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Top 10 Design Winners and Losers

124

Comments

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    There were Super V8s in 2003 but that was the older steel chassis X308. You could probably get one of those in the mid 20s or so and maybe a little less for a higher mileage one or a non-standard color. The X350 bodystyle is the one to get as that is the all aluminum chassis. It weights hundreds of lbs less then the X308 but is much a much larger car.

    There are only four Super V8s listed for sale on cars.com in the whole country. One of them is a 2003 and the rest are new body style Jags. The new body style ones are a lot more then a W210 but they are still deprecating rapidly while the W210s are starting to level off some. Looks like a 2005 Super V8 can be had in the mid 40,000 range.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,161
    Yeah, if I wanted one I would want a new bodystyle, that old one was really bland in my eyes. Mid 40s is too rich for my blood anyway.

    A nice enough early W210 E55 can be had for 20K, the nicest late ones shouldn't hit 30K unless they are somehow special. I paid 28 for my 27K mile 2002 model last year. A decent 2003+ W211 E55 will still cost you 45K+, but I see this as a different car - different engine. The styling is very similar, I like some aspects of both cars - I prefer the older dashboard for one.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    *This is the definition of the Dodge Caliber : sharp angles, curves, stuck on tail lights, chaotic side view.The 21st Century Road Toad. Not cute, not pretty, not attractive. A real eye sore.

    You have it described perfectly Mr Shiftright:"Front half has nothing to do with the back half", "things stick out, jut at crazy angles" and the most perfect description for this car wreck of a design: "Ridiculous Pomposity; call it the gold chain and hairy chest syndrome".

    The Cadillac XLR meets this criteria as well.Lines going every which way,no definition, overwrought "art & science" bull****.

    Everyone mentions the Aztek as the "gold standard" for ugly. Why not the Mitsubishi Montero? Both discontinued and both beyond ugly.Meets all your standards as well. It is as bad or worse than the Aztek, but with a lot of chrome and awful from every angle: lumps, strakes, cladding, curved where it should go straight. A mess.
    The new Scion box takes the torch as the current offerings Aztek. UGH.

    On my short list of the best [and soon no longer offered] : the Mazda 6 station wagon. It looks better than the sedan for some reason, balanced and finished off with beautiful tail lights.It's just perfect.Elegant.
    Compare that to the Malibu Maxx.

    Passat; again finished off with incredible tail lights.Looks chiseled out of a single piece of steel.

    Other than a couple of ringers, I'd say the Edmund's community got the list just about right.

    *Opinion solely that of the author, no insult, affront or flame intended. !!!! ;)
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,667
    Here's a different question - what do you think are the worst technology disasters? We're not talking looks, we're talking things that just didn't work well. Here are some of mine -

    - Vega's aluminum engine
    - Fiero's low-oil engine
    - Corvair's undeveloped engine
    - BMW's original iDrive system

    Others?
  • im surprised the volkswagen thing didn't make it anywhere on here!
  • SalGoodSalGood Posts: 11
    Dunno what some folk got against the Honda Element. I have the SC model and get constant comments of "nice ride." I think of it as the box the ScionXB came in. I agree with most of the posters here that all GM, Ford, and Chrysler products are lacking in aesthetics. My sister says that about my Element, but she hasn't lived with it. But she likes the color. It handles every bit as well as an Accord and the hauling room is incredible. It's a very versitile vehicle that is fun to drive, gets great mileage for its class. People who think it's "too boxy" are living in the past. Practicality is the wave of the future and I think Honda hit it dead-on with this vehicle.

    My top 10 ugly vehicles:

    Of course Pontiac Aztek, and its platform mate, Buick Rendesvouz
    Dodge Caliber
    Ford anything, especially the Focus...very awkward styling
    Hyundai anything, Sonata excluded...but how's the reliability getting, and it's a copy cat of the 98-02 Accord
    Kia anything
    Hummer
    Cadillac anything...trying too hard..what up with them fender vents? Passe.
    Lincoln anything...again, trying too hard, and anyone who wants fender vents should buy a Buick. I hear they're back.
    Any gargantuan SUV by any maker...get with it folks, these vehicles are pigs, they don't impress anyone...if anything, they make you look like you're selfish and overcompensating for some shortcoming, and who can see around the beasts?
    Chevy anything...see the USA in something more stylish and reliable.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,087
    While I appreciate the utility of the Element. It is Aztek ugly from every angle. The Toyota Venza has it beat on just about every point and it is a good looking vehicle. Much better mileage, more towing, more seating, and better rollover rating. For a few dollars more you could have gotten the VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, with 25% more room and double the fuel mileage.

