Modern Vehicles with the Best and Worst Visibility
Consumer Reports analyzed vehicles from across the industry to determine the contemporary cars, trucks, and SUVs with the best and worst visibility ratings
In driving school, students are taught to take a look over their shoulder in order to check for any blind spots before changing lanes or backing up. In modern vehicles, this is a task that is not so easily done.
Over the course of the past few years, increased safety regulations have required thicker roof pillars. At the same time, vehicle styling has shifted toward a more streamlined, aerodynamic look.
The combination of these two factors has resulted in the decline of vehicle visibility. While automakers will be required to add backup cameras to all new vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds by May of this year, that still doesn’t substitute for a clear view out of a spacious rear window.
Fortunately, vehicles that provide plenty of visibility can still be found in the modern automotive market. Consumer Reports recently analyzed various vehicles from across the industry for visibility, and as a result of the study, the organization developed a list of the vehicles with the best and worst visibility.
The Best Across the Board: Consumer Reports Names Its 10 Best Vehicles of 2017
Gallery: 9 Vehicles with the Best Visibility
- Honda Accord
- Honda Fit
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class
- Nissan Altima
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Legacy
- Subaru Outback
Consumer Reports found the Accord to provide excellent visibility due to its upright styling and low beltline. Of course, this was before the Accord’s recent redesign, so the results might not be quite the same for newer Honda Accords.
Another Honda on the Consumer Reports list, the Honda Fit provides a surprising amount of visibility for a subcompact car. Its upright stance and large, numerous windows provide a clear view of the road from nearly every angle.
Land Rover Range Rover
Large windows are a hallmark of the Land Rover Range Rover. It just so happens that those windows provide Range Rover drivers with plenty of visibility all around.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
As the Range Rover itself earned a spot on this list, it shouldn’t be surprising to find its Sport-based counterpart here as well. The Range Rover Sport adds a sportier look and feel to the Range Rover, all while maintaining the aspects that increased visibility in the previous model.
Pillars can often make or break a model in terms of visibility. Fortunately, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class possesses thin pillars for overall improved visibility.
The Nissan Altima is one of the most popular models in the ever-popular mid-size sedan segment. Perhaps its large windows, designed for increased visibility, are some of the reasons why sedan drivers constantly select the Altima.
Whereas more SUVs are abandoning a boxier design for something more sporty, Subaru has embraced the classic SUV design. The large windows and thin pillars that are present in a boxy SUV provide increased visibility to this popular Subaru model.
Subaru’s SUVs aren’t the only models from the brand earning praise for their visibility. In fact, Consumer Reports noted that the Legacy has the best visibility of any midsize sedan.
Gallery: 9 Vehicles with the Worst Visibility
- Buick Encore
- Honda CR-Z
- Infiniti QX70
- Jeep Wrangler
- Nissan Pathfinder
- Nissan 370Z
- Porsche Boxster
- Smart ForTwo
- Toyota Tundra
This small SUV is currently one of Buick’s most popular models. Still, thick pillars and a small rear window limits the view that the Encore provides to drivers.
The discontinued Honda CR-Z earned its spot on Consumer Reports’ list of vehicles with the worst visibility thanks to a small rear window. The fact that the window is horizontally split certainly doesn’t help matters.
The Infiniti QX70 might be a rather large utility model. Nevertheless, its short windows and long hood prevent it from possessing the visibility it should.
Take away the Wrangler’s doors and roof, and you’ll have plenty of visibility while off-roading. With all those components in place, however, the Wrangler has visibility problems in both the front and the rear.
The Nissan Pathfinder is yet another victim of decreasing rear visibility. A small rear window makes it difficult for drivers to see what’s directly behind them in the Pathfinder.
Nissan’s second entry on this list, the Nissan 370Z’s main issue is its pillars. Said pillars are so thick that it complicates visibility while out on the go.
Visibility isn’t a problem when you have the top rolled down in this convertible. When the top is put back in place, on the other hand, visibility is difficult, even compared to the Boxster’s convertible competitors.
The Smart ForTwo is one tiny car with several thick pillars. While these pillars do increase the safety of the Smart vehicle, they don’t do any favors for its visibility.
Not-So-Stellar Rankings: Consumer Reports Names Its 10 Lowest-Rated Vehicles of 2017
Source: Consumer Reports
Zachary Berry currently resides in the Dayton, Ohio area. However, he enjoys traveling from place to place, as he was born in Oklahoma City and has also lived in Albuquerque and Orlando (such is the life of a military brat). Zachary graduated from Ohio University with a major in Strategic Communication, which is fancy talk for advertising and public relations. Beginning his career at The News Wheel as a lowly intern, he was able to climb his way to the top, eventually claiming his place within the last cubicle on the left. Other jobs that Zachary has held include driving around a safari truck at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When he’s not putting his nose to the grindstone, Zachary enjoys watching and critiquing movies and television. See more articles by Zachary.