reduce the slope of the windshield to match the door cut line.

    • 0 avatar

      Great points!

    • 0 avatar

      I have to agree – I don’t think the mirror coming out of the big painted area is any better than having black plastic there. It’s just different. Then again, the whole DLO fail thing doesn’t offend me anyway.

      I do prefer my cars relatively square, but understand the reasons that is not really practical anymore on a vehicle with fuel efficiency as a major goad.

    • 0 avatar

      “DLO failure on the front will always be an unintended consequence of cab-forward (or extreme sloped windshield) design. The only way to make it disappear is to reduce the slope of the windshield to match the door cut line.”

      I call “foul”. Look at most of Chrysler’s original cab-forward designs from the past and compare them to the 2015 Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, or, Buick LaCrosse…

  • avatar

    Are you suggesting that Rio is a dangerous place for tourists?!

    Are you suggesting you don’t know your old Guigiaro Fiat models?! (It is an Uno.)

  • avatar

    That Logan is an interesting car. I drove one once and liked it’s comfortable ride, solid feel and good use of space, for a small car. It uses “smart” engineering, rather than “cheap” to achieve it’s modest price. An example would be that there was only one set of electric windows controls (in the car I drove) between the front seats, placed so that all 4 occupants of the car could easily reach them.
    That Fiat Uno was a very attractive design, simple and elegant. Super reliable and ridiculously easy to work on. It’s weakest point was that it was not strong. It has some cleaver safety features but there is no getting around that soft body. Crash it very softly and carefully.

    • 0 avatar

      “It uses “smart” engineering, rather than “cheap” to achieve it’s modest price.”


    • 0 avatar

      Beerboy, we still have ours bought brand new, going on to its sixth year. In terms of reliability, the engine has been perfect. The water temperature indicator has been acting up, but this becoming a well known problem. I have checked everything and everything is working, it’s just a sensor that’s gone bad.

      My wife keeps the car and she is tough on it, so some of the rubber stripping comes off, but nothing has broken or stopped working. In 6 years I have had to change one brake light.

      Now with a little over 90 thousand kilometers, some of the suspension bits have needed changing as well as in the steering wheel. Not so bad due to the state of the roads we drive on.

      It has gotten noisier over time, but changing the needed suspension parts it should quiet down a bit.

      The ride is still good, the steering communicative. It takes curves well. I never liked the exhaust note at idle (I think no Renault sounds good in this situation), but it is pretty nice to hear under acceleration. It is still strong (for a 1.0) and economic.

      As to the Uno, I still think it’s one of the best small cars of all time!

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Logan is certainly a clever car.

      The boot is huge and interior space and packaging is excellent. The ride is good. Very family friendly.

      The window controls you mention are can be used with the steering in either LHD or RHD, saving costs… just as Holden did until the end of VE. Coming from a LHD place, there’s no learning curve with them in the console.

  • avatar

    “For openings on the side of the vehicle, other than a door opening, the locus of all points where a horizontal line, perpendicular to the vehicle longitudinal centerline, is tangent to the periphery of the opening.”

    From the Wikipedia link, USDOT language.

    I’m normally a pretty clever guy with a good grasp on language, but *what the hell does that mean*?

  • avatar

    Hey Sajeev, thanks for the hat tip. Check my answer to Beerboy above to see my assessment of the car as it starts its seventh year. BTW did you see the new one? Much more style in that. Has worked. Sales grew 100% here year to year.

    On the Sandero (and Duster that uses the same doors as the Sandero), the DLO failure is clear. In an attempt to give it a little style, they gave it some recesses that don’t work. BTW, that Sandero was penned in Brazil while the Logan Europe. I agree, it’s a functional style that is timeless. I don’t really mind it. It won’t put any hearts on fire, but the advantages in visibility and others are clear. A simple car (not a cheap one), that gives you more space than a Civic or Focus sedan in a tidier package. Changed the small sedan game forever. Small sedans are not anymore hatches with a trunk grafted on (the good ones anyway). You can see that by the placement of the wheels. Compare that to other small sedans from the 90s and it is clear. As are the advantages of such a set up.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I wonder if Renault is taking some of the engineering and design cues from is now down market “Datsun” brand and incorporating them into the Brazilian Reno’s?

