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Good Styling

writerwriter Posts: 121
I think that if you post anything in Edmunds, you are probably at least a bit more knowledgeable about cars than average. So we all probably see cars more as functional devices than most other people. However, I expect that we all pay at least some attention to styling.

So this is the issue: What styling do you like and what do you not like?

Hopefully we will avoid personal insults. . . .


  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    I think I have liked every vehicle that Honda has produced to at least some extent, except for the latest CR-V. This latest CR-V looks like a mistake in the front. It looks like the grill parts did not fit and there was a gap under it. I do not like the rear quarter windows either. There are a few vehicles with that kind of curved line along the top of the window that does not match the roof line. Again, it just looks like a mistake and that whomever made the parts for the windows mess up, or they ordered the wrong parts and were stuck with them so they decided to fill in the gap with more roof.

    On the other hand, the Civics, particularly the coupe looks great. It makes all the other cars in that class look like they ran off in the wrong styling direction.
  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    I like the Acadia. The Buick? Neh.
  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    Infiniti FX45? No thank you.

    G35 Coupe? Excellent. Maybe the best looking car being made today. [Expect me to change my mind about that often, but still . . .]
  • fintailfintail Posts: 46,294
    Most styling I like seems to be on previous model cars. I am only good to point out the negative styling points of current models (and there are so many negatives).

    I'll agree the current CRV is a mess, with its underbite and windowline that doesn't match the roof. IMO Acura SUVs also have a bad windowline, makes the car look like it is leaning forward.

    The Civics remind me of Saturns. The new Accord is also weird in some ways, but not bad.

    Speaking of Hondas...the 90-93 Accord is perhaps the most homogenous Japanese design ever, not derivative and almost timeless.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    to be any sort of expert on styling WHATSOEVER, but I will say this: the models that are most acclaimed by the so-called experts to have "stunning style" do not look very appealing to me.

    For instance, the new Jaguar XF. How does it look? Meh, it's OK.

    I tend to like the VWs mostly, although the new Passat is another big yawn.

    I like the looks of the Matrix enough that I bought two, but I would not argue with anyone who thought it will look dated in a few years. And most of the Toyota models look like concrete bunkers that someone melted, stuck in a wind tunnel, and mistakenly attached wheels to.

    The Hondas look marginally better - the new Civic is gradually growing on me for instance - as do some of the Lexus cars with the exception of the ES.

    I don't get the new Mercedes motif at all - the new S-class in particular looks like a small car that got stretched like warm string cheese until it was all misshapen, then frozen that way. The new C-class looks OK.

    The only Ford with any presence is the Mustang, which would probably earn my money if what was under the skin was a lot more appealing. Likewise, I don't really like any of the Chevys except the Corvette, and now maybe the new Malibu. For GM, add the Aura and Astra to my list of reasonable lookers, as well as the Sky/Solstice.

    I guess I'm weird with what I like and what I don't, but my fave of all of them is probably still the Mini Cooper. Another carmaker still very much on its styling game is Porsche. OTOH, BMWs look bloated now. All the BMWs of 10 years ago looked better to me than the comparable BMW models today. The Z3 and late 90s 3-series were some of my faves of the 90s.

    Oh, and as for SUVs and tall wagons AKA crossovers? I don't think there's a single one that catches my eye, certainly not the new CRV that's for sure. The CRV has always been a bit funny looking. Maybe the best of the breed is the new GLK and the GM Lambda triplets, but none of them are much beyond just tolerable.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,302
    I like the Saturn Sky. I saw one on my way to the airport Tuesday night and it looks like a mini-Vette.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I agree with what you are saying for the most part but I just don't get any of the new Toyotas including the Matrix.

    The XF you really have to see in person and in motion to appreciate. The only part of the design I had a problem with before I saw it in person were the headlights and even they look fine in person.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 46,294
    I'm still having a hard time with the fender bulges on the S-class. But are they ever nice inside...I could live in one of those cars.

    Now MB is moving on from the the oval/ovoid headlight theme it honed for 12+ years. Some of the results are mixed. A lot of people associate that look with MB.

    The form follows function styling of the W126 and W124 will always be gold in my eyes.

    I can't remember the last Toyotas I thought were good looking...I guess the 92 Camry had a pleasant rounded blandness to it, and the period Lexus SC looked good. I liked the wedge Supras too...but I don't know if I could call them good styling. The lineup is pretty uninspiring lately.

    I find it amusing the Saturn Sky appears sportier and more aggressive than its Pontiac twin, seeing as Saturn has been a badge for those who don't really like cars.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Maybe it's from too many hours spent watching The Jetsons, but the biggest style detractor to me on cars in general are the wheels and tires. I don't care how much chrome you slap on them, the wheels always seem to be an afterthought and the car style never manages to compensate very well for them.

