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Has Honda's run - run out?



  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Robertsmx - Are you talking about the V-shaped, raised section in the center of the hood? Buddy, find me a car that doesn't have a raised section there.

    The industry has traditionally taken one of two options on hoods. Raise the center or lower the center. Some use a center crease, while other's don't. That's not a lot of options. I think one of the things that makes the new Accord unique is the fact that it does neither. The hood is a perfectly blank slate.

    In my opinion, evolutionary styling is taking strong design elements and incorporating them into the sheetmetal from one year to the next.

    Having wheel wells, or a windshield, or a door handle in the same place are not examples of strong styling statements.

    The twin kidney grill on a BMW or the big flat headlights on former Volvos are strong statements. Cadilac's recent use of planar surfaces and harsh creases would also fit the bill. The small circular headlights from the last generation Integra were a strong statement. The taillights on the CR-V are another from Honda. These are things that stand out because of their uniqueness or the impact of their use.

    Incorporating them from year to year would be the evolutionary part of the equation. The car needs to have them present consistently over time. If you jump from 1955 to 2005, you're not talking evolution, you're talking retro.

    Now, your example example of BMW is a good example of brand styling. In this regard, Volvo is another that has done this very well in recent years. Having your line of cars resemble each other is nice for brand recognition. But that's not the same thing as evolutionary designing.

    For example, if Honda designed all of their new cars using styling from the Element, the line would have good brand styling. But that change would be far too dramatic (I know some would say horrific, but I like the Element) to be considered evolutionary.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    of years of evolution wiped out is the Chrysler 300. They could have launched it in 1990 to replace the M-body Fifth Avenue, skipping those FWD C-bodied NYers and both generations of LH car, and I don't think anybody would have noticed.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Yep, the raised section on the middle of the hood. Sure, almost every car has some part of hood raised, but you should be able to see a specific design element there. If every car had it, I wouldn't have noticed a difference. BTW, Infiniti/Nissan is also using it as a design element. Obviously, it stands out as a design element to me.

    And notice that I mentioned it as one of the design elements in most generations of Prelude. In fact, the last generation had its hood going the other way. Similar is the case with S2000.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    When the current Accord debuted, my first thought after seeing it in real life was...S2000. The hood and front fender ensemble evoke the S2000 for me.

    From the side, the sedan, especially, emphasizes the "long hood, short deck" school of styling - which also brings to mind the S2000.

    As for incorporating the Element's styling in future products - the front of the Honda SUT show truck takes its cue from the Element. It will be interesting to see just how closely the production truck follows the show vehicle.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Robert - I guess we just see it differently. I don't see anything unique about either a convex or concave shape in the middle of the hood. It doesn't suggest a strong design element to my eye.

    Grbeck - Designer of the S2K wanted the car to look like it had a central fuselage with the fenders stretching outward to reach the wheel arches.

    The new Accord has similar look, but achieves it in a different manner. The hood, as mentioned above, is featureless. But the gap between hood and fender tapers from front to back, giving it the same V shape that Robertsmx and I were just writing about. That taper gives the visual impression that the body of the car comes to a point up front (like a fuselage). From the sides of the hood, the fenders do a convex to concave transfer. This gives the sheetmetal a kind of skin-stretched-over-bone look to it. Both were the same ideas behind the S2000's body.

    Now, I don't think the fronts of the Accord and S2K actually look anything alike, but I can see similarities in the intent of the design.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I thought so too, and in coupe, the shoulder line has a subltle resemblance to it (the way it folds into the tail lamp), as is the cut on the door sill in the sedan.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Sone people brought cars up on these boards from 1992 and 1994 well cars from the 90's have a more classic look to them. I mean you take a look at today's like a BMW 7 Series, Infinti G35, or a Cadillac CTS. Those designs I don't think will age well. I think for a design to age well it has to be formal but yet elegant. Aggressive looking cars don't really age well. Take a look at the 92 Pontiac Boneville and 92 Pontiac Grand AM. Those 2 cars are very agressive looking but have aged very poorly. If you take a look at a 93 Mazda 626 or a 1993 Accord those 2 cars have aged alot better than alot of cars from the Domestic Big 3 automakers had back then at that time. To take it further to comment about Andre's comment(I don't mean to diss Andre either.) Cars gave evolved I mean the 80's saw the boxy/square fad, the 90's saw the bubble look fad. The 00's you see more slanted back ends on cars(Chysler 300C, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry Solara(I don't like the looks of that car though.)

