Can't believe how much the side view looks like a 3 series sedan. Actually the Civic looks a lot better in these pics than earlier ones. I know it's off topic but figured you'd be curious. http://www.geocities.com/vtecing2000/civic2001/
Yes, Honda is forsaking the aftermarket crowd in favor of the HUGE family sedan crowd. We won't get a hatch, but probably another Coupe Si. Coupe's pretty ugly though, and Macpherson struts up front? Come on. Nice match for the drum brakes in the rear.
From other pics i've seen, the Civic looks like TL in the front (with a Mazda Protege chrome strip on the grille). Yeah, the rear is total Mitsubishi (esp. the lights). Even the side, with the character line is Mitsu.
Thing is, Honda will blow Mitsu out of the water in terms of sales. That's gotta make the Mitsu guys pissed!
What is it with car styling these days? There are hardly any new designs that are a quantum leap over the previous models. Either you do it, and get something wacked like the new Eclipse, or you go stale/safe and get the new Civic.
Toyotatech, you forget the Celica, Echo, Prius, and MR Spyder. Toyota's hardcore into new design, and they're the only ones lately doing anything which is both attractive and unique.
There's the Ford folks trying to overcompensate for going overboard with the curves by going all 'new edge', but their Cougar, Mustang, and Focus cars don't quite pull the look together the way the Celica does. Other than Ford, though, there's Chrysler doing new suff with retro styling (PT Cruiser) and don't forget VW's Beetle.
Ford's got a T-Bird in the works, as well, which looks to follow the old-school look.
I'm just going to assume you meant Japanese/German auto design, though, since domestics don't count and nobody cares about them, right?
Celica/Echo/Spyder were all a special project by Toyota to appeal to younger customers. They had watched their typical customer age get older and older in recent years and decided that they needed something fresh...
So - they started a team called the "Genesis Group" which was given freedom of design not seen in Toyota for at least a few years.
I have heard that there was some corporate dissapointment with the results (Celica/Echo/Mr2-Spyder) and that the Genesis group was "disbanded"... Too bad - maybe we won't be seeing any more "radical" designs from Toyota for a while.
I was very impessed with how they managed to keep the weight down on those models. The MR2-Spyder is so light that it offers performance comparable to the IS300 but with only 138hp. The Celica is "light enough" that it offers IS300 performance with 180hp.
I think the Celica has done fairly well, but the other two need some work. For the Echo, I wish they retained the original design of the Vitz/Yaris...it doesn't look as awkward. As far as the new MR2 is concerned, I wished Toyota would've gone back to the original MkI and used a more wedge-like shape with pop-up headlights, plus it would've had *some* semblance of a trunk and T-tops! Oh, and the 2ZZ-GE would've been nice too...with a 6-speed or a sequential.
[This message has been edited by JW (edited August 23, 2000).]
You're right--Toyota has been hitting a few styling homers with the new Celica. The MR Spyder is iffy; the concept is great (lightweight=speed) but styling is a toss-up. The Echo...well, let's just say that some of us are a little embarassed around here!
Anyway--TEG--the "genesis" group was disbanded after the not-warm American reception of the Echo. I agree that the Yaris/Vitz is a cute, great little car, but us Americans tend to see hatchbacks as downmarket and cheap. I'd rather buy the hatch than the sedan, though.
When i was talking about warmed-over designs, I was talking about cars that barely looked any different than the previous model: '96 and '01 Civics, basically any new Chrysler product, BMW sedans (can anyone tell a 3 and a 5 series apart at a glance?), etc.
The retro-craze has been wearing thin on me for a long time now. Chevy's new Monte Carlo is a monstrosity (El Camino???), the new SSR pickup doesn't light my fire, etc etc. Even the new T-Bird doesn't appeal (targetted toward old guys, i think).
Question: have we hit a styling plateau?
Remember such knockouts as the '91 Nissan 300ZX, '91 Maxima, etc etc? When will we get that renaissance?
Everything in life is a rollercoaster. You have your high points and your low points. Can't have great designs every year. Besides, we need some bad/ugly ones to make the beautiful ones stand out. If they all look good then nothing is special anymore.