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The 10 Ugliest Cars of the Last 30 Years

I apologize for dredging up some unhappy memories in car design.

by
Becky Graebner

Bio

May 6, 2014 - 10:00 am
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02-shelby-cobra-289-fia-qs

This is not an example of an ugly car.

It’s always a special treat when a trip to the grocery store or dentist turns into a rare car-spotting experience.  A forgotten classic or exotic is seen prowling the streets or, even better, appears in the parking lot next to your car.  Cue daydream starring you in that exotic car.  Maybe you’re in Monaco, driving into the sunset when…

Then you see it.  Your daydream starring your gorgeous, oil-drinking darling is shattered as one of the many eye-sores on wheels pulls into the parking lot. Tragedy.

Why oh why can’t everything be as glamorous as the Alfa Romeo Touring Berlinetta or as muscular as the Shelby Cobra?

Yes, sometimes the most misunderstood of car designs become iconic classics; but sometimes, they don’t.  This is a list of the latter.

Top Rated Comments   
#1 in my book goes to the Reliant Robin. The fugliest 3 wheeled car you'll ever run into (pun intended). You can roll them on a whim - and people will come out to help you right them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQh56geU0X8

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Aztek had the distinction of being ugly from every viewing angl.e
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (68)
All Comments   (68)
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When I was in college I bought a Chevy Vega from a law student. At the time I did not have a drivers license. The car was famous for two things. It had an aluminum block engine that was so poorly engineered that the joke was you just checked the gas and added oil instead of the other way around. It was also known as the car that rusted in the showroom. Even when new they looked like trash, and after a winter in Chicago it could deter other cars from crashing into it by making them flee in terror at the thought of catching automotive leprosy.

I talked a friend who was going to go to law school into driving my unregistered car to Chinatown for brunch. We got caught in the speed-trap exiting the Dan Ryan. The great big map of Ireland cop took one look at the car and then one look at my friend banging her hands on the steering wheel and cursing and then one look at me and said "Forget it son. You are already going to be punished." Soon after another Chicago cop stole it for his son. Ahh memories.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oops - forgot the BMW x6 - truly hideous. Its owners have an "emperors new clothes" thing going on with this one.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gotta suggest a few replacements for the list:

The circa 1996 Oldmobile 88 and 98 were every bit as hideous as the Pontiac Trans Sport - they share many of the same design cues including the hideous plastic cladding and crazy paint colors.

I think most people liked the PT Cruiser when it first came out - it certainly spawned a lot of copycats. It just didn't age well. It aged like fish in the sun.

Pre-bankruptcy GM Malibu Maxx with the bizzarely chopped off rear end is among the ugliest of all time.

Say what you want about the Prius, it usually looks better than the foul creature that owns it.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, come on. The Aztek and the Cubes were ugly, but the rest of the list are only guilty of being boring- and the PT Cruiser injected some retro panache into a car market full of dull Camry clones. *Ugly* cars since 1984 would include the late-80s Mercury Cougar, the Suzuki Samurai, and almost everything wearing the Sion nameplte.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Mercedes G class is shockingly ugly. It looks like someone saw a Securicor van and thought, "hmm, good start but too many concessions to aesthetics."
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
pacer/gremlin.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ugly, of course, does not mean bad, in cars at least. I bought a 2005 Honda Element brand new. It now has 120,000 miles on it and has been the least mechanically-troublesome car I've ever owned, and I've owned a bunch. The turning radius is very small so it's great in the city. Best car I've ever owned from a reliability perspective, and that means it's better than the four Toyotas I've owned.

But here's the real problem with this article: the term 'ugly' is nowhere defined. Here's my two cents: 'ugly' does not mean 'bland'.

E.g., the Prius looks the way it does because of its aerodynamics. Most people don't understand this, so I'll spell it out: the Prius' shape has at least as much to do with its great fuel mileage as does its hybrid mechanics. At highway speeds, in fact, the hybrid nature of the car has almost nothing to do with getting 50 mpg. Aerodynamics do not follow the rule book on aesthetics. If you appreciate a decent, reliable car that gets 50 mpg, you'll like the Prius; *that's* beautiful too, in its own right.

On your specific suggestions here...

On the Pontiac Aztek, agreed. It looks like a cross between a carbuncle and a hemorrhoid.

On the Chrysler PT Cruiser: I happen to disagree. It's not a great car, and the styling leans too much on the feminine side for my tastes, but I think the stylists did a decent job.

There were about twenty other models between 1984 and 1990 that should have made this list but didn't. Almost anything by GM, including the Cadillac Cimarron, which wasn't just an ugly car, but a bad one as well. The 1986 Ford Escort GT was awful. Any number of Nissans from that era could knock a buzzard off a manure wagon at forty yards.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can't believe you didn't include the Isuzu Vehicross on this list! The stupid thing looked like it had fangs!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All good candidates. Hard to beat the Fiat Multipla however: http://betterparts.org/fiat/fiat-multipla.html

I had this as a lease car for two years and loved the car but boy was it weird looking.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, agree with the Multipla. That little round shelf right under the windscreen, the longer nose... it's just ew.

I would have just made a "boxy cars" category in general. Nearly all of them just look bad. The Flex is, IMO, the ugliest car Ford makes currently and it's because of its boxy design. Agree on the PT Cruiser, too. It might look distinctive, but that's really just a nice way of saying "ugly". Also agreed on the Gen 3 Taurus. I drive a Gen 4 and by way of direct comparison (there are a lot of gen 3s and 4s around here), the body is pretty similar, but the Gen 4 has had some slight styling touches that make it a good looking car.

Outside of the ones listed here, I think my vote for one of the ugliest cars is the Pontiac Solstice. I'll just leave the Wikipedia link here and you can see for yourself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Solstice
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for including the Aztec, the Scion and all of the cube cars on this list. Every time I see one on the road I wonder "What were they thinking?" Of course, I am referring to the designers, the manufacturers and the people who spent actual money buying them.

As for the Baja, it makes me think of a guy I used to work with who took a Camaro and modified it by cutting half of the roof off, removing the back seat and trunk lid and turning it into a car/pick-up. We called it the "El Camaro." Hideous.

Frankly, I think you can include pretty much every car designed, manufactured and sold by Chrysler in the last 30 years.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Are you kidding? The late-90s Concorde/Intrepid pair were two of the loveliest cars to come out of Detroit since the 60s.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Respectfully disagree. I think Chryslers are the only cars being manufactured today with a Y chromosome lurking in its design genes. The Chrysler 300 looks like a man's car. So does the Dodge Challenger.

Most cars these days are too feminine. I love my '04 Toyota Avalon, but it's like a plain-looking girl in a plain-looking dress who cooks like a chef, makes love like a pro, and treats you like a king.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Frankly, I think you can include pretty much every car designed, manufactured and sold by Chrysler in the last 30 years."

40, at least.

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I dunno...there are a lot of Mopar fans that might disagree. Dodge and Plymouth did put out some iconic American cars in the late 60's and throughout the 70's...Chargers, Challengers, Darts, Roadrunners, Super Bees, Baracudas and Dusters. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like the Hemis but I tend gravitate to the Chevrolet line of that era.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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