QOTD: Why Do So Many Modern Sedans Look So Much Alike?


Are the world’s automakers all smoking from the same pipe?

Let’s break for a quick minute from the classics to ponder the modern sedan. Chrysler unveiled its new 200 sedan recently, and what a visual upgrade it is from the frumpy and dumpy 200 on sale now. But wait… haven’t I seen that look somewhere before? 


Oh, yes, of course – on the midsized Ford Fusion, which went on sale in 2013.


And on the new-for-2014 full-sized Chevrolet Impala.

These cars have a lot of common design elements: high beltline, tall nose, aggressive grile, dramatic side creases, roofline flowing smoothly into the decklid, and large, round wheel openings. But the signature design element they share is the rounded six-window greenhouse with a kick-up at the tail.

Did Chrysler steal this look from Ford and GM?


Or maybe they stole it from Toyota. Here’s the full-sized Toyota Avalon, which debuted in 2013.


Even small cars are wearing this basic design. Here’s the current Nissan Sentra, which was new in 2013.


The compact Dodge Dart, new in 2013 could be the Chrysler 200′s little brother. But given that they’re made by the same company, I’m sure that’s no coincidence.


But it must be coincidence that Buick’s smallest car, the Verano, has worn the same basic look since 2012.


Ford’s small cars wear similar six-window greenhouses, although the rear-window kick-up is far less dramatic. Here’s the current Focus, which debuted in 2012.


And here’s Ford’s Fiesta, also new in 2012.


Finally, even Honda’s compact crossover, the CR-V, got into the act in 2012.

We’ve discussed endlessly how the major US automakers spent decades building cars across their makes that wore similar or even identical styling. GM was king of this for decades. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many similarly-styled cars from so many different manufacturers. I find this six-window styling to be plenty attractive – but I guarantee that ten or fifteen years from now when these are all cheap wheels on the used market, we’ll all look at them and say, “That styling is so mid-2010s!”