SEAT takes a step back?

It was Citroen that once entertained us with novel car styling but since the 1980s the baton has passed between various manufacturers worldwide, helped by sophisticated computer aided design (CAD) methods. Meanwhile advancing safety legislation has been hobbling car stylists and homogenising their thinking.

A bold styling move to fight creeping standardisation was Seat’s 2005 Leon with its sweeping door crease and rear passenger doors
sans handles. Minor details perhaps but its replacement model was launched recently and sharply styled though it is, the new Leon relinquishes this outré style and falls more closely in line with the current offerings from GM, Ford, and Renault.

Did the product planners insist the new design conforms with what might be described as a new ‘Eurostyle’, the genre once personified in the 1970s by the utilitarian Chrysler Alpine, a car that revisited Vauxhall ‘s build quality of the 60’s and conveniently self-destructed in a lemming-like tribute to its own blandness.

Unfair comparisons perhaps and if cars with individual character don’t sell so easily and date more quickly it’s understandable, but as our roads get busier and traffic jams longer having some entertaining styling on which to feast our eyes while we twiddle thumbs becomes rather more important!

© Jonty Sherwill


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