There are more big changes on this year’s list of the ugliest cars. Two models featured on last year’s list (Honda Insight [#4 TIE] and Chevrolet SSR [#1]) have been discontinued, while several newly-introduced ugly cars have managed to push two more (Toyota Matrix [#10] and Honda Element [#9]) off the list. Additionally, my style tastes have changed as some models become less offensive with age (and others grow more so).
As always, it is important to note that this list is my opinion. I am picky about how cars look, and I tend to be a bit of a minimalist (I’ll take simple shapes and lines over complex and odd angles). You may disagree, and I’m always interested to hear your thoughts!
The Top Ten Ugliest Cars
10. Chevrolet Malibu Maxx—Chevy continues to try and hide its repulsive Malibu Maxx along side the not-so-ugly regular Malibu, and with good reason. Thankfully the Malibu is slated for a 2008 redesign, and hopefully the Maxx variation will be put out of its misery.
9. Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible—The entireline is getting a bit long in the tooth (six years and counting without a significant redesign), but the convertible version definitely needs some work. The original Cruiser was a uniquely inspired design, but something was clearly lost in the convertible translation.
8. Nissan Versa—Nissan’s new entry into the sub-compact market, like too many of its brethren, is ugly. I don’t know what inspired Nissan’s new design trend of lumpiness and odd angles, but it’s time to try something new. The Honda Fit (also new in the U.S. For 2007) proves that a sub-compact can look, well, okay. The other manufacturers should take note.
7. Toyota Prius—With the discontinuation of Honda’s Insight (which tied with the Prius on this list in 2005 & 2006), the Prius now stands alone. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue saying it: hybrids will not really catch on until they replace the standard internal combustion engine in normal, reasonably priced, non-ugly cars. Most people won’t pay good money for a Prius-like monstrosity, or $3,000 extra just to say they have a hybrid (see the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry).
6. Pontiac G6 Coupe—The ‘flying ameoba’ school of bubbly, lineless automobiles went out of style with the Ford Taurus (actually, hate to break it to Ford Motor Company, but it was never a good style to begin with). Why General Motors thought it was prudent to try and bring back a look that was never classy in the first place, I’ll never understand.
5. Toyota Yaris—I don’t know what it is about sub-compacts, but they rarely come out looking good (the Honda Fit is about the only example I’m aware of). The Yaris—especially the ‘liftback’ version, though the ‘sedan’ isn’t much better—is a particularly good example of an ugly sub-compact. Note for Toyota designers: If ‘bulbous’ or ‘misshapen’ are the best adjectives to describe your design, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
4. Toyota FJ Cruiser—Toyota’s repugnant FJ Cruiser not only picks up where the Honda Element left off, but surpasses it. Like the Element, its attempt to capture the ‘youthful’ market will land it more success in the ‘tasteless’ market.
3. Scion xB—Toyota’s xB (under the Scion brand) holds position for the same reason that it’s placed in the the top five since I started this annual list: It “looks like some demented cross between a, a Geo Metro, and a cardboard box.”
2. Scion xA—Some cars start looking better as you get used to them. Toyota’s xA (under the Scion brand), however, keeps looking worse. In 2005 it ranked #9 (helped by a dual-listing with the Toyota Matrix). In 2006 it ranked #5. Today, it ranks a well-deserved #2 in Toyota’s near-sweep of the top five.
1. Subaru B9 Tribeca—Thankfully, you don’t see a lot of these crimes-against-taste on the road, and if you’ve ever seen one you’d understand why. The B9 Tribeca looks like somebody took pieces of various ill-advised Toyota and General Motors designs featured on this list, glued them together, then buffed out 1/3 of the lumpy sheet-metal overlaps.
Dishonorable Mentions (for bad redesigns which did not make the top ten)
Chrysler Sebring Sedan—It is a true shame to see Chrysler’s 2007 redesign of the Sebring Sedan. The previous Sebring Sedan, and the Cirrus model that pre-dated it, both looked pretty good in their times. The new Sebring does not. It takes the worst design elements from across Chrysler’s line—particularly the ribbed hood and irregularly shaped headlights—and puts them together. The Sebring might not have made the top-ten list this year, but Chrysler deserves dishonorable mention for taking a decent car and ruining it.
Nissan Altima—Like the Chrysler Sebring Sedan, the Nissan Altima was decent looking car until Nissan decided to redesign it for the 2007 model year. Now it’s inherited Maxima’s misshapen grille, headlights, and tail lights. Instead of migrating Altima’s classy lines to its other models, Nissan took the worst cues from its other models and migrated them to the Altima. It’s not top-ten ugly, but Nissan deserves dishonorable mention for this ill-advised redesign.