I am known to be somewhat opinionated about cars—ie., many of them on the market today are ugly. Every once in a while I’ll let out with a statement along the lines of, “Car X is the third ugliest car on the road.” Since some have noticed that my rankings seem to change at random, I thought I’d research and solidify them for you.
So, without further ado, here are my picks for the ten ugliest cars of the 2005 model year and a brief explanation of why I dislike them. Enjoy!
10. Honda Element—Like other car makers, Honda has attempted to make a small, ‘hip’ SUV and market it at young adults. What’s most depressing is that I’ve actually seen a fair number of people who have fallen for it. Sorry guys, you’ve been had—Honda’s idea of ‘hip’ just isn’t.
9. Scion xA / Toyota Matrix—Toyota’s xA (under the Scion brand) and the slightly-longer Matrix are essentially the same car, and they have essentially the same problem as the Honda Element (except that they’re not SUVs).
8. Chevrolet Malibu Maxx—Chevy’s trendy reinterpretation of the normal Malibu is truly depressing. They turned an attractive car into a monstrosity of disproportionality and goofiness. Thank God the regular Malibu is still available (and less expensive to boot!).
7. Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible—The PT Cruiser is a unique curiosity in the automotive world, and while I thought it was ugly at first it quickly grew on me. The new convertible adaptation, however, looks entirely wrong. With the roof up, the car loses its sleek beauty; with the roof down, the vehicle appears malformed. Stick to the four-door hard-top version.
6 [TIE]. Toyota Prius and Honda Insight—As the two original hybrid cars, the Prius and Insight are equally ugly. Having an environmentally-friendly car shouldn’t require you to sacrifice good taste. Honda has already done better with its Civic and [overpriced] Accord hybrids, so there’s little reason to settle for the ill-conceived stylings of these cars when shopping for a low-emissions vehicle.
5. Scion xB—I like to think this one goes without explanation, except I’ve seen enough of these on the highways to know that would be giving people too much credit. The xB looks like some demented cross between a Chrysler PT Cruiser, a Geo Metro, and a cardboard box.
4. Ford Thunderbird—When reintroducing a beloved classic car, you want it to both remind of the original and represent cutting-edge class (see Chrysler 300C, Mini Cooper, and even Ford’s own Mustang). The Thunderbird is somewhat reminiscent of the original, but it lacks any semblance of class and always appears to be leaning backwards.
3. Toyota Echo—The Echo is an excellent example how how to go above and beyond expectations; almost the entire small car market is ugly, but the Echo manages to really stand out. It is disproportionately tall for its width and length, which means it looks really, really odd in-person. The optional spoiler only makes it all-the-more comical.
2. Pontiac Aztek—From its its misspelled name to its unpleasant grille to its repulsive rear, Pontiac developed a real winner in the Aztek. Since its introduction, this car has remained in the top two on this list, and it will likely stay there until this look is finally put to a well-deserved rest. I give Pontiac credit for being among the first to build a SUV/station wagon hybrid, but how about making it look good (see Chrysler Pacifica).
1. Chevrolet SSR—The SSR is, I believe, supposed to be a reimagination of the old El Camino-style pickup-cars with a hot-rod influence. In other words, it’s a recreation of a bad idea which is only made worse by a series of design cues taken directly from Ford’s Thunderbird (see #4). I knew it would take a special effort to unseat the Pontiac Aztek as the ugliest car on the road, and Chevy’s SSR must have been a special effort indeed.