• Nov 4th 2009 at 9:58AM
  • 78
Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. While some cars seem to be almost universally loved for their gorgeous lines and undeniable sense of style – the Lamborghini Miura and Shelby Daytona Coupe certainly come to mind. Others, such as the new Honda Accord Crosstour and even the latest Nissan GT-R, not to mention nearly everything currently wearing the Acura badge, sport more debatable duds.

And what of the car that's most commonly associated with the green movement? Of course, that would be the Toyota Prius, and we know that some happen to find the car rather attractive... whether that's for its slip-through-the-wind styling or fuel mileage – made possible in part by that styling – its owners happily enjoy. According to BusinessWeek, though, the second-gen Prius is one of the 50 Ugliest Cars of the Past 50 Years. Not a distinction any owner wants their car to carry.

Take heart, Prius owners. There are a number of questionable vehicles on the list. For instance, the classically boxy Volvo 240 isn't ugly at all... it's purposeful and practical. Neither are the Lamborghini LM002, 2002 BMW 7 Series, Tata Nano or Toyota iQ deserving of inclusion on this unflattering list. Lastly, does anyone really think the DeLorean is that unattractive? Unabashedly '80s sure, but ugly? Nah.

[Source: BusinessWeek]
Pontiac Astre
  • Pontiac Astre
  • The Pontiac Astre was a badge-engineered version of the Chevrolet Vega. We should be able to stop there, but we want to make sure you get your click's worth. The Vega and Astre were actually revolutionary for the time, with an aluminum engine and near perfect front/rear weight distribution. It was also a modular design that required 40% fewer parts to build. GM also designed and engineered the compact vehicle in less than 24 months, which was unheard of at the time. Unfortunately, the things that made the Vega and Astre special also made them a reliability nightmare. The Astre also rusted worse than just about any vehicle ever made. Just think about it: can you remember the last time you saw one?
  • Pontiac T1000
  • When the gas crisis took center stage in the 1970s, customers demanded more fuel efficient vehicles. GM's answer to the call for efficiency was the South American-sourced Chevrolet Chevette. It had a 1.4-liter, iron block four banger capable of 53 horsepower and the buyer's choice of a four speed manual or three speed automatic transmission. It was ugly, rusted overnight, and didn't exactly set new standards for reliability. And if that wasn't bad enough, GM glued an arrowhead to the front end to create the T1000 for its "performance" division. Badge engineering at its worst.
  • Pontiac Phoenix
  • The Pontiac Phoenix was another positively wretched example of badge engineering. When GM's X-body cars came out, the new compacts held so much promise that the Bowtie-branded Citation model was the 1980 Motor Trend Car of the Year. According to contemporary literature, the cars were 800 pounds lighter than other compacts of the day, and their 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines were very efficient. The Phoenix was a near clone of the Citation, Buick Skylark, and Oldsmobile Omega in everything but sheetmetal, especially when it came to poor reliability and general unsightliness. When Pontiac replaced the Phoenix with the 1985 Grand Am, the world became a better place.
  • Pontiac Sunbird
  • The second generation Sunbird was one of many badge engineered versions of the Chevrolet Cavalier. It could be had as a coupe, convertible, sedan, hatchback, and wagon, and you could even get a turbocharged Sunbird GT. The blown GT packed 165 ponies in its most powerful form; a considerable feat for the time. That sounds cool, but the turbocharged model was very loud and the forced-induction was known to have durability issues
  • Pontiac Sunfire
  • The Pontiac Sunfire is what happens when good intentions don't result in good product. The Sunbird replacement came as a coupe, sedan, and convertible, and although the Sunfire was structurally identical to the Chevy Cavalier, it was no badge engineering job. It appears that the first generation Sunfire was made to look like a Mini-Me version of the Trans Am, but it's safe to say that Pontiac designers didn't quite pull off the look. The refreshed Sunfire arguably looked quite a bit worse than the original, too, as the front end was for some reason given Aztek cues. Needless to say, GM was already losing compact market share to the Japanese, and the Sunfire and its ghastly interior did little to stem the tide.
  • Pontiac LeMans
  • The LeMans name used to mean something. The Sixties-era LeMans was a genuine muscle car, sharing its underpinnings with the iconic GTO. In 1986, GM did the unthinkable and brought back the LeMans as a rebadged Daewoo. It was equally ugly with two or four doors, and it was about as popular as planter's warts. The one good thing that came out of the LeMans was that it represented a truly global vehicle, with a European Opel platform built by South Koreans and sold all over the world. The bad news is that the LeMans was so bad that it likely made GM think twice about globalization.
  • Pontiac G3
  • The G3 is pretty much the LeMans for the 21st century. It's a Korean-engineered vehicle built in Mexico and sold in the US. It's still fuel efficient, and, more importantly, it's still not in tune with Pontiac's performance brand messaging. Oh, and it's also a total badge engineering job on an uncompetitive car (the Chevy Aveo5), and GM reportedly already has a two-year backlog of the little stinkers.
  • Pontiac Montana
  • The Pontiac Montana is a badge engineered version of the Chevy Venture (see a pattern here?) The Montana was a me-too minivan that never competed with the Dodge Caravan in any way. It also had ridiculous plastic side panel moldings to give the Montana a quasi-SUV look. It should come as no surprise that the Montana was discontinued due to slow sales.
  • Pontiac Aztek
  • There have been plenty of automotive gaffes over the past 100 or so years, but few carry quite the punchline of the Pontiac Aztek. When late night comics got tired of ripping on the president, they turned to the Aztek. To some, at least, the Aztek concept looked good enough, but the production model that resulted didn't win many friends. Plastic side moldings, a bizarre front grille, and an ungainly greenhouse told everyone from miles around that you were driving an Aztek. The Aztek was so bad that GM tweaked the design after a single model year and forced much of its management to drive around in unsold examples as penance. Not that it helped.
  • Pontiac G6 GXP
  • The Pontiac G6 has evolved into a borderline competent midsize offering that can be had as a sedan, coupe, or convertible. GM worked hard to re-establish Pontiac as the "Driving Excitement" brand, though, so a performance variant was a no-brainer. Enter the G6 GXP, a reasonably quick offering that is actually kind of fun to drive. There is a problem, though. It's an aesthetic train wreck. From the garish snow shovel rear wing to the horrifying man eater expression on the front end, the G6 GXP is the design effort that should have never made it past the clay model stage.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I liked the Volvo 240 and the VW New Beetle. The Honda Element is funky looking, but it is really good at what it does.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Worst list ever.

