What’s With All The Lobster Claw Taillights These Days?

There are a lot of pretty cars at the New York Auto Show. The Audi RS5 Sportback is downright gorgeous. And what about the Genesis Essentia GT Concept? Well that’s a showstopper.

In the midst of these cars, though, we caught yet another glimpse of a trending automotive design that we’re not too sure about – lobster claw taillights.

Now, I know that sounds crazy and no I’m not hallucinating or having a really bad craving to sink my teeth into a few of those crustaceans. If you look at the backsides of some of the cars at the auto show, you’re going to see a design that resembles a lobster’s claw.

Check out the rear end on the 2019 Acura RDX. On the A-Spec model, there’s a large spoiler tacked onto the roof, a tidy little windscreen, and before you go any further down, a set of lobster claw taillights. The interesting part of the design on the RDX is that the upper part of the claw…I mean taillight is positioned on the actual rear end of the SUV, while the base of it is positioned on the side.

2019 Acura RDX

This design cue isn’t just an Acura thing either. You can also see a similar blueprint on the new Subaru Forester. But this time, the meaty part of the claw is towards the bottom of the SUV. Still, there’s a larger element, a small side, and a base where the other segments sprout.

Yes, it’s even on sedans and hatchbacks

It doesn’t look too bad on SUVs and crossovers, as their tall, boxy designs tend to support chunkier cues better. But this blueprint has spread to other body styles. The new Honda Civic is the prime example of this phenomenon. The poor compact car already has a distinct style that’s making it get a lot of hate and the lobster claw taillights sure don’t help. It’s even more noticeable on the Civic Coupe, as those models have taillights that connect with a light bar on the trunk itself.

Honda looks like it’s sticking with the taillight design, as it’s also prevalent on the Accord. In fact, lobster claw taillights can be found throughout a lot of Honda’s cars. If you look at the Clarity, it’s there, and on the Odyssey.

2018 Honda Civic Coupe

So far, it looks like lobster claw taillights are on regular, every-day vehicles for the most part. But Toyota could change that with the sporty and handsome Corolla Hatchback. And Volvo’s taking the design upstream thanks to the S90 and, to some extent, the gorgeous V90.

At the end of the day, I’m not a huge fan of the lobster claw design. I mean it’s hideous, oddly shaped, and doesn’t do anything to really accent the cars’ lines. Personally, I like slim taillights like on the aforementioned Essentia Concept or the Jaguar F-Type. And slim doesn’t have to be boring, as one look at the BMW i8’s futuristic lights could change anyone’s mind.

But what do you think? Are you a fan of the crustacean-like taillights that are being fitted to modern cars or is there another layout that you think is more attractive? Let us know in the comments below.

more photos...
  • vvmdrf

    Obviously the V90 has the best looking Lobster claw. Yummy

    • Autoexperte

      or V60

    • Jay

      Looks awful especially the bottom part of it. Way to damn large in modern design

      • Oliver Moore

        Yah let’s put these tiny little lights on a Volvo.

        • Jay

          Are Volvo’s allergic to proportion or something? Not large doesn’t equal tiny. When the tail lamps take up 40% of the rear view it’s pretty lazy. It works best on their SUVs

  • Tinky-Winky

    Ever heard of the term “fashion”?

    • Jay

      Lol that’s fashion?

    • Mike Gonzalez

      whoever follows trends obviously ain’t heard of the terms “originality”, “creativity” nor “imagination”

  • Harry Nimmergut

    It’s the “Lemming Principle” all over again. One does it, and all must follow. At least it’s more interesting than bland block-style taillights.

    • LeStori

      We are living in Interesting times. But does not mean it is a good idea.

    • Enter Ranting

      The same thing has happened with fake black plastic grilles in the bumper, touch screens, video game graphics instead of gauges and plastic “piano black” dashboards.


  • Jp

    There are productions better executed than others. V90, RDX are pretty good. On the other hand, the Accord and the Forester are pretty weird looking.

  • ace_9

    This sounds funny 😀
    “So far, it looks like lobster claw taillights are on regular, every-day vehicles for the most part. But Toyota could change that with the sporty and handsome Corolla Hatchback.”
    Because corolla hatchback is not a regular, every-day vehicle with generic styling at all 😀 It’s sporty and handsome and does not blend with i30, focus, ceed, 308, astra under any circumstances :D.

  • haudit

    They look terrible on the Honda Accord, Subaru Forester and the Volvo S90. On the Accord, they’re just a random styling element Honda decided to throw at the car with no thought for integrating them into the design. On the Forester, the rest of the car is possibly more hideous than the rear lights, so at least they’re in keeping with the overall theme. On the Volvo S90 they’re simply too blocky, and ruin what is an otherwise very attractive car.