    As far as Toyota styling is concerned Toyota has no styling evolution to their cars.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I know the eye of the beholder always does the accounting, but the S2000 and current Accord comparison boggles my mind. The S2000 is one of the best styles to come from Honda, the current Accord may be the worst. The S2000 is one of the best body styles on the road period. The current Accord is one of many modern-day ugly ducklings. The S2000 has attitude. It looks more like a viper than the Viper. The Accord reminds me of a watermelon.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Your opinion on the new TL please sir.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    no diss taken ;-) Actually, I'll agree that car styling has evolved (maybe "advanced" is a better term for the idea I'm trying to get across) since the 80's. I was thinking more in terms though, since the early 90's, although there were some standouts in the 1980's.

    For example, I don't think the Ford Taurus looks any more "modern" today than the original design, although it's much better built. And I thought some of Chrysler's mid-to-late 80's K-car derivatives, like the LeBaron GTS/Lancer and the LeBaron coupe/convertible (at least the ones with the hidden headlights) still look pretty good today. As does the '83-88 T-bird and '83-86 Cougar (I thought they messed that one up in '87-88).

    But back to the early 90's...I don't think an Impala looks any more modern than an early 90's Lumina, although, again, it's much better built. And it's hard for me to judge Chrysler anymore, because IMO, the Intrepid/300M/Concorde/LHS are a more "modern" style than the 300, even if they're physically an older design.

    Back to old task leader at work has a '92 or '93 Honda Civic sedan that he drives back and forth to work every day. He bought the thing new. I think it actually looks more modern than the current Civic!

    On the S2000 front, I can see a little bit of family resemblance between it and the Accord, in kind of the same way that a Chrysler 300, Pacifica, Town & Country, and Crossfire all have a vague family resemblance. It's just that the S2000, being a sports car, could let style dictate the design, so it comes off as much more pure. The Accord had to be able to hold 5 people in relative comfort, have a decent-sized trunk, be able to accept both 4- and V-6 engines, and compete with a whole slew of other models, so there were more important things than style to be considered in its design.

    One thing that, IMO, really throws off the Accord's style is that it's a very roomy car inside, but has fairly small external dimensions. It's kind of like having the passenger cabin of a big car, but the front- and rear-ends of a compact. The end result is a nice comfy car that doesn't take up a lot of space and is easy to maneuver, but it compromises style. I think the Toyota Camry and Avalon suffer from this same affliction. Somehow though, I think the Altima came out looking good. It's only about the same length as a Camry/Accord, and has about the same interior volume (I think it has a bigger trunk than the Accord, though), but I think its proportioning is better. Then again, it has a longer wheelbase than the Camry/Accord/Avalon, so that might be part of what helps it.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    TL has grown on me. Definitely a positive step forward. It will never make my knee-knocker list but find it at the top of my highly-tolerable-would-definitely-buy list. For a fussbudget like me this is almost as good as it gets.

    Not crazy about extreme wedginess of sedans and massive rears but the butt lines and light assemblies are finely shaped. I usually like traditional dark sedans to complement the blue pinstripe suits, but as a roadster man, I'll take the sportier approach in the bigger babies if done right. I think the TL is as close to being done right as it will probably get.

    Interior is nice, real nice. Always liked Honda and Acura interiors. They have the touch that suits me. I don't think anyone does interior fit and finish better than Acura. Have to step up to MB for this, but even then, I just like the airiness of Acuras.

    With SH-AWD, TL and RL would be a strong contenders to replace my 530. That's years away though. Will see where this all goes and how my other half weighs in.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "The S2000 has attitude. It looks more like a viper than the Viper." - Designman

    LOL! You know, I think you're right about that. With its huge front fenders and narrow mid section, I've always thought that the Viper looked more like a scorpion.

