Judging a car by its looks

Many alert readers will have noticed that cars — like dogs — resemble their owners. In fact, there is a striking facial similarity between a certain neighbour in Bhaisepati and the new MG GS that he recently bought. Especially around the nostrils.

A colleague at work is the spitting image of a Hyundai Venue that he drives, both have the same toothy grin. And a CFO I know has an identical stiff upper lip as the Mahindra Thar in his garage.

This subject deserves serious anthropological study: why are cars designed with grills that look like the vehicle is grinning from ear to ear? Some even have chrome fangs sticking out of their turbo intakes, like a bulldog with an underbite.

And have you noticed those new SUVs with double chins? Or swept back aerodynamic sedans that look like they may be airborne any second, but are sitting for half an hour at the Bagmati traffic jam?

We shouldn’t be judging cars by their looks (it is what is under the fibreglass-reinforced polyurethane instrument panel that is more important) but, sad to say, there are some automobiles that are downright ugly.

Take the Nissan Magnite, the front end of which seems to take inspiration from someone’s Y-front. No wonder Carlos Ghosn had to go into hiding.

Fact is, looks matter. Cars need tapered headlight lenses patterned after Aishwarya Rai’s eyes.

Designers also pay a lot of attention to a car’s butt which, in hindsight, must be why hatchbacks have derrieres that could win hands down in the swimsuit round of the Miss Universe contest.

You might also not have helped noticing that some of the new crossover utility vehicles on our roads have of late developed ample bosoms.

Aside from anthropomorphic automobile design, I am glad to report, cars have also become a lot smarter. SUVs greet you when you open the door, will not start unless they recognise your voice, and will make idle chit-chat on long drives.

There are even hybrids that throw tantrums, sulk and go all passive aggressive on you, unless you tickle their lithium-ion batteries from time to time.

In fact, modern motorcars are so human they even have sex. No, they don’t fornicate in the parking lot. (Not that I am aware of, anyway.) I mean cars these days are actually gender differentiated. There are cars that are unquestionably of the male persuasion, there are cars that are definitely female, and there are cars that are neither, and/or both.

Take the Jeep Wrangler, its protuberant proboscis makes it an unmistakably masculine machine that oozes testosterone from every pore. Or the Mahindra Bolero, which is all muscle, and no brains.

Then there is the BMW 7 Series with its sleek fenders and curvaceous chassis that exudes quiet intelligence and a self-assured demeanour that would make any other male car on the road today look like a dork.

Now that the internal combustion engine has been replaced with electric motors it is only appropriate for us to start referring to cars neither as he or she, but as they/them.

The Ass