Aerodynamic drag may be a priority once again - Fuelly Forums

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Old 02-19-2011, 04:00 AM   #1
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Aerodynamic drag may be a priority once again

For years now, manufacturers have deprioritized aerodynamic drag, making a higher priority of fitting in with the crowd with parachute-like front ends and abruptly cut-off rear ends towing huge vortices.

Here's a few new models coming out that take the "crossover SUV" segment down a notch in size, finding new ways to deliver the cars that people need while letting the consumer still say "SUV" to friends and helping the manufacturer's CAFE light truck average...all with obvious concessions made for aerodynamic drag.
http://real-us.autos.yahoo.com/artic...oming-in-2011/

Hyundai Veloster: 40MPG, 138HP 4 cylinder. Oddly it has one door on the driver's side (so you look like you're driving a 2-door) and two doors on the passenger's side (so you have the 4-door functionality you need).


Nissan Murano CrossCarbiolet: So ugly that a journalist refused to test-drive it for fear of being seen in it, it's a convertible for the modern consumer who wants to say "SUV". Nissan doesn't even expect to attract many buyers.


Range Rover Evoque Coupe: A car that just barely manages to meet CAFE's definition of SUV, it is 500-700 pounds lighter than Range Rover's current lightest model and may have their smallest engine ever. Plastic and aluminum, as well as size, contribute to its lighter weight. Front wheel drive is apparently a first for Range Rover.


Perhaps these will set new trends...more likely I suspect they will be a niche market or not sell at all.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:56 AM   #2
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Re: Aerodynamic drag may be a priority once again

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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
For years now, manufacturers have deprioritized aerodynamic drag, making a higher priority of fitting in with the crowd with parachute-like front ends and abruptly cut-off rear ends towing huge vortices.
This is an over generalization and mostly not true. Even unaerodynamic models like the new beetle and pt cruiser spent plenty of time in the wind tunnel trying to squeeze every bit of FE while maintaining the shape of the design. Even cars with "parachute-like front ends and abruptly cut-off rear ends" have a lot of aerodynamic tweaks that make them far more slippery than their appear to the layman. SUVs and pickups that look to have blunt front ends from the side are heavily contoured when viewed from the top.
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:30 AM   #3
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Re: Aerodynamic drag may be a priority once again

The PT Cruiser and VW Beetle are both at .38 and above. Aerodynamic drag was not prioritized over style. Style came first.

The Subaru Forrester, with its more common styling, is also rated .38. I'm not an expert but I imagine the huge wake it tows might be to blame:


For comparison, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata looks like it was designed for the wind tunnel, except for the grills:

The result: .28!

They knock it down to .25 for the hybrid edition, partially by using a grill block that automatically engages and disengages:
http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/18/2...-drive-review/
Quote:
The company's engineers have also rolled in a host of tricks to keep the fuel-economy numbers as high as possible, including what they call an "active air flap" behind that gaping hexagonal inlet in the front fascia. At low speeds, the flap is open to assist in cooling the gas engine, but once the vehicle speeds up, the flap closes to decrease the Sonata Hybrid's coefficient of drag by as much as 10 percent.


Ok, I went off on a tangent. Anyway, my point wasn't that they don't do any wind tunnel testing or that they don't try to optimize aerodynamic drag, just that styling was an overriding priority and the cars I cited used a different order of priorities.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #4
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Re: Aerodynamic drag may be a priority once again

I just attended a Lord Fusor "Advance High Strength Steel" class. They talk a lot about the CAFE rules and how the manufacturer's are having to make the new cars way more aerodynamic and much lighter for better fuel mileage.

I thought it was strange how the average consumer thinks the aero cars are ugly, where I find them by far the most appealing look ever.
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