The Best And Worst Modern Car Design Trends You See Today

Like all industries, the automobile world goes through a series of trends. This usually happens when one brand does something different, and all others follow. Rather than look at some obvious modern trends in the auto world – like the rise in electric cars being manufactured – we’re checking out some design trends we like and…dislike. 

You’ve probably spotted these during your daily life but what are the best and worst modern car design trends we see today? Let’s jump straight in and find out!

The Best Modern Car Design Trends

Before we completely throw ourselves into things, here’s a word of warning: these opinions are our own and we appreciate you might not agree with them! If you disagree with our best or worst car design trends then feel free to let us know on our socials and we can begin a big discussion about car design in general. 

Now, here are our top four favorite modern car design trends/features: 

Funky Headlights

We’re big fans of car manufacturers that add a bit of spice to their headlights. Instead of getting the dull headlight design, they add accents or change the shape of the lights to make the front of the car look more menacing or sleek. 

You’ll find many examples of this, such as in the most recent Renault Clio. It’s got these sharp main headlights that angle in with beautiful accents running below – which also act as the daylights. It completely transforms the way the car looks and makes it appear more high-end and impressive. Go back and compare these lights with an older model and you’ll immediately notice a difference. 

The headlights form the car’s face, which means they’re often the first thing you notice about a vehicle. Too many cars go for boring designs here, so we love it when there’s something new and unique thrown in. Especially when the aesthetic design adds a level of practicality. Hyundai is another brand leading the way with cool headlight designs – as shown in its new KONA Electric vehicle. Here, you get a thin strip across the front of the car acting as the headlights with nice accents below on either side. The thin striplight adds better penetration when it’s dark and the accents kick in for more brightness if you need it. Overall, a fun design and we love seeing more innovations from brands! 

Tinted Windows

Who doesn’t love tinted windows? They give your vehicle a new level of privacy and can make the whole car look a lot classier too. Anyone can make a simple car upgrade with a window tint service, but many modern cars are being manufactured with window tinting included! 

It’s something we’re big fans of as it gives you the added layer of privacy right away. And how can you forget the practicality of tinted windows too? They’re not just for show; if you have kids in the back, it keeps them safe from prying eyes and ensures they’re not getting a face full of sun during your long road trip

In our view, this is one of the modern design trends we can’t fault. It’s an easy thing for manufacturers to provide and we’re happy to see it in more and more cars. Before, window tints were reserved for high-end luxury sedans and executive vehicles. Now, you can get them in small hatchbacks or superminis meant for daily driving. 

Colored Brake Calipers

Again, this is one of those style trends that began as a modification. Car owners wanted to do something to their vehicles that didn’t cost a lot of money yet made a huge difference aesthetically. Repainting or wrapping a car was expensive, so the next best option was to repaint the brake calipers. 

Adding a splash of color behind the wheels transformed the visual appeal of the car and made it look sportier and more impressive. Much like tinted windows, colored brake calipers are quickly becoming a staple of modern car design! 

Gone are the days when you’d have plain metal calipers; many brands are offering brightly colored options that juxtapose the car’s color and stand out. Others go for more subtle colors – like black or white – which have an equally beautiful effect. The Audi RS 3 Sportback is one of the most prominent examples of this, offering beautiful red brake calipers behind black wheel rims. You’ll find most brands reserve their colored brake calipers for the sportiest versions of their cars. So, you have to pay a bit extra, but it’s worth it.  

Retro Styling

Lastly, we’re big fans of the retro styling some car manufacturers are bringing back into the world. The most obvious example of this is the Honda e. It’s a small electric city car that’s got a beautifully retro style to it. The bodywork goes against what we see in most electric cars and replicates an old-school Volkswagen Golf. We love the way it merges contemporary with retro – and this is something we want to see more of going forward. 

Another example is the new Abarth that replicates an iconic Alfa Romeo 4C. Seeing retro cars come back to life with modern technology is a thing of beauty – many iconic cars are iconic for a reason; they look fantastic. So, whenever a brand throws in some retro styling here or there, we’re all for it! 

Image Credit: Unsplash

The Worst Modern Car Design Trends

It’s a sad state of affairs when we can think of way more modern car design trends that we dislike than those we like! For the sake of fairness, we restricted ourselves to four things in this section – but you can believe there were so many more on our minds.

Massive Screens

Look, a big infotainment screen is beneficial in many ways. It’s awesome for navigation and it makes it easier to use things like Apple CarPlay. We’re all for them – but there’s a limit. 

You can probably tell which brand has got us annoyed at massive screens; Tesla. Their vehicles have huge screens to manage every element of the car and they’re just so stupid. Nobody wants – nor should they have – a mini PC monitor in their car. It’s as dangerous as it is silly. Some of these screens rotate in certain cars so you can switch between horizontal or vertical dimensions. 

In our opinion, massive screens serve as an additional distraction for the driver. Especially when they can run apps like Netflix or let the user play video games. Let’s cap screens at 10 or maybe 11 inches max – there’s no need for something bigger and we hate Tesla for kicking off this trend. 

Minimalist Cockpits

Oh boy, if you don’t like Tesla slander, then look away now. We’re going in on the brand again as it was arguably the first to introduce the concept of minimalist cockpits. We understand the theory behind a minimalist interior. After all, minimalist interior design is hugely popular in homes and offices. It offers a sleek and clutter-free look – so why wouldn’t you want your car to follow suit? 

We’ll tell you why: because cars have multiple controls that need to be easy to access and use. You need to control the HVAC system, you have gears to go through (even in an automatic, you need to switch between drive, neutral, reverse, and park), you’ve got to turn the blinkers on, and so much more. 

Minimalist cockpits remove all of these manual buttons and you’re usually left with a screen to handle it all. It’s stupidly inconvenient and downright dangerous in some situations. Let’s stop decluttering the cockpit and bring back manual buttons and switches, please!!

Overly Futuristic Bodywork

We know this will divide opinions, but we don’t like overly futuristic bodywork. Too many cars – especially electric ones – seem intent on making themselves look as futuristic as possible. You get loads of smooth lines and weird design choices that make the car look more like a spaceship than a road vehicle. 

Why? Who’s asking for this?! It makes the car look silly on the road as it’s driving between other cars with more traditional designs. You stick out like a sore thumb, and most drivers think you’re a bit of an idiot. 

Adding small futuristic design elements is great, but don’t go too far. Here comes some more Tesla slander; the Cybertruck is a prime example of futuristic design gone too far. On the other hand, we’ll commend them for the other cars in their range. We think the Tesla design is generally very nice as it makes the cars look like modern saloons – which is what they are!

Long Taillamp Bars

Finally, we need to say goodbye to long taillamp bars. We mentioned Hyundai having a fun striplight at the front, but loads of brands are doing this at the back. It looks horrendous, especially when you’re following the car. 

We don’t understand why brands keep doing this but having a long taillamp bar makes the car look ridiculous and is confusing for the people behind it. It looks like the brakes are always on and, to be honest, the light is often so bright it can dazzle other drivers. 

As we said before, we know this list will divide opinions and that’s fine! Let us know if you agree with our takes – and feel free to pitch in with some of your own.

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