The ugliness continues! Only one model on last year’s list—the Smart Fortwo—has been discontinued (in the U.S. market), making room for a newcomer from Nissan. And while the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe have been redesigned, they’re still just as ugly as their predecessors.
The criteria for inclusion are unchanged. I don’t include models that aren’t sold in the United States. I don’t include models that sell in very low volume (and volume is defined subjectively based on how many I see on the highways in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area). I don’t include exotic, military, or special-purpose vehicles, or vehicles reserved exclusively for the commercial market like the persistently horrific Ram Promaster.
This list is my personal opinion. If you own one of the cars on this list . . . well . . . don’t take it (too) personally.
10. Nissan Kicks
Few major brands seem to be able to design tasteful small crossovers and hatchbacks. While the Kicks is certainly less horrible than some others, including some of Nissan’s previous efforts like the Cube and the Juke, it’s still horrible.
9. Fiat 500L
Take picture of a Mini Countryman and run it through an ‘uglify’ filter in your preferred photo editor. You’ll probably end up with something that looks a lot like the Fiat 500L. It’s not an homage to retro small cars, it’s an insult.
8. BMW X4
The big German luxury brands still seem to be churning out these potato-like monstrosities. There are four members of the German Potato Brigade on this list. The X4 is the least bad of them. That’s not saying much.
7. Mercedes GLC Coupe
The second entrant from the German Potato Brigade is a bulbous four-door hatchback that has few, if any, redeeming qualities. And if its looks weren’t offensive enough, Mercedes insists on calling it a “coupe.” It’s not a coupe. Lying is a sin.
6. Kia Soul
The best thing about the Kia Soul is the hamsters in its ads. The car itself is a long-running member of the ugly club, and it looks like it will remain for all eternity. It’s trying way, way too hard to be cool. It’s failing.
5. Honda Civic Type R
Some versions of the Civic aren’t too bad, but the Type R is worse than bad. Take every bad trend in modern car design, put them in a box, and hit the box with a stick until a car comes out. I’m sure that’s how they designed this thing.
4. Mercedes GLE Coupe
Yet another entrant in the German Potato Brigade, and yet another example of a flagrant misuse of the word “coupe.” Nothing about this car makes sense. Nothing about it is appealing. It’s a lump of unformed sheet metal with tail lights.
3. BMW X6
All four members of the German Potato Brigade are ugly, but the X6 takes the lead of this inglorious subset of the ugly car list. It’s bigger, it’s dumber, it’s . . . potato-er. It’s just as much a lump as the Mercedes GLE Coupe, but with just enough pointy bits added to make it worse.
2. Toyota C-HR
This compact crossover is the ugliest in an unusually ugly part of the automotive market. Many companies try to make their small cars look cool, and they invariably fail miserably. Toyota failed the most miserably of them all.
1. Toyota Prius
The Prius remains the champion of ugly. Each generation ups the ante for just how misshapen and obnoxious a car can be. Those every-which-way taillights, the dual-pane hatch, the cheese-wedge profile, the character-less character lines. It wins (loses?) handily.
In addition to the ten ugliest cars each model year, I also “award” either a car model or manufacturer with the “dishonorable mention.” This year, the “award” goes to:
This is a screenshot of the list of “all Chrysler vehicles” on the brand’s U.S. website. It lists four: Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid, 300, and Voyager.
The website is misleading. There are really only two vehicles still sold under the Chrysler name, despite it being one of the namesake brands of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Two.
The first is their minivan, which is a single model that sells in various trims under the names Pacifica, Pacifica Hybrid, and Voyager. It was first introduced for the 2017 model year and is in its first generation. It rides on FCA’s “Compact Wide” platform that first debuted on vehicles for the 2013 model year.
The second is the 300, a large four-door sedan. It was first introduced for the 2005 model year, and was most recently redesigned for the 2011 model year. It rides on the late Daimler Chrysler’s “LX” platform that debuted for the 2005 model year.
You read that right. Chrysler sells a minivan on a seven year old platform, and a big car on a fifteen year old platform . . . and that’s it. This venerable American brand has been allowed by FCA to atrophy until it is almost nothing. It’s an afterthought, a mere remnant, a shadow of what it once was.
Perhaps it’s time to just let it die. Better to live on in our memory than to hobble along for another year—let alone another decade—in this sad state.