In today’s automotive market, there are a few trends that need to be reevaluated. Car designers are sacrificing things like comfort and safety for the sake of style. The three main trends that seem to be useless, if not, hindering upon the safety and integrity of the vehicle, are low-slung rooftops, over-sized tires and high belt lines.
One trick automakers implement to create what they perceive as more aesthetically pleasing is to lower the roof line on mid to large sedans & crossovers to produce a sleeker-looking silhouette. However, this design is proving to be a flaw rather then a simple compromise.
Drivers and passengers alike are forced to duck down low in order to avoid banging their heads on the ceiling or roof pillars. This inconvenience was once reserved to fast, sport & muscle cars. But now, designers are trying to recreate that same look in sedans and crossovers. The result is discomfort and awkward entry and exiting of the vehicle.
If you are over four feet tall, forget about it. You should not have to duck down low to avoid the ceiling or roof pillars of a medium or large-size sedan. The whole point of a sedan is to be roomy, spacious and convenient. But in today’s models passengers are having to slouch to avoid hitting their heads on these new low-slung rooftops.
Another very popular trend making headway in today’s automotive market is big, over-sized tires. The idea is that they will grip the road better. But for an economy car the design is impractical. The tires are much more expensive.
The bigger the tire, the smaller the sidewall, which leads to less durability. The tire wears faster and must be replaced more often, which becomes very costly. Tires are becoming so large that spares and jacks are no longer included standard because of the cost and weight.
Some of these over-sized tires are being marketed as “run flat” tires. These tires have over-sized, thick sidewalls. The positive aspect is that these tires are indeed more durable and tough than its contemporaries, but the negative is that it causes the steering of the vehicle to be too tight and sharp on turns, resulting in an uncomfortable, unenjoyable, if not, jarring ride.
Another trendy design many automakers are following is high belt lines. The idea is to make sedans and crossovers look sporty by raising the line. But you cant make an economy car look like a Lamoborghini. Though they do try by giving cars with regular-sized tires boxy, bulky wheel wells and lifted belt lines.
The result is tiny windows that compromise visibility and proportions that often prove problematic. In effect, manufacturers are trading safety for style by creating gigantic blind spots. This is why many cars today are coming out with optional, if not, standard features of rear-view cameras, parking sensors and lane-departure avoidance systems.
The real question is how stylish is TOO stylish? Automotive designers are opting for visual appeal over safety and comfort in today’s market. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Trends come and go. The low-slung roofs, high belt lines, over-sized wheel wells and gigantic tires will eventually lose their appeal as with every popular look, and some new trend will be their to takes its place.
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