    Element=marginal utility and gross looks. It is not a pleasant vehicle to behold. The old version of the Scion xB was so ugly it was cute. The Element is not cute.
  • SalGoodSalGood Posts: 11
    Hello gagrice...I was not looking for "cute." That's for the girlies. I disagree with your comparison of the Element to the Aztek...not even close. I'd rather drive a box than a deformed potato. As I said, I get more comments of admiration on this vehicle than any other I've owned. Seems people either love it or hate it, and I happen to belong to the former group. The ones who say they hate it obviously haven't driven or lived with one. Looks are subjective, and I've heard some dubious comments on how attractive a vehicle I think looks hideous is. Mine is the SC model with the body all one color, factory lowered/tuned suspension and factory 18" wheels. It handles great, and sits all hunkered low to the ground. It has 5 stars in every safety category except rollover, and that is only because of the tallness vs. the short wheelbase, and I don't drive so much like a maniac that I need to worry about a rollover. I agree with your comments on the Toyo Venza...sharp looking vehicle, but I ain't got the 30-plus grand it takes to get one, and it doesn't hold as much. I've owned a few Toyotas, and while they are reliable, my preference is the Honda on handling, quality, component integrity and overall reliability and driving satifaction. You couldn't give me a VW for free -- they are German junk, incredibly expensive to repair and very unreliable...just like Mercedes and BMW, although I love the driving experience of the Bimmer.. Anything with a turbo and diesel engine is off my list. Turbos screw up all the time, and I don't wanna have to hunt for a truck stop to get diesel. My Element gets great mileage...I happily afford the gas. At current prices, I pay $26 for a fill-up, and it lasts me a good week and a half, and I put 20K miles a year on my cars. I don't see any significant difference in fuel usage than I did with my previous car, an Accord. Besides, fuel economy is not my priority, utility is. I would not drive a Tahoe or Suburban or other truck platform tank...talk about ugly, ungainly and plain unnecessary for most folks...I just need the room for a little plywood or sheet rock here and there (yes it will hold it) and maybe a little furniture or junk hauling once in a while. I never thought I would gravitate to and SUV-type vehicle but need one now thanks to buying and in the process of renovating a house. I get the best of both worlds. Car-like handling, tons of cargo room, and, oh yeah, I like the way it looks. I don't tow anything and am no longer a Toyota affiicianado, so I don't care what people think about it's styling. If that's all they're interested in, let them buy that Venza or that Murano or Acadia or CX7 or whatever the sleekest new utility vehicle happens to be. Whatever floats yer boat. You never mentioned what your "cute" vehicle is. I'd be interested to know. Or are you just a frustrated Element-owner wannabe?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,565
    I don't love the Element but I like it. Never been inside one though, and that's what really counts. I thought the khaki color was sharp.

    I liked the Thing ok too.

    Nice defense of your rig. :D

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • SalGoodSalGood Posts: 11
    'Preciate ya steve...I liked the khaki too, but they didn't offer it when I bought mine. I've got the "Root Beer" metallic. I think that's what people like about it. Sorta overcomes the negativity some folks have about this vehicle. They shouldn't knock it 'til they've tried it. Plus the XM stereo is killer! I ain't no young'n...I'm pushin' 50. Still looking for that original condition '59 Buick for a leisure car...talk about styling!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,087
    I don't really have any cute vehicle in mind. I would like to have a midsized diesel SUV. If you lowered your Element you must live where the roads are in much better shape than SoCalifornia. Our LS400 gets swallowed in some of the potholes around here. Our Sequoia handles the roads fine. Just a gas hog. I was disappointed that Honda failed to bring a diesel Pilot to the USA. I would have considered it to replace the Sequoia. As it stands today my choices are a BMW X5 diesel, MB either ML or GL320 CDI or the Touareg TDI. I really don't like the looks of any of them. I just want a full size SUV that gets close to 30 MPG on the highway. All three of those fill that wish. Quite frankly I am trying to think of a vehicle today I consider really beautiful. None come to mind.

