Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cars with "faces": the 5 meanest and the 5 friendliest

Maserati GranCabrio
I've always been fascinated with how designers give cars human features to appeal to buyers. Cars are an important expression of identity, and the "expression" of your car's "face" -- friendly, aggressive, athletic, or somewhere in the middle -- represents the image you want to project to the world. Click through for 5 of the meanest and friendliest car faces.

Maserati GranCabrio
Meanest #1: Maserati GranCabrio: The previous generation of the GranCabrio (GC) was a fairly tame-looking sports car. The current version looks like a snake that is about to bite you! The headlights look like aggressive eyes, and the grille and air ducts look like an evil smile. It all makes for an intriguing front-end.

Scion FR-S
Meanest #2: Scion FR-S: While I'm not completely in love with the Scion/Toyota/Subaru FR-S' design throughout, I think they did an interesting job on the front end, which has a decidedly angry, yet defiant expression. The headlights, similar to the Maserati, are angular (angry) and the grille reminds me of a little kid whining at his mother "I don't want to eat my vegetables, so I won't!"

Subaru Legacy
Meanest #3: Subaru Legacy: Subaru's new front ends look downright sinister. The headlights have owl-like eyes that make the car look as though it is about to eat its prey. The thick chrome bar on the grille continues the angled look, but also reminds me of the owl's teeth...

Jaguar XFR
Meanest #4: Jaguar XFR: This one's all in the eyes. The sloped headlights with LED eyelashes/whiskers are seriously menacing. The huge air ducts look like flared nostrils, completing the look of a jaguar animal, which I'm sure the developers were looking to achieve.

Ferrari FF
Meanest #5: Ferrari FF: Ferrari's new front ends seriously scare me. The FF has a somewhat ominous smile, matched with LED-encrusted eyes. If I were to see one of these in person, I may veer off the road to avoid its venomous bite!

Mini Countryman
Friendliest #1: Mini Countryman: The Countryman looks like a toad that knows he/she is about to be stepped on (that's a weird analogy, I know, and I don't condone stepping on toads!). The headlights look like bewildered eyes and the grille looks like a someone gasping "oh dear!"

Mazda 3
Friendliest #2: Mazda 3: The Mazda 3 looks like it is grinning; then, when you turn the car on and off, the dashboard says "Hello" and "Goodbye". I don't particularly like its over-jubilation, but a lot of people seem to, as the 3 is Mazda's best selling car.

Porsche 911
Friendliest #3: Porsche 911: How can you not smile when you see the 911's fresh face? The oval headlamps are bright and sunny, matched with pleasantly angled turn signals to make one attractive, timeless sports car.

VW Beetle
Friendliest #4: VW Beetle: The Beetle almost defines the notion of a friendly car, with a lovable body shape overall, but an especially warm and fuzzy front end. The circular headlights look like friendly eyes, and the grille and hood form a dopey smile; the designers did a great job modernizing this classic.

Toyota Prius
Friendliest #5: Toyota Prius: Love or hate the Prius, you have to admit the front end is pretty friendly. The headlights have little cut out whiskers on the top, and the angle of the grille slits around the emblem are angled ever so slightly like a smile. In addition to definitely achieved its goal of making an eco-friendly car, Toyota has also succeeded in making a friendly car.


  1. While the scary grilles are definitely menacing I think, the friendly ones look happy but not too smart. Something about the extra air scoops each side of the grille. Big wide-eyed headlights are certainly more friendly than squinty, angled ones.

  2. Hi, yes, um, the Dodge Charger. It doesn't look mean, it looks like it is going to kill you. I think it wins.