Hardly anyone still knows them. The horizontally split rear window. The horizontally split rear window has been a design element of hybrids since 2017; the Prius (except the first generation), the Insight, the Volt and the Ioniq have a horizontally split rear window. A horizontally split rear window is certainly not something only for hybrid vehicles, so we go here on the application in non-hybrid vehicles closer. There are only a few cars with horizontally separated rear window available. An automaker that offered a horizontally separate rear window in its models is Lamborghini. The Lamborghini Espada had the horizontally split rear window. In addition to Lamborghini also Honda offered a horizontally separate rear window. And in the CRX of the type ED9 and EE8, which was produced in the period from 1987 to 1991. In addition, Honda offered in the CR-Z a horizontally split rear window. Furthermore, Mazda offered in the 323C, which was produced in the period from 1994 to 2000, a horizontally split rear window. Audi also had the split rear window on the Audi A2. Last but not least, Toyota has installed a split rear window in the Prius 2, 3 and 4.
Advantages and disadvantages of horizontally split rear windows
Basically, horizontally split rear windows are a sign of practicality. Aerodynamically optimized designs, especially in smaller vehicles, tend to have poor rearward visibility, and the horizontally split rear window allows for a second pane of glass in a vertical part of the body below the normal rear window. This is why they are used on hybrids - they are aerodynamically optimized and therefore need them - but it is certainly not exclusive to them.
History of the horizontally divided rear window
As far as we know, the first use was in the Jaguar / Bertone Pirana concept from 1967, which was based on the E-Type and designed by Marcello Gandini. Though the rear window didn't move with the tailgate. As early as the next year, another Gandini design - the Lamborghini Espada - contained the styling trope and brought it into production. The Dutch engineer designed the Maserati Khamsin from calendar year 1974 / model year 1975. Bluecold reminded us of the Citroën SM breadvans from the mid 1970s - apparently Citroën brought them together, although we're not sure where they came from. TVR used a split rear window in the Tasmin (from 1980).
Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury
Honda continued the design with the second-generation Honda CRX for the 1988 model year. Honda built the horizontally split rear window into the tailgate, and it was the template for all the modern implementations of the idea. Mazda launched its CRX competitor, the MX-3, in the year 1992 and thought the split window was a good idea and placed a small window under the spoiler. Also thanks to the BvdV Mazda has further tightened this idea for the so-called Neo in Japan, the 323C in Europe and the 323 Neo in Canada. And there is also a vertical division of the rear window. The best example is the pretzel beetle, the Corvette C2 and from modern times the "Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury"
Of course that had not happened yet!
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