Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (2023)

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (1)

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Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (2)

Rough Rides

Design might be subjective, but when it's time to drop thousands of dollars on a car, we want the thing to look good — or, at the very least, not eye-searingly bad. But despite their best intentions, car companies often miss the mark and make vehicles that land on lists of ugly cars. In many cases, that also means sales go down the tubes, though some bizarre cars soldier on for years, developing a decent following. Love 'em or hate 'em, here are 25 "distinctive" cars we won't be lining up to buy anytime soon.

Related: Unique Cars That Should Be Resurrected

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (3)

Pontiac Aztek (2001-2005)

Car and Driver doesn't hold backabout the much-maligned Aztek, calling it a "minivan-in-drag monstrosity ... It's so powerfully ugly that a blobfish wouldn't be seen next to it." Although the odd auto fusion of an SUV and sporty sedan had a moment in the sun thanks to a starring role in AMC's "Breaking Bad," it's still among the top vehicles on every car expert's lips when "ugly" is the main criterion.

Related: Most Iconic Movie and TV Cars

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (4)

AMC Pacer (1975-1979)

Sure, a lot of ugly American cars were made in the '70s (eyes on you, Pintos and El Caminos of the world), many of them by the carmaker AMC. But even among the ugliest cars, the wedge-shaped AMC Pacer was a special kind of ugly. It was a compact, but not really. In fact, AMC pitched it was "the world's first wide-body compact, a segment nobody had ever identified before, much less pined for," according to The Truth About Cars. "An obese compact for obese compact-haters."

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(Video) 15 UGLIEST Vehicle Designs

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (5)

Ford Edsel (1958-1960)

Few auto fails were worse than this. A legendary flop of the '50s, the Ford Edsel "was one of those ugly ducklingsthat never had a swan phase," according to The New York Times. Ford apparently invested some $250 million in the distinctive Edsel, but shifting consumer tastes meant buyers had little love for this flashy cruiser. One of the most maligned design features? The grille, which "drew comparisons to an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon, a toilet seat, and other cruder images," notes The Washington Post.

Related: Vintage Car Design Features You Don’t See Anymore

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Toyota Prius (2015-Present)

As ubiquitous as the fuel-sipping Toyota Priusis today, it has taken a beating from automotive design buffs. The low point for this hybrid? A 2015 redesign that's still on dealers' lots today left the already-quirky vehicle looking a little like an alien. Of course, that's if you're kind — according to TopSpeed, this Toyota looks like "a double-chinned angry guppythat wants to eat your face." (Hey, it could be worse. For 50-plus mpg and Toyota's reputation for reliability, that's a sacrifice we may be willing to make.)

Related: The Most Trusted Toyotas of All Time

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (7)

Citroen Ami 6 (1961-1970)

French automaker Citroen desperately needed a midrange car that would hold its own against competitors such as Volkswagen and Renault in the '60s. Instead, it produced the Ami, with an oddly raked back window that didn't exactly appeal to buyers. According to Motor Trend, this was actually a cost-cutting movebecause the trunk lid could be attached up there to stay open, no prop rod or counter springs necessary. Whatever the case, the result was "the most ungainly design ever."

Related: Most Popular Volkswagens of All Time

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (8)

Chrysler PT Cruiser (2001-2010)

The PT Cruiser remains one of the most polarizing cars in recent memory. For every buyer who liked these cars' aggressively retro styling, there were five onlookers tittering about how this auto was hard on the eyes. Count us among the latter camp. "The PT was a shrunken minivan, a bloated Neon, a car for familieswho needed something basic and leaned a little too hard on nostalgia," Jalopnik sneers. Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (9)

Ford Taurus (1996-1999)

Why mess with success? That's the moral of the story for Ford, which saw sales plummet after redesigning its popular Taurus in 1996 with ovals — lots of ovals — creating an odd effect perhaps best likened a squashed marshmallow on wheels. Road and Track even calls the third-generation Taurus "the saddest car ever made," and noted that Ford never competedseriouslyin the sedan segment again.

