Cars - Form over function

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Agent_zed

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Perhaps it's always been the case but it seems more and more that we pick form over function.

For example take the citreon C4 cactus. Love it or loathe it, the side panels on the doors were an incredibly useful feature to prevent damage to otherwise large clear dentable panels. Also note black plastic around the headlights which will also prevent pain damage for the odd scrape.

Citroen-C4-Cactus-2015-5.jpg


Jump ahead to the latest versions and we now have no side panelling and fully painted front bumper. (And it now looks pretty boring and much the same as other cars.)

C4_CACTUS_X_SERIES%2B%252811%2529.jpg


I hate parking my 3008 in car parks for the same reason, at some point I will have a large ding in the door panel, just a matter of time.

It seems to have started about the 90's when body coloured bumpers became a thing and then they started to also do the door protection strips in paint as well (the ones on my other halfs polo are painted, although apparently too low to prevent the big dent in the panel from another car door).

that's my todays first world problem I guess.
 
I think they may have dropped the cactus panels because more people loathed the look than liked the utility.
And it can't be aerodynamic.

But in the spirit of your post, do you remember the Ford Ka ?
Starter car for kids with replaceable plastic mouldings on all corners.

I put 140,000 miles on a Saab 900i back in the day. My favorite of all the cars I've owned. The big bumbers were incredibly practical and made a great bench seat to sit on when you needed to change your boots :)
 
Learned to drive in a Saab 99, lovely car and those bumpers were very useful.
It's getting hard to tell the current crop of cars apart, especially the SUV shapes. Is it a Jag or a Kia? Not good for brand status
 
I think they may have dropped the cactus panels because more people loathed the look than liked the utility.
And it can't be aerodynamic.

But in the spirit of your post, do you remember the Ford Ka ?
Starter car for kids with replaceable plastic mouldings on all corners.

I put 140,000 miles on a Saab 900i back in the day. My favorite of all the cars I've owned. The big bumbers were incredibly practical and made a great bench seat to sit on when you needed to change your boots :)

I may well be wrong as it was hard to find but it seems like drag coefficient for mk1 and mk2 is claimed to be 0.32. Which to be fair isn't great for either version as a 1990's sierra was 0.33 I think. I guess it is very flat fronted. I wonder if the side panels actually help like the dimples on a golf ball.

I am surprised they don't put some kind of side panel like that on land rovers etc but then I guess they rarely actually go offroad.

Yeah ford Ka's were perfect for what they were. Seems very hard these days to find a small simple car. It's a bit like mobile phones, I used to have a small 'smart phone' that fit in my pocket, now I can't buy one that is less than a 5inch screen.

I don't get why there is always so much plastic under the bonnet either. Open a mk 1 fiesta and there is the engine, open a modern car bonnet and it takes an hour to get past all the plastic nonsense.
 
It always has been form over function. Basically heavy marketing of boys toys.
Function as priority would give us something like improved Morris 1000s, land rovers etc. Made infinitely serviceable to be run as cost effectively as possible. Who needs Maseratis?
It's amazingly wasteful but the one advantage of the big boys toys market is the rapid devaluation which makes luxury vehicles available to skinflints like me, when they are just a bit past their best (also like me!). Can still be safe reliable and comfortable - run them into the ground until you've had your monies worth they fail MOT and are only fit for scrap.
I had a Saab 99 once, £50 and ran for a year. Peugeot 405 estate was our favourite ever - £500 and ran for 4 years. Old Maxis, were always cheap and very practical... etc
Best deal ever, though not a luxury vehicle, was a Citroen Dyane, cost £25. Gear box went two years later, sold it for £25.
 
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Unfortunately most people buy looks and are not interested in function. My gripe is the controls to do anything. In the past the nice rotary controls for heating which were simple to operate and did not need to be looked at to set the direction of airflow or temp. Now I have push button, no big control screens in my cars, the buttons have no tactile indicators on them, all the same level with no room between them so I have to look to see what button I need to press. The one to control air direction cycles through a set sequence but I need to look at the display to see what direction I have selected. The radio, sorry entertainment centre, has a manual bigger than the car manual. The touch screen requires me to look at it to see what area of the screen I need to touch and my fingers do not always get sensed.

Years ago I drove my bosses car to a meeting, on the way back I needed to turn the lights on, no visible switch, I nearly crashed while looking for the switch. A passenger had to read the manual to find it was under the steering wheel and completely invisible.

