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Top 10 Design Winners and Losers

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I don't really have any cute vehicle in mind. I would like to have a midsized diesel SUV. If you lowered your Element you must live where the roads are in much better shape than SoCalifornia. Our LS400 gets swallowed in some of the potholes around here. Our Sequoia handles the roads fine. Just a gas hog. I was disappointed that Honda failed to bring a diesel Pilot to the USA. I would have considered it to replace the Sequoia. As it stands today my choices are a BMW X5 diesel, MB either ML or GL320 CDI or the Touareg TDI. I really don't like the looks of any of them. I just want a full size SUV that gets close to 30 MPG on the highway. All three of those fill that wish. Quite frankly I am trying to think of a vehicle today I consider really beautiful. None come to mind.

    Nothing to compare to a 1959 Buick or a 1957 Chevy Nomad, my all time favorite vehicle.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    For some reason, Honda didn't make many in that khaki color. I skimmed over the part where you lowered yours. Mine would wind up looking like this:

    image
    See more Car Pictures at CarSpace.com

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    If you want an Element they are selling below invoice down here. 24 MPG on the highway with a little 4 banger does not impress me. You could not give me another car with suicide doors like on my GMC PU truck. You cannot let someone out of the back seat without getting out of the car. Same as that awful FJ Cruiser. Get the Prius with a lift kit. If your going ugly at least you will get 45 MPG doing it.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    Rigs like that just cry out for one big slider on each side. Probably wouldn't pass the side impact crash tests though.

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  • SalGoodSalGood Posts: 11
    steve...loved the photo...I don't go off-road at all with only front-wheel drive. Don't need AWD, just adds weight and complications with keeping up with tire wear. By the way, I didn't lower the suspension...the SC came from the factory that way. It's only about an inch and a half lower, but that, and the big tires make it look way better than the EX or LX. No problems ever with ground clearance or having the front bumper ram those concrete parking lot stops. Agree with the suicide door arrangement. Doesn't bother me to get out to let the back seat rider out, but if some moron parks too close and I need rear seat access to load something, there are some acrobatics involved, but that's' only happened once. I try to park where that won't come into play. Agree I feel somewhat uneasy at times with the structural integrity of the clamshell doors. But I believe the Element got a 5 star rating for side impact as well. Almost got a chance to see how it would end up when a senior citizen ran a red light going 50 mph a while back. If I hadn't been watching, she'd have creamed me dead center in the side. Luckily I stopped in time but if I'd noticed her a second later she'd a torn the whole front off. She passed within inches of my front bumper. It was sorta funny...I saw her clap her hand over her mouth when she realized what was going down. Poor lady. I'm hoping those side seat airbags and side curtain airbags would do their job had she actually T-boned me. To gagrice...so you DO have taste in automobiles, however the Lexus LS400 is just to mushy in handling for me, and the steering is a bit numb, but I do like their looks...especially the latest version...elegance in motion. I heard they even have an automatic butt wiper. As far as the Sequoia, another good choice, but again, it's a truck-based platform and I don't like being thrashed & rolled around, the handling is too soft and ungainly, and I'm sure the mileage is horrendous. But if my only choice was a truck-based big SUV, the Sequoia would win. As far as roads are concerned, I live in Okla. City...we're known for less than stellar roads, but haven't experienced any problems with bottoming or being "swallowed." The low profile tires (P225/55R/18) do give it a stiffer ride than the standard Element, but I like it. It's not so harsh as to be uncomfortable, and the lower stance and wider tires add to the stability and handling. Again, for what it is, this vehicle handles wonderfully, and feels very stable and agile in sudden high-speed maneuvers. I love the feel of the steering, too. A lot of heft to it and it goes where you point it right away. It ain't no Ferrari or Lamborghini for sure, but those things won't haul furniture or other items I frequently need to have room for. The 4-banger puts out more than adequate power for me and is a very efficient, well engineered power plant. Paid $20,300 OTD (stickers at just shy of $25K, invoice around $22K) after a few weeks of haggling and on a very desolate day at the dealership. All in all, and love it or hate its looks, this car has been a great vehicle for me with no problems whatsoever.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Well thankfully you saw her coming. I don't care if a car has a 10 star rating. Being hit broadside is a scary proposition. You did very well on the price. I started to look at them when they first came out and got side tracked. As I said before after having the clam shell doors on my 2005 GMC PU, I swore never again. The GMC dealer could never get them to shut tight enough to keep out the wind noise. I would expect that Honda is better at fit and finish.

    PS
    Our 1990 LS400 is my wife's car. I do not like cars at all because of clearance. I like to be able to go off road at any given time without worrying about clearance. And getting in and out of low slung cars gets tougher every year.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    The Element is a funny thing. They've grown on me over the years and work especially well in some colors and definitely ones that didn't get the clad on them.

    Inside they are a great design. Versatile as all get out.

