: Complaint: Unattractive lines that intersect sheet metal

02-14-11, 11:27 AM
The Chevy Sonic gets a lot of praise for being a decent looking car, at least in the Yaris/Aveo/Versa class of vehicles. Why? Because it looks like a Volvo S60 (that’s been squished into the wheelbase of a bicycle). I do, however, have one major gripe.



The arrows are pointed at three visually annoying cut lines where the door, hood, a-pillar, and front fender attempt to meet. The designer’s original intent was for your eyes to start at the grille above the headlight and flow upward along the bulge on the hood, then up the a-pillar and over the door where it finishes in the rear.

Its impossible to look at the Sonic without noticing these awkward and misplaced gaps. Perhaps its a necessity of cost-efficient manufacturing. A Sonic in white or any color brighter than black will make this brutally apparent on the road. Manufacturing tolerances are likely to worsen the problem.


The E93 BMW 3-series convertible, like most cars with folding metal convertible roofs, has the same problem.


The appeal of German car design is the purposeful initiation and completion of every line, making the car look clean, purposeful, and strong.
The E93 an exception to German cleanliness, with a Sebring-like trunk lid that awkwardly eats into the rear quarter. The trunk lid line (bottom arrow) ends awkwardly in the middle of the C-pillar, visually disconnecting it from the rest of the car. Additional creases and lines on the roof facilitate the folding mechanism but meet imperfectly with the B-pillar and rear glass.


For reference, here’s the 2007 Sebring convertible. The similarities are unfortunate.


Infiniti did a much better job of integrating the roof. The trunk lid draws a line that directly connects with the rear quarter glass. The folding crease on the roof of above the B-pillar matches the line where the door glass meets the rear quarter. The C-pillar is perfectly matched to the height of the rear glass. Because the convertible’s rear quarter glass is larger, it looks lighter and airier than the coupe.


02-14-11, 02:01 PM
After a few mud bogging events nobody will be able to notice the difference.

02-14-11, 02:13 PM
My very first reaction, when looking at the picture of the Chevy Sonic, was it looks like my wife's Boston Terrier!

02-14-11, 06:41 PM
Funny you should mention that. I was thinking something similar when I saw a current Acura TSX while driving to Portland last night. While less hideous than other Acuras, the wheel bulges are overdone and out of synch with the rest of the side styling:


The indent on the bottom of the bumper that wraps around to the side looks stupid as well. The original TSX was a sharp-looking car that I would have considered buying at one time. Not this one.

I know automakers like to use bulges over the wheels to suggest power and athleticism, but done badly — as these are — they can ruin the styling of an otherwise decent car. With the CTS, Cadillac shows how to integrate a muscular bulge in the wheel wells within a sharply creased body style:



ted tcb
02-14-11, 07:50 PM
Good points on the broken, misaligned body seams with most folding
hardtops, Jesda.

One that always bothers me is the G6.


The much maligned SC430 had the best roof lines for a folding steel top.
The key was the Lexus' two piece top ... it simply works better than the
3 pc designs.

The two piece top was also more reliable ... less complex.


02-14-11, 08:04 PM
Let's face it the Lexus SC430 looks like it should be driven by the Pillsbury Doughboy!

ted tcb
02-14-11, 08:15 PM
I kind of like it, in a bathtub Porche kind of way.

Needless to say, the XLR kills the SC430 in the style department.