Oh no, it’s another one of those lists. Car selling comparison website Motorway.co.uk has created a list of cars that it says “are unlikely to win any beauty pageants”. Cars that, according to website director Alex Buttle, “should have been consigned to the scrapheap years ago”. Sorry Alex, but we think your list should be the first thing to hit the scrapheap. Here are 20 ugly cars, according to Motorway.co.uk.
Chrysler PT Cruiser
It’s no surprise that the Motorway.co.uk list kicks off with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, because when you’re selecting a bunch of munters, this is the ‘lazy list’ equivalent of a low-hanging fruit. A rotten, insect-infested and tasteless fruit. Removing the roof for the PT Cruiser Cabrio only served to make things worse – there was no hiding place for the driver.
So far, so ugly. Two cars in and it would appear that Motorway.co.uk has got things right after all. Writing in The Independent, Michael Booth said: “This is one mother of an ugly car, with shopping trolley wheels, a rear end apparently cobbled together by a local firm of cowboy builders more versed in dodgy loft extensions, and grotesquely oversized front features. If Martin Clunes were a car this is how he would look.” Ouch.
The Vauxhall Frontera is many things: crude, cheap, old-fashioned, capable and butch, to name but five. But ugly? We’re not even sure the Frontera would be eligible for a list of the ugliest 4x4s, let alone the ugliest cars. When you consider that Motorway.co.uk fails to mention the Subaru Tribeca, Mercedes-Benz R-Class and Mazda CX-7, you have to wonder why the Frontera was selected for special treatment. Besides, it started life as an Isuzu.
“In the case of the three-wheeled Reliant Robin, driven by Del Boy and Rodney in Only Fools and Horses… some examples fetch upwards of £4,000 on classified sale websites,” said Alex Buttle. Two things to mention here. Firstly, the Trotters Independent Traders company vehicle was a Reliant Regal Supervan. Secondly, the Robin is far from ugly, said a mush in Shepherds Bush.
Obscure, boxy, quirky and clever. These are four of the first words that spring to mind when we see a Nissan Cube. Exterior designer Hirotada Kuwahara came up with the design for the second-generation Cube while drinking a coffee in Nissan’s canteen. “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could create a basic car that has this same kind of relaxed atmosphere that wouldn’t fade, even over 20 years?” he asked. The asymmetric rear window was designed to make it easier to reverse. Clever, yes. Ugly, no.
While the Triumph TR7 might not have the beauty and charm of its illustrious forebears, we’d struggle to label the styling as ugly. To a certain extent, the designers hands were tied by pedestrian safety legislation and the need for effective aerodynamics, but the TR7 remains resolutely a product of the 1970s. In 1977, Car said “from the side and rear [the TR7] is an ugly hotch-potch”. Harsh or fair? You decide.
James May said the Rover CityRover was the worst car he had ever driven for Top Gear, so the Tata-based small car is unlikely to appear on any lists of ‘best cars’ any time soon. It was too expensive, under-engineered and poorly marketed, but the CityRover has never struck us as a particularly ugly car. If nothing else, adding the C I T Y R O V E R letters on the tailgate was a touch of genius.
In the days before Dacia, Perodua sold Britain’s cheapest new cars. In 2001, the Nippa cost just £4,624, while the Kenari – a kind of mini-MPV – cost an additional £2,101 on top. It was no less attractive than the Suzuki Wagon R or Vauxhall Agila, but the Kenari – which is Malaysian for ‘kennel’ – has been singled out by Motorway.co.uk. Well, the styling is a bit of a dog’s dinner.
There are many reasons why the Morris Marina deserves to be taken behind the bike sheds and given a beating for being a bit rubbish, but the styling isn’t one of them. Sure, it’s a bit derivative, but you could say the same thing about the majority of crossovers and hatchbacks on sale today. Stylist Roy Haynes deserves great credit for getting the nod over rival designs from Michelotti and Pininfarina, while the two-door coupe was almost desirable.
If we were being pedantic, we’d say that the G-Wiz has no place on the list for the simple reason that it’s a quadricycle, and therefore not a car. And, as much as we despise the G-Wiz, it’s no less attractive than any of the other quadricycles you might have the displeasure of seeing. Besides, you should see what a quadricycle looks like having been crash-tested by Euro NCAP. Not good.
In the Top Gear review of the Suzuki X-90, Jeremy Clarkson advised owners to head out after dark when nobody would see them. He also interviewed the X90’s ‘designer’, which turned out to be small girl mumbling the words to ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’. Jezza wasn’t a fan, then, but admit it, you have a soft spot for Suzuki’s soft-roader.
Head to the excellent AROnline website and you’ll discover Harris Mann’s vision for the Austin Allegro. It’s a classic case of what might have been, not to mention a huge missed opportunity for the British motor industry. “‘We wanted to make a far more modern version of the 1100/1300, keeping the long, sleek look. Then a lot of other things affected it. A heater was developed at astronomical cost which was very deep. That had to go in. Then we had to put in the E-Series engine, which was more suitable for putting in a Leyland truck,” said Mann.
The styling was certainly divisive, but we’d wield a crusty baguette and throw it at anyone who’d dare suggest that the Renault Avantime is ugly. Sure, it could never really make up its mind what it wanted to be, so the coupe-MPV-SUV was compromised in just about every department, but shouldn’t great design stimulate debate? It’s because the public failed to warm to cars like this that we’re left with me-too crossovers. See also: the facelifted versions of the Fiat Multipla and Skoda Yeti, which were both backward steps.
It’s not immediately obvious which Beta is being referred to here, but quite frankly, it doesn’t matter, because Lancia never built an ugly version. The four-door Berlina was classy, the Coupe was charismatic, the Spyder was pretty, and the HPE was glorious. Besides, such was the rate at which the Beta rusted, the cars were never around long enough for anyone to pass judgement.
When the Lada Riva arrived in the UK in 1984, it wasn’t really a new car. In fact, it was based on the Fiat 124, a pretty, if unassuming four-door saloon dating back to 1966. In its later life, the Riva had many faults, but it would be difficult to class the three-box ‘styling’ as ugly. Dull, perhaps, but not ugly.
Once again, Motorway.co.uk has taken a broad brush to this entry, leaving us to guess which Zastava Yugo model they are referring to. We suspect it will be the Yugo 45, 55 or 65, all of which were based on old Fiats. Yes, they were poorly built and not particularly great to drive, but these two factors do not make the Yugos ugly. In fact, with a body kit, they can look pretty desirable.
The Rover 800? Ugly? Behave.
The FSO Polonez appears on internet lists of ‘worst cars’ as often as Paul Ross pops up on Channel 5 schedule-fillers. When Giorgetto Giugiaro and Walter De Silva meet up in a bar to discuss their greatest hits, it’s fair to say the Polonez is unlikely to crop up in the conversation. The Polonez Caro (pictured) failed to inject any glamour.
We’ve been looking at images of Skoda Estelle for an unhealthy amount of time and can confirm that the rear-engined Czech is anything but ugly.
This is a really odd one, because the Alliance was essentially a Renault 9 re-engineered for the North American market. In truth, it wasn’t Robert Opron’s finest hour – he can list the Citroen SM, Renault Fuego and Alfa Romeo SZ on his CV – but the R9’s biggest crime was its anonymity.