    I think the Accord/S2K comparison is valid from a styling perspective, but you have to understand that doesn't mean the two cars have to look alike. The shape of the cars has as much impact as the styling details.

    One of the Honda styling comparisons I've always found interesting is the RSX vs Integra. Many people prefer the last generation Integra and have claimed that the RSX is "too bland". (How cliche is that?)

    Anyway, from my perspective the Integra is the one missing and styling details. The only styling it had in the sheetmetal was the little round headlights. That's it. No strong character lines. Nothin'.

    Meanwhile, the RSX has interesting headlights and taillights. The body has more character lines and a more distinctive grill. It has far more styling in the details.

    The difference between the two is the fact that the old car had a swept-back, low to the ground shape. The new car has a forward-leaning, taller shape. I think that is what sets people off. It's the shape, rather than the styling.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    As always a very interesting view from you on styling. I like the new TL too, but some things about its styling that put me off. It is however a big improvement over the previous design, imo. I've always liked Acuras too and I'll never get the 1995 Legend GS out of my head!

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The TL's tail is too short for my tastes. I prefer the longer, more balanced shape of the old design. But the details in the sheetmetal are far more sporty. They did a great job with the front end. The blunt section coming down off the hood provides a great canvas for the grill. I wish the RL had taken a stronger resemblance with that section of the car.

    Minor quibble. The rakish profile makes for very small windows in the back seat. It feels tight.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    hit its styling peak with the second generation. IMO, that one seemed the most upscale, and the least like a Civic. Ever since then, they've just seemed to get more and more Civic-like. I did like the first generation too, with the hidden headlights, but overall that style was just too boxy for my tastes, compared to the 2nd gen.

    I'm not crazy about the current RSX, but I wouldn't call it bland! I really don't care for the front-end treatment...I think the headlights are too big and awkard, adn the grille's too small. The roofline makes me think of an exaggerated Olds Alero coupe at certain angles. One thing I do like about it a lot though, is that the RSX does a better Bel Air treatment on the taillights than the Chevy Impala!!
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I agree somebody who lives across the street from me has a Lebaron Convertible and yes it still looks pretty darn good.

    Also on the 300C the 300C looks like an 85 Chrysler 5th Avenue(you know that large car Chrysler used to sell in the early to mid 80's period.) The headlights of the 300C look like they were dervied from the old early-mid 80's Chrysler 5th Avenue.

    As far as the Integra/RSX is concerned when the 02 RSX came out and I started seeing them on the road I used to mistake them for 96-00 Civic's. The headlights of those 2 cars loooked similar.

    As far as the Civic of 2 generations ago is concerned(92-95) its probably the most sporty Civic thats ever been styled. The new one is bigger so thats probably one of the reason the Civic from 10 years ago looks more "modern" as you said. Remember the bigger the car is it takes away "sportiness" from the exterior design.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,044
    in some ways, I almost think my 79 New Yorker looks more modern than the new 300! It's more low-slung and has a sleeker, tapered took to it, and despite the padded landau roof (I think Chrysler was one of the few makers to put a landau roof on a SEDAN!), actually has quite a vast expanse of glass area. The smaller, M-body NYer/5th Ave of the 80's was more blocky and upright, but still had generous glass area (although the thick C-pillars and blocked-out quarter windows in back made on heck of a blind spot) I think the 2005 300/300C could have come out as a 1990 model, and wouldn't have looked the least bit out of place.

    Is the current Civic really much longer than the '92-95? I know it's considerably taller, and that's where I think the awkwardness comes in. I just don't view tall cars as being sporty. I don't think physical size has anything to do with whether a car is sporty or not, though, as I'd consider something like an Intrepid or 300M, or Bonneville to be sporty. I think in some ways, the Intrepid looks just a bit like a big '92-95 Civic. Mainly in the clean, flowing design, and the way the front-end really doesn't have a grille, etc.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    You make excellent points regarding the TL. A little more length in the rear and a touch less rake by lowering the rear height would have nailed it. It's overall proportions are a bit excessive and precludes it from possessing that must-have appeal. The previous TL had very balanced proportions. It's hard to find a car that isn't compromised these days IMO. Another case in point is the G35 coupe. It's hunkered-down sporty, but those headlamps look like dog paws or witch's fingernails.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I know the eye of the beholder always does the accounting, but the S2000 and current Accord comparison boggles my mind.

