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Large grilles

Am I the only person (besides my wife) who dislikes the trend toward giant grilles on cars?


My opinion, for what it’s worth, the Lexus grille is the most atrocious, oversized and ugly thing I have ever seen which includes some real monsters fron the 50s and 60s. Lexus, normally a nice looking Toyota has turned into a hideous creature.



As a retired truck driver I notice the truck’s are going the same way I think the designer’s are trying to best each other on uglyfieng the new vechile’s.


Done well, I like a large grill. Many of the cars I grew up with had large grills. Chrome was king… but that’s another subject.

The new Lexus grills seem to be highly polarizing. People either like them or are repelled by them. Personally, I like they. In my view they’re a bold statement.

I like the Buick grills. They make a friendly façade.
I think the Lincoln grills have been terrible for some years now, but they seem to be improving a bit. Their “split grill” looked like they’d had a head-on with a giant bird and the bird carcass was still stuck there.
I’m having a hard time getting used to the new Honda and Toyota styling. Both seem to be busy and overworked to me.

But the reality is that it’s all just taste. It’s the car behind the grill that really counts.

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Yikes, Ram looks the grouchist!



Lexus gets my vote as the most appallingly ugly snout out there.


There’ve been some bad ones in history too, though, that give Lexus a run for its money:


I agree 100%, the Lexus grills make those cars very ugly, I could never even think about owning one.

But my pet peeve is the narrow back windows, “required” because of the “required” raising belt line that is ubiquitous in today’s car. Reducing visibility, and therefore safety in the name of style really makes me angry.

And the very low profile tires are another case of style over safety.

Which raises a question about ethics. Is is ethical for an auto designer to design in poor visibility, to sacrifice safety for style? Difficult to prove, but with all the accidents around the world, there must be some, and some fatalities, caused by this lack of visibility. Should the designer be responsible for those? (not legally, but ethically)

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Barky, those truck front ends are absolutely horrible. The mandates from the corporate offices to make the front ends bigger and bigger seem to have caused the designers to struggle to figure out what to put there.

I believe much of it is driven by regulatory mandates.

I recall years ago when rollover requirements were elevated to the point that the “jaws of life” being used by first responders couldn’t cut the A pillars. The first responders had to get new, stronger “jaws of life”.

I also remember when it was normal to put my arm over the seatback to turn around and look out the rear window when backing up. Today’s seats, largely designed for regulatory compliance, make that impossible.

Fortunately, rear view cameras, 360-camera systems, automatic stopping, and some other high-tech safety technology is quickly becoming commonplace. Hopefully the government won’t get involved, develop standards, and halt all progress. And then elevate the standards to the point where no manufacturer can ever meet them. That seems to be their modus operandi.

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In addition to large ugly grills…there are some ugly tail lights out there as well. One in particular looks like a giant arrow pointing both left and right when lit up at night. I have no idea of the make and model because I have only noticed it when it’s dark.

I was actually looking at personal ethics. Should an auto designer who deliberately designs in narrow rear windows sleep soundly at night? I realize he is driven by his management, who are driven by so called style elements, but …

In addition to grower larger, the grilles on several makes are incredibly similar-looking.
From a distance, the grilles on certain models of Fords, Subarus, and Hyundais are VERY similar in appearance.

Glad I’m not alone. I agree some are starting to look the same. Ford fusion and Hyundai sonata are nearly identical.
The Lexus grilles are ridiculous in my opinion. For awhile I drove a Freightliner Columbia and I think it had less square footage in its grille.
I always try to imagine cleaning the bugs out of one in the summer.

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Such excess reminds me of the people who stopped trimming their finger nails or hair and proudly displayed their grand accomplishments as a sign of their wealth and importance. It’s amazing what can become a status symbol for people.

What’s unsafe about narrow rear windows and low-profile tires? Backup cameras eliminate the need for a rear window when it’s a safety factor. And low-profile tires flex less than high sidewall ones, which makes you handle better at the expense of ride quality.

And the high beltline is so that cars don’t look stupid with those big bulbous noses that are mandated by pedestrian impact safety standards.

Any reduced visibility reduces safety. Cameras are not always useful, and are only on when in reverse.

I had a scrape on my car not too long ago, made a sharp right turn pulling out of a gas pump area, and the right side hit a barrier. I could not see the barrier due to the high belt line, ie, narrow window.

As to the very low profile tires, hitting a pothole will cause a flat, and at speed that is definitely a safety issue. The same pothole with normal tires would not have that problem.

“cars don’t look stupid” ? that is a perception issue, very subjective. If all cars had normal sized rear windows, they would not look stupid.


This article does a pretty good job of explaining what I was getting at:

Basically, Euro/Asian regulations mandate a taller hood, which visually screws up everything else, including the wheels.

Or, put another way, it can be done, but it’s gonna look dumb:

I don’t know that reduced rearward visibility reduces safety when you’re moving forward. The danger is from a car behind you not stopping when you do, and you can still see that through the shorter windows. The danger of the short window is not seeing the kid behind your car when you back up, and that is eliminated by the camera.

I really don’t pay much attention to the grilles on cars these days. I think the front end of the 1961 Corvair had the cleanest look in front. I liked the front appearance of my 1988 Taurus.
The worst car for rear visibility was my 1947 Pontiac Streamliner fastback. The rear window was more like a skylight.

IMHO the biggest safety impact that small rear windows have is when they inhibit the ability to see cars in adjacent lanes. Many designs today have unnecessarily large “blind spots”. Many accidents on multilane roads occur because of this. I use “fisheye” convex lenses attached to the corners of my mirrors, and I double-check, but not everyone does.

Cars today also have higher “sills” (unsure of the correct word) around the driver. There used to a more visibility outward for the driver. Now it seems that the bottoms of the windows are at the driver’s chin rather than lower. I can’t even put my elbow out the window anymore.

And, as I mentioned earlier, the A, B, and C pillars are much larger than they used to be, better protecting in the rare even of a rollover but inhibiting visibility. I have to wonder if trading visibility for rollover protection isn’t counterproductive to safety.


TSM: that is pretty much what I have been saying. I think the rollover protection could be had with narrower pillars, they would just cost a few pennies more.

And it’s not because of some pedestrian safety that makes the windows narrow. It’s the concept of “rising belt line” that auto designers think makes a car look faster, and has been designed into every pretty much every car for the last decade. And all for some (to me) bogus design rule.

Me, I don’t care if a car looks fast. In fact I’d rather it didn’t (less tickets that way).

But, again, my concern is the auto designers sacrificing safety for bogus design features.

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