I find great pleasure in looking at rare cars which were once common sights on the road. This morning I was following a Mk3 Cavalier (a post-facelift LS model, since you ask), which particularly caught my eye because I used to own one.
Overcome by a sense of nostalgia, as I frequently do when eyeballing cars I used to own, I noticed that it has an enormous glasshouse. That’s not something I had particularly considered when I had my Cavalier 15 years ago.
The glass seems to start low in the doors, and stretches up high. The pillars are wonderfully thin too.
But, as visibility goes, it is the polar opposite of the Cavalier, with thin side window lines, a tiny rear screen and vast, thick A-pillars.
The Evoque isn’t alone in the latter regard. Cars as varied as the Bentley Continental GT and Seat Leon stick in my mind for having A-pillars thick enough to lose cyclists – and even entire cars – in. Cars with split A-pillars are worse still. Not only is there a pair on each side to obscure vision, but they’re usually more than twice as thick as a single pillar.
It’s not just the thickness that’s the problem. When pulling out of a T-junction, a steeply-raked windscreen makes it all too easy to track other road users in the blind spot when leaning back and forth to peer out of side turnings.
Driving around town in a modern car requires more diligence than it did in the Cavalier.
I fully understand why thick pillars are a necessity: they aid the car’s structural integrity – particularly that of the passenger compartment – in a front, side or rear impact, or in the case of a rollover.
But I also wonder how many collisions have been caused by such blind spots. Surely it’s time for more investigation into panoramic windscreens or pillars constructed from stronger materials in the interest of slimming them down?