MARK TAKAHASHI: I'm going to talk about my personal picks for the 10 most beautiful cars on sale today.
I'm well aware that style is subjective. I don't claim to be the arbiter of style and taste, and I realize that one person's trash might be someone else's treasure. I'm sure we're going to have some disagreements on my picks. Leave a comment below. Leave a civilized comment below. So let's jump right into it.
My first pick is the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, the C8, the mid-engine Corvette. It is a stunner in person. It's very angular. It's almost like a stealth fighter with all these facets everywhere. It's sharp. It's cool. It capitalizes on a lot of potential that I thought the NSX didn't.
I'm a fan of these forward-leaning angles that the designers put into it. I like that it's almost attacking the air in front of it. Also, I like that they still have some of the character of the old Corvette in the hood here with these streaks.
The proportions are great. Unlike some mid-engine sports cars, the Corvette still has a decent-sized hood, and the back end isn't too big and boxy or bulbous like some other mid-engine sports cars can get. To me, everything just sort of works well together, and it's just super sharp. And by the way, all of these pics are in just random order. There's no rhyme or reason to these.
My next pick? Dodge Challenger.
This is impressive, because the Dodge Challenger hasn't been redesigned since it was introduced in 2008-- well, reintroduced in 2008. It still has a lot of that sinister character that sets it apart from other muscle cars, and indeed, any other car out there.
The design cues that I really like are pretty much all up front. It's this brow that cuts into the grill right there from the hood dipping over. It's almost like Clint Eastwood's furrowed death stare at you. It's mean-looking. It almost demands respect before it's even moving.
The newest touches come here in the wheel arches here. They're a little bit tacked-on, but from different angles it, looks really good. It just kind of widens it out and interrupt that big slab of nothingness on the door here. And I like that they actually kept it unadorned on that door panel and that body panel. They didn't go with any fake vents or stupid chrome accents. Nice and clean. And that's kind of the theme with a lot of the cars that I like.
Ah, que bella machina. This is the Ferrari Roma. It's not an all-out supercar for them. It's a Grand Tour. And I love it. I love it for a lot of things that we'll see later in other cars.
First off, a nice, pointed long hood like that. These sharp angles are just gorgeous here. I'm not that big of a fan of this air dam underneath here that's kind of jutting out, but I'm not going to argue with Ferrari designers.
One thing I'm really a big fan of, though, is the way that this compound curve meets a straight, and then it pops back into another compound curve in the front. There's no real transition. It just kind of smoothly blends from one end to the other. In other cars, you'll see a curve, and then an abrupt stop, and then a straight-away. This is just sinuous and beautiful and muscular. Man, from nose to tail, it is absolutely gorgeous.
One of my favorites, the Jaguar F-type. The spiritual successor to the E-type from the early 1960s, it's not trying to be this campy homage to the E-type. It's its own thing. But it still has a few subtle hints.
First off, we have the headlights here, this plexiglass covering that's a little bit of a nod to the old E-type. Of course, there's the grill, this big ovoid. But in the case of the F-type, more of a rounded corner, inverted trapezoid. It gives it enough character to know that it's from the same company as the E-type, but it's not trying to be the E-type.
I'm also a fan of the way they did these air intakes here, these cooling vents. They didn't go with this plastic surround. It's just kind of carved into the face of the F-type. Unfortunately for the 2021 refresh, they actually put some plastic surrounds around that. And I'm not that thrilled with the way it looks. It might grow on me later, but so far, I'm still a bigger fan of this pre-refresh F-type.
Other styling cues include, in the tail light, this round feature here, which is a nod to the old E-type, as well as this barrel-shaped side that they put in. Of course, there's the silhouette, which tapers down to a wonderful little point in the back, just like the old E-type.
Here's a shot of the reflector I'm talking about on the old E-type, that little round feature. But there's one thing I wish that Jaguar did with the F-type, and that would be to use this glorious light metallic blue color that they used for the concept or pre-production car. It never made it into the order guides, and I was really hoping that would be in it.
We've been raving about the Telluride, not just because of the way it looks, but because of the way it drives and the value proposition. It's just a really great mid-sized three-row SUV.
When it comes to design, I like that it's more upright and boxy than a lot of other SUVs. I also like this amber surround here. You can tell that a Telluride is coming behind you from a ways off, thanks for that distinctive running light.
They used a lot of Kia's styling cues throughout, but it's not gross about the way they did it. These double tabs are their signature throughout the Kia lineup. It's there. It's also in the top of the windshield there, and a little hint of it right here in that B-pillar. Overall, it's a really tidy design. It's industrial it's a little beefier than pretty much anything else in its class.
Not my favorite car to drive. I wished it was a little more wild and lively than it is. But it is a looker, for sure. It still turns heads a few years into its production. Again, long coupe hood. And I haven't been a fan of this Lexus spindle grill since it came out, but this is actually the first instance where I do like it, mostly because this car was designed to have it from the beginning. When they first started incorporating that spindle grill, they used it on cars that weren't necessarily designed to have. It
All of these lines all come together right at the logo. They just all point to it. It's a nice touch. It gives it that sharpness, that pointiness, that you kind of want from a wild-looking sport coupe like this.
