Zachary Berry
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Modern Vehicles with the Best and Worst Visibility

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Consumer Reports analyzed vehicles from across the industry to determine the contemporary cars, trucks, and SUVs with the best and worst visibility ratings

2017 Subaru Outback

♫I can see clearly now the large roof pillars are gone♫

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.

GM recently showed off the 2018 Chevy Equinox at the Montreal International Auto Show

The rear window is officially an endangered species

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

9 Vehicles with the Best Visibility

1. Honda Accord

The 2017 Honda Accord Coupe offers the choice between a four-cylinder and V6 engine, as well as the option between a standard manual or available automatic transmission

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.

2. Honda Fit

2016 Honda Fit model overview

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.

3. Range Rover

Large windows are a hallmark of the Range Rover. It just so happens that those windows provide Range Rover drivers with plenty of visibility all around.

4. 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.

5. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Daimler has recently shared details regarding its new 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe

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.

6. Nissan Altima

2016 Nissan Altima sedan review

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.

7.Subaru Forester

The 2017 Subaru Forester is scheduled to reach US dealerships later this summer and will carry a starting MSRP of $23,470

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.

8. Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy

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.

9. Subaru Outback

The 2017 Subaru Outback carries a starting MSRP of $25,645 and was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS

Subaru adds yet another entry to this list in the form of the Subaru Outback. The same things that increased visibility for the Forester and Legacy can be found in this Subaru vehicle as well.

9 Vehicles with the Worst Visibility

1. Buick Encore

2018 Buick Encore

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.

2. Honda CR-Z

2016 Honda CR-Z

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.

3. Infiniti QX70

Infiniti QX70S Design edition

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.

4. Jeep Wrangler

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.

5. Nissan Pathfinder

The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder can seat up to seven people and is powered by a 260 horsepower V6 engine

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.

6. Nissan 370Z


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.

7. Porsche Boxster

The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster carries a starting MSRP of $56,000 and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds

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.

8. Smart ForTwo

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.

9. Toyota Tundra

2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition

Usually, pickup trucks have some of the best vehicle visibility on the market. In contrast, the Toyota Tundra’s visibility suffers due to large pillars and intrusive rear head restraints.

Not-So-Stellar Rankings: Consumer Reports Names Its 10 Lowest-Rated Vehicles of 2017

Source: Consumer Reports