      I would only agree with about half of those... or less.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Holly Cow! The Enzo, New Beetle, DeLorean made the list. I don't think so! Yes, on the Aztec, Volvo, Tata....
      • 5 Years Ago
      What's wrong with what the Enzo looks like?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Glad to see the Fiat Multipla made the list, by far the ugliest in my opinion. I like many of the cars on the list, sad to see that anything "different" is labeled ugly. It will be a sad day when everything looks like an Accord/Camery.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this person belongs at a haters ball, if only for the inclusion of the 240. Its boxy, but good! And the Nano? Form following function if there was such in automotive design! Its not pretty, but its certainly not ugly. DeLorean? Really? Again, stop drinking the haterade. 80s details notwithstanding, the Giugiaro wedge is classic. Gorgeous? of course not. But ugly?

      The Enzo however, IS ugly. There's no question in my mind that its stunning, but its not pretty.

      Where is the 1959 Impala with its excessive trunk wings? Or the Edsel with its bizzarely proportioned grill... or the Porsche Cayenne???
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just like well-respected tech author John C. Dvorak says, these lists are bogus. Just a bunch of guys in a room writing down whatever pops in their head. Total content fillers with no real substance behind them. Even many of the reasons with the photos were weak at best--especially that of the New Beetle. Oh and if the Bangle-butt was so horrible, why has just about every luxury car and wannabe luxury car company adopted it in its designs?
      • 5 Years Ago
      "This is the design philosophy of the Thing: Take the basics of the Beetle—an engine, powertrain, and seats—and plop them in an unfinished metal box. There's no front grille, the bumper is an afterthought, and nobody bothered to round the fenders."

      Was this author a fashion designer? They obviously know little about automotive design. Why would a rear-engined car (The Thing) need a grille? Why would you "round the fenders" on a military vehicle? The powertrain includes the engine!

      The complaint about the El Camino's "mystifying hub caps" is truly mystifying- it doesn't have any!

      The RAV4 was a sales flop?!

      The Pacer, Multipla and SsangYong- awful.
      Twingo, Nano and Enzo- perfect,
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love 'experts'

      I miss my 1976 Chevette!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, it's like these guys don't have a clue...
        - Chevy El Camino? Classic! (shoulda put up the Ranchero - that was ugly)
        - Subaru B.R.A.T.? Again, another classic, esp. with the jump seats!
        - DeLorean? Come on...

        - Cimmaron? Merely uninspired, but not downright ugly
        - Toyota Van? only if you give it a clown-car paintjob...
        - Escalade? A zillion rappers and soccer moms can't be wrong!
        - Avalanche & H2? Because they are big?

        Basically, anything that isnt a generic 3-box sedan, they dislike. If it's aero or otherwise funky, they don't like it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        It has everything to do with the look of the vehicle...the vehicle looks like a douchbag would drive it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Cadillac Escalade
        Introduced: 1999
        The perfect car design if fuel, practicality, maneuverability, and class mean nothing to you. One of the most self-indulgent vehicles ever made, the Escalade is for looking rich while you're burning gasoline.


        Notice how the description has absolutely NOTHING to do with the look of the vehicle, it's just their twisted world view which seems to mix class envy and environmentalism into a nice big pile of FAIL!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why is BW waisting time writing about cars? Autoblog doesnt spend time writing about the 50 worst run businesses of the last 50 years. Although they do spend a lot of time writing about the 3 worst run businesses...

        Also remember who their target reader is, someone who drives a Taurus but aspires to a Merc S600 and is not aware that you can purchase a car with a manual trans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What do those stodgy bunch of tool-sheds at BW know about cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ferrari Enzo? Citroen BX? Roomster? Lagonda?

      I don't see the ugly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow I found Eva Longoria's topless video is here:
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree. These guys are idiots. I wonder what their idea of a good looking car is? Vanilla Camrys and Corollas? Stick to stocks and the numbers pencil necks...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Lagonda was one ugly POS....and it really was a HUGE POS.
      JDM Life
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the Pruis looks decent for what is it.

      Enzo? ummm im sorry WHAT?

      The Toyota IQ I think its cute its no where near ugly
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        If the IQ had twice the HP, it'd be awesome!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gotta admit, once I got past my personal favorite ugly ducklings, I had to agree with all 50. I realized if I left out personal feeling or didn't make excuses for the car, all 50 would be downright ugly or just poorly designed.

      A pretty accurate list for the car lover without any bias.

      If your favorite fan-boi car was in the list, look deep inside and see the ugly, it is there. Embrace that you love something that is flawed and possibly ugly. It will be OK, breathe...
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