Inspired by the “Selling Ugly” episode of Under the Influence, I remembered that I had drafted a post about ugly cars a couple of years ago. I found it in my list of drafts and WordPress and decided to flesh it out. Even though many of these cars offer utility or useful features, it doesn’t change the fact that they are just nasty looking.
There is a reason that cars aren’t square. Beside the fact that it looks ugly, there is no way this thing is aerodynamic. And let’s talk about that wrap-around rear window. On one hand, it seems like a good idea for shoulder checks. On the other hand, the damn pillar on the other side just looks stupid. If they could do it on the right side, why didn’t they just use the same design for the left? If it was down to engineering (maybe that pillar is structural for the hatch, etc.), then I have an idea: un-engineer the Cube and don’t release it. It’s terrible.
The Juke looks like a Photoshop joke. Someone took a full-size SUV (or CUV, whatever the hell people are calling them now), cut out the middle, and stitched the two ends together. I’m sure people bought this thinking they were getting a “sporty” “SUV” that was better on gas, but the truth is they bought a tiny Frankenstein that doesn’t offer the Utility of a Sport Utility Vehicle. It’s just a gross little car that was way overpriced.
This one is easy to pick on. Even if Walter White loved his, and even though it survived all his escapades, it’s still one of the ugliest cars ever made. The back end is just ridiculous, and most people who bought it thinking “Hey, there’ll be so much more room in the trunk” probably never really used that extra space, because it’s an awkward space. It’s on such a weird angle, that it would be difficult to judge which large objects you could fit in there. And really, if it wasn’t angled so much and was more flattened, it would have offered much more trunk space. As it is, it’s just gross.
Pontiac Trans Sport
I mean, man. Like… did you just throw up in your mouth? Because I do every time I see one of these things. Amazingly I still see them on the road. First of all, you just know that some guy in marketing was super proud of his little pun. The VW Transporter van came out in the 50s, and I’m sure that guy said, “Transporter… Oooh, what if it was Trans SPORT? What a play on words!” And it makes total sense for this vehicle, which is pretty much the antitheses of anything remotely related to being sporty. And then, someone in design said, “You know what? When I see cars, all I see are circles and rectangles. What it really needs are triangles. Yes. Triangles are the future.” And thus was born the elongated, disgusting front end that is the Pontiac Trans Sport.
Honda Ridgeline & Chevy Avalanche
These two are lumped together because they represent the same dumb idea: a truck with a tiny bed. Not only do they both use that same idea, but they both make terrible design decisions around that concept. The angled bits that connect the cab with the top of bed just aren’t appealing. There is a thread here – a lot of these cars are making sacrifices that minimize the utility of the vehicles they are modifications of. In this case, trucks are awesome because they have truck beds. A bed this small is almost completely useless for most things I would want to use a truck for. Sure, it fits more than a car’s trunk, and with the tops on they protect your gear. And maybe that’d be fine for camping. But for real truck uses, these fall short. And they look bad while doing it.
This should probably be at the top. I think for a lot of people, this is the first car that comes to mind when talking about ugly vehicles. The one in the photo is a shining example of this vomit-inducing model. It features wood paneling. How awesome is that? It’s affectionately called the PT Cruiser Woody, and yes, it was a factory option at one point. Somehow, this car was wildly popular. The design somehow reminded people of older vehicles and that made them buy it. Nostalgia is powerful folks. This wasn’t modelled after an existing vehicle, yet the non-specific “old” look made people think it reminded them of something else and they bought it. I don’t know what else to say except that I hate it. I hate it bad.
You can pretty much apply everything I said about the Nissan Cube to the Soul. I think some designers are honestly thinking, “Hey, old stuff is coming back. Look at fashion. It’s like the 70s all over again. So, let’s go boxy.” Stop trying to make boxy happen. It’s not going to happen. I love the article by Ted Laturnus at the Globe, entitled “Five reasons to dislike the Kia Soul.” My favourite quotes:
Driving the Soul is like being in a telephone booth with wheels
Storage. In a word, there isn’t any… With the back seat up and a few people in the car, the Soul has enough room for a bag or two of groceries, but that’s about it.
Lastly, the Kia Soul 4u has to be the cutsiest, most annoying branding for a car. Focusing on cute just doesn’t work unless you’re VW selling the New Beetle and it’s 1997.
This is on the list for a laugh because, really, that’s all you can do here. It looks partially alien. I can’t imagine those tiny upper headlights are adding anything of value or safety. The bulbous looks don’t do anything for fuel economy. And the whole thing just looks lopsided. Here’s a great story from redditor Joemc67:
I was walking through Newcastle a few years ago and I was crossing a road in front of one of these…..things. I said to the person I was with “That is one bastard ugly car” I didnt realise the window was open and the driver heard me. He reacted angrily and I thought he was gonna get out and go for me, instead he went into the glove compartment and pulled out paperwork showing that it was a rental and that he was only driving it because it was the last car they had left.
Yep, a car so ugly people hurriedly search for documentation to prove they do not own it.
I’m ending this list with a whimper. I tiny little fart of a car that looks like one of those poorly designed kids toys that eschew realism for something bulky a baby can hold onto with their teeny, uncoordinated hands. Like the Juke, it’s squished. But it offers even less utility. I’m sure this is purchased under the guise of fuel economy, and I’m sure it’s easy as hell to park, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that it looks dinkier than a dinky.
That’s my list. I’m sure people who own these vehicles will want to sound off in the comments about their reasoning, and I appreciate that. Do it. But it will not take away from the fact that every car on this list will go down in vehicle design history as abominations that never should have seen the light of day.