We know that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and that beauty is relative. This certainly holds true for automobiles as well. India has a flourishing auto industry, with indigenous cars battling it out on our roads with autos developed by foreign carmakers. However, not all cars designed here are good lookers, and often miss the right finishing touch.
What I've done in the first of this series, is to pick a manufacturer, in this case, Mahindra & Mahindra, and sketched out some redesigns of five cars in their portfolio, trying to keep the changes as minimal as possible, but attempting to iron out some of the major problems with the styling at the same time.
After all, despite crores and crores going into automobile research and design, one feels designers have missed a trick or two. While the original cars in question are not downright ugly or anything, the following are some simple ideas that might potentially improve the looks of these products.
The story continues on the next slide.
1. Mahindra Verito Vibe
The Verito Vibe hatchback gets the first rethink. The car as a whole looks woefully dated, with boxy lines and very little character. The rear though, is by far the ugliest side of the car-those oversize ‘rollbar' tail lamps look totally out of place.
Mahindra may have thought that these taillights would make the car resemble earlier models of the Ford Focus available internationally, or could have been inspired by the second-generation Honda CR-V tail lamps too. But the rear-end result could have been much better. I feel the car would look better as a notch-back, with more conventional tail lights. To disguise the boot notch, I've added a spoiler, similar to the Mazda 323 of the 1990s.
2. Mahindra Bolero
The popular Bolero was the next to receive some pencil and eraser. The car is due for a facelift-I felt Mahindra's remodelling of the front over the years has left the car with too much happening, with several non-cohesive design details again, like the over-modelled bumper with those slanted protrusions that don't quite fit along with the five-slat grille.
What I've done is simplified the design of the Bolero's face, giving it a two-part grille and a new sunken-in bumper style with a brushed-finish skid plate. Bigger tyres now surround the five-spoke alloy wheels along with rally-inspired mud flaps.
3. Mahindra XUV 500
The XUV 500, Mahindra's flagship, was always a little too complicated, I thought. There's so much happening on the front of the cheetah-inspired car, including all those slats on the faux lower air dams and the grille detailing, that the design is not the most cohesive and looks a little overdone.
What I've done is simplified the styling, and given a standard cross-mesh treatment for the intakes and the grille, along with a new cleaner design for the LED daytime runners. Again, I've purposely restricted the makeover.
4. Mahindra Verito
The Verito is like a sore thumb in Mahindra's arsenal, with its poor image and taxi credentials. Maybe Mahindra needs to realise that this is a boxy design, and stick with angular themes for any future redesigns. But the car actually has the potential to look pretty sporty—take a look at those huge wheel arch flares.
What I've tried with the Verito is to add projector head lamps, standardise the grille and airdam styling, by giving it a gloss-black embellishment and cross-mesh grille design. I've also added low profile tyres and bigger alloys but tried to keep the changes minimal, and made an effort to give the car straight lines without being apologetic about it.
5. Mahindra Quanto
The Mahindra Quanto's tall-boy design has not been received too well by Indian buyers, and it's plain to see why. The car looks too tall, too squashed, and features wheels that seem too small to balance the design, especially taking into account those rather large wheel flares. We won't complain about the face of the car, which looks okay, but the overly tall rear end just doesn't work. The huge tailgate houses a spare wheel, which lends the car some character, but doesn't hide its height.
I've lifted the rear fender and chucked on bigger wheels and fatter tyres, in an effort to balance out the previously tall height of the rear bodywork, in a purposely minor redesign.