Automakers Graded in Design: Ferrari, GM, Jaguar and Kia on Top

2011 Jaguar XJ-Series

2011 Jaguar XJ: A for design

Kia designs cars as beautifully as Ferrari. GM and Jaguar each pen equally stunning automobiles.

Don’t believe it? Yeah, neither do I. However, all four automakers were given an A grade in design by our friends at Car and Driver, who recently dished out grades to 20 automakers (apparently using a really steep curve).

In all, there were four As, 11 Bs, two Cs, a D, and two grades of Incomplete. The super sexy 458 Italia helped Ferrari earn its top score, and Jaguar/Land Rover nailed its A with help from the new XJ and Evoque (take that, jgoods!). Well-deserved grades, in my book!

2010 Kia Forte

Mainstream automakers General Motors and Kia each pulled down an A thanks to giant leaps in design quality. Kia I can understand, but GM? While its designs have improved lately, I’m not seeing anything from the General that should be placed on top of the automotive world. I mean, the Chevrolet Cruze is way better than the Cobalt it replaced, but it still pales in comparison to the Kia Forte.

The current Chevy Malibu might be described as a “clean” design, but there’s nothing particularly exciting about it. Cadillac is too angular and weird. Buick is the one GM brand with some bling, but that’s hardly enough to earn an A. Had I been passing out the grades, I would have given GM’s A to Ford and dropped a B into GM’s backpack.

The Incompletes were handed to Volvo and Mazda due to recent changes in their design management teams. The only D in the group was handed to…take a guess…Toyota/Lexus! Car and Driver even went so far as to ask if there are “recalls for dullness.” Ouch.

Porsche managed a B-, no doubt pulled down by its controversial Panamera and Cayenne designs. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that’s the same grade given to Suzuki, hardly an equal by any other measure.

There were no failing grades, but I think C&D was a bit too kind to designers at Honda/Acura, giving them a C-.

Which automakers do you think deserve an A in design?


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