Observations On Current Auto Exterior Design

Is it just me or have the auto designers gotten together and compared notes regarding auto exterior design?  Have you noticed that many of the major brands have incorporated similar design “cues”?

Design Cue 1:  Sculpted Side Body Panels

Upon close examination, you will notice that every auto brand – as of 2018 – has sculpted side body panels (doors).  Here is an example:

Design Cue 2:  Front End Styling

Lexus and Toyota emphasize the “radical” or “far out” front end design.  The 2018 Toyota Camry and Avalon have blacked-out front grills in the shape of a large “shark’s mouth”, giving the car a “mean”, almost menacing effect.  The 2018 Ford Focus, 2019 Hyundai Veloster, 2018 and 2019 Audi A6, 2018 and 2019 Audi A4, 2019 Chevrolet Cruz, and 2018/2019 Honda Accord are a few of the many models that tout this popular styling trend.

Design Cue 3:  Front Grill Design

The three and/or four section front grill is also an often used styling cue as seen on cars such as the 2018/2019 Honda Civic and 2018/2019 Hyundai Elantra and Sonata to name a few examples.  Another popular front-end styling trend is the “tapered” front headlights as seen on Nissan, Lexus, Toyota, Ford, Mazda, and numerous other brands.

Design Cue 4:  Sleeker Automobiles

Over the years cars have become sleeker and more aerodynamic in large part due to the federal government’s stringent fuel economy specifications.  Sloping hoods sharply angled front windshields, and sculpted body panels are a by-product of the government’s higher fuel economy standards.

Design Cue 5:  Elimination of the “Separate” Chrome Bumpers

Starting in the late 1970s and early 80s we have witnessed the elimination of the attached front and rear chrome bumpers.  Instead, auto designers have integrated bumpers so that they are “hidden” by smooth and curvaceous facades.  In doing so, safety has not been sacrificed as manufacturers have adhered to the federal government’s increased front and rear impact standards for slow speed impacts.

Design Cue 6:  Lowering of Vehicle Height

The lowering of overall height is another contributing factor to the overall sleekness of exterior auto design.  This lower body profile not only contributes to the current model’s sleeker appearance but also is a big factor in new car improved fuel economy because of lower co-efficient of drag.

Design Cue 7:  Aluminum Alloy Wheels

Aluminum alloy wheels are more attractive and more durable then the outdated plastic hub caps or wheel covers from years ago.

Design Cue 8:  Rear End Styling

Integrated rear-lipped spoilers have taken the place of “stand above” spoilers in many models.

Design Cue 9:  Dual Exhaust Ports

Many new cars come standard with dual exhaust and some have 4 exhaust outlets.  Exhaust pipes have been incorporated into the lower bumper area, which has been “blackened out”.

Design Cue 10:  Solid Glass Roofs

Solid glass roofs have become available on various sport models.  These roofs are good looking and practical as they allow sunlight in, and at the same time provide a more “modern” design aspect to the car.

In summary, today’s cars are sleeker, more aerodynamic, more economical, more efficient, and much safer than cars of years ago.  But, because of auto  designers’ use of popular design cues, cars have become somewhat indistinguishable from each other.  They are still great cars but I would like to see more innovative designs.  That’s one person’s opinion.  If you are interested in today’s auto exterior styling, look at the 2018 and 2019 models and tell me what you think.  We are always looking for input from fellow “car people.”

Happy Motoring!

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