The 15 ugliest cars

We know that beauty is subjective. This applies to fashion, style and cars. But we can still find some kind of consensus for a certain number of models whose careers have undoubtedly been compromised due to their bizarre or simply repulsive appearance. Our list is not meant to be a list from the ugliest to the downright awful, but simply an overview of production models that missed the mark.

  1. Edsel Ranger 1958

In 1957, Ford wanted to innovate by creating the Edsel division. The operation proved to be a monumental failure, and Ford had to abandon the project after only three years. The particular style of the model is no doubt no stranger to this failure. The Ranger was the base model and came in two-door, sedan and convertible versions in 1960. One always wonders why some cars managed to slip through the marketing cracks. Some will say that the Ranger was avant-garde, others that it was simply ugly. One thing is certain, the proportions have never been studied.

  1. Panhard PL17-L1 1960

Panhard et Levassor was the first car manufacturer to put cars on the roads in France. It was with the Type A from 1890 to 1896. Panhard was always at the forefront of technology and at the time ran a Daimler engine. In 1960, the company presented the P17, an aerodynamic car with composite materials, which made the car light (800 kg) and a small 850 cc engine. It is fuel efficient, aerodynamic and capable of accommodating six people if needed. It was the style that was the cause of its failure. This car did not have such a hold on the market that the Citroën brand, which bought Panhard in 1965, decided to simply withdraw the model. Like what beauty is still important.

  1. Citroen Ami 6 1961

Do you know the story of the frog that wanted to be as big as an ox? It’s a bit like the Citroën Ami. At the end of the 1950s, Citroën had only two models in its range, a DS and 2CV. It was then decided to build a medium format car on a compact car base. The result is, to be polite, exceptional. The proportions make no sense, the grille is repulsively ugly, we see appendages growing here and there in an attempt to give an air of grandeur to a vehicle that clearly doesn’t have the wherewithal to match its ambitions. To make matters worse, Citroën had left the small engine of the 2CV under the hood. Besides being ugly, it was underpowered.

  1. AMC Gremlin 1970

We could do a whole list of the AMC brand because it was so fertile in visual horror. The Gremlin arrived at a time when American automakers were thinking about bringing smaller-format cars to the road, but AMC was clearly out of cash and desperately short of cash. The basic design steps have been skipped to get to a model quickly. You can tell the job was sloppy. We used pieces that were in the toolbox and we built new with old.

  1. AMC Matador X 1974

Those who have seen the film The Man with the Golden Gun remember Christopher Lee who took off behind the wheel of a Matador. Furthermore, it was AMC that had won the product placement contract for this film of the series James Bond where we had the opportunity to see several models of the brand. We sometimes wonder what the designers were smoking before they designed certain models like the Matador, this huge coupe with an endless hood. It had the advantage of being very different and had a certain style in its fluidity. But we realize, many years later, that this car has aged very badly.

  1. Mosler Consular GTP 1985

Here’s a particularly ugly model that arrived in the mid-1980s. The Mosler GTP was designed by the man of the same name, Waren Mosler, who obviously should have hired a decent designer to shape his ideas. Not very clear. And the man didn’t just make this GTP version. He added some with Intruder and Raptor versions. With its 4-cylinder turbo engines or two 5.7- or 6.3-liter V8s, this Mosler was very capable, but so ugly that no one wanted to be seen behind the wheel. As in any love affair, it is necessary to feel a minimal attraction. What was missing from this Mosler.

  1. Fiat Multipla 1998

Here’s a vehicle that is in literally every chart of the ugliest cars in history. This Fiat Multipla is the epitome of a vehicle that puts function before form, originally conceived as a tribute to another Multipla model from 1956 to 1965. This van defied the conventional styling of the time and had the appearance of a small white whale with ugly bulges. The space was definitely noticeable, but the silhouette was terrible. It is hard to imagine that a company generally recognized for the accuracy and beauty of its style could have spawned such a horror.

  1. 1999 Hyundai Tiburon

A budget sports car, the first Tiburon, which means shark in Spanish, drew most of its parts from the Elantra’s toolbox. Without the means to design a true sports car from a blank sheet, Hyundai has simply reworked the Elantra by giving it slightly caricatured powers. It’s a bit like putting mouthfuls of cream on a cake that isn’t very good. To be polite, let’s say it’s hard to turn an economical car into a tasteful sports car.

