Sometimes Cars Look Alike, Even If They Don't Mean To
Car designers probably don’t want to admit it, but sometimes two vehicles from different automakers look extremely similar. Call it a coincidence or chalk it up to automakers adhering to the same style trends. Here are some of the most interesting “car doppelgängers” we’ve noticed in recent years:
2012 Honda Civic Coupe
The Honda Civic Coupe was completely remodeled for the 2012 model year with small but meaningful design updates. The car received a new grille and lower fascia that gave it an athletic look. Although some criticized it for its noisy cabin and unrefined materials, the 2012 Honda Civic lineup still performed well on the marketplace.
…the 2012 Kia Forte Koup
The Kia Forte Koup and the Honda Civic Coupe looked almost identical at one point. Not only did they have the same basic shape, but they also shared a similar grille and air vent design. Fortunately, both cars have gone their separate ways in terms of styling.
At nearly half a million dollars, what car can match up with a Rolls-Royce Phantom? The British marque offers extraordinary options on the Phantom you could never dream of on any other car, including a $14,825 rear theater, $21,450 drinks cabinet for rear passengers, and a $10,250 starlight headliner so passengers don’t even have to bother with a moonroof. There’s even a $1,250 veneered front cupholder lid option for those feeling a little extra opulent.
…the Geely GE
Just when you thought there was nothing like a Rolls-Royce, Geely was able to, shall we say, “recreate” the legendary Phantom. At the 2009 Shanghai auto show, Geely displayed the GE, which blatantly knocked off almost everything about the Phantom’s design, including the winged mascot atop the grille. The next year, Geely restyled the model under the name Emgrand GE, although that car also looked quite similar to a Rolls-Royce. (http://blogs.motortrend.com/2009-auto-shanghai-if-at-first-you-dont-succeed-2315.html)
Chrysler PT Cruiser
Gotta love the wacky cars of the early 2000s. For the 2001 model year, Chrysler introduced the funky PT Cruiser wagon, and for 2006, a major competitor brought out an equally unusual wagon. Even though the two cars could easily be told apart, they shared some significant similarities.
…the Chevrolet HHR
The Chevrolet HHR looks part hearse, part party wagon. Just like its Chrysler lookalike, the car sports a grille with horizontal slats as well as a circular hood and wide haunches. Sadly, both cars have been discontinued; Chrysler axed the PT Cruiser after the 2010 model year, and General Motors ended production on the HHR after the 2011 model year.
The Mitsubishi i-MIEV is the cheapest electric car available in the U.S., priced at just under $23,000 before state and federal tax credits. Unfortunately, the odd-shaped car hasn’t been a sales success — Mitsubishi sold a total of 196 copies last year in the U.S. The subcompact can only travel 62 miles on a single charge, but it is extremely efficient, boasting an EPA rating of 112 mpge.
…the Tata Nano
Although completely unrelated, the Tata Nano looks a lot like the i-MIEV. Both cars have a similar egg-shaped body, but the Nano’s headlights look significantly wider. The Tata Nano was widely known as the world’s cheapest car when it hit dealerships in India several years ago. It boasts a puny 37-hp two-cylinder standard engine that makes it just as frugal-minded as its Mitsubishi lookalike.
Aston Martin DB9
If Aston Martin is known for one thing aside from its powerful engines, it’s its classic designs. Designed by Ian Callum and Henrik Fisker, the DB9 maintains the same rakish good looks as the first one did 10 years ago. And strangely, a much less expensive model often receives compliments on how similar it looks to the DB9.
…the Ford Fusion
Despite the $150,000+ price difference between the two cars, the Ford Fusion bears an undeniably striking resemblance to the Aston Martin DB9. The grille and shape of the headlights pay homage to the British beauty. The similarities pretty much end when looking at the rear of the two cars, however.
Although it wasn’t the first of its kind to enter the market, the Toyota Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid car. A next-generation model expected to arrive later this year will ride on a new platform and offer a large boost in fuel economy. Currently, the Prius achieves 50 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
…the Honda Insight
Take one look at the rear of the second-generation Honda Insight, and you’ll notice it looks remarkably like the back end of the current Prius. Both models feature a large flared hatchback partially covered with blacked-out glass. Unfortunately, only one of these hybrid pioneers could win the race for green car supremacy. Although the Prius lives on and is soon to enter a new generation, the Insight was discontinued after the 2014 model year.
Lincoln Continental Concept
The Lincoln Continental Concept was one of the biggest debuts at this year’s New York auto show. Lincoln’s new flagship sedan is a huge departure from other cars in the lineup because it abandons the brand’s signature split-wing grille for a squarer mesh grille. When it comes to market, it will boast a 3.0-liter V-6 EcoBoost with either front- or all-wheel drive. But this car will be more about enjoying than driving; if it’s anything like the concept, it will feature reclining rear seats, touchscreens, and a champagne refrigerator with a cubby for custom flutes.
…the Bentley Flying Spur
Thanks to that new grille, Lincoln unwittingly created a doppelgänger of the Bentley Flying Spur. Something about the shape of the Lincoln Continental Concept also harkens back to the seductive design of the British beauty. Oh, and let’s not forget Bentley also has a car with the Continental name.
