Look-a-like: Renault Talisman and…

Renault Talisman is a very good-looking car, no two ways about it. It manages to look imposing and elegant (well, aside maybe from the running-mascara daylights) while at the same time retaining a clear family resemblance to the more swoopy Renault designs such as the Twingo or Clio thanks to the imposing diamond on its grille. However, there is one element of the car’s design that to me always looked too similar to one of its direct competitors, namely the front lights.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Genesis New York Concept and…

Genesis New York Concept

When the deliciously aggressive-looking Genesis New York Concept made its debut I was really impressed. Having been spun off its parent Hyundai brand Genesis needed to make an emphatic statement of intent, and the New York Concept was just that. And while I could not escape the nagging feeling that Hyundai had been there before, a quick browse through their concept back-catalog yielded nothing. Maybe I was wrong?

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Look-a-like: Renault Kadjar and…

Renault Kadjar

Renault Kadjar is, by all means, fully deserves the sales success it has enjoyed thus far. It is well positioned within the market, offering a compelling, family-friendly package draped in an attractive skin that fully embraces the swoopy style adopted under Renault’s chief designer Laurens van den Acker. To me, it may actually be one of the best-looking cars in its segment, but whenever I look at it from its side I just can’t shake off how much it’s window line, with its up-kick midway through the rear door, reminds me of…

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Look-a-like: Honda CR-V and…

Honda CR-V

With the new CR-V around the corner it’s worth looking at the current model, and seeing how Honda cemented its standing as one of the best-sellers model in its class. The first two generations were pretty utilitarian cars, with looks to match their functionality, no more. Honda successfully injected some style into the third generation, but its the fourth, current generation that finally completed the leap from utilitarian to stylish family runabout. Part of the successful visual overhaul was the rear of the car, where the model’s trademark upright lamps evolved into a much more attractive shape, one that the customers instantly found alluring partly because they were already familiar with it.

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Look-a-like: Maserati Levante and…

Maserati Levante 2

Ever since the Maserati Levante made its debut I’ve felt that it was a good idea, badly executed. In fact, the whole design seems like a lot of nice design ideas (the grille, the slit-like headlights, the fastback profile, the rear haunches) that have been spread a bit thin over an awkward shape, taking away much of what made the Kubang concept that proceeded it great.

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Look-a-like: Audi A4 Allroad and…

audi-a4-allroad-uk-deliveries-june-6

Ever since its design renaissance in the 1990s we’ve gotten used to other carmakers copying Audi’s design ideas, be it the TT’s roofline, the shield grille or LED running lights. Of course, recently it seems that the list of carmakers copying Audi has grown through the addition of… Audi, as the company seems intent to take the “one sausage, different lengths” to new heights, challenged only by Mercedes-Benz. But recently I noticed that the new Audi A4 Allroad is itself very similar to a model from another carmaker…

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Look-a-like: Audi Q2 and…

“Worthy but bland”. “Same sausage, different sizes”. “Jacked-up Avant models”. Audi’s crossovers have been called many things by their detractors over the years, though it never prevented them from selling very well. Eventually, though, Audi got fed up and said “Enough!”, promising that going forward it would develop a distinct design language for its Q-series models. The Q7 was the first test, and it’s pretty much universally agreed-upon that it was a test that Audi failed. So it was with mixture of anticipation and fear that everyone waited for the new, “adventeruous” Q2 to be revealed. Finally, the curtain fell, leading many to proclaim:… Continue Reading …

Return of a bad habit? Chinese copycat designs

Chinese-clone-Changan_CX70-Ford_ExplorerThe Chinese Range Rover Evoque clone Landwind X7 has revived an old habit among Chinese automakers, of whom we had thought they’d have grown up by now and had quit copying foreign car designs. However, last month two of the three all-new models launched in China are blatant copy-paste jobs again. You’d think that especially Changan, the largest of China’s domestic auto brands with almost a million domestic sales last year, would be large enough to have their own design department. But no, they just decided to screw over their own Joint Venture partner Ford by “taking inspiration” from the Ford Explorer for their new Changan CX70 SUV. Especially from the rear ¾ the door profiles, C-pillar and rear side window, the chrome bar between the rear lights look an awful lot like the Explorer. At the front the headlights are a bit more stretched and the grille is a bit thinner, but the placement of the hood is similar and the bottom end of the bumper also. The entire car is a bit narrower, giving it different dimensions, but the resemblance is still remarkable. Maybe it’s a stab at Ford for planning to have the Explorer for the local Chinese market produced by its Jiangling-Ford joint venture which produces its commercial vans and the Everest SUV. Not sure what Ford thinks of this design from the company that produces all other Ford passenger cars including the Edge SUV for the local market, but I don’t think they’re going to make a big deal of it unless Changan starts to export it to the US, which is highly unlikely. And 72 sales in its first month on the market don’t make it an instant blockbuster that could threaten the Explorer either.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Nissan Maxima and…

Nissan Maxima rear

So, your company wants to launch a dynamic, four-door sedan? A car that is aggressive enough for fathers to lust over it, and yet practical enough to carry a family much in the way the ubiquitous crossovers would? You should gather all your best designers, let them at a clean sheet of paper, even let them employ funky details such as a fake floating roof – why not? Just make sure of one thing…

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Look-a-like: Hyundai Sonata and…

When the seventh generation of the Hyundai Sonata came out in 2014 there was a strong sense of disappointment, as the new model seemed to have lost most of what the previous, game-changing generation so special. Gone were the bold swoops and a coupe-like shape, replaced with a more “mature” design that was neither as sophisticated or as original as the best rivals. It is easy to understand what Hyundai was going for, trying to appeal to conservative buyers without alienating those who liked the design of the sixth generation, but it is fair to say the execution should have been better. Consumers noticed and voted with their wallets: the seventh generation has so far been unable to match the annual sales figures of its predecessor.

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