Sunday, March 9, 2014

Design Analysis: An Emerging Roof Design Trend

The Nissan GT-R, Kia Soul, Range Rover Evoque, Mini Paceman. A super car, a compact, a CUV and an even smaller CUV, in other words four cars with seemingly nothing in common. However, a case can be made that all four feature particularly striking design. Further observation reveals that all four share one particular design element that plays a vital role in setting up their look, the way the roof slopes right after the A-Pillar. The GT-R was one of the first cars to start the trend of having the highest point of the car being right at the A-pillar and then having the roof drop down towards the rear in a straight line. While some might criticize it for giving the GT-R a bulky appearance it certainly works to create a menacing design that is the GT-R. The design element works even better when applied to a wagon shape creating a sportier than typical profile. The Soul was a breakout star for Kia, easily outselling the second generation Scion xB and the Nissan Cube. Aside from its pricing and practicality the Soul's fresh design certainly set it apart from the boxy competition that feature a level roof design. Deciding to not mess with success the second generation Soul features a very similar general profile. Struggling to make a big impact with the traditionally shaped Freelander and LR2, Land Rover went with a more daring design for the Evoque creating a highly desirable product. Once again, the sharply sloped roof gives the Evoque sporty proportions missing from the Freelander and LR2 and sets it apart from its competition as well.. The Mini Paceman as well uses a similar roof design to convert the already fairly well designed Countryman into a stylish coupe CUV. Expect to see more wagons adopting this roof design in the near future, perhaps even filtering down to other segments. The short lived Saab 9-5 actually applied this design element to a four door sedan shape to create a very unique look that unfortunately never had a chance to make an impact as the brand closed shop.

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