QOTD: What Current Vehicle Will Become Dated Most Quickly?

qotd what current vehicle will become dated most quickly

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]

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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.

  • MQHokie Who decided moving all headlight control to the touchscreen was a good idea? I assume this means no manual high beam control anymore, so you're at the mercy of the automatic system that gets fooled by street lights, porch lights, sign reflections etc. Not to mention a good software bug or a light sensor failure might render the lights inoperable. With all the restrictions the NHTSA has placed on USA headlight design over the years, it amazes me that this is even legal.
  • Teddyc73 The Bronco just doesn't have enough editions and models.
  • ToolGuy @Matt, let me throw this at you:Let's say I drive a typical ICE vehicle 15,000 miles/year at a typical 18 mpg (observed). Let's say fuel is $4.50/gallon and electricity cost for my EV will be one-third of my gasoline cost - so replacing the ICE with an EV would save me $2,500 per year. Let's say I keep my vehicles 8 years. That's $20,000 in fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.If the vehicles have equal capabilities and are otherwise comparable, a rational typical consumer should be willing to pay up to a $20,000 premium for the EV over the ICE. (More if they drive more.)TL;DR: Why do they cost more? Because they are worth it (potentially).
  • Inside Looking Out Why EBFlex dominates this EV discussion? Just because he is a Ford expert?
  • Marky S. Very nice article and photos. I am a HUGE Edsel fan. I have always been fascinated with the "Charlie Brown of Cars." Allow me to make a minor correction to add here: the Pacer line was the second-from-bottom rung Edsel, not the entry-level trim. That would be the Edsel Ranger for 1958. It had the widest array of body styles. The Ranger 2-door sedan (with a "B-pillar", not a pillarless hardtop), was priced at $2,484. So, the Ranger and Pacer both used the smaller Ford body. The next two upscale Edsel's were based on the Mercury body, are were: Corsair, and, top-line Citation. Although the 1959 style is my fav. I would love a '58 Edsel Pacer 4-door hardtop sedan!