A lot of people give China a bad rap on car design, despite the excellent work that comes out of GM Shanghai and so forth. It’s time that people sat up and paid some real attention. The Changan Raeton CC sedan pictured above is a home-grown design, and it is exceedingly good. Better, in fact, than anything by Ford or Chrysler in the past decade. Go run your eyes over the detailing of this car, and it becomes increasingly clear that a lot of very careful, subtle work has been done here.
The side profile is especially handsome, with excellent RWD luxury sedan proportions, a sleek greenhous and generous axle-dash ratio. Lovely, long wheelbase, with very restrained overhangs, emphasized by the full-length shoulder line running from the grille all the way to the taillight, emphasized by the parallel crease starting in the front fender vent (itself beautiful and delicate), continuing from the headlight. This is an exceptionally good job, and 90+% of major OEMs don’t do this well. The wheels are well-sized and beautifully sculpted, with an asymmetric twist and hook — this is the sort of thing you see on a French concept car. The greenhouse is beautiful, and they are right to show off a delicate-looking A-pillar that flows over and back, with a well-executed varying-width chrome accent surround - this is something that Buick does very well. The C-pillar is strong, but sleek, carrying the roofline all the way rearward for a clean fastback. The rocker panels also show some thought, but what I like are the very clean, sharp wheel cutouts and slim edging - very fine, not Ford clunky. There is literally nothing wrong here to detract from the styling. Note how the front brake intake lower edge flows up to reinforce the front fender wheel form - fantastic! Finally, note the suicide rear doors a la Rolls - the Chinese can do it but not Lincoln. Overall, the side view is completely coherent and beautifully-executed. 11/10 A++ side
The rear view is also nicely done. Just look at those taillights! I love the use of form here, how it wraps and flows to a little bit of a spoiler. And it’s so sleek. And how delicate are the break lines on the rear bumper? Lovely. Also, see the soft, gentle crease above the rocker panel - no slab sides here! Even the roofline to trunkline to rear spoiler is a continuous form and edge. The only criticism of the rear is that the trunklid is overdone and overly sharp. In particular, the light bar projects too much from the trunklid, where it should have been flat and integrated. 9-/10 B+ rear
Finally, the front - the grille is flawed, and obviously so, with too much going on, and a big chunky insert where the rest of the car is so restrained and gentle. Nevertheless, look at how the headlights integrate into the grille, with an echoing trim at the corners - at least they committed to the design. And even so, the headlight/grille shape emphasizes width, stability and speed. The little grille lower corner cuts start the line that goes under the brake intakes, which are beautifully formed and shape the fender. Finally, the hood has this interesting reverse power dome sculpting that actually adds length to the look, extending the flow from the mirrors all the way to the nose. In this car, the logo really pulls the entire car forward. 9/10 A- front
29/30 A+ Overall
Really, it’s amazing just how good the Chinese have gotten in such little time. This is a first of many to come. And I still can’t get over how good the side view is. Incredible.
Ford, in particular, should be running scared. This is the Lincoln Continental concept sedan that was created for pennies on the dollar. If the Chinese can make this in-house, why does Lincoln need to exist?