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The 10 Ugliest Cars & SUVs Of The Year

Updated May 23, 2018

It always happens. One or more car companies get their design strategies so wrong that the results become laughable. Here’s our 10 ugliest cars of the year.

There’s always a good reason for missing the target. The market zigged and we zagged. Our research told us this is what consumers wanted. Or, my favorite, we were working toward a design that was polarizing. Regardless of the reason, here’s our 10 ugliest cars of the year.

 

Honda Crosstour

Picking on the Honda Crosstour is like shooting fish in a barrel. Not only is it ugly, it’s also been discontinued. But the heck, someone has to do it so it might as well be us. Honda has proven that you can’t blend a sedan with a CrossOver for all times, so much so that its doubtful that any manufacturer will go down that path except (except for poor BMW who got blindsided). The other lesson Honda learned about the CrossTour is that social media isn’t always friendly to new products that readers dislike.

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Nissan Juke

First off, we get the Juke. We understand the type of polarization Nissan was looking to create and the types of customers they were looking to attract. That said, they could have done a better job in styling. No, we’re not suggesting it have a super-smooth, BMW-like appearance. The Juke is intended to look quirky and stand out (which it does). Our suggestion is that it not be done is such an off-putting manner.

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Ford Flex

It you like your new refrigerator, have we got a car for you. The Ford Flex, not beacuse it looks like your sleek new double Dutch door stainless steel fridge, but more because it looks like the box it came in. Ford first showed the concept prior to the Flex many years at ago at the Chicago Auto Show and people loved it. When you get up close and inside you can see what an appealing vehicle it is. But from a distance, it just lacks the panache of other CrossOvers in its category.

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Scion xB

Perhaps its not fair to pick on the Scion xB as it’s on it way out the door, but then, why not. Where the first generation xB was boxy (even boxier than the current generation) there was a certain charm to the vehicle. Maybe it was like a dog that’s “so ugly he’s cute”. Then the second generation come along, and in an effort to update the xB, the charm was lost, the magic that made the first version fun had left the building. Instead what we ended up with was sort a miniaturized Ford Flex (and that’s not a compliment to either one).

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BMW i3

The BMW i3 always reminds me of a factory prototype. That all the panels fit on the car, but somehow they don’t all seem to go together (like the way when a child plays with Legos and a single different block of a different color ends up in a wall or a panel. There’s no doubt that it’s a clever car and that BMW utilized its own internal resources well (the motor is for a 600 cc scooter). Still, there’s something about the styling that just doesn’t fit together.

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Toyota Mirai

The Toyota Mirai marks a substantial turning point in the automotive industry, and for its technology alone we salute Toyota. But something when wrong in he styling department. It’s almost as though there were meetings where the design was presented and senior management would respond “no, it’s no ugly enough. Take it back and make it uglier.” I can’t any other reason why it would look the way it does (and what it looks like it some sort of street cleaner from “Blade Runner” with two snouts at the far edges of the front edge that are connected to a vacuum suction device. Great technology, Toyota, but you need a better wrapper.

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Jeep Cherokee

Here’s another vehicle where you get a sense for what the boardroom conversation must have been like. “Our existing customers will buy just about anything we put a Jeep Cherokee badge on, so why don’t we style the new Cherokee to look like a premium import SUV and see if we can attract some new customers.” The problem is Jeep went so far over the the top and way out the other side with the Cherokee. I can barely look at the grille without wanting to cover it with some cardboard. My prediction – that grille will be gone in two years or less and will be replaced by a more conventional design.

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Fiat 500 L

If someone had never seen a Fiat 500L had asked me to descrie what it looked it, it would go something like this: “Do you know what a Fiat 500 looks like, right? Good. Now image that an advertising agency has created an inflatable Fiat 500 that’s a perfect replica to place on top of building or other spots that can hold the weight of a real car. Now image over-inflating the Fiat 500 “balloon” until its completely distorted and looks very little like its supposed to. That’s what a Fiat 500L look like. Need I saw more?

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Lincoln MKT

In the automotive world, they talk about the “design language” of a brand. When its been clearly articulated and implemented you can recognize a car’s brand even with logos on the car. BMW and Mercedes are both good examples, as is Cadillac. The problem with the most recent Lincoln vehicles isn’t that they’re badly styled, it’s that their “design language” is faulty. Yes, its recognizable, but not in a positive way (unlike Cadillac). Exhibit one is the Lincoln MKT. Exhibit two is the upcoming Lincoln Continental, which moves about as far away from the abandoned Lincoln design language as possible.

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Toyota 4Runner

What is with Toyota and these massive, ugly, disproportionate front bumpers? From the side it appears that some at Toyota directed the design department to come up with some way of stretching the nose of the SUV by three or four inches. I most sincerely believe that right now we’re in a golden age of car design – and we’ve not been in one since the 1960s. I just hate to think of some future writer, beaming his thoughts directly from his brain to some yet-developed Apple device and slamming the cars and trucks of this decade because a few manufacturers had to go over the top on their front end designs.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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