MALLINation › Design The 50 Best Automotive Designs of the 00s

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Mercedes-Benz F400 Carving

MALLINation

Design: The 50 Best Designs of the 00s

Lamborghini Reventon

The started with such As the century turned it seemed automotive design was on the cusp as looking backwards with designs like Volkswagen’s New Chrysler’s PT Cruiser and Ford’s GT as as forwards with Audi’s TT and Ford’s original Focus

The 00s ended with excitement too – it was the bad kind that leads to reflux and no jobs. Noted design firms such as and ItalDesign were hanging on by a if at all. Some of the most brands in the automotive world similarly imperiled or had disappeared Saab, Pontiac, Saturn, Dodge.

Nevertheless it was a fascinating and frustrating ten years of automotive Here are my favorites in no particular Note that I’ve both production models and in the mix.


1. 2009 Chevrolet

The protracted build-up to the actual of Chevy’s newest Camaro included an appearance in Transformers a year before availability) some of the freshness of this With a clear eye though evident that this is the successful bridging of past and in the segment. The design takes cues from the first late 60s Camaro but renders in fresh and dynamic ways could only be achieved current design and manufacturing

2. 2007 Audi R8

Audi has at the forefront of raising the bar for interiors for two decades now and the R8′s interior is as as ever. The real innovation is striking exterior which a fresh take on the mid-engined cliche. Aside from the surfacing and detail work and trademark use of advanced headlight there are the distinct contrast side blades which to break up the side surfaces.  As it the design flair of the R8 is making way back through the rest of lineup.

3. 2008 Alfa 8C

Alfa Romeo spent of the 90s floundering, as did parent company Like the French, Italian have increasingly mistaken design for good design but beagn to bring things on track in the latter part of the primarily with the lovely (if 8C.  As a design the 8C is nearly in every way, a monument to the of proportions.

4. 2005 Aston V8 Vantage

Any Aston Martin over the last ten years great but the V8 is the cleanest, clearest of the design ethos.  Lithe, and unencumbered by extraneous detail.

5. Chevrolet Malibu

After a long spell in the doldrums GM finally began to wake up and it’s primacy within the development process (though it may come too late to rescue the as a whole.) The latest generation Malibu is a prime example. simply the best resolved in the family car segment with the of detailing and strongly defined that is more usually on luxury vehicles by brands Audi and Acura. The roofline is key to the especially as it relates to the flowing line and shoulder indent.

6. 2007 Maserati GranTurismo

shook off a string of mediocre with the Quattroporte and especially the A more expressive design competitors like Aston and Porsche and rightly so – the curve of the fenders over the wheels are worthy of celebration.

7. 2007 A5

The fantastic R8 notwithstanding, Audi to concentrate over the last more on interiors and headlights on the whole of their designs – a far cry their great run in the 90s and 80s. Yet at the end of the signs of a reintegration were with the graceful A5 coupe as a exponent.  The undulating shoulder is contrasted perfectly by the hard at the lower door skins and the of the front and rear fascias. It up to a lovely modern take on the coupe.

8. 2009 Ford

The decade was peppered with crossovers, neither fish-nor-fowl of cars and SUVs that all to resembled genetic experiments horribly wrong. A happy was Ford’s Flex which, like Chrysler’s iconic in the 80s, recast the venerable wagon. This time as an aspirational vehicle, less taxi than family This is reinforced by the Range contrast roof, strategic and brushed aluminum highlights, and an interior.

9. 2008 Lamborghini

Lamborghini’s stock in trade has been low-slung drama but by the German’s at Volkswagen seemed to their design sense. On the one it was a relief to not be confronted by the tacky and scoops that adored of their late 80s creations but followed was very nicely but a bit cold.  Not so the threatening Reventon. Cadillac’s recent design the Reventon’s brutally sharp are inspired by the Stealth … but takes it all a step further a … matte paintjob. A example of how subtly tweaking the of an existing design language can alter the feel of the result.

