Home Cars 30 Of The Ugliest Cars Ever Designed By Major Automakers
Cars

30 Of The Ugliest Cars Ever Designed By Major Automakers

Cameron EittreimFebruary 25, 2022

There is exhausting research and design that goes into every vehicle before it hits the marketplace. Focus groups are used to test the potential consumer reaction to the styling of a new vehicle. But even with all these safeguards in place, there are just some instances where an automaker has gotten things wrong. In terms of the ugliest cars, drivers can never forget the Yugo, a compact hatchback sold in the 1980s.

Automotive design is tentative and there are never two designs that are the same. Some auto experiences have shaped the automotive industry in the last couple of decades, and not necessarily in a good way. These cars were downright hideous in terms of styling and design. When it comes to new cars, innovation is a great thing, but sometimes that innovation just goes a bit too far. We looked at some of the ugliest cars ever designed by major automakers here.

Photo Credit: Mecum

30: 1932 Stout Scarab

Surprisingly enough, the 1932 Stout Scarab was the world’s first unofficial minivan. The oddball shape was created using a rear-mounted Ford V8 engine. The design was made of aluminum before cars were ever thought of being built using this material. The interior was spacious, but the flat-fronted design gave the car the look of a bus (via Cheapism).

Photo Credit: Mecum

It also didn’t help out the reputation of Scarab, that it was named after an Egyptian dung beetle. The car didn’t go on to be popular, and it was discontinued early in the production cycle. Seemingly, the Scarab didn’t last for a long time, and consumers weren’t keen on the styling of the thing.

Photo Credit: Curbside Classic

29: 1946 Crosley CC

Another interesting subcompact that you don’t see often is the Crosley CC. Released on the market right as gas rationing was a real thing, the Crosley CC was popular during World War II. The interesting thing about the car was that it proved that a small car could be versatile at a time when the automotive market was keen on larger vehicles (via Cheapism).

Photo Credit: Curbside Classic

The Crosley CC didn’t stick around for a long time, and part of that was because of the hideous styling. Still, you have to give the Crosley CC credit, because the car was a unique offering. Although the styling didn’t catch on with the automotive industry until decades later.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

28: 1951 Allard P2 Safari

This one was a bit of a weird-looking oddity, taking the styling of a woody wagon that would come a few decades later. If you’ve never seen one of these, it’s because the P2 Safari was only released in Britain. The interesting thing about the P2 Safari is that it was the first station wagon of its type (via Cheapism).

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

The styling of the P2 Safari was a bit ugly, especially in the front fascia. Sadly, consumers didn’t latch onto the Safari, and the sales were quite bleak. The car was discontinued after a short period, and you’ll seldom see one on the road. It’s interesting to see how far station wagons have come though.

1955 Ford Thunderbird
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

27: 1958 Ford Thunderbird

The original Ford Thunderbird was a unique car in many aspects. It introduced the world to a fun-to-drive convertible. While the Thunderbird was a lot lighter in weight than other cars on the market, it was still quite ugly. The front end of the Thunderbird was probably the worst thing about the styling (via Cheapism).

1955 Ford Thunderbird
Photo Credit: Ford

We’re not sure what Ford was thinking with this one, but the Thunderbird did sell well. Few cars have managed to become the overnight success that the Ford Thunderbird did, and it is still a popular car today. But the Thunderbird’s first-generation styling was lackluster at best and confusing, to say the least.

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

26: 1958 Lincoln Continental

Another ugly duckling of the 1950s was the 1958 Lincoln Continental. The razor-sharp lines of the Continental were some of the worst features. The rear window was completely flat and the roof was also flat. The Continental has always been a popular model for Lincoln thanks to the high-end luxury aspects of the car (via Cheapism).

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

But the 1958 model was ugly, to say the least, and it is one of the least popular classic cars on the market. The Continental had many unique features at the time, but the styling was too awkward, to say the least. When it comes to ugly-looking cars, this one just about takes the cake.

Photo Credit: GM

25: Pontiac Aztek

The Aztek was ahead of its time tremendously in the early 2000s. It had all kinds of things that automotive consumers look for in a vehicle these days. There was a built-in camping tent, a built-in drink cooler, and more. But when it came to styling, the Aztek was downright hideous (via Cheapism).

Photo Credit: GM

The automotive press had a field day about the styling of this car. The weird-looking shape of the Aztek didn’t look right. The wheels were way too small for the vehicle, and GM used a lot of body cladding on the Aztek. The car would be popular on the used market almost a decade later thanks to the hit TV show “Breaking Bad.”

Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

24: AMC Pacer

The 1970s were a challenging time for every American automaker due to the high price of fuel. Each of the American automakers developed a compact car to send to the market. While AMC didn’t have the same deep pockets as the others, the company did improvise. The result was the Pacer, and in many ways, it wasn’t a bad car (via Cheapism).

Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

The styling of the Pacer was downright ugly but it was versatile. Dubbed the “fishbowl” because of the back window design, the Pacer was spacious inside. Another unique feature was the fact that the Pacer had a full-sized V8 engine in a compact body, which made it popular initially.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

23: Ford Edsel

The Edsel is considered one of the biggest flops of all time with Ford investing $250 million into the design of the car. The Edsel had all kinds of weird features, such as an electronic shifter that used buttons instead of a shift column. The styling of the Edsel was universally panned by consumers at the time (via Motor Trend).

1958-1960 Edsel
Photo Credit: Ford

The sales numbers were so bad that Ford practically gave the car away. The grill of the car was often compared to a toilet seat, and the jokes only got worse as time went on. When the Edsel was discontinued, it was considered one of the biggest flops of all time. Ford would never release a vehicle with the Edsel name again.

Photo Credit: Toyota

22: Toyota Prius

If there is a car proud to be ugly, it’s the Prius. The Prius has been ugly since the first generation of the car launched two decades ago. But the most recent variations of the car have been worse than ever. Now that Toyota is trying to brand the Prius as hip and trendy, the car’s fortunes have gotten worse than ever (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Carmax

The Prius has never been a car that you could be proud to own unless you showed off great gas mileage. But nowadays some cars get much better gas mileage than the Prius without the premium price tag. We’re not sure what Toyota is thinking about with the ongoing styling of this thing.

Photo Credit: Performance Motors

21: Hummer H2

The 2000s were a time of opulence and obscene spending, and there is nothing more obscene than the Hummer H2. What was released to the public as a “mainstream” Hummer model, the H2 was panned for awful gas mileage. When you drove this monstrosity, you were making it clear that you didn’t care about the environment (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Auto Trader

The H2 combined the platform of the Chevrolet Tahoe with a massive body that was quite large. Everyone wanted the H2 when it first hit the market, for the sheer size of the thing alone. But when it came to a practical car, the H2 was downright ugly and tough to live with. There were better options for the price, that became more popular.

Photo Credit: Chrysler

20: Chrysler PT Cruiser

When the PT Cruiser was released, it presented quite a splash. The retro-themed design was popular with enthusiasts and the automotive press. The PT Cruiser had a unique wagon-like design, and the retro-inspired styling came from the Plymouth Ponto concept car (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Chrysler

Unfortunately, the welcome was lukewarm, as the PT Cruiser was out of style by the third year of production. Chrysler would attempt to keep the PT Cruiser on the market for almost a decade in the same form. There was also a convertible version of the PT Cruiser released, and it ultimately failed too.

Photo Credit: Parts Open

19: Ford Taurus

The 1996 Taurus is perhaps one of the ugliest family sedans ever released. Ford looked to switch things up with the styling of this one, and they did that, but not in the way they’d hoped for. The Taurus was overtly oval in every sense of the word and completely different than any other car on the market (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Ford

Consumers didn’t receive the car favorably and sales declined dramatically from previous generations. Ford would redesign the car for the 2000 model year, but at this point, it was far too late. The damage from the oval Taurus was done and this will go down as one of the ugliest designs in automotive history.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

18: Plymouth Fury

The 1961 Fury was a car purposely designed to have a menacing front end. Unfortunately, the automotive press notoriously panned the car for the styling, and consumers didn’t gravitate toward it. Sales of the Fury were not what Chrysler had hoped for, although the car stayed on the market for a while (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The Fury was featured in many motion picture movies including the hit movie “Christine”. But all this wasn’t enough to jolt the sales into being respectable, and the Fury was discontinued after a period of time. Plymouth never did revive the nameplate and the styling of the Fury was always panned.

Photo Credit: Nissan

17: Nissan Cube

The Cube is the story of a concept car brought to production way too late in the game. The Scion XB was released in 2004, and Nissan wanted to build on the success of that car. Sadly, though, by the time the Cube hit the market, the desire for a cube-shaped compact car had gone away (via Motor Trend).

