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They're all shaped like wedges of cheese!

Dear Klick and Klack and other car fans,
Help! I’m trying to find a car with reasonable window size and rear visibility and ceiling room. A late 90s Pontiac Bonnieville or Volvo are my ideas of people friendly architecture. Today’s cars-are almost universally shaped like a wedge of cheese, with a high back box and very little rear visibility. Some have even resorted to TV cameras in the rear, the design is so bad. A high window beltline and curving-not flat roof means windows you cannot stick your elbow out of and very little head room area. The window look like gun ports. Even the front is strangely higher. The extreme angle of the front window and front window post placement means you almost have to climb out onto the dashboard to get a good look.
Am I alone in my discomfiture?
Is there no hope for those like me? Do you have any recommendations?

Truthfully, I don’t think that anything manufactured in the past decade or so will meet your wants and needs, so you may be limited to things like Volvos from the era where that make of car had the aerodynamics of a barn door. However, that would mean that your quest for a boxy vehicle with a high roof and large windows will also result in greatly decreased reliability and gas mileage, and greatly increased repair costs. If you are willing to make this trade-off, then an older Volvo may well be your only option.

If you want something new, then perhaps you might want to look at the Scion xB, Nissan Cube, or Kia Soul. All 3 feature a high ceiling and a flat roof. However, their side windows may have a higher sill than you like and the rear visibility of these cars is not that great. If you want a new (or newer) vehicle, these 3 may be your only options, and so some compromise on certain items of your wish list may be necessary.

I think that what you want is a car that conforms to the tradtional “3-box” architecture, with the front of the car being one box, the passenger compartment being the second box, and the trunk area forming the third box. The reason why this type of vehicle architecture disappeared is chiefly a desire for better aerodynamics in order to achieve better fuel economy. And, of course, “style”, which is a cyclical thing, also has a lot to do with it.

Please let us know what turns out to be your ideal car.

I think that the new styling has a lot to do with newer safety standards set by the government and/or Insurance Institute. I agree with you that visibility is poor on many new cars–why isn’t visibility (or lack of) considered a safety issue?

My previous car was a Honda Civic sedan that had excellent visibility all around. (1996-2000 versions). My wife’s Civic (2001-2005 style) has decent visibility, as does my Camry (1997-2001).

Maybe try out some late 90’s/early 2000’s cars–you don’t want to limit yourself to a 25 year old Volvo.

I think the previous answers say it all. My wife had to rent a car recently (Dodge Caliber) and it was a sorry excuse for a vehicle. It was almost like poor visibility was engineered into this POS vehicle.

I agree. You might try and find a car show, sit in a lot of cars, see if any meet your needs. Our prior-generation Forester is excellent in both headroom and visibility, and the new one is only slightly worse, I think. But the combination of styling fashion (narrow windows), front pedestrian safety regs (high front ends), crash protection (more metal, less glass), and fuel efficiency (high rear ends) have combined to cause most cars to have terrible visibility. As for headroom, find a car with height-adjustable seats and no sunroof, and you’ll do OK. The Ford Fusion is good, as is the Mustang (and the visibility on the Mustang is surprisingly good).

What kind of car are you looking for?

Straight from the mouth of a Mass. State cop. The Crown Vic will be sorely missed for it’s exceptional outward visibility. There should still be plenty around along with the Merc. equivalent. Rollover protection and aerodynamics be darn, I agree, outward visibility in many cars are poor. My 02 Prism was excellent as should be the Corolla of that vintage.

Straight from the mouth of a Mass. State cop. The Crown Vic will be sorely missed for it’s exceptional outward visibility.

I know one cop in MA who won’t miss it…He’s driving a black Ford Mustang. Seen him several times on I-93.

It’s costing our town a lot of money by switching…We’ve had reliability issues with the Crown Vic on some of the cars. But one of the biggest savings is those plastic seats in the back and the protective window between the back and the front seats were interchangeable from one year to the next. Some of those seats are 20 years old. Now any new car we have to spend over $1000 extra per police car.

He’s driving a black Ford Mustang.