    I do know the Renault-Nissan Alliance created Datsun primarily for the North African/Sahara market.

    But I do think Brasil will find cars changing due to it’s acceptance of the LatinNCAP regulations.

    Cars in Brasil will change, they have to.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, our substitute for the Clio 2 will be a rebadged Datsun, not one of the current ones but one in development which will use a new modular architecture. So at least we won’t be getting any Lada garbage.

  • avatar

    I have to say that I don’t get the obsession with DLO fail, Sajeev. I too went to design school * and currently work on the engineering team of a small design firm, Design Central, in Columbus Ohio. In my mind, the DLO shape should work with the overall form of the car, and specifically the roof line. In many cases a small piece of well executed trim completes the form quite well.

    I do agree with the excellence and simplicity of the Logan above. With the base of the windshield in front of the door cut line, any added trim would likely be fussy and awkward. That’s not true in all cases, however, in many cases the trim cleans up a potentially messy situation.

    The C pillar on the 208 above is a case in point. It completes the curved shape of the DLO in a way that is less expensive than a C pillar window (which would be quite small or would require extending the DLO) and less awkward than trying to capture it with the door window. The other alternative would be to eliminate or minimize that curve, which I think would be a shame.

    There are certainly poorly executed examples (the Honda above), but not every black triangle is a fail.

    * University of Cincinnati class of 1991. Graduated with former Bentley & Bugatti design chief David Hinton. Qualifications by association, you know. :-D

    • 0 avatar

      I’d stop short of calling it an obsession, but you have a good point about DLO FAIL and it’s possible benefits. But, as the redesigned Logan shows, you can design a cheap car without a cheater DLO. And when you do, the whole car often flows better.

      There’s something VERY CRITICAL about the design of a car’s firewall and A-pillar. It changes every body line upstream and downstream. The ones without DLO FAIL tend to flow more logically and look better.

      Perhaps maybe this is an obsession!

      • 0 avatar

        I was prepared to say how the Logan could be improved with some trim to complete the DLO shape, but the more I looked at how the door and windows come together there, I realized that it was probably the best resolution. There’s something abrupt about the leading edge of the door glass that botherss me, but given the hard points, I’m not sure how you’d improve it.

        I think you’re right about the intersection of the a pillar, door opening and firewall. The Honda designers (or engineers) that pushed the windshield so far forward above set themselves up for failure.

  • avatar

    The little black triangle patches don’t bother me nearly as much as quarter windows so filled with interior trim they resemble 1970s style opera windows. Example: 2011 Hyundai Sonata. A silly looking design bit that was made a little less offensive on the 2015 redesign.

  • avatar

    Looking at that Durango pic again, I think that if the side was smooth without the gigantic lips around the wheel cutouts, the front edge of the door could be far enough forward to come straight up to the A pillar. Or else the door edge could go straight down from the A pillar to the lip, then detour along the edge to the bottom as is done on many cab-forward trucks.

  • avatar

    Take a look at the 1995 E-class A-pillar. They didn’t use a cheater panel and it looks very poor. The problem is related to the difficulty in resolving the junction of the large radius of the wing and the much smaller one of the a-pillar. The next car is also poor and I think the lack of a mirror sail panel looks cheap on such a costly vehicle. The DLO fail depends on the class of car. An undorned one is appropriate for low cost cars and less so on pricier vehicles.
    Good thread, might I say, with some insightful comments.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, that E-class needed a “more form fitting” side view mirror. A mirror with a larger footprint would fill in the area nicely. It would not be a DLO Fail, even if it’s still kinda cheap by 1990s luxury car standards.

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