I really hope that this does not require writing, but the scourge of “Piano Black Decoration” seems to have no end. I’m talking about glossy black trim, which somehow becomes a luxurious trim used to classify interiors that may be lacking in the classroom.
The Los Angeles Auto Show last week showed a lot. The new Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4X both use piano black plastic in the wrong place. The same is true for the new Kia Sportage, but these few examples are just a flash in the industry’s obsession with bright black.
This shiny decoration looked good in the fine news photos of the new car’s interior, but it no longer looked good shortly after the shooting was completed. Anyone who owns a piano-trimmed car knows what will happen over time. First, it will be covered with dust and particles-this will only take a day or two. Next, this part will take months to a year, it will be severely scratched and usually looks terrible. It may just be the least durable interior material ever, and it is now used in countless new cars.
Interestingly, the use of piano black trim has increased recently and continues to grow. In most cases, it replaces plastic that might have a black or gray finish. Those flat, non-flashy decorative pieces can withstand years of abuse and will not stain as easily as piano black. This begs the question, why did automakers decide to flock to the new piano black style?
Perhaps, piano black interiors are more effective in selling cars. We humans tend to be attracted to shiny things, such as diamond rings and expensive watches. If one interior amazes us with its sparkling flares and the other is dull, then we can finally choose to impress our interior with the initial “wow” factor.
Even if the trend is in full swing, some people still propose to counterattack the piano black trim. Honda deliberately designed the center console of the new Civic, without any piano black trim, but chose gray plastic with lining. It will not scratch or get dirty like piano black, but it is still a visually interesting decoration, better than no design at all.
This deliberate design is exactly what I want to see. Let’s get rid of any piano black decorations that lie flat inside or that will be frequently touched. If it is flat, it will immediately collect dust. If we touch it frequently or place something on it, the trim will scratch and lose its luster quickly. The only acceptable place for piano black trim is the vertical place and the place where our fingerprints will not often stain. Our long-term modern Palisade mainly implements this rule, restricting piano black decoration to certain areas such as infotainment surrounds, and using metal-like silver decorations at high impact points.
While we are talking about this kind of decoration, let me also call carbon fiber interiors another popular trend. Any car with performance seems to be equipped with standard (or available as an option) carbon fiber interior. I was obsessed with the idea of seeing carbon fiber in as many places as possible, but those days are long gone. Now, it just looks tired and cheap.
I still appreciate the use of carbon fiber for any external components, such as the rear spoiler or side door sills — all-carbon cars also have a place — but its use is largely wasted on the interior. If carbon fiber decoration can legally reduce actual weight, then I will go all out. But for this limited use of the interior (the strip around the dashboard, door or center console), it doesn’t reduce any tangible weight, and the beautiful wood or patterned metal trim will appear more luxurious.
Not to mention, the cost of adding carbon fiber trim is usually higher or similar to more luxurious alternatives. I prefer to stare at a perforated walnut dash rather than a dash filled with carbon fiber. Don’t even let me start using a steering wheel decorated with carbon fiber. In hot weather, carbon, like all metals in a car, becomes inaccessible during the first few minutes of driving-which is not a good quality for steering gear.
So, let us say goodbye to piano black and carbon fiber interiors. The former is just a bad idea for the longevity of your interior, while the latter has many more attractive options.