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2014 models sacrifice blind spot views for fuel efficiency

Body style changes are very common when new models are introduced, and the slate of 2014 models are no different. Consumers can expect many models to have high, sloping backs and smaller rear windows. These new changes are geared to entice customers with new, sleek lines, but they have an unfortunate drawback: larger blind spots.

According to a recent Consumer Reports article, the 2014 Chevy Impala was hailed for its exterior lines, but the views from inside were noted as a problem. The same was said about the 2014 Mini Cooper, Chevy Camaro and Honda CR-Z.

The primary reason for these design changes, according to Consumer Reports, is to start down the line where manufacturers could meet future fuel efficiency standards. Models in 2025 must meet minimum fuel standards of 54.5 miles per gallon. One way to reach this goal is to remove some of the weight that thwarts fuel efficiency. Heavy glass in the rear of vehicles is one of these culprits. To that end, manufacturers have tried to eliminate this where possible. The end result, limited visibility in some models, which could lead to more accidents.

Some manufacturers have incorporated technology to make up for the visibility lost through new designs. Back up cameras and blind zone detection alert systems are available on some models. The Infiniti JX and the Honda Accord are prime examples of how these systems help to alert drivers of cars in their blind spots.

The advent of technology is not a substitute for the use of reasonable care while behind the wheel, however. 

Source: TheDetroitNews.com, Some new vehicles have bigger blind spots, August 27, 2013

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