A random glance at a Mazda Demio made me think again about grilles and the way designers deal with that hole in the front of the car.
The subject unfolds as a matter of design semantics. That means more or less we are concerned with the meaning of the air intake and its expression. This Demio (above) is a bit fancier than the one I saw in my district but it is geometrically the same. The approach was to use an “egg-box” in-fill and to use a U-shaped plastic trim piece to enable them to fill the air-intake gap between the lamps, bumper and bonnet.
The more you think about it, the more it seems evident that that a drawing of some graphics led the way for the Demio rather than plain old engineering thinking. The boring old engineering approach would have been to avoid the U-shaped panel entirely and maybe lower the leading edge of the bonnet and extend the bumper upwards. This is a schematic version:
This approach is seen on our good friend the Opel Corsa “B” (all now genuflect in the direction of Ruesselsheim, please):
I get the feeling there is an appropriate design for a grille for a small car. It probably is best being respectfully simple. The Corsa, is in my view, the right kind of grille for this class of car: clever and economical.
To get back to semantics we see the Skoda Citigo is trying to punch above its weight with a chromed garnish. This isn’t quite a separate grille but suggests one. It’s one to annoy design purists who might want to either have an untrimmed aperture or go the whole hog and have a proper, separate item as on a full-size car.
If we consider the role of the grille garnish, then the visually odd Peugeot 208 gets even odder:
Here is the grille and the aperture marked up.
The pink line is the rough longitudinal centre section; the red is the where the air intake holes seem to be. The grille surround has slipped south of the upper aperture. The chrome frame is not framing the aperture. It’s raw decoration and this disconnection between the expression and the expresses is a bit too much even for me, Mr Timberlex Fan Club DK. Semantically, this is an expression that has come adrift from its associated structure.
That is not very Peugeot, is it? It is certainly not what I expect from a more serious car brand. On reflection however, Peugeot have form in the duff grille department:
And the footwell was too small as well.
In a future instalment I might just discuss a certain Jaguar.