2015 Mazda CX-3 and Its C-pillar

A reader suggested the Mazda CX-3 as being a good example of the phenomenon of the blacked-out C-pillar. 

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Here is the original followed by my hasty remodelling of the car. The way I see it, the c-pillar of the actual car is just painted black. This is what Citroen does on cars such as the C1. The next step is to replace the body-coloured panel with a material that is inherently black and which is as shiny as glass. I can see what drives this but I have yet to find a good example of the theme.

This theme is turning out to be one worth mining. There is nothing as pleasant as a pet hate. I have not turned my attention to the Opel Adam which features a wacky C-pillar. I wonder if….

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

25 thoughts on “2015 Mazda CX-3 and Its C-pillar”

  1. You are quite right to persist, Richard. Satin black paint is not the same as glass, even ‘privacy’ glass. But it seems to have been accepted by the design world that the two are interchangeable and, if there is a difference, the punters are too thick to notice. This is pretty insulting really. The Mazda looks as though an inept home customiser has got to work on it with some masking tape and a Halfords aerosol in order to give his car the fashionable ‘floating roof’ treatment. See his mates scratch their heads.

    Even things like this on my Cube that are supposed to give continuity to the glasshouse sweep irritate me. To work properly, there actually needs to be a physical fold of some sort in exactly the right place. The Nissan has a fold at least, but that little curve where it meets the door window trim spoils it.

    1. Thank you Mark. I must be a dispiriting harbinger to the younger members here that they too will, some day, reach a point where someone else has to tell them what sort of car they drive.

      And, yes, Richard, it is that little curve that bothers me, when I can get my trifocals to focus on it.

  2. Notice the Mazda´s wheel arches. There is a flattish band going all the way around the cut-out. Its not quite flat but seems to be slightly concave so as to make a subtle shadow around the line outside it. What a lot of effort went into those wheel-arch lips. I am not sold on the C-pillar which is out of the same box as the Jaguar XJ though not as egregious. We´ll never know but I guess the Jaguar´s black c-pillar was a corporate mistake and not something that took a long time to consider and execute. Callum was away for a two week holiday, perhaps.

  3. There is a solution to that graphic problem and it is an expensive one. First, the windows need to be frameless and that changes the relation of the doors to the body. Ideally the gap condition between the glass and the body on the rear side window should be repeated forward of the c-pillar to create a consistent line.
    In mitigation, this is far from the kind of oafish careless Citroen tolerate. I would not have picked that small irregularity out. It seems a comprehensible compromise to me.

    1. It´s tolerable. That means if you don´t look too hard you don´t notice it much. However, that´s a low standard. I tolerate the Opel Adam´s C-pillar because it is of a piece with the rest of the car which is evidently not a statement of a philosophic outlook but a call for customers´cash. Mazda didn´t really have to do this as my modified drawing shows very convincingly indeed (harrumph!)

    2. Certainly Mazda aren’t the worst criminals in this respect, but the black crossing both the spoiler and the C Pillar just looks wrong. Not that we’re trying to spoil CX-3 ownership for anyone Chris. At least not like that guy the other day with his comment about Nissan Cubes and hairdressers.

  4. They don’t come more in-your-face than that massive shiny black panel on the Hyundai i20. I was convinced it was going to be a glazing application when seeing the first spy shots. I can only assume that’s what the designer had in mind also. Poor chap.

    1. Hello Grrrt: Welcome to DTW!
      it’s a cracker, isn’t it? The previous car worked better than this. The car doesn’t need this at all. Hyundai have made nice and neat cars that have done well without this kind of nonsense. Fake glazing is the wood applique of our times. Designers should know better. Elsewhere here we’ve shown some great glazed C-pillars from the 80s that actually let light in: the ’86 Granada and ’85 Celica, for example.

  5. Love reading this site now and then, due to the fixations you have on various styling matters, usually from a completely puzzling and rather lofty perspective to my untrained eye. That’s what makes the subsequent amiable chatting back and forth so fascinating to read after each entry until I’ve had my fill trying to rationalize what I’ve read, and move on. So I’m a barbarian.