    Some makes do try to make them a big styling cue while others try to hide them but they are always there, usually ruining the lines.

    I can't say I've seen many fender skirts that help either.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,352
    I had a '69 Bonneville with fender skirts, and they just made that car look fat. I eventually took them off, and even though it gave the car a bit of an unfinished look around the rear wheel opening, I thought on the whole the car looked a whole lot better.

    Now that I think about it, I had a '67 Newport with skirts, but they sort of blended in with the bodyside creases. That Newport was also more slab-sided, maybe even a bit concave, whereas the Bonneville was more fuselaged.

    One styling cue that I tend to pay attention to with cars is where the C-pillar falls, in relation to the rear wheel opening. If the C-pillar is too far back, IMO it often makes the car look ungainly, like the roof is too big for the body. Some cars with rakish rooflines can sort of get away with it, but with more upright cars, I think it's harder to do.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,357
    I think in general anything added to the car afterward tends to do nothing to help the appearance, be it wacky wheels, big spoilers, fake portholes..... Leave the basic design alone.

    The Germans seem to have as good a handle as anyone as to what makes a good looking car. Audis tend to look great. BMWs, Porsche, even VW. For the most part the Japanese aren't bad but they have a tendency to blend in with one another.

    Amongst the Americans GM and Ford are improving their act. I don't know that the chrome bars need to be on all Fords but they work on the Fusion which is pretty attractive. Saturn has the idea. I never thought I'd say that. Newer Buick designs are really stepping up.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873

    -Any Audi except the Q7
    -Bentley GT & sedan
    -BMW 3 Series, 7 Series
    -Mercedes E Class and C Class
    -Ford Fusion
    -Ford Mustang, esp. Bullitt coupe
    -Dodge Charger (exc. interior)
    -Ferrari F430 and 599GTB
    -Mini Cooper
    -Infiniti G35/G37, M35/45
    -Nissan Altima
    -Mitsu Lancer/EVO
    -Porsche Cayman, 911, Boxster
    -Pontiac G8, Solstice
    -Mazda Miata, 3, 6 CX-7
    -Jag XK
    -Maserati GT, QP


    -Audi Q7
    -Saab 9-5
    -BMW 6-Series
    -Nissan Maxima, Armada
    -Scion xB
    -Lincoln Navi
    -Jaguar XF (esp headlights)
    Merc GM / Ford CV
    Dodge Challenger


    -Chrysler Sebring
    -Honda CR-V
    -Lincoln TC
    -BMW 5 Series
    -BMW Z4 esp coupe.
    -Porsche Cayenne
    -Roll-Royce Phantom (looks like a Kenworth in front!)

    I left off a lot of cars that look okay enough but aren't particularly good, bad or ugly, including some (like the Corvette) I might conceivably buy

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,357
    Good list. You forgot how beautiful a 99 Celica convertible is......

    BMW has traditionally had beautiful cars but the current 5 and 6 series leave you scratching your head.

    It would figure that the only was Honda got onto any list was with the redesign of the CRV. The new one is growing on me a little but that only means it moved up to "I don't turn the other way when I see one coming" class.

    Nissan has been slowly destroying the Maxima design since it did the refresh in, what, 1991? The 89 Maxima was perfect. Still looks good now.

    I have Hondas and Toyotas. Their design does not cause great emotion either way.

    Passed a Cayman last weekend. Serious lust.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873
    You forgot how beautiful a 99 Celica convertible is......

    I sure like this one, note license plate. ;)

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    I liked the original Matrix as soon as I saw it and I still like it. I think it has proven an enduring design.

    I do not find the new Matrix as appealing. Maybe it will grow on me.

    I did not like the recessed grill on the original Vibe. When they changed the grill it made a big improvement. I have not had a good look at the new Vibe yet.
  • writerwriter Posts: 121
    I like the new Grand Caravan.

    I do not like the Calibre. It reminds me of an old Citroen.

    I have not decided about the Avenger. I think it might grow on me.

    The pre-MB Chrysler cars were much better than what came after.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873
    The new Caravan is a bit of a throwback isn't it? By squaring off the lines, they came up with a design that looks like the original 1980's Caravan.

    The Calibre is another car that looks like a truck. The styling might be the best thing about it, apparently it's a poor car.

    The Avenger/Sebring twins are a real mess with discordant lines and poor proportions, the Dodge comes off a little better because it doesn't have the gimmicky ridges on the hood.

    I like the second Gen of Viper styling much better than the unrestrained voluptuousness of the early design.

