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Old 29th July 2014, 21:37   #1
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Default What happened to good looking cars?!

Warning, this is a bit of a rant/rave thread and full of subjective content - but I had to. What is happening to car designers in India?! Cars from all manufacturers in India are just getting more and more ugly! All offerings from Maruti and Mahindra are hideous (except one or two very old models). Tata seems to be heading in the same direction. Same with Hyundai and even Ford of late.

Am I just getting old?! Why, oh why, are all cars heading towards the same egg-shaped, rounded design and headlamps swept back into all kinds of angles?

At one time, every car had its own distinct, wholesome shape that didn't try to look like anything else.

Small hatchback:
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Tall boy:
What happened to good looking cars?!-santro.jpg

Sedan:
What happened to good looking cars?!-9900_suzuki_esteem_sedan.jpg

SUV:
What happened to good looking cars?!-2010_suzuki_grand_vitara_limited_2__05122010.jpg

Each one strikingly good-looking in its own way.

But then what happened after that?! All car manufacturers seem to have got an obsession with:
- Design an egg-shaped car
- Stick a boot on it, sell it as a sedan
- Raise the height and bloat it a bit more, sell it as an SUV.

I mean, really?

Sorry if I am being harsh but this has been annoying me for a while, I had to get it out of the system. Am I really way off here?

How in the world did this...
What happened to good looking cars?!-hyundai_accent_sedan.jpg
... become this?:
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The old vs new 800:
Old one had a certain elegance and appeal about it:
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New one:
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Or let us take the case of the old Zen and the new Celerio.

What happened to good looking cars?!-suzuki_cervomode_1990.jpg
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Is the new one really better looking?!

The Safari, old and new:
Old:
What happened to good looking cars?!-tata_safari_dicor_2.2.jpg
New:
What happened to good looking cars?!-tata_safari_storme_by_soulsteer_from_gwalior_april_2013.jpg

Even the Swift. How could they mess with that perfect shape?:
Old - rear:
What happened to good looking cars?!-suzuki_swift_rear_20090227.jpg
New - rear:
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Indica - old (one of the best looking designs ever. Comparable to the Golf GTI.):
What happened to good looking cars?!-2000_tata_indica.jpg

Indica - new (of course they had to change it!):
What happened to good looking cars?!-2012_tata_indica_safire_front.jpg

And who in the world would design shapes like these? A teenager with PC paint could come up with more elegant shapes!:
What happened to good looking cars?!-2012mahindraquantoreview.jpg

Or this (what kind of rear-end is that?!)
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Designs like the Xylo make even things like Bolero and Sumo look handsome! Even the Ritz is comparatively good-looking now.

I could just keep going with the examples but you get my drift. Also it seems to me like the most people are not really noticing it, is it because there's nothing to be done about it or we are just getting used to these?

This is an India-specific thing as far as I can see. I am currently living in the US, I don't particularly see cars getting uglier there. In the cases they do, the cars hardly sell (the Fiesta sedan, for example - no one buys it because of how it looks).

Only Volkswagen is keeping it "clean" as far as I can see (Other than the premium brands of course). Why can't we, for a change, get India-specific cars that look drop-down-gorgeous that other countries would envy? Honestly I would be very happy if all car manufacturers agreed to go back 15 years! Imagine.. if we could buy great-looking cars like:
- The Gypsy
- The old Zen
- The Ikon
- The original Swift
- The Mahindra Commander hardtop 7 seater
- The Esteem
- The Palio
- The Tata Sierra

Sad!

Last edited by rajushank84 : 29th July 2014 at 21:39.
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Old 29th July 2014, 21:59   #2
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

You forgot one of the best looking cars which used to be there. I had this one for 10 years:

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Old 29th July 2014, 22:11   #3
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Thats true to a large extent. The old charm and the design language is lost and almost no car has it's own aura. One way or the other they all share the similar design pattern. How I wish the designs of original City, Lancer even Baleno could have been in production today. The language of straight clean lines is simply missing these days and it's all about curves and lines flowing in all imaginable directions.
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:21   #4
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
we could buy great-looking cars like:
- The Gypsy
- The old Zen
- The Ikon
- The original Swift
- The Mahindra Commander hardtop 7 seater
- The Esteem
- The Palio
- The Tata Sierra

Sad!
When taxi drivers or people who haven't gone abroad say that old cars had character i always put it down to the fact that there were only a handful of models in each category in the license raj times or even before the turn of the millennium, so each were bound to be different, but then again when i look into cars in the sub 4m sedan category or under 5 lac hatchbacks i have to agree that designs have taken a bad turn.
But then, there are reasons that i feel are responsible.

