A recent comment about beltlines, got me thinking: Why are beltlines so high? Don't the designers know it comes at the expense of visibility?

This article on Slate seems to believe it is because it "looks better." To my mind, this does not work. Take the Camaro for example. 15 years ago, it appeared as if it had a bigger greenhouse. 15 years before that with the IROC era, it appeared as if it had even larger windows. 15 years before that was the beautiful 1970 Camaro so I don't really care what greenhouse it had. But that is the point — I personally would rank the appearance in order of the largest greenhouse (in theory - I couldn't find actual numbers for the window size). I find the 1970 the best, the 1985 second best, the 2000 third best, and the new one last. I get that this is subjective, but visibility shouldn't be.

I guess we have lost our way on viewing visibility and active driver involvement as the first step towards safety. People would rather be closed into a box that drives itself.

The primary reason from the earlier article was this: When considering the proportions of a car, the smaller the upper third is in relation to the lower two-thirds, the sportier it looks. While I understand that the public wants sporty looking cars, can we not have good looking cars or sporty cars without sacrificing visibility? Especially on cars like the Prius or (insert vanilla commuter car / toaster here). I mean - its a Prius. Why does it need to even remotely look sporty? I really do not see the upside of ridiculously high beltlines.

Small side point - I'm sure others have had this experience, but I've ridden in and driven cars where the ridiculously high beltline has actually had a negative impact on ergonomics.