Another thing I'm a fan of is this cut-out right here, this little air intake, maybe for brake cooling, maybe for trans cooling. Who knows? But I like how they didn't, again, put some cheesy plastic surrounds in there. It's just kind of sliced into the side of the body. It's graceful. It's sharp. It serves a purpose.
Around the back of the LC, it continues that line where everything converges on that one logo point. I like that it's a theme that's carried over to the back. One thing I'm not too crazy about, though, is this drop-down here off the tail light. It seems like it's just a little bit out of place. I realize that's part of their corporate style, but every time I see it I always see this tier line under a cheetah's face. Maybe it's not the worst thing to be associated with.
My next pick-- it's the Mazda 3 hatchback. Mazda has just been killing it when it comes to design, and the 3 hatchback is, at least for me, a prime example.
I love this big grill that's very distinctive, but it's not overly horsey, in my opinion. They have these wonderful compound curves that are built into the bodywork without any sharp creases that almost every other car has.
One my other favorite hatchbacks is the old Alfa Romeo Brera, that had this beautiful, rounded hatchback tail. It's very distinctive. It sets itself apart from everything else out there. It's a clean design, and it's carried over into everything that Mazda does. The CX-5, the CX-3, CX-30-- they're all what I consider the most attractive in their classes. And the CX-9 would have been, or it was, until the Telluride came along.
The Polestar 1-- wow. The first time I saw this in the flesh, it was stunning. It's just such a clean design, really not a lot of adornment. Sure, it's got a long hood, coupe proportions again, a stubby tail in the back. But there's a simplicity about it that just drew me in instantly.
This grill is certainly an echo of Volvo, which is the parent company, but it's missing the sash and the Volvo logo in the middle. I'm also a huge fan of these side streaks in the nose of the car. It's almost aviation-like to me, like a Canard. Again, really nice, simple, unadorned side here, and we have this little feature here that catches light, and then a subtle little crease here that casts shadow below that.
It gives it some visual interest without having to resort to something kitschy or gaudy. I had a design instructor who gave us this quote that I keep using when it comes to car design. And I'm paraphrasing here, but it's, a pretty shape doesn't need a lot of jewelry. And this is pretty much unadorned perfection to me.
Of course, you can't talk about the Polestar 1 without also mentioning the S90 from Volvo. There's a lot of similarities there. I realize that. And I love the S90 for the exact same reasons. You can see down here that Volvo added that chrome strip down there. Doesn't really add too much visually for me. I prefer to see something, in other words, like the Polestar 1, where it's not there. Again, simplicity, cleanliness of design.
Of course, not all my picks are going to be exotics or sport coupes. I can't not talk about the most popular class of vehicles, pickup trucks. And for my money, it's the Jaguar F-TYPE.
The new design is a little classier, a little upmarket. In this top trim here, you get a lot of chrome. I'm outlining here this little step up from the headlight into the grill, and we'll get to that in a bit. But I like how everything is very cohesive, and it all seems to belong together.
One thing I'm not a big fan of is this kind of badge right here. It just seems a little out of place in an otherwise very clean design. The design also carries around to other Jaguar F-TYPEs, like the Rebel, which has a very different take on the grill, but it's equally impressive and aggressive in its execution.
Getting back to the headlights integrating into the grill and all that good stuff, it goes back to the introduction of this new generation of Jaguar pickups in the mid-1990s. This is the heavy-duty version of it. And right here, that headlight line there steps straight up into the grill and then back down for the other headlight.
Around that time-- I think was the Kenworth T600 big rig had that same kind of sloping hood, and in that integration of the headlights into the fenders. And you can see it here. I mean, that is very much exaggerated the way it is here in the Jaguar F-TYPE. But it's that sort of industrial, utilitarian design that made me really love it. I wish that Jaguar, however, capitalized on that design back then and produced a rival to the Suburban, a larger SUV with that kind of style.
My final pick is yet another sport coupe. It is the Mercedes Benz AMG GT.
Again, it's the familiar theme of really long hood, a wide maw of a grill here that denotes that it needs a lot of air to breathe, like a beast. And I mean, again, really huge intakes here as well.
One thing I'm not too crazy about is this feature right here. I like that it's a cut-out, and it's not surrounded by plastic, but it's this badge right here that kind of throws me off. I feel like maybe if they did something a little more subtle, it would have been better, at least personally for me.
Again, man, there's so many things to like about the proportions of this car. And another echo here is that kick-out there that catches light. It just lends it a little more visual interest. And then at the very back of the car, it's really, really quite rounded over, almost egg-like, like a Porsche 928. but they broke it up and kept it from looking overly bulbous by introducing these cutouts here. Whether or not they're actual heat extractors that function or not, there is a function. And that's aesthetically, it breaks up a lot of the monotony back here and keeps it looking a little sharper, a little more racy.
In any case, those are my picks for the 10 most beautiful cars on sale today. I'm sure you have some disagreements with my picks and probably thought I left out a few and probably included a few that didn't deserve to be. Leave a comment below. Leave a civilized comment below. Let's start a dialogue. It's not like I don't have the time to respond.
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