1. Our small car classification of sub 4m aimed at hatches seem to have spawned a category of sedans and contraptions like Quanto.

2. Our obsession with fuel economy and SUVs have resulted in crossovers , but then again it's the global trend now and well, you can't say the Ecosport and Terrano are bad lookers even if disproportionate.

3. Most of the global cars have grown in size as well as price, so we have models specifically designed for developing markets, but in designing those they have mimicked the style of bigger cars. And the shrunken bodies do not do justice to the style language.

4. Biggest reason : Practicality - Designers have to carve out maximum space from a small footprint. Not only space, but good hip point in seating, good visibility, more cabin space, ground clearance etcetra etcetra.

Net net. Todays' Honda Amaze has almost the same space of a mid 90s Toyota Camry with much smaller footprint and a more practical layout. The safety and driving dynamics are another matter altogether.

So, we have traded practicality for style, but when i look at the VW Polo and Vento ,can't help but think that they look far more proportionate and classy when compared to their swoopy, fluidic competition while not compromising on space and usability. So, well it has to be blamed on new design philosophies and for us customers who buy them.
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:35   #5
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Seriously, the design team are just copying every other brand. May be they are exhausted on the designs. After some time, we will have all similar looks cars (at least in some angles or some parts).

May be its just a phase or market trend. But if you look at it, most of the people do like these "new" designs.

Even with the Premium brand's, like Merc / BMW have changed their car designs.
I still love how the old Merc looked. They had a Class. New ones really dont appeal me! No matter what features they try to sell.

What happened to good looking cars?!-mercedesbenz190e_534408_86311.jpg

Few list from my end,
Old Hyundai Sonata
Old Hyundai Elentra
Fiat Palio

Wish someone can come up with a design like HM Contessa.
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:40   #6
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Now this is something really interesting! Very well judged and researched topic. My father is a lover of Esteem's design and totally dislikes the designs of some of the present generation cars. I feel that if their is one design that was never copied afterwards was that of Esteem.

Here is another one which I as a person feel is a total waste of a beautiful design. The new and old Fiat Punto.

What happened to good looking cars?!-2014fiatpuntoevoredoldvsnew.jpg

What happened to good looking cars?!-2014fiatpuntoevoredoldvsnewrear2.jpg

The old and new Ford Fiesta

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What happened to good looking cars?!-fordfiestasedan2010img_1.jpg

If a particular design becomes successful with the customers then the other brands start taking directions from it and with some amount of R&D they create a new design which is more contemporary and in-line with the existing models and tastes of buyers.

Having said this, I feel to sustain in the market brands are just trying their level best but due to this all of us are getting some weird Limited Editions and weird face-lifts.

Link for pics: https://www.google.co.in/search?q=ol...F%3B1024%3B561

Link 2: https://www.google.co.in/search?q=ol...ic%3B773%3B440

Thanks

Last edited by ad3952n : 29th July 2014 at 22:50. Reason: more pics
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:48   #7
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Oh God! I have been wondering why this question was not asked more often!

Somewhere during the beginning of the 2000s, designers started losing the plot completely and started coming up with cars like this:

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I mean, this doesn't look like a Honda at all. The front wheels look too big while the rear wheels look too small for the body, the car itself is too tall, the grille and the headlights look like they came from two different species, and the entire rear end and the tail light look like an afterthought. The rear wheels looked like they had been pushed forward just so that the door would have a proper kink!

How could they go from such a beautifully proportioned shape as the previous City (the OHC) to this freakishness?

And the latest despairing trend is car makers' fascination with oversize chrome grilles. Everything else remains the same, except for a gaping, chromed maw at the front. The Toyota Innova went from a nice looking MUV to this:

At some point, someone has to tell the design team to put their pens down. I hear that they are coming up with yet another facelift though. At this point, I am expecting it to be just a big chrome grille at the front, with an opening for the windscreen and the headlights. That way, they can use the entire front area for the grille and not have to worry about having to find space for everything else...

Last edited by vivekgk : 29th July 2014 at 22:51.
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:55   #8
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ad3952n View Post
Here is another one which I as a person feel is a total waste of a beautiful design. The new and old Fiat Punto.
I agree that the Evo is not as classically good as the original. They could have achieved a more pleasing design if they'd given it an air dam and a crease or two on the bootlid. The new tail lights and headlights do look amazing though.

Last edited by vivekgk : 29th July 2014 at 22:55. Reason: typo
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Old 29th July 2014, 22:57   #9
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

^ Totally agree about the Punto, in my opinion the current (old) Punto is THE best-looking car in India right now.