10. Dodge Challenger

The Challenger appear to be the most slavishly of the big 3′s musclecars, following Ford’s and Chevy’s more futurist Yet a closer look reveals the Challenger is more faithful to the of its early 70s predecessor. If anything the of the newer car is tougher, the look is and the feel is kind of an amalgam of 70s with a contemporary application. the production model is better than the concept on which based primarily due to the ditching of trademark crosshair grille

11. 2009 Ford Fiesta

of Europe has continued to explore possibilities even as the North arm has sometimes fallen back blandness. Thankfully CEO Alan has decreed that all designs be shared between markets means the dynamic and appealing Fiesta will soon be here (though sadly not in from shown.)

12. 2002 Ford Thunderbird

The new came at the tail-end of the retro and was one of the sales flops that led to radically restructuring their and leadership team. This had to do with the slick design of the car ably updated the themes of the original  with it’s own flavor. The unusual declining line and lovely headlight are echoed by the circular taillights and the beltline cut.

13. 2000 Cooper

On one level the new Mini is the of fake retro – like the VW New it’s a theme that much of what was original the car that it’s meant to In the Mini’s case that that the car is more maxi-sized truly Mini, and Alec groundbreaking hydragas suspension and packaging are largely abandoned. And yet the has proved to be arguably a bigger hit the original (though not in total becoming a must-have automotive for elites in markets like the Sates where the original made a dent. It’s a canny updating of the original theme with far better and execution befitting a product at the style market rather the original people’s car orientation of the version.

14. 2003 Land Range Rover

How do you update an Land Rover redid the Rover once before model, with a blandly refresh that took all the elements and re-rendered them This third generation also hews close to the formula set forth in 1970 by Town’s original design.  it extracts a new purity and refinement, iconic elements like the and blacked out D pillars and the upright vents and tying it together In addition the new interior was an industry-leading cocoon.

15. 2005 Pontiac

When GM’s now … brand decided to get into the fighting business it did so with a sporty little design was one of the best the brand had produced. though, it wasn’t enough to off the reaper.

16. 2003 Infiniti

Infiniti was early to the crossover with this crossbreeed an SUV and a sports sedan and stylistically nailed it. All curves and bulges big wheels and a characteristically 00′s greenhouse The FX chooses sides than compromising and the side it is sporty, thank you.

17. Chrysler 300

Chrysler’s decade was awful and yet the 300 was decided bright a successful relaunch of the big American for a new millennium. The high shouldered set the trend for the rest of the decade and the purposeful design led to a slew of (but sadly no production) from rival firms.

18. Toyota Prius

The Prius nature has rendered it bland but at it was a breakthrough. A truly futuristic car to match it’s future-facing The design has become shorthand for about the environment, as well as environmentally compatible in subtler such wind resistance add to efficiency.

19. 2008 Bentley Brooklands

VW owners haven’t seemed to out quite what to do with teh stylistically but oh the big bold Brooklands! The up beltline, huge wheels, grille all say move out of our way, Elegant, purposeful luxury.

20. Ford F-250 Super

This concept set forth a of stylistic elements that since wended their way Ford’s car and truck line-up but as a expression of truckness in the new millennium the Chief sets the standard.

21. Nissan Urge

Nissan’s concept took a cue from furniture design, reducing the to major shapes like the side swaths and the dark over the wheels.  A cool element was the inset open panels, designed to give and passenger a motorcycle-like sensation of with the full-body protection of a

22. 2006 Saab Aero-X

Aero-X looked like a Star Wars prop and in a world would have define the companies new direction. it defined the road not taken as GM the company of investment.

23. 2006 Altica

Renault’s appealing Altica concept was riddled neat surface elements the broad shoulder lines extend from the front to define flares over the wheels. Also cool the rear quarter panels random geometric shapes in of a full window. Practical? Pleasing to the eye? Oui.

