8 New Car Trends that Automakers Should be Ashamed Of
We live in an age when bad automotive trends are spreading like wildfire, with manufacturers inexplicably copying one another helping proliferate them, despite their obvious downsides. It’s as if originality is not as important anymore, and most automakers are just content to just reimagine what other companies are doing, if whatever it is that they are doing seems successful.
Fake Exhausts - Audi A6
Many automakers are guilty for putting pieces of trim on the rear bumper of some of their cars that try to imitate the look of actual exhausts.
One of the worst offenders here is the new Audi A6 whose fake exhausts really do look like the real thing, until you come in closer to analyze them.
Why do manufacturers do it? Do they think it fools buyers that the car has sporty poke-through-the-bumper exhausts even though it doesn’t, or maybe they are there should owners ever want to invest in a custom exhaust that is rerouted through there - you know, like some really cheap cars have a plastic cover in front of the place where the radio should be.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi A6
Fake Vents - Honda Civic
The only other automotive trend that is as bad as fake exhausts is putting fake vents on the body, even though they serve no functional purpose.
To be fair, though, this is not as new a trend and it’s been going on for decades, but more recently these have gone over the top, with bigger and bigger ones.
There are so many offenders there that it’s genuinely hard to pick one, but the distinction for the worst ones has to go to the Honda Civic, not even the Type R - just the regular Civic has what appear to be meshes that let air through, but are actually completely or ninety percent closed off.
Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Civic
Huge Grilles that are Mostly Blocked Off - Toyota Avalon
Similar to fake vents, but definitely a category in and of itself, big grilles that don’t really serve the purpose of letting air through are another trend we’d like to see abolished.
And, since the grille is one of the main things you look at when viewing the front of a car, it’s actually easier to spot where the fake parts are.
You’d be surprised to note that it’s not Audi (a known offender in the field of pointless, oversized grilles) but Toyota that makes the worst one, which it put on the front of it latest Avalon sedan. Granted, it’s not the most ridiculous and pointless looking one out there (it actually works with the design), but it’s just too big and if the car doesn’t need it, you should really look for a different styling solution.
Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Avalon
Fake Carbon Fiber - Honda Civic Type R
This particular offense, the use of fake carbon fiber, is probably the most annoying one for me, right up there with fake exhausts.
The industry has gone crazy with putting carbon fiber patterns on just about everything - the car may be a $10,000 city car, but it will have fake carbon weave on its exterior pieces of plastic trim, as well as on some of the ones inside - some cars even have the fake weave pattern printed onto their upholstery which is just plain daft. Offenders? How about the the aforementioned Honda Civic Type-R, already an offender in the fake vents category.
Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Civic Type R
No Physical Controls for Basic Functions - Tesla Model 3
Manufacturers are thankfully starting to get their act together after discovering touchscreens and thinking that they can remove all buttons and have all functions accessible through the infotainment.
That is such a bad idea from a safety standpoint that most are now moving away from it, but there are still cars out there whose volume, climate controls, or just general basic functions are only accessible through the screen.
One of the biggest offenders here is Tesla, the manufacturer that kind of set this trend in the first place - in, say, a Model 3, the only physical button you have is for the hazard lights, and it’s awkwardly placed on the headliner, in between the two overhead interior lights.
Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3
Laggy Touchscreens - Current Honda Infotainment System
But at least Tesla’s touchscreens cannot be accused of poor touch response - they are truly excellent in this respect, better than pretty much any other rivals.
So at least Tesla has tried to make the most of the solution it’s chosen by not skimping on screen quality.
However, there are other manufacturers out there trying the same approach (removing as many buttons and making the functions only accessible through the screen) and they’re using screens that either don’t register your touch, or they take too long to load or have a case of excessive menuitis. Take any current Honda as an example of how not to do an automotive touchscreen infotainment - their solution is laggy, confusing and some ways behind most rivals.
Confusing Gear Selectors - Honda Insight
What was so wrong about the traditional selector for automatic gearboxes - the most common is a stick mounted on the steering column or one located somewhere between the front seats.
You pull on it, click through its positions to get the car into gear - pulling towards you usually gets it in Drive or somewhere near, while pushing away from you puts the car in reverse and ultimately in its Park position and it’s all very straightforward. But but some manufacturers want their solution to be different just for the sake of it (with no apparent benefits to end user experience), like the new Honda Insight with its confusing buttons which don’t seen to have logic behind their layout - they just look kind of cool, but in terms of functionality leave a lot to be desired and Honda is definitely not the only offending manufacturer here. You also have Jeep and its weird gear selection dial.
Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Insight
Coupe Crossovers/SUVs - BMW X6
Please, automakers, cease this ridiculous trend of making an SUV that has the roofline of a fastback.
We wholeheartedly blame BMW for starting this trend with the original X6 high rider, a trend which their arch rivals from Mercedes have copied (to the letter).
Other manufacturers (realizing that the look launched by BMW isn’t what most people would call beautiful) have tried different approaches to the formula that have resulted in vehicles that are far easier on the eye while still retaining the same base philosophy.
Read our full review on the 2018 BMW X6