acura_zdxIt looks like the Honda Acura Crosstour isn’t the only crossover beast from the east this fall. In April Acura announced the ZDX, a “four door sport coupe”. Huh? From the round rear end I assume they’re referencing the Porsche 928 of yore, but it’s so bulky it doesn’t really add up. Searching for “four-door-coupe” on Wikipedia pulls up the sleek Mercedes CLS, a sedan with a small rear seat and a graceful roofline. But the ZDX looks more like the bulky Infinity FX.

The BS really flies when you hear what the designers think of their achievement.
It’s “totally new” and “a blue sky opportunity” for the designers to begin with a clean sheet of paper. I guess they missed the 2009 BMX X6.  They believe they’ve created the most unique car in the history of the world:

It is the “epitome of advance (sic)”:

I’m sorry, but from these videos am I really expected to believe that these young auto designers started with nothing, that they were given permission to design whatever they could dream up, instead of having a focus-group-think directive handed to them from above with the ridiculous demand to create a four-door coupe that’s kinda like an SUV?

Wired’s Keith Barry reports from the ZDX launch at the NY Auto Show last April:

Jeff Conrad, Acura’s VP of sales… told the crowd that the ZDX “takes the best attributes of a stylish coupe, a versatile sedan and a flexible SUV – and successfully blends them into a head-turning vehicle for active and adventurous individuals to explore their passions.” That also means it’s got the cargo space of a stylish coupe with the agility, fuel economy and visibility of an SUV. We imagine the “head turning” refers to what ZDX drivers will be doing when they attempt to parallel park — despite the on-board cameras and blind-spot detectors. Like nonalcoholic beer or Van Halen unplugged, the ZDX has the potential to be the worst of both worlds.

Looking at this image from the Acura site, I’m reminded of the danger that come when designers choose aesthetics over real world experience:

beatles_russian_dollsI’m sure they don’t expect buyers to purchase this nested set  of suitcases. But they sure look cool, don’t they? Why consider that people may need a hatch-back trunk that’s uniform in height, when that would ruin the coupe look… of your sedan… SUV… thing.

Too many designers become so enamored of their own artistry that they forget that actual people use the things they create on a daily basis. I’ve seen it happen many times in my life as an interactive designer. The simple, practical design is overlooked for the unique and cutting-edge. While style should always look ahead in new directions, it fails when it becomes so enamored of itself that it loses touch with the experience of the end user.

They want so bad to have the utility of a boxy rear, without making the rear boxy. But sometimes you need gotta embrace the box, instead of trying to break out of it.

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