24. Citroen C-Metisse

Citroen’s concept signaled a new willingness for the French company to once explore groundbreaking design. The hatch is most striking for the way the wheels are framed by the broad which intersect the descending of greenhouse. The side glass the circular wheel openings the relationship, as do the chrome strips at the rear corners.

25. 2007 Interceptor

Ford’s Interceptor was a vision of what the blue Chrysler 300 fighter might been before budgets and runaway gas prices put the kibosh on The low roofline and gunslit windows all the influence of Chrysler’s big sedan but also finds it’s own way to the brand with the wide grille and headlight design and wheel openings.

26. 2007 BMW CS

BMW’s concepts during teh were sometimes as polarizing as production cars but were more successful as designs. The big CS themes that are starting to into BMW’s that are in but is also an extremely well-resolved on the  sedan-as-coupe trend has spread through the ranks of companies since Mercedes-Benz the CLS.  The body surfacing is nice here as is the overall which is well-proportioned given its

27. 2002 BMW GINA

The GINA was away inside BMW’s center for most of the decade finally being revealed the launch of the disappointing Z4 which it influenced. This is what conceptual car design is all about – stretching the boundaries with a wrapped frame which to accomodate everything from aerodynamic aids to door

28. 2007 Toyota iQ Concept

production iQ is notable as well, a of smarter Smart car but the concept the great packaging a step with surface elements seem to transform from to convex depending on where the stands.

29. 2007 Mazda

Mazda trotted out their new ethos on a number of concepts decades end. The look is to be inspired by the elements interacting nature, such as water on or wind on sand. The best of was the Taiki with its nifty rear-wheel nacelles and flowing elements.

30. 2008 Land LRX

Land Rover’s LRX concept was a production ready glimpse of how could (and will) towards a smaller, friendlier Though others (notably Forester) have tried to down the segment this is the successful attempt yet, by great detail work the  dropped edge of the over the front wheel and the reverse wedge of the greenhouse.

31. Cadillac CTS Coupe

Cadillac to revamp their design in the late 90s but the refinement of their “Art Science” theme at the end of decade was far more aesthetically than initial forays. The CTS is quite handsome but it’s Coupe concept (due to go production soon) that moves things forward it’s radically sloped and V shaped C-pillar.

32. 2009 Karma

Designer Henrik started his own company in the middle of the and began re-bodying BMW’s and His true plan emerged the reveal of the Karma prototype – to luxury gas/electric hybrids. the Karma is drop … with sinuously bulging and a tapering greenhouse. Production is to commence late in 2010.

33. GMC Denali XT

The car-like pickup has had a mixed history since the days of Chevy’s El Camino and Ranchero (roughly the 60s and 70s) and 80s entries like Dodge’s Rampage, Subaru’s delightful and Volkswagen’s odd Rabbit/Golf based The idea was revived by Honda past decade for the Ridgeline  but GMC this very attractive that suggested how the attributes of vehicle types could be harmoniously.

34. 2009 Audi

Audi gave some to their emerging next-gen language with the Sportback while also throwing hat in the crowded and often ugly luxury hatch field by BMW.  Strong defined lines give the flanks a look while their stylized headlamp elements the palm-like shape.

35. 2009 BMW EfficientDynamics

Another brilliant BMW the Vision is all intersecting planes and elements while exhibiting a glassy greenhouse that the elements to float together.

36. Jaguar F-Type

Jag’s concept was almost too good. safety-reg unfriendly low glass and lack of even a pretense of a made the design impossible to well to production despite tries. Pity, as it’s is exquisite.

37. 2001 Buick Bengal

past the oh-so-00s vestigial doors that never a trend and the Bengal concept a clean, uncluttered reboot of antiquated design cues. The end is especially nice with canted headlamp strips and dollar-grin style grille.