Related: Ford Muscle Cars That Defined a Generation

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (10)

Plymouth Fury (1961)

Just back away slowly from this classic cruiserand no one will get hurt. The 1961 Plymouth Fury lived up to its angry name with a truly menacing-looking front-end "face." It "wasn't the only furrowed brow scowling out of showroomsacross the United States in 1961. But it was the one that possibly caused the most nightmares," Curbside Classicwrites.

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Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (11)

Nissan Cube (2009-2014)

Nissan always wanted its angular Cube crossover to stand out, but it ended up getting looks for all the wrong reasons. The Los Angeles Times called it an "air-hating box of ugly ... a travesty, a mockery, a baleful parody of auto aerodynamics." Nissan even admitted that the design was built on the idea of a "bulldog in sunglasses" — but, as the Times wonders: "Which end is wearing the sunglasses?"

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (12)

Suzuki X-90 (1996-1998)

"It's a no-butt, bubble of a thing, a laugher if ever there was one," The Washington Post writes of the Suzuki X-90. "It comes with a chopped-off tail, mostly glass canopy, bug-eyed headlamps and bulging fenders. It's so ugly, it's funny. It's so funny, it's cute." Sadly, there weren't many buyers who came down on the "cute" side of the fence, and Suzuki halted production on this bizarre little SUV after a few years.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (13)

Pontiac Trans Sport (1990-1996)

The fundamental truth of minivans is that they aren't cool or easy on the eyes, and carmakers are probably better off embracing this fact than pretending otherwise. But poor Pontiac didn't get that memo before designing the oddly pointy Trans Sport, which the auto company described as the "space vehicle of the 90s." (We suppose that does sound better than "Dust Buster on wheels.") Starting in the year 1997, Pontiac dropped the futuristic styling in favor of a more traditional look.

Related: The Best, Worst, and Weirdest Minivans of All Time

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (14)

Vanguard CitiCar (1974-1977)

We'll forgive you if you mistake the CitiCar for an amusement park rideor an outsize wedge of cheese. In reality, this weird, triangular little contraption was an electric car built to appeal to consumers during the American oil crisis in the mid-'70s, the same era as the AMC Pacer. "It was a glorified golf cartwhich must have been absolutely miserable to drive in actual traffic," opines CarBuzz, noting that the car produced a top speed of 25 mph and a whopping 40-mile range. Amazingly, around 4,400 of them actually sold.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (15)

Subaru Brat (1978-1994)

Small pickups had somewhat of a heyday back in the '70s and '80s, so Subaru decided to get on the action and "hacked the end off an existing station wagon," according to Jalopnik. The result was a bizarre car-truck mashup called the BRAT (er, the "Bi-drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter") that was somehow produced all the way up through the year 1994. It was even built with two rear-facing jump seats that helped Subaru call it a family vehicle and evade taxes on imported pickup trucks.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (16)

Fiat Multipla (1998-2004)

The Fiat Multipla never made it ashore in the U.S., but this cartoonishly bulging, bug-eyed family hauler is too ugly not to include here. Practical as it may have been and built with plenty of headroom and space for passengers or cargo, the Multipla's original unique look lasted only a few years before a redesign in the year 2004. CarThrottle's readers even dubbed it "the ugliest car ever made," with the Fiat Multipla outpacing everyone's favorite design whipping boy, the Pontiac Aztek.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (17)

Lexus SC 430 (2001-2005)

Luxury carsaren't immune to design missteps, and the Lexus SC 430 is all the proof you need. Panned by car lovers as a strangely ill-proportioned bathtub of a car, it definitely didn't meet the high expectations for buyers willing to spend big on a powerful convertible. It was even derided by Top Gear as "the worst car in the world" — ouch. "Whoa doggies, it's ugly," Jalopnik says. "Maybe ugly is too harsh a word. ... Frumpy, maybe? Dumpy? Something with an -umpy at its end for certain."

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Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (18)

Yugo GV (1985-1992)

The Yugo is low-hanging fruit for many lists of bad cars, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that, aside from all of its well-documented quality problems, it was also really, really ugly. This rickety little hatchback was built to be as cheap as possible, and it shows in the stripped-down, boxy exterior. "From the moment you walk up to a Yugo, you're struck by a little bit of sadness," Autotrader says. "Regardless of why you feel it, you feel it. You know you're going to be disappointed."

