Audi calls it a "nighttime signature," and they're not messing around with them.
Back in the day, basically every car had the same round head and taillights. Bentley's might have had 4 on the front, but that was about it for differentiation. Then later on somebody figured out how to make various shapes out of the lights, and designers started to get creative. And then, boom, along comes the Audi R8 and everybody realizes you can make all sorts of defined shapes out of LEDs and tubes of LED light. Land Rover puts overlapping squircles on the new Range Explorer, Hyundai makes what appear to be atoms on the back of their Sonata Hybrid, and BMW squishes the angel eyes for some reason.
The visual signature of the front of the car is important, as it's the face of the car and how most people will define the style. But it's actually much more likely that you'll spend a long period of time staring at a car's rear, following it down the road or at a traffic light. Which is why we've chosen the Volvo XC60. While the XC60 isn't our ideal car, it's rear lights are completely unmistakable and absolutely captivating. If you've ever seen one in front of you at night, you'll know that the two waterfalls of red light outlining the sides of the vehicle look rather good. And they're certainly a signature, as nothing else on the road comes close to matching them today.
A non-enthusiast's Swedish crossover makes itself known when the sun goes down. What other cars look great at night? Which is the best looking, and most instantly recognizable? Headlights or taillights, take your pick, but let us know what you think in the comments.
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Photo Credit: Volvo