Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pointless red plastic

I passed the '11 Accord on the way from work yesterday and I realized Honda added unattractive red taillight extensions on the trunk itself. I think they are for reflective safety purposes, but they just don't look good. I wanted to point out some other examples of excessive red glass in recent history:

Lincoln MKT
From a previous post, you guys know I am not a fan of the MKT. Nothing about the design works, but the rear end is the final nail in the coffin in this hearse.

Buick Rendezvous
I never liked the Rendezvous either. I understand why the taillights are so big - they connect to the glass between the C and D pillars in a similar angle. It was a good idea, but from the side profile, look at how much red plastic was used to make it happen.

Ford Escort ZX2
What a pointless car. Not competitive, not sporty, utterly pointless. The red reflective glass between the two taillights is especially pointless and overdone.

Mercury Villager
The Mercury Villager, based on the Nissan Quest, was popular in its day, but I never liked the red reflectors on the back end.

Dodge Intrepid
I generally liked the Intrepid and thought that Chrysler's cab forward designs were somewhat futuristic. However, the Intrepid overused red plastic on the rear end. Was this the only way they could think of to differentiate the Intrepid from the Concorde and LHS?

Hyundai Azera
In Hyundai's otherwise stellar lineup, the Azera sticks out like a sore thumb. It sort of looks like a last-gen Buick LaCrosse. Does the Azera really need red plastic across the entire back end? The Azera logo would look better on the body color.

Maybach 62 S
The Maybach has a very well-appointed interior, but the exterior has always been (rightfully) criticized as a warmed-over last-gen S-Class. The rear end uses an unnecessary amount of red plastic to connect the 2 taillights together. Could that be the reason why sales have fallen flat of expectations?

Mid-90s Mitsubishi Eclipse
The mid-90s Eclipse, along with its sister the Eagle Talon, has achieved cult-status in the JDM / touge world, but it will not stop me from criticizing its overuse of red plastic between the taillights. The red plastic does have a better effect than the Honda Accord first pictured above, but it is still pointless.

Nissan Cube
The taillights are just one of the many things wrong about this car...

Pontiac Bonneville
GM needed quick and cheap ways to differentiate its large sedan platform between its brands, and Pontiac drew the short straw on the excessive red plastic.
Late-90s Subaru Legacy / Outback
I do not like Subarus, and this is no exception. Look at how much unnecessary red plastic is used between the taillights. They even had to "crystallize" the word Subaru in the middle of it. Yuck. Simple silver lettering without the red plastic would have been a bit more tasteful, no?

Saturn L-Series
GM should have saved the extra expense and left off the red plastic - maybe it would have saved the brand from financial difficulty and its eventual demise :)


  1. Great examples -- something I hadn't really thought about. Car designers use the red plastic to fool consumers into thinking the car looks spiffy-er than it really is, I guess. Can you give some examples of red plastic at its best?

  2. The Hyundai is the worst use of red plastic. And, the Pontiac is just bad design including segmented red plastic.
    I think car designers wanted to be in the twenty-first century as it was imagined in the Jetsons cartoons and Popular Mechanics Magazine. Somehow, red plastic is the equivalent of excess chrome used in the '50s and '60s to represent modern design.
    The only thing worse than red plastic, tail-light extensions is fake red plastic such as was used on the Saab 9000. Clear plastic over painted chrome blatantly admits that the designers didn't want to pop for more functional tail lights but wanted buyers to think they did.
    We need to see examples of "less is more" design.