The automotive trends that need to die in 2021

Here's what the CarExpert team would like to see change when the calendar ticks into 2021.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
News Editor
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For all the progress carmakers have made in safety, technology, dynamics, and design in recent years, a number of deeply frustrating trends have snuck into our new cars.

Here’s what the CarExpert team would like to see change when the calendar ticks into 2021.

William Stopford

Black packages
You know the ones. A company is trying to spur interest in a car or run out stock ahead of a new model, so they replace the chrome exterior trim with black stuff and slap on a set of black wheels.

Numerous companies have done it, including but not limited to Toyota, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault.

There are so many themes an automaker can choose for a special edition and yet we end up with endless black editions. It’s trite and cliched, the 2020 equivalent of a 1990s decal special. Automakers, it’s time to find new schtick.

Paul Maric and Mike Costello

Piano black

Paul: Piano black. It’s time, it has to go.

There are a stack of new cars on the market today with this material strewn throughout the cabin. It marks easily, it’s impossible to keep clean and it has completely lost its allure.

Please, let’s let piano black exist on pianos only.

Mike: Just about every single car I drive these days is packed with shiny black plastic trims on its dash, and around its touchscreen.

These panels look cool in design studios and under stage lights when a detailer has just given them a run over with a micro-fibre rag. But in the real world, they’re a magnet for sun glare, scratches, dust, finger smudges, and all manner of other variables that rapidly turn a slick interior into a mess.

Glossy or piano black cabin trim is the single worst cabin material to be in vogue since the terrible fake ‘woodgrain’ garbage favoured by Japanese and Korean brands in the late 1990s. Just go away forever. 

Scott Collie

Brown interior accents

Mazda and Toyota, this one is for you.

Brown and black don’t mix. Brown stitching isn’t premium, it’s a serious fashion faux pas. I’m all for lots of nice interior colour options, but let’s mix black with red, or white, or beige… essentially any colour that isn’t brown.

James Wong

 Killing off personalisation options

This has been a slow burn for some time now, but in an effort to streamline orders and reduce complexity, car brands are slowly killing off the ability to individualise your car, forcing you to spend much more money on a premium product and on top of that go through a bespoke program.

We miss out on so many cool colours and trim options it’s beyond a joke at this point, even just being able to get a nice set of wheels that are shown in international press kits but not available through your dealer.

Also, we need more interior colours – I’m sick of black on black on black.

Tony Crawford

Boring paint jobs

I’d like to ban white and grey paints in favour of a more vibrant palette. Haven’t we had enough of these depressingly boring finishes? The problem? How do you flip the bright cars, and are they worth less than blacks and greys?

Derek Fung

Fake vents, exhaust tips, etc

Hopefully this trend hit its peak with the current Civic, and we’re seeing the end of this current cycle. Strangely Honda’s electric E (not coming to Australia, sadly) is a clear reaction to the fashion exemplified by the Civic.

Alborz Fallah

Options for the sake of options

Not really a trend, but I’d like to see car companies stop charging for options that should be standard.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Scott Collie is the News Editor at CarExpert.
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