• C-Pillar Design Comparison: Lexus RX Vs. Nissan Maxima

If you’ve been following us lately, you probably noticed our new focus on comparisons. They helped us conclude the new Focus RS is a better alternative to the Golf R, and that the Porsche Boxster has the upper hand over the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Also, comparing the Focus RS and the 2015 Mustang made us realize Ford is brave enough to let use choose between two fantastic and highly desirable performance cars. If you enjoyed those, than be prepared for more, but until we roll out our next comparo, we will take a closer look at the 2016 Nissan Maxima and 2016 Lexus RX.

Confused? Than let me say that this isn’t a regular comparison. That would be impossible since the two come in different shapes and sizes, and, more importantly, compete in completely different segments. So what do the Maxima and the RX have in common, you may ask? Well, besides being made by Japanese manufacturers, these new models share a common design feature, which seems rather awkward with both cars having been introduced at the New York Auto Show. Keep reading to find out more about it.

Continue reading for the whole story.

Anatomy Of A Blacked-Out C-Pillar

Don’t let the caption fool you, this isn’t one of John D. Voelker’s mystery novels, but the specific design feature that puts both the Nissan Maxima and the Lexus RX in a rather unusual affair. If you haven’t noticed it yet, take a closer look at the C-pillars adorning both vehicles. Notice how the blacked-out piece extends toward the rear windscreen and how they begin from where the waistline climbs upward to form the muscular rear fenders? It could also help to imagine that the Maxima’s rear quarter window was actually black. If that were the case, its C-pillars would be almost identical to the RX’s. So what exactly happened here? Did Nissan steal the idea from Lexus or was it the other way around?

2015 Hyundai i20 High Resolution Exterior
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neither the Maxima nor the RX are the first cars to employ blacked-out C-pillars

Well, none of these scenarios are valid, as neither the Maxima nor the RX are the first cars to employ blacked-out C-pillars for a floating roof effect. I didn’t spend too much time documenting which cars have this feature, but I know for a fact the Hyundai i20 wears such C-pillars. What’s more, what Nissan did with the Maxima was to enhance a feature already made famous by the GT-R, which has both the A- and B-pillars finished in black. Not to mention Nissan has meddled with the concept in the past on the production Murano, Friend-Me Concept and the Resonance Concept. On the flipside, blacked-out C-pillars are a first for a Lexus and seemingly a natural evolution of the previous design, with its sharpened version of BMW’s trademark Hofmeister Kink.

The Floating Roof Trend

That said, the point of this comparison is not to discover who copied who, but rather point out that the floating roof is becoming a trend among mass-produced vehicles. The concept not only gives the vehicle a more dynamic profile, but also a futuristic, canopy-like appearance. And since people like their cars to look sporty and futuristic, it’s a trend it will likely catch on with most automakers pretty soon.

Lexus RX

2016 Lexus RX
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Learn more about the 2016 Lexus RX in our full review here.

Nissan Maxima

2016 - 2017 Nissan Maxima
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Find out more about the 2016 Nissan Maxima in our detailed review here.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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