It may not be powerful, but the Smart Fortwo is an inexpensive and easy way to get around town. It is available in gasoline and electric versions and starts at well under $15,000. Completely redesigned for the 2016 model year, the new Fortwo is slightly wider but retains a manageable overall size. Mechanically, the Fortwo receives a six-speed dual-clutch transmission paired to a turbocharged inline-three cylinder with 89 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque.
…the Shuanghuan Noble
At best, the Shuanghuan Noble borrowed a little too liberally from the design of older Smart cars. From the overall size to the body panels, both cars look almost identical. The Shuanghuan Noble features unique content under the sheetmetal, including a four-banger that separates it from the Smart’s three-cylinder engine, but apparently this difference wasn’t enough for the Germans. Daimler sued the company with limited success.
BMW launched its midsize X5 utility vehicle for the 2000 model year, and its most recent redesign came for 2014. Last year, it was the best-selling crossover in BMW’s U.S. lineup. It was also the third best-selling model overall, just behind the iconic 3 Series and 5 Series cars. Sales jumped 18 percent from the previous year, and its iconic design never seems to get old.
…the Shuanghuan s-CEO
Sorry, Shuanghuan, but BMW did it first. The Shuanghuan s-CEO looks unique enough up front, but peek at the rear end and you’ll notice a lot of similarities with the BMW X5. Making it even more painful for BMW was the fact that Shuanghuan chose to debut the model alongside German giants at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Germany banned sales of the s-CEO, but the model continued to be sold in Italy after courts there ruled in favor of Shuanghuan.
Aston Martin Vantage
The Aston Martin Vantage is as beautiful as it is customizable. Available in coupe and roadster versions, as well as V-8 and V-12 iterations, the Vantage appeals to most of our senses. Best of all, it retains its classic charm that make it unmistakable for an Aston Martin. Still, one car manages to share a lot of body lines.
…the Jaguar XK
Yes, both are British sports cars, but it’s still amazing these two cars look so similar. The V8 Vantage commands more than $120,000 and offers up to 430 hp from its 4.7-liter engine. The Jaguar XK is the more “affordable” option, starting at $84,500 and pumping out a standard 385 hp. We’ll take one of each, please.
Audi offers plenty of coupes in its lineup, and other than the R8 supercar, none is more recognizable than the TT. It’s been 15 years since the first-generation model was introduced, but it still has that same classic sloped shape. The all-new 2016 TT builds upon the styling of previous generations but adds a more aggressive hexagonal grille and “squinting” rectangular LED headlight housings.
Its doppelgänger? (And no, it’s not the Nissan 370Z.)
…the Peugeot RCZ
Not very many cars share the Audi TT‘s sloped roof, but the Peugeot RCZ is one of them. This French two-door coupe features a striking grille, LED lighting, and rear aluminum roof arches that make it different from the Audi TT. Look closely in the back, and you’ll notice the roof has a “double-bubble” design.
The Mulsanne has been Bentley’s flagship vehicle since its debut for the 2011 model year. Prices eclipse the $300,000 mark thanks to luxury features such as a self-leveling air suspension, glass gearshift, and the finest leather upholstery. For more power than the standard model, buyers can opt for the Mulsanne Speed, which delivers 530 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque.
…the Chrysler 300
We’ve heard it a million times. Drivers pass a Chrysler 300 on the road and feel guilty for thinking it was a Bentley. But they shouldn’t feel too bad — the similar grille, chrome accents, and body shape can be remarkably deceptive to the eye. Once you get up close to the Chrysler, the similarities begin to fade.
BMW 5 Series GT
The GT is essentially a bloated version of the regular 5 Series midsize car. Because of its unusually large rear hatch and coupelike roof, it looks quite a bit odder, too. This model is available with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six or a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 with 445 hp.
…the Pontiac Aztek
Long after the Pontiac Aztek was discontinued in the mid-2000s, it is still regarded as one of the least attractive vehicles ever made. The similarities begin in the rear, but the BMW 5 Series GT looks quite a bit different up front, fortunately. Although both cars cater to active lifestyles, neither seems to achieve the right visual proportions.
For its 2015 refresh, the Ford Edge didn’t have to change much to keep it fresh among other two-row SUVs. Although the model is about 2 inches higher and 4 inches longer, it keeps a uniquely modern look with a steeply raked back end. The Edge is not only big in the U.S., but Ford is also banking on success in Europe and China.
…the Range Rover Evoque
Ford Motor Company no longer owns Land Rover, but it seems like some vestiges still remain. The Range Rover Evoque features a more dramatic design than the Ford Edge, but look at the side and you’ll notice a lot of the same body lines. You can definitely tell the minds at Land Rover and Ford are still on intersecting planes even though the British marque is now owned by India’s Tata Motors.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Toyota recently axed the FJ Cruiser from its lineup, but it’s a model we’ll never forget. From its exceptional off-road prowess to its funky dash design, the FJ Cruiser brought a lot of personality to the market.
…the Ford Troller
Last year, Ford introduced the 2015 Troller T4 for Brazil, and it reminds us a lot of the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Both share that unmistakable “toy truck” look. Come to think of it, the Troller could also be easily mistaken for a Jeep.