  1. Pontiac Aztek 2000

If you ask 10 people to tell you one of the ugliest cars they’ve ever seen, eight will tell you the Pontiac Aztek. Rarely has a car displayed such poor proportions. Like a cow with too short legs, the model seems broken, and suddenly nothing works. The wheels are too small. However, the owners, who found it very practical, had to drive with a brown bag to avoid being laughed at. The styling appears to have been created with a chainsaw and the abundant plastic is also unspeakably ugly. In short, nothing works on this car, which undoubtedly hastened the end of the Pontiac division by a few years.

  1. 2003 Kia Amanti

Amanti is like the manufacturer of Tang, trying to trick you into thinking their drinks are real orange juice. Kia wanted to give a noble and advanced style to a modest sedan. The most disturbing thing about this story is that Kia had hired a team of designers to design this thing. The team seems to have taken ideas from all the luxury builders and grafted it onto a body that was a bunch of bad ideas. And if you think the name of Amanti sounds a bit funny, tell yourself that elsewhere in the world the car carried it from Opirus.

  1. SsangYong Rodius 2004

SsangYong is a Korean luxury brand which, among other things, had obtained the right to build a Mercedes S-Class clone, on the one condition of selling it only in Korea. We also made utility vehicles with a style that was as flashy as it was in bad taste. Rodius, acronym for way zeus or, loosely translated, god of the road, would have put any creator to shame with how hideous he was. Luckily this thing was never sold here, it would have made a great competitor to the Aztek. You might not be surprised to learn that SsangYong has slowly disappeared from radar screens after a few models of this style.

  1. 2006 Subaru Tribeca

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. No doubt the few Subaru Tribeca owners appreciated the space and handling of this vehicle. But it often happens that in order to do something different, we simply miss the mark. Unveiled at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, the first Tribeca left the auto press confused. The Subaru grill integration that looked like a toilet seat didn’t work at all. This grille has also been the subject of much trial and error before the decision was finally made to remove the model from the road for good in 2014.

  1. 2006 Jeep Compass

We might use the phrases “stretch the sauce” or “enjoy the status” when presented with a byproduct. It’s like the idea behind the Jeep Compass, which doesn’t actually look like a Jeep except in name. It is a chassis of the no less unsuccessful Dodge Caliber, which Jeep managed to make ugly. The Compass doesn’t have any of the off-road qualities that made Jeep famous, or the brand’s rugged styling. It is therefore a pseudo-tool sold at a low price for quick profit. The Jeep Compass is said to appeal to women with its styling, and men preferred the more energetic styling of the Patriot. Regardless, the Compass was nothing like a Jeep.

  1. 2010 Acura ZDX

It is sometimes difficult to understand why certain models based on an idea that has worked elsewhere fail in another. Acura’s ZDX was inspired by the unexpected success of the BMW X6. This new niche of coupe tools offered a great opportunity for Acura, which embarked on the adventure, but with a model that visually showed too many compromises. Halfway between a utility vehicle, a luxury vehicle and a sports car, the ZDX suffered from sofa bed syndrome: as uncomfortable as a couch as it is a bed. This variegated style only survived four years on our roads.

  1. Toyota Prius 2015 (IV)

We often wonder why a hybrid car has to be ugly. We could point to the laws of aerodynamics that dictate the ovoid and uninspired line of this Prius. It’s probably the look of the rough edges that adds insult to injury and makes this car so unattractive. It’s actually as ugly as it is effective. It is often said that Japanese beauty paradigms are not the same as ours. No doubt this Prius is a compelling example of this very different culture. But believe that the model’s unattractive style does not detract from its efficiency and its legendary reliability.

Excerpt from Everything about the car

About the author

An industrial designer specializing in the automotive industry, he has always been passionate about everything that rolls, flies or sails. He has designed many products for SMEs working in the automotive industry. Pascal Boissé is also a lecturer at the UQAM School of Design, where he teaches automotive design at DESS-Transport. As a columnist and automotive journalist, he has collaborated with numerous Quebec and British publications.

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