Anyone Else Noticing the “Uglification” of New Cars?

2010 Lincoln MKT

2010 Lincoln MKT

Remember when new cars were a source of pride? I sure do. I remember the days when a neighbor would drive home in a shiny new ride and all the neighborhood guys would gravitate toward the new rig and compliment the owner on his purchase.

Things are a little different today. Yeah, new cars still generate interest, but now you’re more likely to hear things like, “Well, once you get past that front end, it’s actually a pretty decent lookin’ car.”

For some reason, more and more cars are hitting showrooms that I would classify as “unfortunately designed.” At first it was just Acura and the occasional Subaru, but now the trend toward ugliness has infiltrated nearly all car segments.

Keep reading for a peek into the sordid world of new-car design, then let me know if you agree.

BMW X6

Ford has hired ex-Cadillac designer Max Wolff as Lincoln’s new design director, which should add some angular goodness to the Lincoln line.

For now, though, take one look at the Lincoln MKT and you’ll go into convulsions, staring in disbelief at the out-of-proportion buck-tooth front grille and PT Cruiser-esque rear end. Driving the car, especially with the EcoBoost twin-turbocharged direct-injection V6, is an absolute thrill, so hopefully Mr. Wolff can bring the exterior up to par.

The MKT would, incidentally, make a decent hearse (though I wouldn’t be caught dead in one for my last earthly ride).

On the hatchback side, the Mazdaspeed3 is another car that I’d happily drive to and from the supermarket everyday, but would have trouble staring at in my driveway. I spoke with a Mazda salesman recently who said people come in to ask about used models since they don’t want the current body style. Let’s hope that new Shinari concept spawns greatness!

Even BMW hasn’t been spared from the ugly stick. Most Bimmers are still gorgeous, but the squashed X6 and elongated 5 Series Gran Turismo are the exceptions.

There are many more examples, but my eyes hurt from looking at them all.

Do you think there are more ugly new cars now than there used to be? Which do you think is ugliest?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Lincoln MKT
Used Chrysler PT Cruiser
Used Mazdaspeed3
Used BMW X6

8 Comments

  1. Automakers seem to be investing a lot in styling and taking more risk. These days there are a lot more distinct designs which polarize people.

    One thing that’s appreciated when writing about styling is to note what’s wrong with the design. Design is subjective, but there designs which are decidedly negative. I agree about about the Lincoln MKT for the reasons you mentioned.

  2. Remember that people with no taste or sense of style need to drive a car too so there have always been plenty of choices for the clueless clan. It also seems that the gene that produces a talent for making money also destroys the aesthetic ability. Being a member of a minority group seems to hypercharge the loss. Ironically, sometimes these folks end up with at least one great looking car, but it’s only because the car is very expensive.

  3. Absolutley, go down the list Acura (what are they thinking?) Honda in general is going from conservative and attractive cars BFU!! Mazda used to have very nice looking cars now WTF!! It seems to be that the car company that is setting a new standard for design is Hyundai and everybody else is going the other direction. Buick has done a nice job, Nissan aside from the Juke will certainly produce some attractive cars and Ford is doing well other than that, I dont know what these designers are thinking

  4. Honda is definitely the worst sinner—the new ODDysey— the unbelievably ugly Crosstour- the MISfit-the Accord is not only ugly but bland at the same time, and yet people buy them in droves—

  5. Right on, brother! The ugly ones outnumber the handsome ones, by far. They are generally cheaper to build and take less time and talent to design. BMW, Porsche, and Benz are not immune to the disease, which has spread to every auto-producing country. BMW should be ashamed of the X6.

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