    The Aztek was just plug ugly now matter how you approached it.
  • ford91ford91 Posts: 1
    I think the ugliest car in the wrold is the Pontiac Aztec! :sick:
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    I think the ugliest car in the wrold is the Pontiac Aztec!

    Oh no it isn't>

    image

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,849
    I think the Aztek holds a special place in hell though, because it taught us to accept cars that are ugly, have styling cues that appear stuck on, or body parts that appeared to be designed by three different committees who weren't communicating with each other.

    The last time that happened was 1958-59, and the auto industry straightened itself out very quickly. But for some reason this time around, the ugly has stuck, and we embrace it!

    I saw a Nissan Juke on the road the other day. At least, I think it was a Juke. Front-end made me think a bit of the [non-permissible content removed]-end of a '59 Ford. Hideous looking little thing.

    That thing you posted above, while ugly, IMO at least still has an endearing sort of charm about it. It's like a pug dog, or one of those wrinkled, hairless cats...so ugly it's almost cute!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I can see the charm you are talking about but it still took a severe beating from the ugly stick!

    I worry sometimes that ugliness grown on me. As example I give you the Nissan Cube. For an age I've thought it to be the worst of the square boxes that started with the Scion Xb. But I find it's growing on me and I find it kind of cute...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    I never really understood why the Aztek got so much flak but the Rendezvous flew under the radar. The Pontiac was a bit more hatchy with some typical Pontiac bling stuck on it, but otherwise you'd have trouble telling the difference if you saw two of them on a rainy night.
    image
    image

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    The front end of the Juke looks more like the face on this guy to me!

    image
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,849
    Part of the problem might have been that the Atzek often came in loud colors, like that radioactive-pee you posted above, while the Rendezvous were more often done up in more sedated colors. On a cloudy, drizzly morning, that Rendezvous would almost disappear.

    I knew someone who had a black Aztek as a company car awhile back. This was before they gave you the option of body-color cladding (or maybe they took the cladding off completely? I can't remember now). Anyway, in black, with that black cladding, it didn't look AS bad.

    The Aztek also had a sort of a double-grille effect up front, like two different car front-ends were forced on, one above the other. And, even little details, like that exposed fuel filler on the Aztek, which draws attention to itself, gives it a haphazard, thrown-together look.

    I think the Aztek actually looks better now than it did when it was new. What with the likes of the Nissan Juke and Cube, some of the goofy Scions, the cowcatcher Acuras of late, the current Honda CR-V, with a front-end that looks inspired by the '61 DeSoto, right down to the slanty headlights and double-grille effect. Ugly and awkward, jarring and disjointed, has become mainstream. When the Aztek came out, it was pretty unique in its ugliness, it's off-the-wall-edness (I know that's not a word!). The only other really oddball vehicle from that time I can recall was the Isuzu Vehicross. IIRC, it was a poor seller too, but part of that could have been that Isuzu was rapidly declining.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    image

    Sort of like this? Without that top grille, the '61 DeSoto would've looked like a 1960 Lincoln.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,849
    I always thought that if they had just done away with that upper grille and lowered the front of the hood, it would've cleaned up the looks considerably on the '61 DeSoto. They probably had to do it that way though, so that it could use the same hood as the Chrysler Newport and Windsor. Plus, if you have a brand that's on its way out and you just want to hasten it, it helps to make it a bit extra ugly on purpose, so that people don't whine so much about having to buy a Chrysler instead!

    That bulge at the top that houses the upper grille makes me think a bit of how modern cars started swelling up in that era, such as the 2007 Camry and 2008 Malibu. Supposedly nowadays it's for pedestrian safety, but back in '61 it was probably to keep the pedestrian stuck to the front of the car, out of your windshield! :surprise:
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    One reason I think the Aztek got all the flack was because it came out before the Rendezvous by a fair amount of time.

    I remember going to the NY Auto Show before the Rendezvous had started selling but the Aztek had been on the market for at least a couple of months.

    It was very entertaining. The Pontiac and Buick displays were very near each other and the Pontiac folks had several Azteks on display including one with the tent option set up. It was kind of cool if you didn't look at the outside of it.

    I went over to the Buick guy and asked him if you could get the tent on a Rendezvous and he had a long, rehearsed speech about how the Buick was an entirely different vehicle and had no parts in common with the Aztek. Um, yeah...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I think the Aztec is ugly, but the Nissan Cube burns my eyes.

    I was behind one today. It reminds me of the rear of a '98 Taurus with a box welded on top.

    I can only imagine if one of the Big Three had come out with that design (although I'm glad they didn't).
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    I don't know why the Cube has been growing on me. It is mighty wacky looking - asymmetrical to boot.

    Oh, if GM had made it you would have never heard the end of it! Heck, if Honda made it it would be another sign that the styling folks at Honda continue to have lost their minds.

    With Nissan it's merely the latest in quirky designs....
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    The Cube reminds me of this cookie jar my Mom once had:

    image
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