QOTD: What Current Vehicle Will Become Dated Most Quickly?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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.

Now, I hinted at one example of date-happy design in that original post: the new Land Rover Discovery. My opinion on that particular vehicle hasn’t changed, but the parameters used in suggesting the design won’t age well apply to our question today. Think about these trendy design cues:

  • Sloping roofs
  • Floating C-pillars
  • Increasingly egg-shaped designs
  • Overly fussy detailing
  • Gigantic grille openings

Here are a couple of nominations to start off this celebration of bad design.

Lexus NX

A prime example of all-round wrong. The subcompact CUV segment is flaming hot right now, and Lexus has pulled the NX down from an alien outpost somewhere and shoved it onto dealer lots. The NX has the aforementioned egg shape, is needlessly aggressive, and the grille is huge. All the exterior details have to be fussy, in an attempt to cover up the underlying egg-shaped elephant in the room.

And would you just look at that fat upper lip, hanging out over the front end. The styling is only acceptable at present because of the huge demand for CUVs. In a couple of years though, the NX will be the one of the first to look like old hat.

Nissan Maxima

While the NX narrowly misses the floating roof treatment (the RX is not so lucky), the Maxima embraces it with open arms. The current generation debuted for 2016, and in theory is an attempt to capture the “4DSC” magic the Maxima had through the mid-1990s. But this sporting pursuit has edged the large front-wheel drive sedan into a styling corner.

Flame surfacing and high door sills are front and center, along with a gaping corporate grille, and (on this example) very fiddly wheel design. It’s just too much, and less is usually more when it comes to ageless designs.

What are your picks for the current vehicles most eager to date themselves? (No, not like that.)

[Images: Toyota, Nissan]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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5 of 79 comments
  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Aug 09, 2017

    Retro tends to date rapidly. The 2002 Thunderbird, the New Beetle, PT Cruiser, the 2010 Camaro, even the current Mustang. The Challenger has managed to keep things interesting enough to keep the sales pace up, but will eventually need some new sheet metal design to keep the average buyer interested. The problem with retro is, how do you successfully follow up?

    • See 2 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Aug 10, 2017

      @hpycamper I'd rather have a '57 Thunderbird over an '02 model; the designers only copied one of the old version's features well while including some '56 Corvette lines... which killed the concept. I'm really looking forward to EVs becoming more popular, though. Imagine being able to develop real, unique styling cues again without having to worry so much about fuel mileage. Aerodynamic is good but you lose personality as a result. There are ways to offer personality while keeping most of the aerodynamics. The designers, however, are going about it all wrong.

  • Smapdi Smapdi on Aug 14, 2017

    Here is something I couldn't have predicted I would say. The Isuzu Vehicross is STILL a very attractive design to me. I still want one. I wanted one when I was in High School, and I want one in my 30s now... A fairly radical design for the time but still looks great (maybe it is because of its scarcity?). I put the Vehicross as the survivor of the trio of "MAKE THAT CONCEPT NOW! never mind we don't want it anymore" that were the X90, Aztek and Vehicross.

  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
  • Foo Eh. Net present value is in the red, once you add in rapidly rising insurance, late by months basic repairs-and-no availability, battery replacement, future hazmat recycling fees, and even faster depreciation. Wait until litigants win for "too heavy" in accidents... The math is brutal but if you value virtue signalling, some will pay anything.
  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.