    I see your point, but there are small design elements that are common between S2000 and Accord, although the larger picture doesn’t suggest it. Next time you look at Accord Coupe squarely from behind, notice how the shoulder line wraps itself around the tail lamps. It is very similar to the way it does in the S2000. Although, in the end, and in the big picture, Accord Coupe resembles first generation TL and second generation CL on the rear.

    When the 2003 Accord (sedan) pictures were released, one of the first things that struck my eyes were the indentation at the lower part of the doors, another subtly carried out design element (also from S2000). No, Accord sedan still doesn’t look like S2000, but that was never the point.

    And S2000 has some styling elements from the first Honda car… S500, with raised fenders/headlamp area (compared to the hood) and defined shoulder line running thru the tail lamp. And having given a closer look to the grills of these first Hondas (from the 1960s), I’ve a feeling that’s the source of the Acura (as well as Honda) penta-grill theme as well! In the 70s/80s, however, Honda moved to rectangular grill.

    It's only about the same length as a Camry/Accord, and has about the same interior volume (I think it has a bigger trunk than the Accord, though), but I think its proportioning is better. Then again, it has a longer wheelbase than the Camry/Accord/Avalon, so that might be part of what helps it.

    Altima is about 4 inch longer than Accord, and probably has the same wheelbase. The additional length is more than enough to give it a bigger trunk (actually, I think an inch or two would easily add up about a cubic feet or two to the trunk space).

    If I were given a chance to fix Accord (sedan’s) styling, I would tweak… the rear bumper (the way it moves up at the corners), give it triangular tail lamps and straighten out the lower edge of the rear glass (instead of it curving around the edges). In other words… take it a little into the conservative side.

    Meanwhile, the RSX has interesting headlights and taillights.

    I missed RSX in my earlier post. Starting with the front end, the last generation Integra brought in the quad- eye look, and although the quad eye look wasn’t carried over as is, the lower part of the headlight was probably styled to indicate that.

    The overall shape of the tail lamp is similar to that from all Integra’s in the past (basic rectangular shape), with the semi-circular cut at the bottom was probably meant to reflect the same styling theme in the front. However, the top of the trunk lid got an edgier look to it, with the styling element from the Legend of the early 90s.
    Park a 2002 RSX and a 1992 Legend next to each other and similarities on the rear end will be visible.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I'm sorry it was the New Yorker not the 5th Avenue I was talking about before. The 300C headlights looked derived from the New Yorker(not the 5th Avenue.) Sorry my mistake. Also if the 300C came out in 1990 the big grille would sort of look out of place with the rest of the Chrysler line-up and styling theme at that time. I don't think the front end of the 300C meshes well with other Chrysler products from 1990 as far as exterior styling goes. Chrysler was still selling rebadged Mitsubishi's at that time like the Colt Vista van and the Laser. I think 1995 was the year Chrysler overhauled its line-up. You had the Sebring, the Viper coming out at that time.

    Comment on post 913(designman)

    On the TL the rear end is a little blocky but yet its aggressive. Nothing wrong with blocky though. At least people don't scream bland at Acura products anymore. I hope the next RSX gets that same styling theme as the new TL. The new NSX from what I have seen will have an aggressive just look the new TL.

    On the RL I haven't seen enough to judge. Some people think the designers at Honda should have used the current TL styling theme for the new RL. The RL is a big luxury car. I don't know if Honda made an agressive looking RL on how it would age on the exterior. An aggressive design on a big luxury car like the RL could age terribly. You always want big luxury cars to have a conservative appearence to age well. I mean the Mercedes E-Class is not aggressive looking but its a very beautiful looking car.

    Lastly I am a huge fan of the new TL: could be the best looking luxury car out save the Audi A8. Thats how good the new TL looks.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    As always, your comments on design are thought provoking and an interesting read.

