Posture and Coolness

Here’s the new “off-road mobility machine” from Der Ziesel and by all rights it should be cool. It’s electric, has more than enough power and speed, comes in cool colour schemes. But why isn’t it? There’s something that’s just… je ne sais quoi… lame?

That’s what it looks like from the side, and I had an idea: the obvious comparison is a regular snowmobile, right? So here’s one I chose at random because it was first on Google Images:

It’s just better somehow. Now, we’re ignoring things like drivability, safety, cost, etc. but from two pictures alone, which would you rather have? Which would you rather be seen driving?

Which is curious, what is the difference, really? I suspect it’s posture. Top-heaviness. Fast things, cool things, are low-slung and wide. Lame things are tall and narrow. They look tipsy under fast cornering and terrain variations. The Der Ziesel has that roll cage and a seat belt. It’s tall and narrow.

So we see this everywhere: SMART Cars and Lamborghinis. Sure, you could argue status symbols, cost and performance, but what about Aston Martin’s lineup and it’s own Cygnet – same branding and luxury, an aesthetically inferior car. Now, interestingly, the Cygnet is based on the Toyota iQ, and even that’s better than the SMART because it has a wider, fatter stance. It’s less topheavy and tall. The MINI is wider and longer yet, but only slightly shorter in height and offers a more sporty posture for driving. When you get into the lower sports and race cars, you’re practically lying down in a vehicle so wide it has trouble with parking garages.

The moral of the story is if you want to make something cool, make it low.

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