    The Charger is a great looking car, one of the best current four door sedans, especially in a dark color which gives it an air of subtle menace. Like a lot of the cars of the D-C era it falls apart inside (metaphorically that is). The interior, like that of the 300, is bland and cheap looking.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 2,024
    look at a calibur dead on from the rear. it looks like the spent about 10 minutes designing it. the car has some decent touches but overall is sub-par
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873
    I agree but from what I've read the engineers also spent about 20 minutes designing the reast of the car. :sick:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Was probably about 30 minutes including the coffee break.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,357
    No. No. I had this more in mind...


    Not only attractive but doesn't have that hideous Yankees plate on there....
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The new Caravan is a bit of a throwback isn't it? By squaring off the lines, they came up with a design that looks like the original 1980's Caravan.

    I agree with you - the new ones remind me of my '89 Voyager. I liked that boxy style a lot. Wish they made it in a SWB version still.
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 2,024
    One trend that I don't like at all is these fender lips that are really flattened out and tall. It's especially visible on the new Acura trucks. It's not well integrated into the body and makes any tires smaller than 18s look tiny. You see it on the new Altima as well and I otherwise really like that car.
  • karsickkarsick Posts: 312
    I've come to really lean toward function over form.

    Functional looks NEVER go out of style, but a faddish trend will stale quickly (hello 70's landau roofs, 80's hyper-striped mini-trucks, 90's cliche Eddie Bauer two-tone SUVs, today's chrome dubs).

    Call me wacko, but I really like the looks of this europe-only Ford Connect linked below. -#

    Commercial-Grade utility with obvious attention paid to style. It's basically Ford's take on a miniaturized Sprinter van. I know it would play here in the NW, where we favor understated, utilitarian, faded Subaru wagons with room for bikes, climbing gear, kayaks & canoes.

    Federalize a 4cyl Duratorq turbodiesel for this (35-40mpg) and Ford would have a very unique & timely rig for sale.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Pretty nice rig Karsick.

    I guess this is another reason why skirts never caught on:


    Postmodern (AlternateRoute)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873
    Skirts do look good on the right car. IMO most 1950s era coupes and convertibles look good with 'em so do a few 1960s designs. One four door that wears skirting well as the Citroen ID/DS.

    I wonder what a Prius would look like with rear wheels skirts and a chrome strip along the bottom? :P

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Like an Insight?

    Saw one of those just yesterday in silver.


    You don't notice that black stripe at the base of the skirt on the dark blue ones.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873
    Yeah, maybe that's where I got the idea. Skirts and disc wheel covers seem appropriate for a vehicle designed for max aero efficiency.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 19,873
    It was Mercedes-Benz who first offered a four door sedan with a lowered roof trailing off into a fastback slope and oxymoronically called it a "four-door coupe".>


    I for one didn't find the CLS convincing since it wasn't as good looking as the E-Class it was derived from and in fact wasn't good looking at all to me.

    Designers elsewhere took notice and before long styling leaders like Audi, BMW and Aston-Martin introduced 4-door Coupe concepts. One of those, the Aston-Martin Rapide (essentially a stretched DB9) was quickly slated for production and it was rumored that BMW's similar CS Concept was a preview of the next
    7 series.

    Now they're coming thick and fast as Volkswagen plans to introduce it's Passat CC
    later this year>


    BMW's X6 (now on sale) blurs the lines even further with a combination of SUV, sedan and coupe attributes in the same vehicle. My initial reaction was "who needs it?", Subaru's high-riding AWD sedans haven't exactly burned up the market.

    Looking at it I found the styling inexplicably attractive and I couldn't understand why until I finally figured it out. IMO the term BMW is using ("Sports Activity Coupe" )
    is a bit of marketing BS but in reality it is a five-door hatch back similar to the three Saabs I've owned but no longer available from the Swedes.

    Things are getting strange when BMW starts building cars that look like Saabs and are called coupes. :confuse:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,352
    It was Mercedes-Benz who first offered a four door sedan with a lowered roof trailing off into a fastback slope and oxymoronically called it a "four-door coupe"

    Well, there was the 1980-85 Seville. :P And while they didn't have sloped off rears back in the 50's, some of the 4-door hardtops back in those days shared the same roof as their 2-door counterparts.

    The CLS actually makes me think of the '80-85 Seville, or a '79-81 Newport/St. Regis, in that it has frameless windows but a B-pillar, and that fixed quarter window in the back door that looks a bit funny if you open the back door with the window rolled down. Some of GM's hardtop sedans from 1958 were like that, too. Chrysler's 1956 hardtop sedans had that little quarter window, but it actually retracted down at an angle when you rolled the main window down.
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