Agree about the Esteem too, especially with its first-gen frontend/grille.

Several other examples I can think of too. The first WagonR was wholistic in its design - the boxy headlamps and taillamps going well with the boxy design of the car. That design was not apologetic about being boxy at all, it was rather proud of it (and came across as dignified). The later WagonRs ruined that appeal.

Took me a bit of time getting used to the Santro's "facelift" (I still think the original one looks better) but any Santro looks handsome now in the company of all its new competition .

Is it just a matter of time before the Thar / jeeps get the Xylo-ish headlamps?
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Old 29th July 2014, 23:04   #10
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I personally like cars designed in the 2000-2009ish time period. I think that was the height of modern car design for regular cars and exotics. Back then everything used to be clean, classy and elegant.
Nowadays cars are getting more and more fuzzy. It's just style for just style's sake. There are sweeps and curves everywhere just for the sake of making it look interesting. It's not just India either, its happening everywhere.
A few examples.

Fiat Grande Punto
What happened to good looking cars?!-fiat_grande_punto_05.jpg

Fiat punto Evo
What happened to good looking cars?!-2014fiatpuntoevo4.jpg

Old suzuki swift
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New suzuki swift
What happened to good looking cars?!-suzukiswiftfacelift1.jpg
Some of my hero cars

Bmw e46 m3
What happened to good looking cars?!-13701_1024.jpg

Bmw m4
What happened to good looking cars?!-2015bmwm4inmotion.jpg

Audi b7 rs4
What happened to good looking cars?!-audi_rs4.jpg
Audi b8 rs4
What happened to good looking cars?!-012012audirs4avantleak.jpg

merc cl
What happened to good looking cars?!-mercedesbenzcl_600_2007_wallpaper.jpg

merc s class coupe
What happened to good looking cars?!-2015mercedesbenzsclasscoupefrontsidemotionview.jpg

maserati quattroporte old
What happened to good looking cars?!-maseratiquattroporteblackhd.jpg

maserati quattroporte new
What happened to good looking cars?!-2014maseratiquattroportev8frontthreequarter2.jpg

Of course there are some exceptions where they have become better looking now from their older generations. But mostly I think all the brands are going the korean way.
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Old 29th July 2014, 23:08   #11
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

^ I actualy like the newer audis and bimmers . Especially the M4. In fact I liked the F30 design so much I ditched my E90 for it.
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Old 29th July 2014, 23:16   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
^ I actualy like the newer audis and bimmers . Especially the M4. In fact I liked the F30 design so much I ditched my E90 for it.
Then again "To each, his own".

I personally don't like cars looking all misty eyed and futuristic. Makes them look like they are trying too much. I prefer simple thug in a suit like styling of the e46 3 series.
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Old 29th July 2014, 23:29   #13
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Good topic - I hate the dolphin Honda City too. After the sleek 1st gen City, the 2nd gen was like a frog compared to a squirrel.

The new Punto facelift, I don't like the front end styling, the rear looks better thanks to the taillamps and rear fog/reverse lamps resembling twin-exhausts. Best would be new tail end with the old front end, with a projector for each low and high beam.

As for the expensive but not exotics - the W124 generation E class is a timeless masterpiece. The generation that followed - with twin oval lamps, the ugliest E-class I have seen.

BMWs - the Chris Bangle era is a blot I assume most BMW fans would like erased from its history. It's like they lost the plot and went from being Jasom Statham to Justin Bieber. Thank goodness they're back to making good looking cars, but now Audi gives them serious competition, while Mercedes Benz tries to make good looking cars and succeeds, but like a tired Dani Pedrosa, comes a distant third to a hair-thin Stoner-Lorenzo 1-2 finish.

Even the latest Ferraris aren't as mesmerizing as the older ones. I mean compare the F355 vs F430 vs F460 ; the 355 comes out on top, what say? Lamborghini , like parent Audi, still manages to get their styling look modern and scintillating.
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Old 29th July 2014, 23:29   #14
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

When exactly did Hyundai Santro fit into the good looking cars list.
Agree on all other cars.
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Old 29th July 2014, 23:36   #15
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Default Re: What happened to good looking cars?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aim120 View Post
When exactly did Hyundai Santro fit into the good looking cars list.
Agree on all other cars.
The very first model of Santro in India did have some charm. It was a very unique design, of course took some time for all to like it. Then the Xing, lost all the character of a Santro. The Xing had horrible looking matchless headlight design.
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