Cadillac Had To Redesign The Mirrors On Its New Sedan For Europe

When I test drove the 2014 Cadillac CTS a few months ago, one of the few things I griped about was the small side view mirrors. “While they meet DOT standards,” I wrote, “visibility should be better.”

Turns out the Europeans agreed with me.

Small mirrors have advantages. Designers tend to prefer their sleeker look — that’s why the mirrors on concept cars, which don’t have to follow regulations, often have such cool designs. (See: Toyota FT1.) In a recent interview, Bob Boniface, exterior design director for GM’s luxury brand, told me he wanted a “discreet” look for the mirrors on the CTS. They also reduce wind noise and drag, so the car is quieter and more efficient.

But less mirror means less visibility, and that’s why Boniface didn’t get his way on the CTS models the brand is sending to Europe, where minimum mirror sizes are regulated differently.

The difference is obvious:

While I prefer the look of the “discreet” mirror, I’d rather have the bigger one when I’m sitting in the driver’s seat. Plus, as I discovered during a snowy CTS drive in Detroit last week, the mirrors are too small for the standard scraper to be of any use:

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