    I got to see the TL and TSX next to each other recently and I decided I like the TSX a little better. The TL is a fine looking car IMO, but there are just a few too many design elements that don't seem to quite mesh 100%. The TSX just looked cleaner.

    I thought the body panels on the TSX ran too low, however. The sheet metal around the wheels needs to be "tucked in" a little.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I like everything about it except for the crease down the side of the car and the square Pontiac style dual exhaust tips. Other than that, it's very nice looking. Too bad the Accord couldn't have looked like that. I probably would've bought one.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    It looks like the design theme of the '00s is blockyness. Lots of creases. Since they're incorporated into curves, it's not a rehash of the boxy '80s (when it seems like more cars looked the same than they do now). I like the departure from the rounded, swoopy '90s as far as lines go.

    Saw a Mazda3 hatch today, probably the non-exotic I think is prettiest right now. When I was next to it I was surprised by how high it was. The beltline and the steering wheel were at least half a foot above my Tercel's, and I've sat in lower cars than mine. I hope it's not like the Vibe, which I've driven and I felt like I was in an SUV. I wonder what it'll mean for future tuners who lower their cars; lower one of these tall cars and you're still higher up than in a stock '90s Civic.

    *edit* I thought I was in the "modern car styling" thread after reading a page of this one. My bad.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    if the '06 Civic would be the first to break with the current trend, and actually LOWER the beltline enough so the driver can actually SEE out of the car and rest his/her arm on the windowsill...what a concept! :-)

    Not to mention, reduce driver seat height to below minivan and SUV levels. If people want a small SUV, they can always buy a CR-V instead.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True that, check out the cowl of an '84 Civic, must be about a foot lower than the current models.

  • c1rybickc1rybick Posts: 35
    I drive a 95 Camry, and despite how utterly boring it is to drive, it is a beautiful car (for a Camry, at least). The side profile is especially nice. And reliable--we're the third owners, and yet I understand that nothing major has needed to be fixed with 150,000 miles on the car.

    A new Civic is almost (it might actually be) taller than my Camry. Good headroom in them, I guess. My sister's Civic (97 EX sedan) is certainly lower. I don't mind driving her car (VTEC, 5-speed, the nice handling for a stock car), but it's a little too low to the ground for me to want to drive every day. Of course, I'm six feet tall, so that doesn't help. Especially since hers has the moonroof.

    I think that that new TL is a very good looking car, although the taillights are a little boring when you're looking at it from the rear. I just wish it was RWD! I'd rather have a lower torque TSX than the TL if it's going to be FWD.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "You make excellent points regarding the TL. A little more length in the rear and a touch less rake by lowering the rear height would have nailed it. It's overall proportions are a bit excessive and precludes it from possessing that must-have appeal. The previous TL had very balanced proportions." - Designman

    Yeah, I just don't understand why all the stylists think that a short decklid is the only way to make a car look sporty. I mean, Jaguar has been doing long boots for decades and they age very well. The Acura Legend designs also had a more sleek look with the long trunk. Those cars had balance.

    Frankly, I think the TSX does a better job of balancing the "tall sedan" shape. But the styling details in the TL's sheetmetal are much more aggressive.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I know what you mean. A lot of people think that if a car isn't flashy, it isn't styled well. The 95 Camry was a very well done car. I always thought that the last gen Accord was another. Yet, many enthusiasts still call for the automotive equivalent to gold chains and exposed chest hair. =)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IMO the TL looks fine to me. Sales are OK too.

    The long hood/short deck trend started with the Mustang, I guess.

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Long hood and short rear deck has been a classic GT styling theme for decades. It mostly applied to sports cars and coupes, but is being extended to sedans lately to give them a more sporty profile. I, for one, like it, since I’m not a big fan of “must have as big trunk as is the hood as is the cabin”.

    The styling trend with short rear deck in sedans probably started in the late 90s. I’m sure there were exceptions, but if I saw more longer rear deck vehicles coming out now, they will only remind me of the cars in the 1980s or earlier.

    My all time favorite from styling perspective
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