    Nothing to compare to a 1959 Buick or a 1957 Chevy Nomad, my all time favorite vehicle.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,565
    For some reason, Honda didn't make many in that khaki color. I skimmed over the part where you lowered yours. Mine would wind up looking like this:

    image
    See more Car Pictures at CarSpace.com

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,087
    If you want an Element they are selling below invoice down here. 24 MPG on the highway with a little 4 banger does not impress me. You could not give me another car with suicide doors like on my GMC PU truck. You cannot let someone out of the back seat without getting out of the car. Same as that awful FJ Cruiser. Get the Prius with a lift kit. If your going ugly at least you will get 45 MPG doing it.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,565
    Rigs like that just cry out for one big slider on each side. Probably wouldn't pass the side impact crash tests though.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • SalGoodSalGood Posts: 11
    steve...loved the photo...I don't go off-road at all with only front-wheel drive. Don't need AWD, just adds weight and complications with keeping up with tire wear. By the way, I didn't lower the suspension...the SC came from the factory that way. It's only about an inch and a half lower, but that, and the big tires make it look way better than the EX or LX. No problems ever with ground clearance or having the front bumper ram those concrete parking lot stops. Agree with the suicide door arrangement. Doesn't bother me to get out to let the back seat rider out, but if some moron parks too close and I need rear seat access to load something, there are some acrobatics involved, but that's' only happened once. I try to park where that won't come into play. Agree I feel somewhat uneasy at times with the structural integrity of the clamshell doors. But I believe the Element got a 5 star rating for side impact as well. Almost got a chance to see how it would end up when a senior citizen ran a red light going 50 mph a while back. If I hadn't been watching, she'd have creamed me dead center in the side. Luckily I stopped in time but if I'd noticed her a second later she'd a torn the whole front off. She passed within inches of my front bumper. It was sorta funny...I saw her clap her hand over her mouth when she realized what was going down. Poor lady. I'm hoping those side seat airbags and side curtain airbags would do their job had she actually T-boned me. To gagrice...so you DO have taste in automobiles, however the Lexus LS400 is just to mushy in handling for me, and the steering is a bit numb, but I do like their looks...especially the latest version...elegance in motion. I heard they even have an automatic butt wiper. As far as the Sequoia, another good choice, but again, it's a truck-based platform and I don't like being thrashed & rolled around, the handling is too soft and ungainly, and I'm sure the mileage is horrendous. But if my only choice was a truck-based big SUV, the Sequoia would win. As far as roads are concerned, I live in Okla. City...we're known for less than stellar roads, but haven't experienced any problems with bottoming or being "swallowed." The low profile tires (P225/55R/18) do give it a stiffer ride than the standard Element, but I like it. It's not so harsh as to be uncomfortable, and the lower stance and wider tires add to the stability and handling. Again, for what it is, this vehicle handles wonderfully, and feels very stable and agile in sudden high-speed maneuvers. I love the feel of the steering, too. A lot of heft to it and it goes where you point it right away. It ain't no Ferrari or Lamborghini for sure, but those things won't haul furniture or other items I frequently need to have room for. The 4-banger puts out more than adequate power for me and is a very efficient, well engineered power plant. Paid $20,300 OTD (stickers at just shy of $25K, invoice around $22K) after a few weeks of haggling and on a very desolate day at the dealership. All in all, and love it or hate its looks, this car has been a great vehicle for me with no problems whatsoever.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,087
    Well thankfully you saw her coming. I don't care if a car has a 10 star rating. Being hit broadside is a scary proposition. You did very well on the price. I started to look at them when they first came out and got side tracked. As I said before after having the clam shell doors on my 2005 GMC PU, I swore never again. The GMC dealer could never get them to shut tight enough to keep out the wind noise. I would expect that Honda is better at fit and finish.