38. Ford Forty-Nine

Chrysler off the the trend of incorporated classic car cues into production and vehicles with the Plymouth in the mid 90s but Ford’s delicious Forty-Nine is a in post-modern retro-futurism. While nod to Ford’s iconic 1949 the whole is an homage to chopped and “sleds” with modern and interior technology that the design in a contemporary context. If Ford’s production models as interesting in North America.

39. Dodge Super8 Hemi

the Ford Forty-Nine, Trevor designed the Super 8 Hemi to be an of 50s cues and modern touches. The was far more polarizing but with the of hindsight can be seen to have own virtues. Creed was reported to been shocked by the extent of reaction, having considered as a testing ground for ideas would be used on a production The wraparound windshield and roof are the clearest nods to 50s elements but the strakes and brutally short could only be from the time.

40.2002  Dodge

Ah the road not taken. Though Solstice got much of the contemporary Dodge’s concept for a small, raw coupe was arguably even compelling. A simple design incorporates a strong stance, a-pillars and suggestive upkicks the rear wheels it’s a Chrysler’s German masters see their way to producing this

41. 2003 Cadillac Sixteen

superb Sixteen cast a shadow over the brand in none of their production has yet to look as wonderfully impressive and of purpose. The central spine and grille have made way throughout the lineup though but that elegantly formal and pillar-less sidelight that in the retina.  The double side-hinged adds a touch of retro

42. 2003 Chevrolet SS

Chevy’s to Chrysler’s impending big sedans and big sedan concepts was the overtly SS, a softer and sleeker take on the The small rounded greenhouse is atop bulging fenders and wheels giving a sense of but also a sense of tidy unusual in the class.

43. 2003 427

Ford kicked off the decade the brilliant 427 concept for a full-sized sedan, lacked the stones to produce it, and then watched steal their thunder the 300.  The 427 is traditional sedan in but in detail and execution its completely from the neat interlocked within the headlight elements to the strip on the lower bodysides echoes the single strip the window line. The front end did wind up, in watered down on the first-generation Focus.

44. 2004 Rescue

From a design this was a tough decade for but the Rescue was a terrific concept pointed to what might been. Emphasizing the core of the brand but on a bigger canvas immediately identifiable as a Jeep being a big four-door SUV, a size and a half beyond the brand had marketed. The only that came from concept was the idea of a 4-door When Jeep did attempt to up they did so with the atrocious which lacked entirely the and elemental rightness of this

45. 2008 Morgan LifeCar

has been known for 45 years for their resistance to modernism. their most advanced car a wooden frame that back to pre-war sports car So the LifeCar, a fuel-cell powered sports car concept, came as of a shock. Even more so was machine age meets iPod design which is of a piece Morgan’s traditional theme but by a novel hinged passenger that mimics the scissoring of the hood-and-fender tops unit.

46. Honda Unibox

While design is often about at or even obscuring the mechanics the body panels, Honda’s concept is like a translucent boldly exposing and flaunting the engineering below.

47. 2002 F400 Carving

There been a few tilting concepts but they tended to be more slightly evolved cycles. Mercedes gets the tilt on entirely with the suspension but the of roof (and windshield!)  and front wheels still a motorcycle feel but within a layout.

48. 2006 Volvo C30

decade long design which mimicked the idea of a violin found it’s expression in the little C30, also incorporated the glass that distinguished the P1800 coupe of the late 60s. In the floating center section of the connected the brand to classic furniture design.

49. 2004 F430

The last two decades hardly the best for Ferrari a design standpoint as longtime Pininfarina struggled to respect the and reflect modern forms. By things simple the F430 the job ably. Front air intakes and circular headlamps all look to past Ferraris as does the mid-engind layout and theme but the is admirably smooth.

50. 2007 Pivo 2

There are certain quirks that Japanese go for but which can seem downright to others. Things like a mounted robot head comments on your driving helpful tips and glowing LED The body of the vehicle also on a turntable that allows for 360 degree rotation and the wheels and can pivot to allow for four way

interesting records



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