Cars Coming Soon: Acura Tweaks the Beak, Previews New Models

Acura ILX beak

One of the worst design decisions in recent memory came courtesy of designers at Acura, who thought placing the snout of a toucan on the front end of the company’s cars was a good idea.

The design has led to endless ridicule and even the admission that designers “may have gone too far” with what has become known as “the beak.”

In spite of all the negative feedback, the company has chosen not to abandon the beak, but instead to tone it down on future models. Will that help the Acura stable become less awkward? Probably not.

Acura’s awkwardness currently is crowned by the slow-selling and oddly proportioned ZDX. Acura says,

Although the ZDX remains a niche vehicle for the Acura brand, it continues to garner attention for its unique styling while transcending the traditional distinctions between coupe, sedan and sport utility vehicle.

It garners attention alright—none of it positive, from what I’ve seen. It’s not roomy enough to be a SUV, it’s too big to be a coupe, and it’s too ugly to be purchased in mass quantities. The real surprise here is that Acura will keep it around for 2013.

2013 and 2014 versions of Acura vehicles will retain some form of the beak design, because designers want to keep the corporate look while simultaneously reaching further out toward a premium design language. While we don’t know exactly how the beak of the future will look, we can look to the recently debuted Acura ILX and the NSX Concept for a pretty good clue.

Acura NSX concept, Detroit

Toshinobu Minami, Acura’s head of global design, says reactions have been somewhat less severe compared to the past, which the designer says is because people are growing accustomed to the look. I happen to think it’s much more likely that people are just getting tired of complaining about it. (Except me—I love complaining about it.)

Expect refreshed versions of the TSX, TL, RDX, MDX and ZDX for 2013, along with the all-new RLX luxury sedan for 2014.

What do you think of Acura’s design direction?


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  1. Yet another example of how stupid “brand manageent” is. They actually grant degrees and pay brand managers big bucks. As far as I can see, the role of the brand manager is to make all the products look alike so when they start to fail, the whole brand fails. (As Chevy is starting to do with close to twenty vehicles that all look like a Malibu.

  2. I don’t think it’s the beak that is so bad about acura styling, it’s everything behind the beak. Just a honda body with a beak on the front.

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