QOTD: What Comes Next?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what comes next

For years now, we’ve watched as the average car/crossover grille has expanded faster than that aunt you got divorced in her 20s and never settled down (the same can be said for a man; don’t send us letters.)

Now, as vehicle grilles — once declared nearly extinct in the Taurus/Sable/Intrepid/Crown Vic era ⁠— reach their zenith, the mind turns to an obvious question: What comes next? You’ve watched on these pages as Toyota and Lexus attempted to swallow galaxies with their gaping front openings. Now, BMW is eager to swallow what’s left.

Like tailfins in the late ’50s and cab-forward/androgynous-fascia’d automobiles from the late ’80s and early ’90s, styling trends come and go. Right now we’re in the golden years of the Big Grille, and frankly, having lived though the smooth-front era, I’m okay with it. However, all trends eventually pass by the wayside. What’s next?

With only so many external flourishes to be had, the list of options is limited. Tailfins aren’t coming back; certainly not on crossovers (though the Lexus UX tried its best). Coupe-ified SUVs is a thing we’re knee-deep in right now. Faux fender vents are stayin’ alive like John Travolta, helped along by the gaudy Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX80. And big grilles, well, those are just the flavour of the decade. Increasing electrification will put an end to those eventually. Maybe.

Predicting trends is difficult stuff, but it can prove lucrative to those whose crystal ball is firing on all cylinders. Once the giant, world-inhaling grilles tone themselves down, what design feature do you see taking center stage?

[Image: BMW]

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4 of 82 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 11, 2019

    Fins will come back but will be functional this time. Cars will use them to land vertically like SpaceX Starship.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 11, 2019

    But in immediate future car designs will be inspired by iPhone, iPad and other Apple gadgets.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Oct 12, 2019

    My prediction: a return to full-width grilles from headlight to headlight. That's actually a return to the late 1930s, but more like the mid-1960s Chrysler full size sedans that were mentioned. I can see a one-piece plastic shield over a huge slotted opening, even on electric cars - the batteries have to be cooled too. Any front end damage, and the grille, being part of the front clip, will be replaced as part of the entire unit. After a few years, a fender-bender will total the car, so people will drive cars with smashed front clips featuring makeshift repairs of the headlights and turn signals. At least until the electronics go haywire. Then perfectly usable drivetrains will be junked.

  • Monkeydelmagico Monkeydelmagico on Oct 13, 2019

    I'll go with you Lorenzo. Predicting peak ugly grill by 2021. Lexus/Toyota is ahead of the trend with GM in hot pursuit. Just when BMW was beginning to erase the stain of the Bangle they find a prodigy. Bravo. Any 30's grills would be better than what is occurring now