    They look fine on the Acura RDX and Honda Civic (hatch, coupé and sedan)

    They look good on the Toyota Auris/Corolla, and very good on the Volvo V90.

    • dumblikeyou2

      Agreed. The S90 was like, wtf?, compared with the rest of the otherwise svelte lines. It’s like Volvo purists insisted on attaching their boxy origins onto it lest you forget.

      • Jay

        Yep. Biggest visual detractor for me in the s90. Makes it look so cheap

  • ndcart

    You are so right. They look terrible to me. The poor Civic’s ass is hideous. Actually the whole car is, but that’s a whole other article. lol

  • Joe E

    Don’t forget GMC Terrain. I do think Honda is trying to “own” lobster lights more than any other brand — they even forced them onto the new Odyssey. Agree with all who say they look awful on the Accord; they really cheapen the whole design.

  • Drew Miro
  • Drew Miro
    • Honda NSX-R

      That design looks interesting.

    • The memo was in English and, you know, les françaises refuse to accept that langue de la merd…

  • LeStori

    The cars might have “Crabs”. Certainly infesting that area!

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    Something fishy going on here…

  • Nordschleife

    I do think it looks better on the SUV’s like the RDX and the Terrain but I can’t knock it. car makers have to do what they can to set themselves apart. Sometimes the idea stinks, some times the execution of it stinks.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I personally don’t find it attractive on most Honda’s but it looks nice on Volvo’s, Acura’s, and the new Corolla.

  • Drew Miro

    They are everywhere, really… Toyota C-HR. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3639631d8cdffe11dd16f8b2ed358860708dbf176e31aa9da4eb906bc01772d3.jpg

    Not a big fan on going huge with the taillights in general, but this lobster trend looks best on Volvos. Love the looks of this C-HR and I admire the well resolved proportions of the Fiat, keeping it classy. Lobster claw taillights look better when it plays with 3 dimension, having an outer design bolder and more pronounce, and a retracted inner section, for example.

  • dumblikeyou2

    You forgot the hideous, for no good reason, tail of the Buick Lacrosse https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/85e6ce4888be1de5f210c75157cda8770e306fe93bfd7030db0bbf6b00672f0f.jpg .

    • Bash

      Thats the worst!

  • Drew Miro

    They are all jealous of one manufacturer that does it better than anybody else, really… Aston Martin! Probably the trend setter, too.

    • Oliver Moore

      I think it looks a little better on older models, not saying this is bad by any means though, it still looks fantastic.

  • ErnieB

    Sooo who did it first?

  • Autoexperte

    Such a summary of cars with fake exhausts would be nice

  • baofe

    To whoever put a reference picture to an actual lobster claw, nice. 10/10

  • Autoexperte
  • Autoexperte
  • Autoexperte
    • As James May would say: “Oh Karoq!”

  • Not a lot of good looking cars here… The V90 and that’s it.

  • Autoexperte
  • Markus Stampfli

    Its really a matter of our US regulations that we have this claw design situation. According to US regulations, all brake/stop lights must be on a non moving or hinging part of the automobile. So most designers have moved the whole brake/stop functions to the corners. Thus the corners are getting crowded and large with all the other lighting functions. The claws are just the slight remainder of design to wrap the corners up around back.

  • IFDU
  • Honda NSX-R

    Take that chrome trim off and it’d be there

    • pjl35

      but the chrome trim IS there. by that logic all of the cars that have similar chrome bars have lobster claws, but none are included in the list in the article…

  • Erzhik

    The Volvo variant actually looks fantastic. Especially on a fully loaded S90. I hated the S90s for months, until I saw one parked in a lot.


  • David De Fortier

    Never mind those tail lights, theres something a thousand times worse than that starting to take trend now.. hideous looking headlights or maybe theyre fog lights? But theyre huge and look they should rather be lighting up billboard advertisments. Examples that i can recall are from mitsubishi expander and eclipse. I saw another car maker follow suit, but i forgot which one it was. I commented on it in another article here

  • songoku64

    Its the only thing I hate about the accord, volvos’ sexy tho!

  • no25

    This trend is definitely worse than the floating roof trend

  • Craig

    I like it.

  • Jay

    They’re the worst part of all these cars. Ruined the Volvo design. It’s mostly the size of them though

  • Socarboy

    I remember the first time I saw a Volvo S90 and it was from from behind and its rear then struck me as being fresh then slightly boxy but still with a lot of grace the lobster claw tail lights look good on that body and terrible on the Accord

  • Shobin Drogan

    I like the McLaren p1 tail lights. I feel like it’s the same concept but executed perfectly.

