Thanks for all the great discussion in this thread guys and gals, a lot of good points.
I would agree that the surfacing and details of modern cars are what are being exaggerated, rather than their form factors. There aren't a whole lot of mainstream cars that really take the conventional shapes to their extremes (the ZDX and Crosstour come to mind).
I think the Mark VII Golf is exceedingly handsome (ironic really, considering my choice of daily driver, but that's another story ), and I would agree that it is a clean design with interesting, cohesive lines and avoids being fussy.
As for reflectors vs. projectors, I tend to like projectors when they are a simple design (sans LED DRLs) like on my Mazda3 and on the Golf (pre-2012). When you look at the GLI, though, I think the halogen reflectors fit in better with the clean lines than the new projectors do. They're busy and distract you from the horizontality (?) of the grille. My Mazda3 has combination high-low projector headlights, with detailing that ties in with the surface flowing over the front wheel well and into the beltline. I feel like the reflector high beams on other Mazda3s break up that character line, and also make the whole headlight assembly seem busy and crowded.
Personally I think all the current VW models look like crap except the CC Sedan, The Jetta is the worst offender, I don't think that there is any doubt that VW has the worst exterior design of any mass market European manufacturer.
They need to go back to the single plane type face vs. the swept back face nonsense, go back to flared arches and a bulldog like stance, all these say German to me and not the "swooshy bulbous nonsense";
But then again new VWs are better built and cheaper than the cars they were putting out in the late 90s/early 2000s, they also are probably much better selling, but the passat was always a well built car IMO.
is not a swept back face, and that this...
is not bulbous?
I would say that VW is making discernible steps away from the bulbous Mk5-era designs (whence the CC came) and towards more planar designs. I mean, the NMS Passat is downright slab-sided, especially compared to the B5 and B6.
Only the CC Pulls it off, and maybe the touareg, everything else is awful,
The people who buy Jetta's now are the people who "don't care how a car looks", they just want an appliance with a cheap entry price.
VW has been lost since they stopped copying Audi's design language.
My fiance's mother bought an Elantra because it had a backup camera and a pump-up seat (she's short). I don't think she cared a lick for what it looked like. I think a car has to be really butt ugly to turn off the common consumer.
VW "losing it's way" is an argument for another thread
Last edited by Ben010783; 08-31-2013 at 02:42 PM.
I'm getting so sick of people acting like futuristic/radical-looking cars on sale today won't age well no matter what.
From where I'm sitting, this
looks at least as fresh as any of these
and we all know which one got the knee-jerk backlash.
I don't know if I see cars getting much simpler soon. I think it would be a step back--we had the Bauhaus/retro era and we moved on. I think the current design trends will be refined and become more elegant across the board. The new Mazda6 is a nice example.
There will always be brands that stick to their own design motifs, though. Like VW, Land Rover and Mini.
Anyone who has been to design school knows what 'Planned obsolescence' is
Everyone thinks a Industrial designers job is just design the best and most attractive design possible
This is simply not true
Today in automotive design its all about installing as many of today's design fads into your design
Not about designing the most attractive design possible, but just making sure its up to date with all of today's design trends, no matter how garish it might be. As long as it looks NEW. Most important is it looks out of date at the end of its Product life so you want to buy the new one
The Hyundai Sonata is a good example of this. Purist will hate it but it is actually very successful in what it is trying to acheive
I myself loved Automotive design, in the 80's I loved every thing ItalDesign was doing with their Shows Cars. I was certain all cars would look like these in the future..how wrong was I
Those cars pictured had cleaner designs than their successors, in my opinion. While I do enjoy the comfort and interior refinements of their replacements, the previous generations will age better aesthetically. The design language used today is both busy and 'organic', if you will, neither of which age well. Brings back memories of the 3rd/4th generation Ford Tauri..
Edit: Great topic, OP. TCL needs more threads like this.
Last edited by Rocco!; 10-11-2012 at 08:51 PM.
Will it be possible for design to be as simple as some may expect or desire when so much is being rationalized in terms of chassis architecture, shared platforms and differing markets' requirements? That Mk7 Golf is a great example of simple design and in many ways is lucky in its ability to "get away" with it, being, as it is, that market segment's progenitor. But what of the less established competition which must carve out market share next to it? There's a reason Mazda felt the need to take a gamble in making the current Mazda3 look the way it does.
And while I really love the idea of car design becoming more simple and straightforward, it remains to be answered how a car like the new Mercedes A-class can distinguish itself from the Golfs/Astras/Focuses of this world, limited as it is, to the same general size and proportion as its competition. I can't say much for Mercedes' ability to design gorgeous cars of late, but if the pendulum is indeed swinging back, then they really dropped the ball with this latest model, as fussy as it is in its detailing.
I think a lot of the sheer tackiness we are seeing in cars today stems from the fact that nearly all manufacturers are offering nearly all of their models in nearly all major markets. Gone are the days when you could have an Alfasud, a Citroen GS and an Opel Kadett sell strongly in different chunks of the European market, while Americans bought Vegas and VW Beetles. It takes a lot more superficial differentiation to sell cars which are fundamentally similar.
I am glad you bumped it. I like this thread.
A MkVI just came home in MI, I wanted to wait for a MkVII, but that did not happen. The halogen reflector thing is still a point that I take interest in. I am doing some work with Hella right now (a customer of my employer), and learning about what goes into headlamp design.
A(u). Klasse A, unbeschrankt, ungedrosselt
Compared to a British roadster, all Volkswagens are reliable!
nevAr Lose - DE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Bankruptcy Controller - IPROfftopikstan, Den Mother - Team Emmett
I'm glad it was bumped, too. Not only do I like the subject, but I still agree that the pendulum is swinging back toward clean design and I hope the mk VII is a herald of that change, meaning that it's coming soon.
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
1957 Tagline: "Suddenly it is 1960".
I forget all the reasons why Chrysler changed the rules, it may have had something to do with the size of the platforms they had ready to sell, but it was out of necessity and Virgil Exner, the one guy who put tailfins on the map, also took them off.
I am secretly rooting for Chris Bangle.
Last edited by fbobberts; 08-31-2013 at 04:51 PM.
People don't understand how much bean counters affect design.
Most modern cars are very slab sided. That's because it's easier/cheaper to manufacture very flat surfaced that lack depth. So what's the solution to masking this blatant attempt to save a couple of dollars? Add flame surfacing, or fussy, almost arbitrary details on the sides of the car to keep people from noticing that there is little to no depth.
Here is an example (notice how significant a contour the E type has on the sides):
Modern equivalent is slab sized, but adds a couple of lines to fool the eye:
Last edited by Rocco!; 09-01-2013 at 12:07 PM.
Agree'd. As a air-cooled & water-cooled Beetle fan I'm happy with the new 2012-2014 design. Really think VW did a absolute incredible job designing it and getting back to a simple usable practical everyday Beetle that we knew and love back in the rear engine days.