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (19)

Marcos Mantis M70 (1970-1972)

Dubbed "the car that makes the Aztek look pretty" by Autotrader, the Marcos Mantis was an obscure British sports car built with a bizarrely long "snout" and abysmal sales: Only a few dozen were sold before the company went bankrupt. "No one seems to know how many Mantis models still exist; presumably, no mere mortal has the gastrointestinal fortitude to count them," Autotrader says. Maybe the company was shooting for a James-Bond-Aston-Martin look — and missed.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (20)

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (21)

Lincoln MKT (2010-2020)

A crossover that can haul a laughable amount of junk in its oversized trunk, the Lincoln MKT changed little after it was unveiled in 2010. And that's ... unfortunate, unless you're into cars with disproportionate rear ends (hey, we won't judge). The Daily Drive calls it one of the ugliest SUVs of the past 20 years. "There's really no way around this: The MKT is ungainly ... The overall look is not unlike a wheelbarrow rolling backwards."

Related: Most Iconic SUVs of All Time

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (22)

Mitsuoka Orochi (2007-2014)

And now for something completely different. Japanese cars are more design-forward than their American counterparts, but there's a difference between pushing the envelope and setting it on fire. The Mitsuoka Orochi, a limited-edition six-figure sports car, is best placed in the latter category. "The front end is absolutely bizarre, in the sense that it looks like the designer tried very hard to make the car look like it was smiling, or possibly eating something," notes Autotrader. "I truly believe it was modeled on an image of some sort of happy-looking animal."

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Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (23)

Hyundai Tiburon (2000-2001)

Back when Hyundai was still trying to hold its own in the U.S. market, it decided to take a risk with the sporty coupe's redesign. For many observers, it was a swing and a miss, making the car look worse and landing it on Jalopnik's list of "The Ten Worst Automotive Face-lifts of All Time." The new Tiburon was an "insect-eyed monstrosity ... It looks like it came out of the black lagoon," the auto news site laments. Still, Hyundai got the last laugh, with sales that jumped markedly in 2000.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (24)

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Chevrolet Caprice (1991-1992)

"It looked like an upside-down bathtub," admitted one GM workerof the 1991 Chevrolet Caprice, a car that had built nearly a three-decade legacy of strong sales. But this redesigned full-size sedan was a bust. Fortune called it "a beached whale,"while the slightly kinder Washington Post called it "bulbous."However you describe it, sales were disappointing, and it lasted only a couple of years before getting a face-lift.

Related: Legendary and Iconic Chevys Through the Decades

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (25)

Nissan S-Cargo (1989-1991)

For anyone keeping score, this marks Honda rival Nissan's third entry on the "ugly" list — a dubious distinction, to be sure. The S-Cargo, a small cargo van, was sold only in Japan from 1989 to 1991. "What makes it so ugly? Well, all of it," Autotrader sneers. "The entire car has all these curves, circles and arches, and then the rear end just stops. Abruptly. With no explanation." There's also the fact that it resembles a snail, with a name that sounds suspiciously like "escargot." We see what you did there, Nissan.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (26)

Isuzu VehiCross (1999-2001)

About a decade before it decided to leave the U.S. market, Isuzu tried to give buyers an SUV that looked distinctive, fun, and a touch futuristic. So it produced the VehiCross, a limited-edition vehicle that inspired both cheers and jeers. While it snagged a decent enough reviewfrom Motor Trend (though they do call the VehiCross "a Toyota RAV4 on high-potency steroids," others pulled few punches. "No one wants a three-door SUV that looks like an escapee from the set of 'Battlestar Galactica,' " deadpans Car and Driver.