Nissan Cube Via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

The Cube wasn’t a sales success, and critics universally panned the car for the design. The market for these chic looking cars had disappeared, and the Cube was one of the last attempts by a major automaker. Unfortunately, the design was too bad for many automotive enthusiasts to stomach.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

16: Suzuki X-90

Suzuki has never been a major player in the American automotive industry, and during the 1990s there were quite a few quirky cars that the automaker released. Suzuki’s claim to fame was the Samurai, which was a popular compact SUV. But as time went on, the Samurai became outdated and the sales numbers sunk (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

The folks at Suzuki tried to release something that was a bit better in the X-90. There is no denying this two-door roadster SUV was unique, but it wasn’t enough to justify the sales. The styling was downright ugly, and the SUV was practically unusable on or off the road.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

15: Pontiac Trans Sport

Pontiac is a brand built around performance, but consumers were confused why GM would do this. The Dustbuster-styled van, as it was labeled, was not sporty by any stretch of imagination. Pontiac had quite a few weird cars around this time period and the Trans Sport was one of them (via Motor Trend).

Trans Sport SE
Photo Credit: Pontiac

The large windshield and the elongated style of the van made it hideously styled. There wasn’t much about the Trans Sport that made it worth considering. Chrysler had such success with their minivans that GM was trying to replicate this. Unfortunately, the Dustbuster vans were not a successful product by any stretch of imagination.

Sebring CitiCar via Domino's Pizza
Photo Credit: Domino’s Pizza

14: Vanguard CitiCar

Although GM is often credited with producing the first mainstream electric car in the EV1, there was an EV sold decades before. The Vanguard CitiCar was a fully electric car designed for city driving. The platform was based on the AMC Pacer but its styling was obscene (via Motor Trend).

Citicar - Car
Photo Credit: Classic Car

The car was shaped like a wedge of cheese, and the hard slope on the front windshield was extreme. Surprisingly enough, though, there were 4,400 of these cars sold in the entire production run. Which is surprising considering how ugly it was to look at the CitiCar.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

13: Subaru Brat

Subaru has released quite a few ugly cars over the span of the company’s history. The Brat was a car that utilized the same type of design as the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero. The truck-like design was useful for many consumers who didn’t need a full-sized pickup truck. Sadly, though, the styling of the Brat was downright ugly and there wasn’t much that could be done about it (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Subaru models have always been different when it comes to styling. The Brat was no exception to this, as there was nothing else that was like it on the market. Although the Brat has a loyal following, the car never sold well and its styling was the main reason for that.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

12: Cadillac Catera

By the time the ’90s rolled around, the Cadillac brand was in the tubes. Part of this was because the models were severely outdated. The solution was a badge engineered car dubbed the Catera. The car originated from overseas, and there was nothing traditionally Cadillac about this car (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: GM

But what the company was trying to do is attract a younger demographic of customers. This didn’t work well, and the advertising for the Catera was amazingly confusing. Reliability was also a shortcoming of the Catera and dealerships started reporting various problems that these cars were having.

Photo Credit: Lexus

11: Lexus SC 430

The first generation of the Lexus SC was an amazing sports car that propelled the Lexus brand into the spotlight. Powered by a V8 engine and built with an amazing level of detail, the SC 430 was a surprising blend of performance and functionality. When the second generation of the sports car rolled around, the brand was attempting to make it more upscale (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Lexus

The styling of the car was incredibly bland when you compared it to the previous generation of the SC. The rear passenger seating was almost nonexistent where the first generation of the car was comfortable. The SC430 wasn’t a sales success for the brand and it was discontinued after a while.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

10: Yugo GV

The Yugo GV is historically one of the ugliest cars ever built, and it was also one of the most unreliable. What made the Yugo incredibly bad was the horrific build quality that the car had. Ever wonder why you never see one of these things on the road anymore? Because most of them broke down shortly after leaving the dealership (via Motor Trend).

Yugo GV
Photo Credit: Yugo

The Yugo GV is a car that needs no introduction, because everyone knows how bad this car was. Although sales for the Yugo were impressive early on, the lackluster build quality of the car caused a lot of unrest in the automotive industry. The cheap design and build quality left a bad impression on the company and the brand as a whole.

Photo Credit: Top Gear

9: Marcos Mantis M70

British sports cars are hard to come by, especially from this era. But the Marcos Mantis M70 is a car that makes even the Aztek look ugly. The M70 had an elongated nose that made it look like a flat sports car. The performance of the M70 was also lackluster at best, and the company went bankrupt after only a few dozen of these were sold (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Top Gear

There are very few of these things still driving around, and the styling hasn’t made it a must have collector’s car. The “snout” was perhaps one of the worst features of this sports car, and it made it difficult to live with. There were other failed sports cars from this era but the M70 was by far one of the worst.

