Remember back in the quaint old days when we all thought the Aztec was the most hideous vehicle ever designed? These days, there are contenders to the throne popping up at an astounding rate. While it’s very difficult to narrow the list to a mere 10, I have done my best to pick out the most heinous examples of modern automotive design. One thing is for certain, Americans are losing their ability to discern beauty from ugliness as some of these atrocities actually sell well.
1. Nissan Juke
The Juke, which Nissan markets as a cool crossover, is the quintessential clown car. I can’t imagine seeing anything behind the wheel other than a wildly made up clown, looking for laughs as he pilots this horribly mangled sheetmetal down the road.
2. Nissan Cube
If you want people to stare at you and say, “WTF is that ridiculous looking thing?”, then the Cube is for you. Nissan is desperate for any new design that will make them competitive with Toyota, but this is exactly the wrong path to take. Building garish clown cars is no path to success.
3. GMC Terrain
Another disastrous experiment in trying to make a crossover appeal to the masculine end of the auto market. This thing is so puffed up with embellishment in the form of oversized flared fenders that you can only wonder what kind of undersized male would find it desirable.
4. Scion XB
I’m not sure what this little box with rounded corners pretends to be, but it fails miserably. Some cars look fast standing still, but this one looks ungainly at any speed. The Scion iQ is almost as offensive to the eyes, but I’ll let the XB take the prize here.
5. Honda Odyssey
I’m not sure what’s going on in the Honda design leadership area anymore. Over the years, Honda has always produced attractive vehicles that neither offend nor amaze, but their current designs are beyond dull. The previous Odyssey was by far the most attractive minivan ever sold, but this eyesore just makes you scratch your head. The broken lines toward the rear end completely ruin the look, and with such a large vehicle, it’s impossible not to notice.
6. Kia Soul
This one made the list, but I’m not thoroughly convinced it should be. Some designs grow on you over time, and this may be one of those, but the big butt on it just throws the balance of the design off just enough to give it a thumbs down.
7. Chevy Spark
Really? This tiny little design disaster should come with a funeral wreath. The Chevy website describes it as such; “Soon to be an urban legend.” They’re not kidding. People will chuckle about this thing for years to come.
8. Mini Countryman
I drove one of these the other day, expecting to be so amazed at the driving excitement that it would make me overlook the overwhelming ugliness of the vehicle. It didn’t. It drives as badly as it looks. The clutch is a mess. The engine does not rev smoothly and the interior is total bs gimmickry. As if this ungainly box isn’t offensive enough to the eyes, they even put black rims on it. What kind of moron would buy this junk?
9. Subaru Outback
Though I would rate the Tribeca as Subaru’s most hideous design of all time, the new Outback, redesigned in 2010, is such a shocking follow up to a previously beautiful and elegant design, that it proudly makes the list here. The previous Outback was clean, had graceful lines and no pretenses in trying to be something it wasn’t. Clearly, the idiots at Subaru decided that it needed puffing up, ala GMC Terrain. They blew it big time, but then they have a loyal market that buys these things based on demographics, not design, so it may not kill them in terms of sales.
10. Jeep Compass
I have the misfortune to have to look at one of these grotesque faux SUV’s every day as my neighbor is the proud owner of a superbly loathsome orange Compass. I wonder if the moron who designed the Terrain was moonlighting at Chrysler, because it has all the same faults and the same level of attractiveness: none.
What is up with that grille? Was it inspired by a baleen whale? It’s about as pretty as one, and starting at a mere $45k, this behemoth will move off the lots as slowly. They appear to be in a race with their competitor, Acura, for ugliest beak on the market.
**edited format 8/17/2014 due to new theme