    Really couldn’t agree less with you on the Mazda CX-3. Their treatment is much better to my eye than yours, which looks like a pram bonnet to me. Not even close, it’s the most distinctive thing about the car and people’s eyes constantly stray to that feature, and not a soul says it’s ugly. The opposite in fact. My friend is pleased as punch with his, which has ruby trim accents within and two-tone leather seats. It also flits about in a very cheery manner.

    And is someone seriously suggesting that the Juke or Cube (now discontinued here thank goodness) is anything more than an eyesore? Can’t give ’em away round these parts in Canada. An unusual sight probably because the prospective owner can imagine how quickly it would get old explaining why he chose to drive a vehicle that looks like a frog with peptic ulcers. Dreadful thing, a nightmare to behold. The Cube is badly lopsided, and a middle finger upraised to nature, where it seems to me symmetry is really the chosen path. I literally cannot look at the thing from the rear three-quarter view for more than a few seconds, because of the revulsion it engenders in me. The same with the front visage of the Fiat 500L. Simply wrong. Just not right. And the Juke, sold here only with a 188 bhp 1.6 turbo petrol engine is the only one to provide some driving enjoyment in return for its abject appearance. The other two are simply dire little buckets, piloted by people with semi-apologetic looks cemented on their visages wondering how they got stuck with them in the first place, I’d wager.

    Nissan has chosen to flog off their losers in this market, so there has been an uptick in Juke and 370Z sales lately due to very aggressive pricing. Nevertheless, Mazda sells the CX-3 at over four times the rate of the Juke, while being only about 40% as big as Nissan overall in the market.

    Either the aesthetic of the average person is not so finely honed as yours, or perhaps you might consider whether your ideas are truly, you know, correct. The Germans seem to agree with me:


    That’s what I’m driven to write. BTW, I drive a Subaru, the only model I could ever stand to look at, a 2008 Legacy GT. It whistles along in a very forthright manner and is a bit of a monster in the snow to the annoyance of my truck driving neighbours. Er, no silly wing either.

    1. Bill. It’s true that we often get into the ‘debating how many angels will fit on a pin head’ mode of criticism here, but someone needs to. None of us is suggesting that the CX-3 is a bad overall design, just that they shouldn’t do that thing with the black paint.

      As for the Cube, I tried convincing you with my reply to your previous post, but see I failed abjectly. If every car looked like the Cube I would dislike contemporary design even more that I do now, but they don’t so I own one. It is extremely practical as a city car yet, yesterday, I drove back into London through high wind and rain at an indecent speed. Oh, and another advantage of driving it is that you don’t get to see the rear view.

    2. Incidentally, my above comment about the Nissan isn’t contradictory. To take one of your own as an example, if every singer sang as tunelessly as Leonard Cohen I’d despair, but that still doesn’t diminish Mr C in my eyes – or ears.

  6. Hi Bill:

    We like debate here not unanimity so I welcome your robust critque. I recognise I am in the minority on the Juke. Sean is not a fan either, for example. I can see why people don´t like it. For me the car so completely out to lunch I give it a pass for being fun, humorous and jolly. And thankfully for those who don´t share my warm regard, it will be replaced in the near future, I expect, by something else. Hooray for disposable design!

    About design taste, it´s not completely about being correct, is it? The Mazda bothers me in regard to one detail, the attempt to pass off as glass what is not glass. Some cars get away with this more convincingly. Mazda´s attempt seems a bit last minute and not thought through. Lazy, perhaps. The rest of the car is fine. I think my eye for form is pretty honed and possibly not in tune with the mainstream (who are probably looking at the whole form).
    Thanks for dropping by and we hope to see you again soon!


  7. Well this thread was about C-pillar madness. How about a bit of A-pillar madness, or should it be A-minus-pillar madness, as it really is in FRONT of the A-pillar?

    What an absolute horror!!!

    1. It is still the best for a British View on things (your list has no British content it seems?). But the question and answer writing style of their online content is so patronizing that I can’t bear reading those articles. The magazine itself yes, but the childish online content I hardly ever bother with either.

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