Photo Credit: Top Gear

8: Nissan Juke

Nissan was trying so hard in the mid-2000s to hit on a successful new car model. The Cube failed and the Juke was the next failure in the list. A bug-eyed compact car that didn’t offer anything in the way of a unique design, the Juke was sad to look at. The car was panned for its styling and the cramped interior space (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Nissan

A bigger problem than even the styling of the Juke was the lethargic performance that the car had. The CVT transmission is considered one of the worst in the industry, and the reliability of the Juke is among the lowest in the segment. There were better compact cars sold around this time than the Juke.

Lincoln MKT via Edmunds
Photo Credit: Edmunds

7: Lincoln MKT

As Ford slowly rebuilt their Lincoln brand, there were many crossovers introduced. One of these crossovers that were quite ugly has been the MKT. An SUV that shared its platform with the outdated Ford Flex, the MKT is large and in charge. The styling of the MKT leaves a lot to be desired (via Fornoob).

Lincoln MKT via Edmunds
Photo Credit: Edmunds

The rear-end styling of the MKT is probably the worst feature, although the front end of the car wasn’t much better. The performance was a bright spot for the thing, but when the styling is so ugly, there is no upside. Lincoln would release a few variations of the MKT during the production cycle.

Photo Credit: Hyundai

6: Hyundai Tiburon

Hyundai has released a few sports cars over the past few decades and the Tiburon was one of the most recent. The styling of the first generation Tiburon was questionable at best, a bug-eyed pair of headlights and a lot of curves made up the design. The performance wasn’t bad considering this was a Hyundai (via Fornoob).

Hyundai Tiburon
Photo Credit: Hyundai

But many consumers weren’t willing to bet on the Hyundai sports car yet, and that was because of the lackluster styling. The Tiburon would be redesigned in the 2000s, but it wasn’t enough to bolster sales. Hyundai has since replaced the Tiburon with the Genesis coupe, and this generation of the Tiburon is more affordable.

Photo Credit: Nissan

5: Nissan Murano Convertible

Perhaps one of the strangest SUV models in the last decade, the Murano Convertible was an oddball vehicle. The thing took everything that was good about the Murano SUV and turned it into a convertible model. Nissan cut the top off and added a convertible top in the hopes that it would become a sales success (via Fornoob).

Photo Credit: Nissan

The end result was not even close, and it resulted in extremely poor sales numbers. There were so many convertibles already on the market, and a convertible crossover SUV just didn’t make sense to consumers. It more closely resembled a Nissan 370Z on steroids than an SUV model.

Photo Credit: Isuzu

4: Isuzu VehiCross

In the early 2000s, Isuzu needed a halo SUV to use as the brand’s image. The VehiCross was designed for that purpose. Although there was nothing new about the SUV underneath, the styling was unlike anything else. Isuzu did a lot of cross promotion, with the VehiCross even having it featured in many motion pictures (via Fornoob).

Photo Credit: Isuzu

The VehiCross was never a sales success, but there has been a loyal following of consumers behind it. The SUV was by far one of the most unique offerings from the decade, although its ugly styling didn’t do it any favors in the long run.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

3: Ford Aspire

Ford was always way behind the competition when it came to a compact car and the Aspire is one of the motivating factors behind that. The subcompact car was designed by Kia and sold by Ford in the 1990s. The build quality was absolutely atrocious, and the car sold poorly during this period (via Fornoob).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

With competition from GM and many other automakers, the Aspire couldn’t compete in the long run. The Aspire was mediocre at best, and the reliability was quite questionable when you compared it to what else was on the market. There were far better subcompact models that consumers could choose from in the long run.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

2: Cadillac Seville

The bubble back Seville was one of the most confusing designs in Cadillac history, even compared to the Catera. The design was unlike any other Cadillac models on the market at the time. What was supposed to be marketed as a sports coupe ended up being a confusing mix of a V8 powered rear-wheel drive sedan (via Fornoob).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

From this moment on, Seville lost all its footing in the luxury car market. Consumers just weren’t vying with this generation of the car. There were some great features that the Seville had, but nothing to run home with. The sales for this generation of the Seville were some of the worst in the history of the brand.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

1: Hyundai Excel

We saved the best for last because the Hyundai Excel is one of the worst cars ever built. Not just due to the lackluster exterior styling, but also due to the substandard build quality. The Excel was not a reliable car by any stretch of imagination. In fact, Excel was such a failure in terms of reliability that it almost put Hyundai out of business (via Fornoob).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Initial sales numbers of the Excel were great because it was the cheapest car in America. But it was after drivers got this thing home that they were mortified by the lackluster reliability and build quality. To this day, junkyards are packed with Excel models, many of which have very little mileage on the odometer.

Advertisement
Please wait 5 sec.