Can you name this car?

Car designs are getting more and more generic. That’s only partly the fault of the car companies. Safety and design rules place some restrictions on what can be done with car design these days.

You may have noticed car companies designing their cars with very flat fronts on them, for example. That’s courtesy of the pedestrian safety requirements, which have received heightened importance in crash testing over recent years. You want to go to market with a good crash test result? That doesn’t just mean protecting the vehicle’s occupants anymore. It means protecting those on the street, too.

And that influences what shape your car must be.

A vehicle’s silhouette used to be considered important in a time when you could identify what sort of car you were looking at when it was 100 meters away. People used to like that because their car was distinctive – it was a shape that they engaged with. You can’t mistake a classic Saab 900 from that distance, for example, or a Porsche 911.

Today, various rules and goals (e.g. aerodynamics) dictate what a car should be and vehicle design is becoming increasingly generic as a result. It’s like they’re all chasing the same magic formula, leading every company’s vehicles to adopt the same basic exterior shape. It’s the face they draw on the shape that’s different from company to company.

I saw this image online a few days ago. This car is a new release and will be shown at a motor show in the near future. The question is: can you identify which manufacturer makes this car?

Don’t go googling or checking the recent automotive headlines. Just have a look and see if you can pick who makes it.

I’ve deliberately blacked out the front grille, for the purposes of this post.

WhatIsThisCar

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It shouldn’t be that hard to find, or guess.

The point of the post, however, is that in 2013 the vehicle in that photo could be made by any one of ten different companies and no-one would be surprised.

Motor vehicles have come a long, long way over the last four or five decades. The advances in technology have improved all areas of car making – from manufacturing to safety, amenity to capability, reliability to fuel economy.

I’m just not sure that aesthetic design has been one of those areas where it’s been all forward progress, that’s all.

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27 Comments

  1. Honda Civic? Purely a shot in the dark. Agreed on your premise, and I’m suprised to learn about the rationale for the flat front. On a recent post we were lamenting the lack of usable space due to the rounded shapes employed by many manufacturers. Changr usually has unntended consequences.

  2. My first thought was one of the Korea outfits. I then searched and found what it was, I think the rear of the car still fits in with the family.

  3. The headlights say Volvo/BMW/Jaguar but the side view and lines look very Hyundai.
    Interesting that coupes seem to continue to be muscular, not sleek.

  4. OK Swade, c’mon now. Time to put those of us interested enough to care but not enough to Google out of our misery….What is it?

    1. That’s the reason I’d never buy a car newer than 1992. No storage place underneath the windscreen, only bulges of plastic everywhere you look. No real door slam anymore, no character, no nothing. It’s just no fun to drive around in one of those. And these cars have become expensive, my lord. Why pay £40,000 for an A4 when you can get a well kept Saab, Volvo or Benz from the good old days for less than a tenth? I just don’t get it. People run up debts to drive around in these so called cars. So sad.

  5. Profile says Peugeot
    Main grille says Hyundai – they have Audi’s designers now so you see more Audi characteristics popping up on Kia’s and Hyundais’
    Left field option – A Ford, the lower grille is similar to the new Mundano and facelifted Fiasco

  6. Honda/Peugeot/Kia/Hyundai/Volvo/Jaguar/Audi/BMW…
    It’s easier to say what it’s NOT. It’s not an Oldsmobile, or a Pontiac, or a Hummer, or a Saturn.
    But it could be an Opel/Vauxhall/Holden.

  7. Allow me to disagree. There apparently is no need to design a blunt front for pedestrian protection, as the Citroen C6 has shown. The main reason is that the solution to “eject” the hood is a bit more expensive than a passive layout. This is however cheating, since the buyer will pay later, because the aerodynamics get worse and hence, the fuel consumption increases.

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