1996 Lexus ES 300: Elbow Friendly
September 25, 2012
My favorite part about driving our long-term 1996 Lexus ES300 is how easy it is to hang my elbow out the window. This low beltline, combined with the Lexus' thin A-pillars, make for a very open-feel driving experience. It may seem trivial, but in this era of rising beltlines in cars, it's a sense that's getting harder and harder to duplicate. Many cars these days make you feel as though you are riding in a bathtub.
For some, that high-beltline "bathtub" design is actually a desirable feature. Consumers like all that metal surrounding them, said a Cadillac design executive in a 2010 AARP article, "They feel safer, even if that isn't necessarily the case."
In the same article, a Ford safety director pointed out that the high beltline on a 2011 Ford Taurus was one of its most attractive features. Not to me.
Still, some exterior features, such as larger A-pillars, do help strengthen the car in an accident. The ironic part is that they also reduce visibility.
What do you think of cars with high beltlines?
Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 149,367 miles