Hooniverse Asks: Will Any Wildly Styled Contemporary Car Stand the Test of Time?

Look, I’m going to come right out and say it; I think that the Lexus NX is one uber-fugly, overly ornate, trying-to-hard-to-make-an-impression design. I mean, there’s nothing subtle about the car, from its dreidel – or whatever they’re calling it – grille, to the overwrought tail lamps, it’s a study in automotive excess. The good thing about that is, in a decade or so, we most likely won’t have to be bothered even seeing it.
Have you noticed that? It seems that the flavor of the moment styled cars fade away very quickly, while the more classically-penned designs stand the test of time and can still be found on the road. It’s just like any other fashion – I mean, when was the last time you saw anyone non-ironically wearing parachute pants, and did you beat them to death for doing so?
I don’t think that trend has any likelihood of ending any time soon, but then again, I could be wrong. I’ll admit, I was mistaken in thinking that cat thongs were going to be a thing, but I think on this I’m on solid ground. Today I want you to try and prove me wrong. Do you think that there is any crazy-styled mainstream car produced today that will be aesthetically appreciated down the road?
Image: Motor Trend

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    I think the large majority of the styles will be appreciated down the road, but many of the styles will probably be gone. The whole “flame surfacing” thing and giant tail lights will probably go away.

  2. Manic_King Avatar

    Timelessness is important in design. Can’t really think of a current wildly designed model which will look good in 20 years time. Lambos, Ferraris etc. will be appreciated because they are rare and expensive, not because of their wild look. A bit like with last gen. Countach.

  3. Alff Avatar

    My fear is that auto design will continue down the path toward increasing homogeneity to the point that we recall with fondness the distinctions between current Honda, Mercedes and Hyundai mid-size sedans.

  4. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    I think many of the Audis have a better shot at being well-appreciated far into the future. The Lexus, not so much.
    My ultimate fear is that the plastic webbing in the grilles will get brittle and break over time and they will look really, really bad.

    1. quattrovalvole Avatar

      I really like how Audis can look expensive yet understated at the same time. But the problem with its design is that different models look too similar to each other. I have a hard time identifying an A4, A6, or A8 from a distance. Same story with the Q5 and Q3. It’s a case of same sausage, different lengths

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Exactly that! The result: I’m not even bothered to try to distinguish them anymore. But cars like the A5/A7 are a true definition of timeless to me: Right on the edge between pleasantly restrained organic proportions and boring lines. They balanced it well.

  5. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    Yes. A select few will stand the test of time as examples of their breed. Be it as a curiosity like the Lexus styling, probably on a coupe, or the current generation Fusion as an exciting yet sensible design. I’ll also count the current Mustang/Camaro/Challenger as wildly styled in the context of 2015. While perhaps not the high watermarks, they will be well respected.

  6. stigshift Avatar

    I think the CTS coupe will age well.

  7. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I am not sure I’d call it “wildly styled,” and I am uncertain if it will truly stand the test of time, but I think the appearance of the K900 will be more appreciated down the line than it is today. I think it is a very tasteful and elegant shape.

    1. CSM Avatar

      “I think it is a very tasteful and elegant shape.”
      –Indeed. Derived from Lexus, BMW, and even Buick. Total lack of originality or freshness.

  8. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I could’ve nominated the CX3, if they only would have properly resolved that goofy color break in the C-pillar. http://roa.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/14/47/980×551/546fc10497e69_-_034mazdacx-3-lg.jpg

  9. Kiefmo Avatar

    My thinking is that the only cars that are going to stand the test of time will be those that are always expected to be wild in styling — exotic supercars.
    There will, of course, always be cues related to the era in which the car was penned — the hard, straight lines of the Countach come to mind — but because these exotics are expected to be wild, their styling does a better job of still looking good long after its more pedestrian contemporaries look dated.

  10. Sjalabais Avatar

    Not sure how “wild” this is, but Volvo has found a nicely flowing design language – particularly the rear ends do well. The XC60 is spot on, there’s nothing I’d change, but driving behind a V40 gives me great aesthetic pleasure every time.
    It’s the first time since the Olden Days of Cubism that I fully endorse Volvo styling, even though it is a whole different animal. As a consumer, I’d probably go for a Subaru Forester instead, preferring utility to aesthetics.

  11. Monkey10is Avatar

    The appreciation of the great Citroens from the 1950s-1990s suggests that this can be done right; even at a level well below ‘supercar’.

  12. Monkey10is Avatar

    Two cars from other manufacturers which drew a gasp when launched for their unconventional approach, but which now seem to have settled into a handsome maturity:
    Fiat Coupe (an early Chris Bangle work)
    Ford Focus Mk1 (appropriately termed ‘edge design’)

  13. JohnComposMentis Avatar

    I think some of the fastback designs that are widely criticized today will be more appreciated in the future. Examples include the Porsche Panamera, Honda Crosstour, Acura ZDX, and BMW X4 and X6. The view that these cars are ugly seems to have taken on a life of its own, with a certain critical mass of opinions expressing dislike, and then no one wanting to be the one who says, “You know, I kind of like it.” There are obviously a few such brave individuals out there, since I regularly see examples of all of these on the road.
    And yes, the fastback SUVs are less practical than the squared-off versions of essentially the same vehicle, but the same is true in other cases not held to the same standard, e.g., the relatively spacious Honda Civic 4-door compared to the 2-door with its cramped rear seat.

  14. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    If “Wild” can be translated into “putting a lot of effort into” styling, then I genuinely believe, loathe as I am to admit it, that the Range Rover Evoque will be a sought-after machine for years to come, possibly one day becoming iconic.
    The Evoque is the antiNX. Lexus just threw a bunch of ideas at a sketchbook, whereas TATA spent the equivalent effort in a rather more thoughtful way, ingesting less LSD while doing so.

  15. mr smee Avatar
    mr smee

    Despite every car having wildly different headlights, side-sculpting, wheels, etc. There is a strange ‘sameness’ to so many cars, and especially SUVs. So, cleaner designs like recent Audis and KIAs really stand out. I do like the Lexus IS though, I think rear 3/4 view is excellent, and viewed from the front 3/4 (never mind the grille) a closer look reveals they brought a ‘shoulderline’ back to car design. I also quite liked the KIA 900, then noticed it’s essentially a copy of the 3rd gen Lexus GS, a pretty elegant car that looks better every year.

  16. CapitalistRoader Avatar

    It’s the Invicta of the 2010s:

  17. Rodzilla Avatar

    In my opinion, most modern cars have no long term appeal. They are either cookie-cutter jellybeans, or, as you stated, wildly over exaggerated one-offs. I can’t think of any vehicle manufactured in the last 10 years that will have the longevity of, say, the 55-6-7 Chevy, the old Caddys, the early Impalas, etc. Sad.