I own one of the smallest pickups available in the US market (Toyota Tacoma) and one of my least-favorite things about it is the lack of immediate forward visibility. On tight, rocky trails the high, wide hood creates annoying blind spots where you want them least. https://twitter.com/ryanlcooper/status/1291744631428976641
That said, it's disingenuous to say this is just a pickup truck issue. Automakers have been compromising outward visibility in the name of more aggressive styling for years now, in basically every vehicle class. The truck hood phenomenon is just one expression of a broader issue.
We've even enabled it with policy: the backup camera mandate was justified by the 2-3 people who back over their kid every year. But how many vulnerable road users are hit every year because of tiny, bunker-style gun slits that have replaced what we called the "greenhouse"?
But guess what? You can't even blame this all on the automakers. People simply prioritize exterior looks over the actual user experience. When a new car is released, everyone wants to see how it looks and not how good visibility behind the wheel is. This is the culture.
It's nuts when you think about it: vehicles are tools for the most dangerous activity most people engage in, and we care more about how it looks from the outside than how easy it is to actually use safely and effectively.
Classic example: Fiat Multipla. Widely cited as "world's ugliest car" online, miles away from contemporary US vehicle design culture... but imagine what it's like behind the wheel. With all that glass you'll see every car, cyclist, pedestrian, motorbike, everything.
Another example: the first Scion xB was designed for dense, multi-modal Japanese cities and has excellent outward visibility. The second-gen "Americanized" the design, giving it a lower roof, smaller windows, and a massive C-pillar... better sales, worse visibility.
Thing is, a lower roof and smaller greenhouse is inextricably linked with more appealing design in our automotive culture going way back to the "chop top" customs. Don't expect this to just go away any time soon...
There's one other factor here: side impact crash testing has ramped up a lot lately, and a smaller greenhouse and beefier columns can help. But again, this shows that our safety culture is over-focused on passive safety (survivability) and not active crash avoidance.
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