Ugly Cars That Should Have Never Left the Assembly Line (27)

Cadillac Seville (1981-1985)

The redesigned Cadillac Seville was supposed to help GM make news by marking the start of the '80s in head-turning style. It did make news and it certainly got people to look, if only to do a double-take when they realized just how ugly a Caddy could be. Designed with a retro "bustle back," the new Seville notched disappointing sales, likely because the engine was just as bad as the design. "A near-perfect synthesis of wretched design and ruinous engineering," Curbside Classic concludes. Tell us how you really feel.

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What car is similar to AMC Gremlin? ›

The Gremlin's main competitors were the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto, two of the worst cars to ever emerge from American carmakers. With competition like that, one could easily assume the AMC Gremlin would be a massive hit.

What is the greatest vehicle ever made? ›

Top 10 Greatest Cars of All Time
  • VW Beetle. ...
  • Cord L-29. ...
  • Ford 150 Pickup Truck. ...
  • Oldsmobile F-88. ...
  • BMC Mini. ...
  • Ford Mustang. ...
  • Porsche 911. The Porsche 911 has been beloved on the racetrack and streets alike ever since it was first introduced in 1964 and is now one of the longest-standing sports cars ever. ...
  • Stay. Gateway Canyons Resort.

What is the oldest working car in the world? ›

The oldest functioning car is La Marquise, a steam-powered, four-wheeled, four-seater vehicle, manufactured by De Dion Bouton et Trépardoux (France) in 1884; three years later it won the world's first automobile race, powering along the 30.5-km (19-mile) track at an average of 42 km/h (26 mph) from Paris to Neuilly, ...

What is the rarest AMC car? ›

Second only to the legendary AMX/3, the 1969 Hurst Super Stock AMX may be the rarest AMC performance car ever. With only 52 examples ever built, these cars existed purely to prove to the NHRA that the factory-backed Super Stock AMXs racing professionally on drag strips were production models that the public could buy.

Why did the AMC Gremlin fail? ›

The Gremlin's handling was atrocious, its engine was crippled by emissions control equipment, and the flip-up back window was prone to breaking off in a driver's hands. But the Gremlin's worst feature was its egregious styling, which was considered a disaster even by the dubious standards of the early 1970s.

What vehicle will last forever? ›

Among the models with the greatest potential lifespan, Toyota Sequoia topped the list, with the ability to travel nearly 300,000 miles, followed by the Land Cruiser, according to a recent iSeeCars study, which analyzed more than 2 million cars over the past 20 years to see which vehicles could last the longest.

What is the deadliest car ever? ›

The top 20 deadliest cars: the full list
RankMakeTotal fatal crashes
8 more rows
Aug 18, 2020

What was the deadliest car? ›

A tour in the Brutus, the world's most dangerous car, delivers more adrenaline rushes than the fastest Ferrari. It's got nearly as much horsepower as a Formula 1 car, wrapped up in the fragile body of a vintage car.

What car costs $3 million dollars? ›

The Jesko is our first hypercar that hits the three million dollar mark. From a performance aspect, this makes sense: the Koenigsegg Jesko is also one of the fastest supercars in the world in 2023 – which definitely goes a long way towards its sticker price.

What is the oldest American made car? ›

1865 Roper Steam Carriage: The Oldest Surviving American Automobile -- The Henry Ford Blog - Blog - The Henry Ford.

What is a 100 year old car called? ›

According to Hagerty, cars from 1900 to 1979 are considered either Antique or Classic. If the car is manufactured in 1980 or later, it is considered a collector car. The Classic Car Club of America is even stricter in their description of classics. They only consider cars between the years 1915 and 1948 to be classic.

What color cars look the cleanest? ›

White. White cars are one of the most common on the road because of their clean look. There's a good reason for that! They're excellent at concealing dust, grime, and water stains—as long as you're not driving on dirt or red clay roads.

What is the most recognizable car? ›

Our pick of the top 10 most famous movie cars is:
  • DeLorean DMC-12 – Back To The Future.
  • Volkswagen Beetle – Herbie.
  • Cadillac Miller-Meteor – Ghostbusters.
  • Ford Mustang – Bullitt.
  • Aston Martin DB5 – Goldfinger.
  • Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder – Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
  • Mini Cooper S – The Italian Job.
Feb 11, 2022

What is the rarest production car? ›

10 rarest cars in the world
  • 1957 Jaguar XKSS. ...
  • 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. ...
  • 1970 Porsche 917. ...
  • 1995 McLaren F1 LM. ...
  • 1986 Ferrari Testarossa Spider. ...
  • 1989 Cizeta-Moroder V16T. ...
  • 2009 Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita. ...
  • 2013 Lamborghini Veneno.