  • kachuks

    Who cares about taillights. The real problem is Nissan has been doing this to headlights for some time now.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    the Volvo sedan rear lights has grown on me. It will age well

  • zpillar

    All seems to be done nowadays by a random shape and angle generator. There is no rhyme no reason no style continuity. Sharp angles, rounded angles, straight lines, curved lines on the same element

  • Bash
  • Finkployd

    lol are you kidding ? looks like some crab is handing you a silver platter

    • pjl35

      NONE of the other cars identified in the article have a lobster claw by virtue of a chrome bar. if so, tons more would be on the list.

  • Oh Karoq! The new Skoda SUV has them.

  • 2sfhim

    2013 Citroën C4 Grand Picasso

    • Autoexperte

      Grand C4 Picasso is the real name and in the near future Grand C4 Spacetourer

  • pjl35

    if you just take the red section, but that’s not the extent of the lights. if we’re extending the “lobster claw” description to cars that have chrome bars through them, then TONS more than those listed have lobster claws.

  • pjl35

    no, those are basically rectangular, you don’t exclude the separate lighting elements…

  • It can help excentuate the width of a car whilst ‘shrinking’ the height as they provide a low focal point to the rear. Just makes them feel either sportier or more premium because of squat sports car look or to make the car seem larger I.e. more expensive / less cheap.

  • Althea Later

    It’s called “no imagination” and just copying what everyone else does. Being afraid to be different. Most people behave this way.

  • JohnCarscoop

    You mean to tell me you don’t see a lobster holding a silver knife there?


    • pjl35

      Then where are all of the other cars that have similar bars that intersect their taillights on the list? Once again, this is the only car like that on the list…so why don’t you see them in all the others?

      • JohnCarscoop

        This article was not a list of all the cars with ‘lobster claw’ style tail-lamps. We never said that. It’s a commentary on a design trend that seems to be catching on

        • pjl35

          Sure, Jan


    I like lobster claws but not on my cars though. Save it for the dinner plate.

  • Alex Korda

    the GMC Terrain, I think is the worse

  • Rasta_Farian

    This is stying element that can’t die soon enough.

    Like the Bangle (van Hooydonk) butt.

  • Yilmaz Yasar

    Polestar one has best looking lobster


    how about 2018 camry?

  • Gary

    Volvo would do well to hasten a redesign of the backend of the S90. It’s so out of tune with the rest of the car to the point it looks unfinished.

    Whatever happened to originality in design? And many have jumped on board but the Japanese have yet to successfully execute the floating roof design.

  • Dr. Doctor Beat

    It’s just a trend.
    They’re even considering making the Mustang into a SUV. Because SUV’s are trendy. I wish I was making this up.

  • Sawabyar King

    Not all the tail lights are bad. But the ugliest prize goes to the Accord. Thays like a lobster claw with a deformaty.

Alpina Has No Interest Tuning BMW’s Front-Wheel Drive Models

Alpina says it would be hard to make money from pumped-up versions of Munich’s latest FWD crop of cars.

This Ferrari 308 GTB Is An Enthusiast’s Dream Come True

It might not be the best, most reliable or fastest Ferrari, but for one person who was in love with it for a long time, it’s bliss.

Next-Generation Fiat Panda To Gain All-Electric Variant In 2023

The Panda EV will closely resemble the Centoventi concept and will adopt its swappable and upgradeable battery pack.

Mercedes-AMG G63 Proclaimed The Most Desirable Big SUV In The World

It’s still a great off-roader, has a modern, luxurious cabin, lots of power and can even tackle a track, so what’s not to love?.

If Toyota Were To Revive The MR2, It’d Rather Do It With Porsche

How does a mid-engine platform for a new MR2 and next-gen Boxster sound?.

Electrify America And EVgo Join Forces To Simplify U.S. Charging Network

EV owners will be able to use one account to use both companies’ charging stations throughout the country.

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Isn’t Short On Power, But Manhart Gave It 700 HP Anyway

Manhart’s GLC 63 S also has yellow accents like the Edition 1 launched by Mercedes-AMG itself.

This Porsche 911-Inspired Power Wheels Car Has A 51 HP Motorcycle Engine

Fitting such a tiny build with the single-cylinder unit of a KTM dirt bike is a nice way to have fun on a budget.

Chris Harris’ Personal Camaro Z/28 Hits The Auction Block

A Camaro Z/28 owned by the popular car journo and Top Gear presenter is now looking for a new home.

2020 Toyota Supra: Good Enough To Make You Overlook The 718 Cayman?

The fifth-gen Supra claims to be totally different to the Z4. Even if that’s the case, , should you choose it over the baby Porsche?.