Ugliest Cars of the 2024 Model Year

Two cars from the 2023 list have gone off to the great junkyard in the sky: the number-nine rated Jeep Renegade and the number-ten rated Chevrolet Bolt. That left room for two new additions, which both make their debuts at even higher (lower?) positions: the ‘facelifted’ Kia Sorento and the redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe. The rest of the list remains pretty stable.

Like I said last year, there are fewer ugly cars on the market now than there used to be. Some cars toward the lower-end of the list are tolerable. But those two new additions are really bad. I think the tide is turning back to ugly, which will make it easier to build this list in the future.

To qualify for this list, a car must be sold in volume to the general public in the United States. Volume is defined subjectively based on my observations (in other words, if I see them on the roads, they qualify; if I don’t, they don’t). Vehicles are excluded if they are not sold new in North America, sell in very low volume, or are sold only for exotic, military, commercial, or other special purposes.

Following are the ten ugliest cars of the 2024 model year according to me. If you own one of the cars on this list, well, sorry. I still love you. But I wouldn’t let you pick out a car for me!

10. Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai Santa Cruz

There’s nothing wrong with affordable, small trucks. I like the look of the Ford Maverick, and I hope other companies bring other new, compact pickups to market. There’s nothing wrong with car/truck hybrids either—the Chevrolet El Camino and Subaru Brat were icons, and the Subaru Baja was . . . well, never mind. Regardless, the Santa Cruz just doesn’t work. And I hate Hyundai’s dumb spider-eyes front-end.

9. Kia Soul

Kia Soul

The Soul survives . . . for some reason. Like I’ve said before, it’s not repulsive, it’s just a pedestrian kind of ugly. It was one of the original “edgy” econo-boxes that were meant for young, first-time car buyers, but seemed to appeal more to people who just wanted to look like young, first-time car buyers. And it has hockey-stick tail lights. Why?

8. Nissan Kicks

Nissan Kicks

Speaking of “edgy” econo-boxes that are meant for young, first-time car buyers, but seem to appeal more to people who just want to look like young, first-time car buyers . . . meet the Kicks! It came along well after the Kia Soul, but it’s definitely worse. There are so many unnecessary angles. It looks like they just kept designing and designing until they couldn’t design anymore.

7. Hyundai Venue

Hyundai Venue

Some things are bad because they’re just . . . bad (like Diamonds Are Forever). Some things are bad because they had potential, then went completely off-the-rails along the way (like Moonraker). The latter type is more disappointing. Most subcompact crossovers are ugly, but the Venue almost works. From the rear and sides it’s not too bad. Then you see that “extreme eyebrows” front-end and it all falls apart.

6. Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento

The Sorento used to hover somewhere off the bottom of this list; it was unattractive, but not really ugly. Its 2024 ‘facelift’ has catapulted it into being one of the ugliest things on the road. What could have motivated them to do this to an otherwise inoffensive car? And why have the Korean manufacturers decided to do these kinds of weird, unnecessary, hurtful things with their headlight designs?

5. Mercedes GLC Coupe

Mercedes GLC Coupe

We now turn, as we have in past years, to the German potato brigade. These are an inexplicable set of lumps that start with a crossover chassis, stick a sedan-style body on it, and add a rear hatch. The results are always bad, but the GLC Coupe is . . . the least bad. Faint praise, I know. Mercedes adds insult to injury by calling these things “coupes.” They are not coupes. Words have meanings.

4. BMW X4


The X4 is the second member of the German potato brigade. It’s essentially the same car as the Mercedes GLE Coupe, but it’s a little bit worse. Some BMW style cues that work well on other cars collide badly with the X4’s lumpiness. BMW used to call these “sports activity coupes” even though they aren’t good for sports or activities and they aren’t coupes. Now they call them “coupe SUVs.” Still wrong.

3. Mercedes GLE Coupe

Mercedes GLE Coupe

Take the Mercedes GLC Coupe, and all its ugliness, and make it bigger. That’s the GLE Coupe. The lines and design cues are mostly fine, so it doesn’t look that bad in photos . . . but when you see it in reality the proportions are all wrong. I think Mercedes put a good car into Photoshop, layered it over a potato, made it thirty percent too big, then declared it to be a “coupe” (for some reason).

2. BMW X6


The fourth and ugliest of the German potato brigade is the X6. Like the BMW X4 was the same as the Mercedes GLC Coupe but worse, the X6 has all the Mercedes GLE Coupe’s bulbous potato-ness, but adds the BMW design cues that don’t just work at this inelegant scale. Why do these things exist? Who are they for? And why do the Germans keep calling them coupes? They aren’t coupes! Stop it!

1. Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe

A while back, a car-carrier truck approached from behind in the second lane as I merged on to Interstate 66. I saw it in my rear-view mirror and wondered about the unfamiliar SUVs it carried. At a glance, I liked the size and shape. When the truck passed me a minute later, I saw the new Santa Fe up-close for the first time . . . and immediately regretted thinking anything nice about it. The more you look at it, the worse it gets. It has dog-bone tail lights (or is that the Satellite of Love?). I don’t know what to say. Please, Hyundai. Stop.

Dishonorable Mention: Jeep Prices

Jeep Prices Are Too High

I have an irrational love for old Jeeps . . . so much so that I paid an embarrassing amount of money to obtain and restore a 1977 Jeep J-10 pickup truck. I love the company. I also hate it. “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand.”

Jeep has been the crown-jewel of every company that has owned it . . . starting with Willys (pronounced “Willis”) and proceeding through Kaiser, independent AMC, Renault-owned AMC, Chrysler, Daimler-Chrysler, Cerberus, Fiat Chrysler (FCA), and finally Stellantis. In my opinion, the independent, pre-Renault version of AMC was the last corporate owner seemed to really understand what Jeeps were and why. Under each subsequent owner, the brand has been more and more diluted. The products got less capable. They started selling re-badged Dodges, and, eventually, re-badged Fiats. The prices crept higher and higher.

I know cars are more expensive than they used to be, even after correcting for inflation. That’s mostly because today’s cars are safer, more powerful, more efficient, and less polluting than before. We pay more, but we get more. Even so, Jeep’s current prices cannot be justified . . . especially for the re-badges and mall-going crossovers. Anything that says “Jeep” on it should be simple, to-the-point, rugged, reliable, and reasonably priced.

Consider my 1977 J-10 pickup. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a 1977 J-10 was $4,995, which equates to about $21,233 in today’s dollars. Jeep’s current truck, the 2024 Gladiator, has a starting MSRP of $39,620. That’s also significantly higher than competing trucks like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, which start at $31,500 and $32,670 respectively.

I compared each vehicle in Jeep’s 1977 lineup to its closest equivalent in the 2024 lineup. Prices went up by an average of about 70%. The only one that you might consider “reasonable” is the comparison of the two-door version of the 1977 Cherokee to the 2024 Compass. Is that really fair? The old Cherokee was a big, tough, American off-roader. The current Compass is an Italian- or Mexican-made mall-wagon based on the Fiat 500X. Even so, the price is still up more than 8%.

Come on, guys. Get your prices in line with reality. An entry-level, 2-door, soft-top Wrangler—the modern successor to the original Jeep—should start in the low twenties. That would still be more than the 1977 CJ-5 or CJ-7—they started at $18,700 and $19,125 respectively (inflation adjusted)—but it would be closer!

And stop selling re-badged Fiats. That’s just insulting.

1977 ModelStarting MSRPInflation Adj*2024 ModelStarting MSRP% Increase
CJ-5$4,399$18,700Wrangler (2d)$31,99571.1%
CJ-7$4,499$19,125Wrangler (4d)$36,59591.4%
J-10 Pickup$4,995$21,233Gladiator$39,62086.6%
Cherokee (2d)$5,636$23,958Compass$25,9008.1%
Cherokee (4d)$5,736$24,383Grand Cherokee$36,49549.7%
*Inflation based on U.S. consumer price index from March 1977 to March 2024

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.