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Styling Faux Pas: Chrome Noses

January 21, 2013 by Matt

Acura MDX Nose Front Fascia

Today we begin a new series spotlighting ill-conceived design trends, styling decisions that provoked more than their fair share of head scratching and features that turned out just plain ugly. Think of it as a repository for all those little mental “design notes” I file away as I observe the cars around me on my commute.

Designers have a number of “hail marys” they can throw when unable to successfully resolve the lines on a particular area of the car, but perhaps none is so obvious as the classic technique of just loading up the region with chrome.

Ford Fusion Nose Front Fascia

Visualize any of the cars in this article with color-keyed bodywork in place of the chrome. What happens? The fascias of the cars become boring, uninteresting, dull, evidence that the contours and lines—the car’s visual bedrock—weren’t successful enough to stand on their own, without the “enhancement” of the shiny stuff.

VW Jetta Nose Front Fascia

For the record, I have no problem with chrome in general—when applied in a restrained, tasteful manner that supplements the car’s proportions and shapes, rather than becoming the main attraction (or detraction). As it is, with the examples shown, among others, there’s more frosting than cake.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Styling Faux Pas


  1. Ryan says:

    Must agree on all counts. Chrome ACCENTS are perfectly acceptable and can emphasize certain portions of a vehicle when done properly. But when it looks like they dipped the nose of the car in a bucket of mercury before it left the factory all it does is ruin what might otherwise have been a decent looking vehicle.

  2. John says:

    Totally agree with this one! In fact, I have a Mark V Jetta (like the one in the picture above) and I had the main, mid grille, chrome panel painted body color and the 2 chrome strips above the intake panels (below the headlights) painted black. Completely transformed the car!

  3. John says:

    I’m not sure if this comment section will allow a link, but the only picture of my Jetta that’s online (that I’m aware of) is on my fuelly page. So, in case anyone was interested in how the changes I described actually look, here you go:

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