modern cars with terrible visibility

1/29 SLIDES © Ford

Seeing is believing

Cars are getting safer. We know that from the results of Euro NCAP crash tests.

But what about ‘real world’ experience on the road? Are the broad roof pillars demanded by crash safety (and indeed the swoopy styling dictated by fashion) making modern cars harder to see out of?

Consumer group Which? reckons so – and has published a list of the worst offenders.

modern cars with terrible visibility

2/29 SLIDES © Newspress

How Which tests visibility

For every car tested, Which? uses a camera mounted at driver’s head height and rotated through 360 degrees. This measures all-round vision and how much it is impaired by windscreen pillars, headrests and so on.

Other factors, such as the brightness of the headlights and availability of a rear-view camera, are taken into account, then each vehicle is given a rating.

All the cars featured here scored just two stars out of five for visibility.

modern cars with terrible visibility

3/29 SLIDES © GM

Chevrolet Camaro: 2015-2018

We’d hope this all-American muscle car has poor visibility because of all the tyre smoke in its mirrors. In reality, though, it’s largely due to those shallow side windows and Coke-bottle hips.

modern cars with terrible visibility

4/29 SLIDES © GM

Chevrolet Cruze: 2009-2015

A very different Chevrolet, the instantly forgettable Cruze was a budget-priced rival for the Skoda Octavia. Nope, we’ve no idea what’s going on here either…

modern cars with terrible visibility

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modern cars with terrible visibility

5/29 SLIDES © GM

Chevrolet Orlando: 2011-2015

Perhaps by choosing the name ‘Orlando’, Chevrolet hoped to conjure images of sunshine and family fun. Its people carrier is well suited to families, but losing your luggage at Heathrow is frankly more fun.

modern cars with terrible visibility

6/29 SLIDES © Citroen

Citroen Dispatch Combi: 2007-2015

Yes, it’s a van with windows. And visibility is – one assumes – better than the actual Citroen Dispatch van. Unfortunately, wide pillars and bulky headrests lumber the Combi with a two-star rating.

modern cars with terrible visibility

7/29 SLIDES © Citroen

Citroen Spacetourer: 2016-on

The huge Spacetourer can carry up to nine people, or you can have five seats and a gigantic boot. Those tinted rear windows might keep your passengers cool, but they don’t help the already poor visibility.

modern cars with terrible visibility

8/29 SLIDES © Dacia

Dacia Duster: 2018-on

‘You do the maths’ says ‘Finchy’ from The Office on those Dacia adverts. Well, Which? has done the maths, and the Duster comes up short. ‘Reversing around a corner in the current Dacia Duster, which anybody taking their driving test before December 2017 may have been tested on, would be particularly tricky,’ said the consumer group.

modern cars with terrible visibility

9/29 SLIDES © Dacia

Dacia Duster: 2013-2018

That also applies to the previous-generation Duster, launched in 2013, which looks scarcely different to the current car. Still, owners seem to like them.

modern cars with terrible visibility

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modern cars with terrible visibility

10/29 SLIDES © Dacia

Dacia Sandero: 2013-on

Britain’s cheapest new car starts from £6,995. It’s entirely unsuitable for driving up the hill at Goodwood Festival of Speed, as pictured here.

modern cars with terrible visibility

11/29 SLIDES © Ford

Ford Ecosport: 2014-on

The Ecosport was a bit mediocre, let’s be honest. A Fiesta-based crossover originally designed for markets such as Brazil, it disappointed in many areas – including visibility.

modern cars with terrible visibility

12/29 SLIDES © Ford

Ford Ka Plus: 2016-2019

Another Ford that missed the mark, the short-lived Ka+ was roomy but dull. Essentially a Ka with five doors, it locked horns (somewhat timidly) with the Dacia Sandero.

modern cars with terrible visibility

13/29 SLIDES © Ford

Ford Ka Plus Active: 2018-2019

Having delivered the world a Ka with more doors, Ford then served up a pseudo-SUV version. “Monsieur, with these small cars you’re really spoiling us.”

modern cars with terrible visibility

14/29 SLIDES © Honda

Honda Civic: 2006-2011

The eighth-generation Honda Civic still looks space-age, with design features such as hidden rear door handles and triangular tailpipes. Its horizontally split rear window does visibility no favours, though.

modern cars with terrible visibility

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modern cars with terrible visibility

15/29 SLIDES © Honda

Honda CR-Z: 2010-2013

The quirky hybrid CR-Z also adopted a split window design. The upper section of glass was mostly for letting light in, with a narrow (and heavily tinted) slot for rearward vision.

modern cars with terrible visibility

16/29 SLIDES © Jeep

Jeep Wrangler: 2007-2018

Like the original Land Rover Defender, the Wrangler appeals despite its obvious shortcomings. Those huge headrests can’t help visibility, though. Like the other cars here, the Jeep earns just two stars.

modern cars with terrible visibility

17/29 SLIDES © Kia

Kia Rio: 2005-2011

We suspect the biggest danger when driving a 2005-2011 Kia Rio is falling asleep at the wheel. The Korean supermini shared its platform with the Hyundai Accent and… zzzzz. Sorry, where were we?

modern cars with terrible visibility

18/29 SLIDES © Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe: 2016-on

Ah, the noble SUV coupe. More weight, greater fuel consumption and inferior handling to a ‘normal’ coupe, along with less space and a higher price than an equivalent SUV. What’s not to like? Oh, the poor visibility.

modern cars with terrible visibility

19/29 SLIDES © Nissan

Nissan 370Z: 2009-on

Amazingly, the Nissan 370Z has been on sale for 11 years. Its slash-cut styling is distinctive and the 3.7-litre V6 provides plenty of oomph. But just buy a used Porsche Cayman.

modern cars with terrible visibility

20/29 SLIDES © Nissan

Nissan Micra: 2017-on

Earlier versions of the Micra were beloved of driving schools. One wonders if that’s the case now. Which? said the Micra’s narrow rear window provides an ‘almost visor-like rear view of the road’.

modern cars with terrible visibility

21/29 SLIDES © Renault

Renault Fluence: 2012-2013

Apparently, Renault’s plan with the Fluence ZE was to make electric cars so terminally boring that people bought Meganes and Clios instead. It kind of worked. The combustion-engined Fluence lives on in Asia, South America and elsewhere.

modern cars with terrible visibility

22/29 SLIDES © Renault

Renault Megane: 2016-on

The current Megane is the most striking C-segment hatchback. The price you pay for that wedgy profile and shallow glass, though, is two-star visibility.

modern cars with terrible visibility

23/29 SLIDES © Renault

Renault Megane Coupe: 2009-2016

More of a three-door hatchback than a true coupe, the Megane boasted an upswept rear side window and near-horizontal tailgate glass. Good for style, but hardly practical.

modern cars with terrible visibility

24/29 SLIDES © Renault

Renault Wind: 2010-2012

Its dodgy name surely didn’t help sales, nor did the Wind’s oddball styling. Flying buttresses and the mechanism for its rotating metal roof make rearward visibility seem an afterthought.

modern cars with terrible visibility

25/29 SLIDES © Smart

Smart EQ Fortwo: 2018-on

The Smart was built for dodging through city traffic, so you’d hope for good all-round vision. Not so. The electric EQ Fortwo is worse than many large cars in this regard.

modern cars with terrible visibility

26/29 SLIDES © Smart

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet: 2016-2019

The same goes for the Fortwo Cabriolet. Unless you’re looking directly upwards, visibility is rather limited. It also resembles an oversized shoe.

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