What was the fastest AMC car? ›

Fast Facts – A “Bonneville Speed Spectacular” AMC Javelin

This car set a C-Production class record of 161.733 mph. Three 1968 AMC Javelins were entered in total, each was modified by a team of three contestants, the winning team with the fastest car then won all three cars – one each.

What is a rare muscle car? ›

Rare Muscle Cars That Are Often Overlooked

1962 Pontiac Catalina 389 Tri-Power Four Speed Convertible. 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Hemi Hardtop. 1959 Chevrolet Impala 283 Fuelie Sport Coupe. 1970 Chevrolet Nova LT-1 COPO. 1968 Pontiac Firebird Ram Air II.

What killed AMC? ›

The Renault Merger Was The End of AMC

After they partnered with Renault, AMC launched the Eagle, which is considered as one of the first true cross-over SUVs. However, Renault ignored the Eagle to focus on building the compact Alliance, which is where it all went downhill and doomed the brand.

Is the AMC Gremlin a lemon? ›

The Lemons are an international criminal syndicate in Cars 2. They are made up of four different families based on their models: Gremlins (AMC Gremlin), Pacers (AMC Pacer), Trunkovs (ZAZ Zaporozhets), and the Hugos (Zastava Koral/also known as the Yugo in the US). There is also one Zündapp Janus.

Did the AMC Gremlin have a V8? ›

(A total of 40,994 Gremlins were equipped with the V8 engine from 1972 until 1976.) A 4-speed manual transmission was made available at midyear.

What car can last 500000 miles? ›

The best part about buying a Mercedes-Benz is that it doesn't have to be new to be reliable or durable. The Mercedes-Benz 300SDL is one of the best models from this manufacturer. Placed in the right hands, this vehicle can last over 500,000 miles and still run strong.

What car brand has least problems? ›

The report found that Lexus and Toyota make the most reliable cars, while Jeep and Mercedes-Benz make the ones you can depend on least. But those rankings reflect an average of all the cars each manufacturer builds. There can still be variation within any one brand.

What will cars run on in 2050? ›

By 2050, there will be about 3 billion light-duty vehicles on the road worldwide, up from 1 billion now. At least half of them will be powered by internal combustion engines (ICE), using petroleum-based fuels.

What is the most unsafe car in America? ›

1. Ford Fiesta. The first of the most dangerous cars to drive on the IIHS's list is the Ford Fiesta mini 4-door car.

What is the scariest car to drive? ›

The scariest cars for Halloween
  • Hennessey Exorcist. ...
  • Mitsuoka Orochi. ...
  • Rolls-Royce Ghost. ...
  • TVR Cerbera. ...
  • Phantom Corsair. ...
  • Reva G-Wiz. ...
  • Dodge Charger. Wheels of Terror isn't the best horror movie of all time; it scores a middling 4.3 on the IMDb website. ...
  • Porsche 911 Turbo. It was known as the 'widowmaker' for a reason.
Oct 31, 2021

What car broke the 300 mph? ›

Not only that, but the Chiron Super Sport 300+ also became the first car to break 300 miles per hour on the track. The final record was 304.773 mph with racing driver Andy Wallace at the wheel on Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany.

What was the Ford version of the Gremlin? ›

The Ford Pinto was first made on September, 11, 1970. There were two cars that the Pinto was made to compete against, The AMC Gremlin and the Vega.

What car looks like frog? ›

Nissan Juke

The short and squat proportions of the Juke don't do anything to dispel this impression, and if anything its curvy fender swells reinforce its frog-like image.

What was the Wayne's World car? ›

The Mirthmobile is a powder blue 1976 AMC Pacer that rose to cinematic fame in the opening scene of 1992's cult classic 'Wayne's World.


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