In automotive design, attractiveness frequently depends on the viewer’s perspective. Although many vehicles are praised for their breathtaking designs, others have gained notoriety as the “ugly ducklings” of the field. These fifteen vehicles have irrevocably altered the course of automobile design—not because of their grace and elegance but because of their unique and divisive appearances.
These vehicles, which range from quirky to downright weird, have drawn attention and discussion because of their distinctive and frequently contentious visual appeal. We’ll examine some of the most hideous vehicles ever to be released on the road in this list, reminding us that finding the right balance between form and function in automobile design can occasionally be challenging.
1. Corbin Sparrow
The Corbin Sparrow deserves a great deal of our appreciation. This all-electric vehicle, which has been environmentally certified since 1999, is more of a motorcycle than a car. Over 150 miles were reportedly covered on a single charge.
However, after seeing its pizza-shaped butt, jelly bean body, and snout nose, you might want to keep it in the garage to charge your iPhone.
2. AMC Gremlin
This unique car made its debut on April Fool’s Day in 1970. Its unusual design didn’t win people over; instead, its low price, similar to the Volkswagen Beetle’s, attracted buyers. Despite its unattractive appearance, long hood, and strange back end, even its designer wasn’t a fan. However, it served its purpose well by offering an affordable option for those looking for a cheap subcompact car.
3. Citroën C4 Cactus
It’s not unusual for car companies to give their cars names related to animals, as Lamborghini does. You will understand why the Citroën Cactus was given that moniker once you see how it looks. This 2014 model has tiny lights, panels of plastic that look like they were put there randomly, and a striking neon green-yellow paint job that is striking but also startling.
4. Fiat Multipla
We firmly believe this is among the most repulsive cars ever created, and that opinion cannot be questioned. Not only the ugliest car but maybe the ugliest thing that anyone has ever seen, at least according to most people on the earth, is this Fiat Multipla mini-van. The 2013 car’s front end has an odd panel separation and resembles the bill of a large, angry duck—not just any duck, but the ugly duckling.
5. Cadillac Cimarron
Cadillac is a high-end automaker renowned for producing elegant, daring vehicles. Their outward designs are spectacular, with strong engines and comfortable, well-equipped interiors. Given that the Chevrolet Cavalier and this one share an exterior design, it made it reasonable that it would look like a Chevy.
Its slightly more luxurious interior could not compensate for the little car’s dimensions and Cadillac insignia—it epitomized putting lipstick on a pig. This “Chevillac” was available for purchase for seven years, from 1982 to 1988, but Cadillac ultimately determined that this wasn’t the best course for the brand.
6. Nissan Juke
Frequently hailed as a “fun” vehicle, the Nissan Juke defies traditional automotive aesthetics with its quirky appearance. It defies conventional car stylistic standards with its curved exterior and unusual front end, embellished with strangely placed lighting.
The front wheel combines angular and rounded elements well, while the headlamps adopt a distinctive half-arrow design. For the Juke, Nissan unveiled a color studio program in 2015 that lets customers select striking, frequently clashing accent hues. A spoiler on the top back gives this unique ride a hint of sportiness. If you enjoy quirky cars, the Nissan Juke is something special.
7. Edsel Corsair
One of the most hideous automobiles ever made is the late 1950s Edsel Corsair, which has earned its place in automotive history. It created a lasting impression for all the wrong reasons with its strange and excessively elaborate front grille, which resembled a disastrous exercise in extravagant design.
The Corsair is an icon of bad automobile design because of its unconventional taillight arrangement and needless chrome accents, which were out of line with the era’s design standards.
8. Pontiac Aztek
Many agree that the Pontiac Aztek is among the most hideous vehicles ever produced. Many were baffled by its strange design, which included an asymmetrical front end, strangely curved headlights, and a clumsily built body. It is still unclear why General Motors approved such a design.
Despite its original failure, the Aztek saw a surprising turnback on TV, with only 27,800 units sold at its peak and a pitiful 69 units in 2007. Its portrayal of misery and futility in Breaking Bad cemented its reputation as a symbol of poor vehicle design.
9. Nissan Murano Cabriolet
The unusual and divisive appearance of the Nissan Murano Cabriolet has drawn a lot of criticism. Its most notable feature is its convertible roof, which gives it an odd and awkward appearance when opened. Many reviewers and auto enthusiasts considered it a strange decision because the convertible SUV market was still relatively new.
For those seeking a more traditional SUV or convertible, the Murano Cabriolet’s design is contentious because it deviates from the smooth and harmonious aesthetics commonly associated with Nissan’s other vehicles.
10. Tatra T603
The Tatra T603, sometimes viewed as an ugly automotive icon, has a design that has drawn much attention. Its enormous front end, with its haphazardly positioned grille and headlights, departs significantly from the streamlined and fashionable appearance of the day.
This Czechoslovakian design from the mid-20th century has a distinctive look that has sparked debate and cemented its place among the funniest and least conventionally beautiful cars.
Often called the “ugly car,” the Trabant represents the East German automotive industry in the years leading up to the Cold War. Its ugly design, which includes a boxy, practical shape and a body composed of Duroplast—plastic reinforced with cotton fibers—has earned it a lot of criticism.
The Trabant has been the target of numerous jokes and criticisms due to its basic, antiquated appearance and lackluster performance. The Trabant is historically significant despite its unappealing appearance because it symbolizes the constraints and difficulties that the East German auto industry encountered.
12. AMC Marlin
The 1965 AMC Marlin’s unusual and controversial appearance has led many people to consider it to be an ugly car. In a competitive car market, the Marlin stood out thanks to its stretched fastback style and unusual grille, which many thought unappealing.
Despite trying to blend sportiness and functionality, the public was not drawn to its distinctive design. Despite its attempt to provide a remarkable combination of functions, Marlin’s unique design choices made it a memorable example of a car that, in the mid-1960s, fell short in terms of aesthetics.
13. Fiat 600 Multipla Marinella
Many people consider the Fiat 600 Multipla Marinella an unusual and unattractive vehicle. It stands out from traditional cars thanks to its unusual shape and bulbous front end. Though its design placed a premium on adaptability and interior space, it drew criticism and wasn’t particularly well-liked for its appearance.
Even so, it’s still a unique and iconic car that captures a period in automotive history when practicality occasionally trumped conventional beauty.
14. Plymouth Prowler
With a mediocre lineup, Plymouth started an audacious endeavor to build a contemporary hot rod in the mid-1990s. The outcome was the Plymouth Prowler, a drop-top with exposed front wheels evoking the Rat Rod movement and nostalgic swooping lines reminiscent of the 1950s. Sadly, safety laws made it necessary to add ugly front bumpers, which took away from its distinctive appearance.
Enthusiasts were left wanting more by the underpowered V6 engine and the drab automated transmission. Later, Chrysler unveiled an intriguing concept featuring a 4.7-liter V8 engine, but it was never produced. Although the Prowler opened the door for retro-inspired designs, Chrysler’s next 300 didn’t have the same wild and unique appeal.
15. BMW i3
Regarding its appearance, the BMW i3 has split opinions; some think it’s an unsightly automobile. It deviates from the standard BMW aesthetic with its unusual design, defined by a tall and narrow body, an asymmetric rear window, and a boxy shape.
The body’s use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic further enhances its unique appearance. Although the i3’s design prioritized efficiency and sustainability, not everyone found it aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand, it has been crucial to BMW’s drive for electric vehicles, demonstrating the industry’s dedication to innovation and environmental responsibility.
What makes some cars unique in their design?
Novel engineering solutions, the quest for specific capabilities, or an effort to differentiate oneself in a crowded market can all lead to unconventional designs.
How much subjectivity goes into deciding if an automobile is “ugly” or not?
Owing to the huge range of aesthetic preferences, it is quite challenging to determine if a car is beautiful or ugly. What one person considers unattractive might be appealing to another.
Has the distinctiveness of “ugly” cars ever made them attractive or collectible?
Indeed, some once-considered “ugly” cars have gained value over time due to their scarcity, historical relevance, or distinctive features, drawing fans and collectors.
Beauty in the world of automobile design is a subjective concept, and several vehicles are distinguished for having unusual and controversial looks. These automobiles, which range from the unusual Corbin Sparrow to the distinctive BMW i3, subvert conventional ideas of what makes an attractive car.
These vehicles have redefined automotive history by pushing the frontiers of design, proving that the thin line separating form and function may be a matter of nuanced and subjective interpretation. They have been praised for their uniqueness or ridiculed for their appearance.