Are SUVs and Crossovers Killing Stylish Car Design?

by AutoExpert   |  31 May, 2024

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Hey gearheads, let's talk about SUVs and crossovers – are they the end of stylish cars?

We all see them everywhere – those high-riding beasts dominating the roads. Super practical, sure – all that space, perfect for hauling the family and their stuff, maybe even tackling a light off-road adventure. And with all-wheel drive getting more common, they handle bad weather like champs. No wonder they're so popular!

Car Design

But let's be honest, sometimes these things aren't exactly lookers. Kinda like a super-functional toaster oven – it gets the job done, but wouldn't win any design awards. Imagine a fancy car show in the future, all pristine and elegant, and then...bam! A whole bunch of SUVs parked there. Not quite the picture, right?

Here's the thing that worries us car designers: with all this focus on practicality, will beautiful car design just become a thing of the past? Could some marketing whiz with a computer program just churn out generic, "commercially viable" designs that prioritize sales over soul?

Car Design

Now, wait a minute, before you all jump ship – there's a ray of hope! Enter the crossover. Unlike the classic boxy SUVs, crossovers seem to be finding a sweet spot between function and form. Some, like the Subaru Crosstrek (basically a lifted Impreza hatchback), are basically cars with a bit more ground clearance. Subaru might not be known for head-turning designs, but others definitely are.

Car Design

Take the Buick Envista, for example. the five-door hatchback is all about cargo space and the same is applicable for Ioniq 5 from Hyundai and Lyric from Cadillac. Still, they like to call themselves SUVs.

This love affair with stylish cars isn't new. Think back to the muscle cars and personal luxury coupes of the 60s and 70s – people were happy to trade some practicality for a head-turning ride. Remember the original Ford Mustang? It took everyday parts and wrapped them in a gorgeous body that made everyone stop and stare.

Car Design

Fast forward to 2008, and BMW throws a curveball with the X6. Same platform as the boxy X5, but with less space, fewer seats, and a sloping roofline for way more swagger. Many thought it was a niche market flop, but here we are 16 years later and the X6 is still kicking, with smaller, even more stylish siblings like the X4 and X2.

Competitors like Mercedes, Audi, and Porsche followed suit with their own versions of these "coupe-style" SUVs, proving that people are willing to pay a premium for good looks, even in a practical vehicle.

Car Design

So, here's the good news for car designers – even in the age of super-functional SUVs, people still value a well-designed car. They might be willing to sacrifice some cargo space for a ride that turns heads. That "better looking" option still matters, and that's where you come in! So keep on sketching, sculpting, and designing those beautiful machines – the world (and your job security) needs you!
 

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