If you have been paying attention to the exhaust pipes underneath each car, you may find that some of them are very visible and looks like they are just hanging loosely. For example take a look at the below photo of the 2015 Lexus NX300h, you can clearly see how the single pipe is located in the underbody, going through the rear suspension arms and finally reach the exhaust tips.
On the other hand, some cars conceal the pipes gracefully as you can barely see them even you kneel down to take a close look (you can only see the exhaust tips under the rear bumper). A typical example is the 2015 Audi Q3 as shown below.
So here comes the real question: for cars that have the visible and dangling (“just plain ugly”) exhaust pipes, is it just pure negligence from the design engineers? Well we cannot say for all cases, but I am pretty sure for most of them that is due to consideration for the passenger cabin spaces.
We ALL know there is no free lunch. If you want to “hide” the exhaust pipes underneath, they must take up some space – you need to raise the cabin’s floor and make room for the mechanical parts that you want to hide inside. This is true for the above two cars. Below is the second-row seat photo of the Lexus NX, you can see the floor is almost flat and there is no excessive bulge on it. People can sit in the middle comfortably, making the Lexus NX perfect for seating three people in the back.
But that is a total different case for the Audi Q3. (See the below photos) because Audi needs to fit the exhaust pipes inside the underbody, they have to make a large bulge (tunnel) in center of the cabin floor to make room for the underneath pipes.
Another close look at the tunnel on the Q3’s 2nd-row seat floor.
People who want to sit in the center of the 2nd-row seat must sit awkwardly, both legs on each side of the center tunnel – not a comfortable position, at least for me, right?
So there is definitely a trade-off between the ugly and the beautiful. It just depends on what your preference is.
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