He’s got nothing on the South Korean cops:

Higher front end is for pedestrian safety, should you happen to hit one
Low roof/window line is for better aerodynamics and, thus, better fuel economy
Higher trunk lid is aerodynamics AND more cargo room

I, for one, LOVE my backup camera on my car. It offers me BETTER visibility than even my old Chevelle; it allows me to see down clear to the ground past my rear bumper. Even my old 99 Civic offered poor rear visibility, compared the the Chevelle, and it was annoying having to open the door to try and gauge how far I am while backing up.

Thanks everyone. VDC is right on target, as an old timer of 62, I insist on the right to drive one of these relics. More- I think the old LeSabre up through 05 is a great design too- the classic old guy car. 3 boxes, I never knew that. I want them back! Fat chance.
It’s good to learn that those high front ends have a reason- pedestrians must be able to make full body contact with the front of the vehicle upon impact. Is that for the driver’s sake or the pedestrians? But reducing visibility is OK? Only a government regulator can make sense of this. As for the camera deal, I think it is proof that a designer team can design a car so badly, they just have to throw up their hands and say, what they heck, we’ll stick a camera in it and call it a luxury option.

I’m thinking about a Kia Optima or Hyundai Sonata, the models before the cheese wedge current style. Actually rented a Kia and its visibility is good except for the front post. Maybe I can get used to that.

Take a look at the Mini Cooper, Nissan Versa sedan, and a Ford Fusion. See if any of them appeal to you.

Your discomforts mentioned i believe are related to safety and perhaps economy
Id go like you said 60’s 70’s 80’s 90’s

Back in 1949 the Nash car company came out with its Airflyte design. It had the lowest coefficient of drag of any car on the U.S. market. It had the looks of an inverted bathtub. The rear window was more like a skylight with the fastback design. It didn’t have the driver visibility of other cars. Since gasoline was inexpensive, the Nash didn’t sell all that well and the 1952 Nash had a more conventional design with much better driver visibility.

Your fancy cop cars are short on versatility. Real versatile cars are “taxis” for the bad guys and not just chase mobiles. Try loading the back with an at large wolfhound. Cops do more than traffic patrol and the CV will be missed if it it’s not ultimately replaced by something similar.

I believe it’s more for pedestrians. If you get hit low(around the knees or lower), then the force will shove you into the windshield, causing more damage.

The camera is an added safety feature, IMHO. Since it’s hard to see everything behind you, it helps. How would you know if your pet suddenly ran behind the car when you’re backing up? Most cars have the camera standard with factory navigation options, though some offer the camera as a stand alone unit that shows in the rearview mirror.

I drive a Mazda Cx-7, a small SUV. It has a REALLY odd angle to it’s front windshield, something like a 66 degree angle on it, but I have no problem seeing out of it. My outside mirrors are adjusted to where I see a car in it before my blindspot monitor activates, the camera allows me to see loads more than I ever could by opening up the door to look where I’m going, I rest my elbow on the window sill on the door comfortably while I drive, and I have pretty good visibility on both sides looking out. I do still have trouble with judging how close I am with the front end, but I can get it pretty good(you see the bottom of the windshield and then the road).

The Ford Fusion is appealing. I will check one out. Thanks JT.
Crown Vics rock, my brother has the Mercury Marquis version. Dagosa, you sound like you have had real life experience of space needs. Are you with law enforcement? Bscar, if 90 degrees is vertical, isn’t 66 degrees a moderate angle? It looks to me like windshields are closer to 45 degrees these days, Am I mistaken?
I have to disclose I am still driving a 97 Oldsmobile 88- which I love, but cannot last- It’s got 240,000 miles on it it, but insists on continuing to run! You guys are helping me get adjusted to the fact that I am going to have to accept their gal-darn architecture, and some are more moderately angled. But just in case, Triedeq, thanks for the info on that 52 Nash.
Robert, in Nashville

2 things:

1)Americans like sedans more than wagons.

2)People of all ages need to fit multiple bags of golf clubs.

Sedans with a high back is a logical step in vehicle design. personally, I think contemporary wagons offer great visibility compared to sedans

I was really happy with a Chrysler 300 rental.

RobertoNashville. "are you with law enforcement ?"
Not presently but was for 10 years. Our town used Crown Victorias exclusively during this time. They have, since my departure, experimented with several others, Chrysler products included. It is a universal complaint for most cops I still see whose department has gone to other models.

some Americans love wagons as opposed to sedans or SUVs but there aren’t many to be found. I wanted another wagon, but I settled for the sedan…c’est la vie.