A Bouquet: Pomegranate, Aloe and Yellow Carnations

Today DTW has a short look at some of the cars being presented at the LA Auto Show. Maybe ‘short look’ oversells it a bit. Read on to find out.

2018 Lincoln Nautilus nee MKX: caranddriver.com

After a scroll down Car & Driver’s list of highlights I didn’t find so much to dwell on. This makes me reflect on what there could have been instead. To be honest I can’t think of anything except that I remember a time when reports of American car shows revealed interesting models that were quite unlike anything we had over in Europe.

The death of Oldsmobile, Saturn and Pontiac along with the diminution of Buick has reduced GM’s opportunities to reveal cars we’d never want and never get over here. Buick’s news involved the extension of the Avenir trim option to the Lacrosse.

2018 Buick Lacross Avenir interior: Buick.com

I find it hard to get very excited by that. I can ruefully recall my previous anticipation of a whole new line of large Buicks with the Avenir name when it was revealed as a concept car: this is the new Opel Senator, I wrote joyfully.

The only part of the idea to survive is a badge affixed all over and inside a quite attractive but unremarkable saloon. The photo above shows an attractive but unremarkable interior. If you want to signal “top-level trim” use reddish-brown leather, it seems. It isn’t amazing.

I recently had a look at some of the high Martindale fabrics offered by Kvadrat – now that would be a really interesting prospect. There must be at least half a dozen fabric suppliers itching to provide for automotive manufacturers’ needs at barely above break-even. Who is it inside the car firms – all of them – who says no?

Ford still has Lincoln which we have never got here. The MKX name has been dropped in favour of Nautilus. This shows a) Lincoln realizes the MK-prefix has not been a success and b) that Lincoln is selling another SUV. Historians will look back from their nuclear fall-out shelters and see this time as that of the emergence of SUVs and electric cars.

Further reading made me realise the Nautilus is nothing more than restyling of the MKX rather than a new car, on sale since 2007. The second generation MKX didn’t last long under that name: it emerged only last year meaning it might hold a record for shortest-lived SUV if, perhaps the Saab 9-4X doesn’t already hold that one (in production in 2011 only).

2019 Mercedes CLS: caranddriver.com

A further look through the images shows that we may very well be reaching the zenith of the trend for bizarre and over-wrought front ends. Take a look at the slide show. All of these deep-sea creatures are bound for show-rooms in the very near future or may be there already.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Even as I write there are designers looking hard at these front-clips and working out how to save the rest of the car from them for 2020 face-lifts. It won’t be easy as the rest of the car and the front are usually very tightly interrelated. Curiously, it might be Mercedes leading the way. In comparison with those faces it’s the 2019 CLS which gets closest to normality.

Slide show sources:  FT-AC ; RX450L ; LX 570 ; Infiniti QX80 ;BMW X7 ;Mitsubishi Eclipse 

Author: richard herriott

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

6 thoughts on “A Bouquet: Pomegranate, Aloe and Yellow Carnations”

  1. Note that all those overwrought front ends come from SUV’s which seem to be competing to be the most hideous car on the planet award. Subaru’s new large SUV, the Ascent, does not have an overwrought snout, it’s just flippin’ ugly. The interior, however, show some promise (relative to previous efforts).

    1. I’d noticed that. The designers don’t know how to fill the space or feel they have to. Most are Japanese too. They make the BMW seem a bit tame.

  2. There really has only been one successful SUV shape, the Range Rover. And you can only deviate that much from that envelope. Either you make a flat out copy like the Explorer, or extend that line of thought like the XC90. Or you go full out crazy like these lot. The giant schnauze om the BMW only tries to hide the fact it’s just another boring box on stilts.

    1. I’m still trying to come to terms with the X7’s Event Horizon front.

      Do you see? Do you see? Do you see?

  3. The Lincoln Nautilus is positively handsome compared to its MKX predecessor of a whole year on the market. Of course, underneath it’s a Fusion/Mondeo, the CD4 platform with EUCD offshoots and traces its roots back to some Mazda or other with a dash of old Volvo S80. Ford over here still has trouble getting the exterior and interior panels/trim to line up properly, but I suppose that’s all that changes over the antedeluvian chassis, and taxes their production methods. As I said a couple of days ago, the Nautilus styling theme is a ripoff of Bentley. But tidied up.

    The actual Ford model the Nautilus restyles is the Edge. Not a bad driver actually if sitting up in the air like riding a horse is what grinds your gears. The Mazda6 turbo was announced at the L A Auto Show, and I’ll be having me a drive of that when it arrives. The Subaru Ascent joins the VW Atlas in the giant box of air category – don’t worry, Europe will see neither, and your aesthetic senses will be spared. All you have to do is put up with the BMW X1 and X2, their other derivatives, and the panting MINI UKL1/2 chassis under them all, tasked with schlepping this dross around. For the same money as an optioned X1 here, the Lincoln Nautilus is in another higher class altogether, I’m sorry to say on BMW’s behalf, seeing as they seem to have placed themselves in the lavatory and pulled the chain recently.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: