WORLD'S UGLIEST CARS: The Ssangyong Actyon has a face that would scare most children says Cyril Klopper. Image: Supplied
Johannesburg - Some automakers just can’t seem to build an attractive vehicle no matter how hard they try.
Other marques hardly ever put a foot wrong but even celebrated manufacturers have at least one damp squib in their catalogue.
Listed below are ten cars that highly-paid designers regarded as beautiful but almost everyone else thought were ugly as sin.
There were some gruesome monstrosities during the first half of the 20th century when people were still trying to figure out what a car should look like.
This is why we put the cut-off date at 50 years. You’d think designers would know how to style a car by now right? Apparently not.
Our list focuses on the truly ugly and ignores the merely boring and uninspiring – you’re safe Toyota Camry and Volvo 240!
Top 10 ugly cars
1. Pontiac Aztek, 2000
Some designers would rather be controversial than boring and the Aztek is a prime example of where a chief designer should have reigned in the Ritalin-depraved minion who came up with the Aztek.
Fans of the hit TV show 'Breaking Bad' will recognise it as Walter White’s grey rattletrap. It seemed a fitting vehicle for an unhappy and controversial man.
2. Ssangyong Actyon, 2005
The Actyon’s body looks like a bad IdentiSketch of a BMW X6. Its face however, is where the true horror lies.
I always find it interesting when children first realise that cars have faces too. They love to comment on whether a car looks angry, sad or cute.
Responsible parents should never expose their offspring to the Actyon’s creepy grin and its crippling overbite.
3. Fiat Multipla, 1998
Some Multiplas were shipped with a witty decal on the rear window that read 'Wait until you see the front', and indeed the proboscis nose with its weird arrangement of head lights was a bit jarring.
Viewed from the side, it appeared as if it were two different cars - the top half of one welded onto the bottom of a completely different vehicle. It may be pleasant to drive and does a terrific job as a family vehicle but oh boy does this mutant duck-billed car look awful!
4. Aston Martin Lagonda, 1974
This would be the result if a seven-year-old was asked to draw a car. Its ridiculous proportions, straight lines, flat surfaces, rectangular lights and grille make us appreciate curvaceous cars all the more.
To be fair, it does a sterling job of epitomising 70’s disco culture. It’s one of the few cars that would make total sense if it was gold plated.
5. Ford Scorpio Mk II, 1994
The Scorpio had been quite popular in Europe from 1985 right up until 1994 when this determinedly ugly version hit showroom floors.
Despite being a mechanical improvement on the Mk I, its googly-eyed ugliness became an object of ridicule and in 1998 Ford quietly killed if off in shame. Way to go, design team!
6. Lamborghini LM002, 1986
Dubbed the Rambo-Lambo, Lamborghini initially hoped to get into the military game but failed to impress the big brass. About 300 were produced, mostly sold to wealthy oil tycoons.
In 2004, a LM002, that belonged to Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, was blown-up by US troops, presumably because it was so ugly.
7. Ssangyong Rodius, 2004
One would think that the Head of Design at London's Royal College of Art could actually draw. Well, he designed this…
Often nominated as the ugliest car ever built, it’s actually not so much cringe-worthy as it is likely to elicit pity and commiserations like “Ag shame hey”.
8. Chrysler PT Cruiser, 2000
Sometimes retro styling works, sometimes it doesn’t. The PT Cruiser was meant to share the regal curves of yesteryear’s grand old automobiles. Instead it ended up looking like a half-baked imitation, with more than a passing resemblance to a London cab.
In the end those bulbous wheel arches and its wide face tried to talk the talk but it couldn’t walk the walk.
9. Ford Taurus, 1996
In 1996, someone at Ford thought “Hey, our badge is oval so let’s make the grille oval too!” If only they had stopped there. Instead, they took the theme way too far and gave the Taurus oval lights, an oval derrière and oval door-releases.
The result was America’s former top-selling car dropping down the charts like a summer hit during the third week of the new school year.
10. Nissan Juke, 2011
My colleagues keep telling me that I just don’t get it, that the Juke is meant to be quirky and fun. A product of a London-based design team, it looks like nothing else on the road. This is usually a good thing but not this time.
Its performance and sales exceeded all expectations though, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about… Nope, it’s ugly.
Do you agree with our list? Did we leave anything out? Get in touch with us via email or on social media: Facebook and Twitter and we'll publish your thoughts.
Alf Wallis: "Number 10? Are you out of your mind? This is probably one of the nicest looking cars on our roads. What about the Hyundai Tiburon? I know I’ll really annoy a lot of people, the BMX X6….yech! And then Merc follows this design with a monster of note."
Fiona said: I was very happy to see the Juke on this list – it is the
ugliest car out there. When I first saw it I came home and told my husband that it
was designed at a kids party where a clown inflated a balloon, went twist,
twist, squidge, squidge, twist, twist – look a car!"