Sunday, March 31, 2013

Awkward car designs that make me scratch my head

Infiniti JX
Every time I see the Infiniti JX, I wonder why there is a kink in the D-pillar. Is it for structural or safety reasons? Space maximization? "Tell me it isn't there purely for design," I think to myself. Without this little design feature, the JX would have a quite attractive side profile. I'm sure some people think the D-pillar kink gives the JX character and uniqueness, but it makes me scratch my head. Click through for some other examples.

Lexus IS
I saw the new Lexus IS at the NY Auto Show this week, and I came away completely baffled by the front end and disappointed by the rear end. I have not been a fan of Lexus' spindle grille, which I think looks like a gaping mouth. But the odd LED Nike swooshes underneath the headlights look like an afterthought. To top it off, the jagged edges of the front and side skirts seem overdesigned. As someone who probably fits the demographic for this car, I would prefer an Infiniti G37 (now Q-something-or-other) over this car, regardless of how well it drives.

Mercedes CLA
This one pains me. I want to love the CLA, and I almost do. However, I am having trouble getting over the scoops on the doors, which remind me of an old Corvette Stingray. Without those character lines, I believe this design would be close to perfect, similar to the first-generation CLS. Really, it's the top crease that bothers me (the one underneath the door handles that angles down). The bottom one actually makes sense, as it connects to the panel gap on the rear bumper. Why couldn't the top crease connected to the faint crease that connects the top of the taillight to the rear door handle? That would have looked seriously better.

BMW 3-Series
Just a quick note here - why did BMW add nosepads to the 3-Series' glasses in the latest iteration? Not needed. The previous headlight arrangement looked better.

Acura ILX
I've covered my disappointment in the ILX in a previous post, so I won't dwell here. However, I want to point out how awkward the character line is on the side profile. My feeling is that Honda desperately sought ways to differentiate the ILX from the Civic, and they could only edit the platform so much without damaging aerodynamics, etc. Also, a side note: the taillights are too small.

Bentley Flying Spur
Maybe this one will grow on me, but I have a hard time with the lines on the new Flying Spur. The side profile looks a lot like a stretched Buick LaCrosse or Hyundai Azera. The rear end is a little boxy for my tastes (even for a Bentley), and the ovals superimposed in the taillights are weird. Straight lines would have looked better.

Maserati Quattroporte - front
Maserati Quattroporte - rear
I was surprised with Quattroporte's new design, which manages to mix design features from many less expensive cars. But a quick note on the front end - why are the headlights so small? For such a massive hood, this seems like a huge oversight. The side profiles, similar to the Bentley above, have a LaCrosse / Azera vibe - since when did huge rear haunches become a must-have for all luxury cars? The rear end is so PLAIN. Wow. The previous design was instantly recognizable. This new model could easily pass for a Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, or Ford Focus (all very good looking cars, but selling cars at $100k+ requires Maserati to be an innovator, rather than copying good designs from less expensive cars).

Lincoln MKT
I won't beat a dead horse here, since I have covered the MKT extensively in past posts. Everything is wrong about this car from the C-pillar back. The awkward kink on the rear doors, the hearse-looking taillights, in addition to the toothy grille in the front, make this car a head-scratcher.

Jeep Cherokee
The jury is still out on whether the avant-garde new Cherokee will be a hit or an Aztek-like miss. I'm still torn, but why take such a gamble on such an important nameplate? I feel like the Cherokee would probably be one of the easiest cars to design well, with such well-defined and basic features of past models. I realize that Fiat needed to leverage European platforms to make this car economically viable--and maybe that explains the odd front- and rear-ends, and the unusual side beltline--but perhaps don't name the concoction "Cherokee", which should be reserved for a true and worthy successor. Time will tell on this one.