Automotive News alarmed me with this item, below, about the BMW i3.
(Also, I have learned how to make screenshots on my iPhone). The headline suggests a whole new design, something low and slippery. The car shown is, to the layman, the exact same. Anyone who didn’t love the i3 before will still not love it now. This redesign (if it is one) “counters” Tesla like sending a yoga teacher to fight the Visigoths.
Which brings me to the Americanism “boxy”. Our American readers can supply insight; “boxy” doesn’t capture the visual quality of this car. It’s highly refined and has a wealth of articulations around the apartures. It isn’t a sphere, I agree. It isn’t a Volvo 740 or 1985 Buick Electra. Those were angular. What does “boxy” mean to our US readers?
There are other terms which are used carelessly. “clean” as in “the car has clean lines”. I am not sure anyone knows what that means.
I am waiting still to know what “square rigged” refers to apart from an angular car; can anything else be square rigged? Ships can be and I can’t easily see how a car could not be square-rigged.
American cars are almost always called “brash” regardless of how plain they might be.
My point here is that language guides thought as well as vice versa. The appearance of clichees shows thought has been by-passed (Citroens are always quirky – even when they are not).
The AE people needed another word: boxy utterly fails to describe the visual style of the i3. I consider it rather good and it has grown on me as time goes by.