Throughout the Style Smackdown series I will be ranking cars in their respective segments. Where others judge on cornering prowess, interior comfort, and value for money, I judge on one factor: STYLE.
Tonight the battle is between full-size sedans.
#1: Chrysler 300 - Before those upstart Lincoln kids came around, the 300 was the original Bentley ripoff. Just kidding, Bentley wishes they could look this good. Although I have noticed Rolls-Royce has been using spare 300 headlights on the Ghost.
#2: Toyota Avalon - Toyota stumbled their way onto a good design with this one, an they stumbled elegantly. The Avalon works in all the ways the Camry doesn’t. Although Toyota is apparently using leftover chrome foglight surrounds from 2000's Camries.
#3: Dodge Charger - I’m not quite sure how I feel about the Charger. Dodge’s crosshair grille is a great design, and those taillights are bold and elegant. But the body has always bugged me; I don’t much like the scalloped detail on the doors, and the body looks weirdly droopy from the side. There’s a thinness to it; it almost looks too long for it’s height/width.
#4: Buick LaCrosse - The LaCrosse is the opposite of the Impala; the styling works in spite of the shape. There are a lot of elements I like about the LaCrosse; the handsome fascia is wide and low, and the taillights are clean and elegant. But the swoop on the rear haunches seems pasted on, and the greenhouse is an odd shape with the upswept beltline. It’s really a shame, since the details are so great.
#5: Kia Cadenza - In concept, the Cadenza should be a winner. Kia’s Tiger-nose grille, signature quad foglights, and unique z-motif in the Cadenza’s headlights and taillights. But the execution is a bit lacking. The foglights don’t work as well as on the Sportage, and the large swaths of empty sheetmetal are jarring - especially in white.
#6: Chevrolet Impala - The Impala works I think in spite of the bland styling. The shape of the body is really clean and classic; pretty muscular. The double Chevy grille has never looked good, but it’s worked in here a little better. All that said it’s a bland design; there’s very little here to catch the eye.
#7: Ford Taurus - I really can’t think of anything to say. It’s a car? I think?
#8: Nissan Maxima - There is so much wrong with this design I don’t really know where to begin. For starters the grille is hideous; their “v-motion” design is one of the worst on the market today, and I hate how there’s no delineation between it and the headlights. I don’t mind how the fenders wrap around the foglights, but more needs to be done in that area to make it work better. The u-shaped chrome strip around the grille is just a terrible idea, and everything about it is so thick. There’s a mile of sheetmetal above the wheels, and the bodywork just looks heavy - like it was carved out of clay. It might sound contradictory after saying that, but I like the muscularity of it. I don’t mind the faux floating roof, although it seems like they could have done more with it, and the taillights are cool.
#9: Hyundai Azera - I don’t really get the Azera. Not only from a design standpoint, but I just don’t know where it fits in in the lineup. If you look at the design, which I try to avoid, it’s basically just a stretched and massaged Sonata. From 5 yeas ago. But it’s kind of a mess. The headlights and grilles conspire to sneer at you, and