Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, BMW X3 and Mercedes Benz GLA; what’s one thing common in almost all the SUVs these days, Plastic Cladding. Different countries across the globe and regions have distinct automotive trends. For example, people want small matchbox cars; in Europe, people are after performance and luxury. Now, coming to India, people’s priorities are aesthetics and features (also fuel economy). Let’s focus on aesthetics for now. In India, designers use different techniques to make the car look beautiful; this plastic cladding is among them. (Form over Function)

tata nexon
Tata Nexon

This is a plastic trim that almost all the SUVs come with on all four sides. But are these necessary? Do these plastic cladding serve any other purpose? Let us have a detailed look.

What is the plastic cladding for?

Maruti Ignis without plastic cladding

This plastic cladding comes in all different shapes and sizes, of course, depending upon the shape and size of the vehicle. It comes down to the carmaker what they want their car to look and feel like.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis
Maruti Suzuki Ignis with plastic cladding
  • Plastic cladding allows the cars to look beefier than it is. For example, in India, there was a trend where the carmaker was adding a set of this plastic trim all around to their hatchbacks and called them Cross (Volkswagen Polo Cross, Toyota Etios Liva Cross, Fiat Avventura).
  • This plastic trim across the car allows the carmaker to keep the cost of the vehicle in control. Because plastic cladding comes cheap, it affects the manufacturing costs, in turn, fairing a little easy on the customer’s pocket.

Advantage of plastic cladding

Renault Duster Adventure Edition
Renault Duster Adventure Edition with plastic cladding

Carmakers slowly understand the pros of adding plastic trims on the outside of the vehicle. So, the sad part is nowadays; even some sedans come equipped with such cladding (next-gen Hyundai Verna). More of the negatives later; let’s focus on the positives for now.

Exciting read: Maruti Suzuki Working On Flex Fuel Cars?

  • As said earlier, it makes the car shed some price without losing bold aesthetics.
  • The plastic trim on the outside allows the car to look rugged, purposeful and valuable.
  • These trims are easy to replace in case of an accident. Bumpers with plastic cladding usually come in layers, and hence, only the damaged layer needs a replacement.
  • Plastic cladding also comes cheap hence it will not dig a deep hole in your wallet replacing it.
  • It also gives the SUVs their rugged mantra to go anywhere without worrying about damaging the car.
  • Installed in true SUVs, plastic cladding prevents the fenders from catching rust.

Informative read: Flex-Fuel And Flex-Fuel Engine Explained

Negatives of plastic cladding

2020 Renault Duster
2020 Renault Duster without plastic cladding

Rarely there are things and beings in this world with no negatives, and plastic cladding has them too.

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  • Now, you’ve bought a car with plastic cladding all around, good luck in maintaining it. The plastic used across the vehicle is grainy plastic without paint. Hence with prolonged exposure to the atmosphere (not even sunlight) fades this plastic way.
  • With the use of the car, you may retain the shine of the paint, but the plastic would have turned grey.
  • Moving on, excess use of plastic cladding makes the vehicle look cheap.
  • Carmaker installs plastic cladding to almost all vehicles, and this makes the car lose its original charm.
  • Such as the Hyundai Active i20, which came with plastic cladding all around. Active i20, for one, was a lovely hatchback turned like a cross over. (Come on, Why?)

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Should you go for a car with plastic cladding?

In word YEA! There are more full advantages of these plastic cladding than there are negatives. After all, there are solutions (literal solutions or liquids) that bring the shine to the plastic cladding and make them look as good as new.

Fun Read: 5 Cars In India With Similar Looking Tail Lights

What do you think of this plastic cladding? Do you find them to be necessary? Tell us in the comment section below.

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