Automakers are continuously trying to be creative with their vehicle designs. Many times, they exceed buyers’ expectations and raise the standard for beauty and style in the automotive world. And other times … they fall flat on their keisters.
Here are 10 of the so-called “creative masterpieces” of the car world which never caught on with the vehicle-buying public.
Its cringe-worthy design make it look like a giant hand gently smushed the top of the car and made the sides bulge out (the car is over six feet across on the inside). Passengers literally got sunburned in the back seat because there was so much window glass on the Pacer – thus earning its moniker “a fishbowl on wheels.”
This vehicle represents the quintessential “all fashion, no function” automobile. While cheap and utilitarian, the Citroen boasts a look that is equal parts dowdy and misshapen. It was actually pitched by its French designer as an “umbrella on 4 wheels.” Nobody argued with him.
GMC Envoy XUV
It’s like a mad scientist crossed the biggest pickup truck in the world with the largest SUV he could find. The result was an overpriced – yet homely — behemoth which possessed an odd feature: a retractable rear roof. But it was perfect for hauling plaza statues and grandfather clocks!
Given that it was America’s first mass-produced electric car, it’s a wonder that the idea of alternative fuel vehicles wasn’t scrapped and buried forever. Red-faced GM officials ended up discontinuing and recalling these cars. Other than being a money-loser, fantastically gimpy-looking, and outdated shortly after its release, the EV-1 was a pretty good ride.
This is the poster child for “thinking too much.” Some genius at the luxury carmaker thought it would be a wonderful idea for Mercedes to break into the ultra-pricey SUV market (a la the Hummer). The G-wagon’s style could best be characterized as “vending machine chic” and its aerodynamics could best be described as “nonexistent.”
If this SUV were a Transformer, it would probably change into an ugly mongrel dog robot with fleas and mange. And the Aztek’s hideous design is exacerbated by the seemingly-random sprinkling of moldings, lights, panels, and other exterior adornments. Instead of putting lipstick on a pig, Pontiac applied black tar and Bondo.
This 4-person sport truck might have had a chance if Subaru hadn’t inexplicably slapped dorky plastic cladding on the body and tapped a color-blind graffiti artist to create the color scheme. The Baja wasn’t helped by the 41-inch long truck bed, which could better be described as a truck “futon.”
It could have been called the “Smart Car of SUVs.” The T-top 2-seater was ideal for the consumer who wanted the status and prestige of a sport utility vehicle without all that pesky interior space or engine power. Strangely enough, it didn’t catch on.
The name was probably shortened from the “What The #$%&@ is That Thing?” Volkswagen made these for the German military but tried to adapt them to the consumer market. With its unprotected roofline, collapsible windshield, and removable doors, the Thing unexpectedly failed to meet U.S. auto safety standards. (We can’t even imagine what the car insurance rates would have been).
You know a car is a lemon when the country that manufactured it (Yugoslavia) doesn’t exist anymore. The GV’s boxy shape and unimaginative design prompted the automotive industry to lavish it with scorn and ridicule. We should give credit to Yugo for manufacturing a car that cost less than $4,000, though. Personally, we think even that was way overpriced.