I do wonder how many accidents are caused by people who are trying to operate the controls and will never say that was the cause?

I read that BMW have made their control system easier to use, I have to ask why they made it difficult in the first place.
 
Unfortunately most people buy looks and are not interested in function. My gripe is the controls to do anything. In the past the nice rotary controls for heating which were simple to operate and did not need to be looked at to set the direction of airflow or temp. Now I have push button, no big control screens in my cars, the buttons have no tactile indicators on them, all the same level with no room between them so I have to look to see what button I need to press. The one to control air direction cycles through a set sequence but I need to look at the display to see what direction I have selected. The radio, sorry entertainment centre, has a manual bigger than the car manual. The touch screen requires me to look at it to see what area of the screen I need to touch and my fingers do not always get sensed.

Years ago I drove my bosses car to a meeting, on the way back I needed to turn the lights on, no visible switch, I nearly crashed while looking for the switch. A passenger had to read the manual to find it was under the steering wheel and completely invisible.

I do wonder how many accidents are caused by people who are trying to operate the controls and will never say that was the cause?

I read that BMW have made their control system easier to use, I have to ask why they made it difficult in the first place.
Yes I agree, particularly about the heater controls, new Honda, you no longer can vary between say face and feet so that feet get more than half, it’s now electronic and chronic and going backwards in the mistaken belief that because it’s no longer mechanical it must be better.
And don’t get me started on lane assist and the really dangerous way it turns the engine off every time you stop.
 
Learned to drive in a Saab 99, lovely car and those bumpers were very useful.
It's getting hard to tell the current crop of cars apart, especially the SUV shapes. Is it a Jag or a Kia? Not good for brand status
Kia more reliable!
 
Years ago I drove my bosses car to a meeting, on the way back I needed to turn the lights on, no visible switch, I nearly crashed while looking for the switch. A passenger had to read the manual to find it was under the steering wheel and completely invisible.
Years ago I sat in the car park at Nice airport doing much the same.
I'd rented a Merc but having never driven one before I didn't know where to find the hand brake.
I wasn't ignorant of the fact that a handbrake can be on an auxilliary footpedal but it was 10pm at night, pitch black, and that pedal is set so high and off to the side that I just couldn't see it.
It took me 30 minutes and the manual to eventually find it.
 
Also in hire cars, one couldn’t find the petrol cap release lever, hidden almost under the drivers seat. And in America there was nothing to say if it was a petrol or diesel car ( pretty rare to have a diesel in the States) couldn’t see any plug leads on the engine and it sounded like a diesel , rang the worse than useless helpline, plane to catch so we risked it and dropped it off running on fumes.
 
My aunty had a new car and one of her staff was sent to move it. He came to me and said he'd tried, but he couldn't start it. I jumped and drove away. How did you do that? he asked. I don't know, I said I just started it and went. It transpired that you had to depress the clutch to start it - I always did this anyway as I was taught always to leave a car in gear - the opposite of what's taught now.
 
Every now and then I see a guy changing lanes or turning a corner with the wipers going and I think 'yep, there's someone driving his wife's car.' And I've done it myself, changing from my truck (Ford Transit) to the car Peugeot 4008). Why can't vehicle manufacturers all agree on which side to place the indicator stalk and stick to it?
 
It transpired that you had to depress the clutch to start it - I always did this anyway as I was taught always to leave a car in gear - the opposite of what's taught now.
Are you telling me that some silly person has decided that a car should be left parked in neutral ? Damn fools.
Obviously never had to park on a hill or an inclined drive.
Obviously never had a handbrake cable stretch or snap.
Obviously never had to replace a garage door after the car rolls into it.
Obviously never had to pay for the damage to people and property caused by a roll away car. Or find a farmer to drag their car out of a ditch.
Obviously never had their car shunted while parked. Dominos anyone ? Let's crush any pedestrians stepping between the parked cars to cross the road.

Someone failing to leave their car in gear and not setting the handbrake nearly killed me when their vehicle rolled into the road. So if this is some new thinking, I hope those responsible for it get to experience all of the above.
Oh.
Unless you're in Asia, with 5 floors of below ground basement parking, all full to overflowing so people need to park across the front of the cars in the marked bays. Then it's normal to leave your car locked but out of gear, with the brakes off and steering straight. You might need to push two, three, four cars back or forwards to make space to get yours out :)
 
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