    PS
    Our 1990 LS400 is my wife's car. I do not like cars at all because of clearance. I like to be able to go off road at any given time without worrying about clearance. And getting in and out of low slung cars gets tougher every year.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,410
    The Element is a funny thing. They've grown on me over the years and work especially well in some colors and definitely ones that didn't get the clad on them.

    Inside they are a great design. Versatile as all get out.

    The Aztek was just plug ugly now matter how you approached it.
  • ford91ford91 Posts: 1
    I think the ugliest car in the wrold is the Pontiac Aztec! :sick:
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,698
    I think the ugliest car in the wrold is the Pontiac Aztec!

    Oh no it isn't>

    image

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,104
    I think the Aztek holds a special place in hell though, because it taught us to accept cars that are ugly, have styling cues that appear stuck on, or body parts that appeared to be designed by three different committees who weren't communicating with each other.

    The last time that happened was 1958-59, and the auto industry straightened itself out very quickly. But for some reason this time around, the ugly has stuck, and we embrace it!

    I saw a Nissan Juke on the road the other day. At least, I think it was a Juke. Front-end made me think a bit of the [non-permissible content removed]-end of a '59 Ford. Hideous looking little thing.

    That thing you posted above, while ugly, IMO at least still has an endearing sort of charm about it. It's like a pug dog, or one of those wrinkled, hairless cats...so ugly it's almost cute!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,410
    I can see the charm you are talking about but it still took a severe beating from the ugly stick!

    I worry sometimes that ugliness grown on me. As example I give you the Nissan Cube. For an age I've thought it to be the worst of the square boxes that started with the Scion Xb. But I find it's growing on me and I find it kind of cute...
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,565
    I never really understood why the Aztek got so much flak but the Rendezvous flew under the radar. The Pontiac was a bit more hatchy with some typical Pontiac bling stuck on it, but otherwise you'd have trouble telling the difference if you saw two of them on a rainy night.
    image
    image

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    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,197
    The front end of the Juke looks more like the face on this guy to me!

    image
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,104
    Part of the problem might have been that the Atzek often came in loud colors, like that radioactive-pee you posted above, while the Rendezvous were more often done up in more sedated colors. On a cloudy, drizzly morning, that Rendezvous would almost disappear.

    I knew someone who had a black Aztek as a company car awhile back. This was before they gave you the option of body-color cladding (or maybe they took the cladding off completely? I can't remember now). Anyway, in black, with that black cladding, it didn't look AS bad.

    The Aztek also had a sort of a double-grille effect up front, like two different car front-ends were forced on, one above the other. And, even little details, like that exposed fuel filler on the Aztek, which draws attention to itself, gives it a haphazard, thrown-together look.

    I think the Aztek actually looks better now than it did when it was new. What with the likes of the Nissan Juke and Cube, some of the goofy Scions, the cowcatcher Acuras of late, the current Honda CR-V, with a front-end that looks inspired by the '61 DeSoto, right down to the slanty headlights and double-grille effect. Ugly and awkward, jarring and disjointed, has become mainstream. When the Aztek came out, it was pretty unique in its ugliness, it's off-the-wall-edness (I know that's not a word!). The only other really oddball vehicle from that time I can recall was the Isuzu Vehicross. IIRC, it was a poor seller too, but part of that could have been that Isuzu was rapidly declining.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,197
    image

    Sort of like this? Without that top grille, the '61 DeSoto would've looked like a 1960 Lincoln.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,104
    I always thought that if they had just done away with that upper grille and lowered the front of the hood, it would've cleaned up the looks considerably on the '61 DeSoto. They probably had to do it that way though, so that it could use the same hood as the Chrysler Newport and Windsor. Plus, if you have a brand that's on its way out and you just want to hasten it, it helps to make it a bit extra ugly on purpose, so that people don't whine so much about having to buy a Chrysler instead!

    That bulge at the top that houses the upper grille makes me think a bit of how modern cars started swelling up in that era, such as the 2007 Camry and 2008 Malibu. Supposedly nowadays it's for pedestrian safety, but back in '61 it was probably to keep the pedestrian stuck to the front of the car, out of your windshield! :surprise:
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,410
    One reason I think the Aztek got all the flack was because it came out before the Rendezvous by a fair amount of time.

    I remember going to the NY Auto Show before the Rendezvous had started selling but the Aztek had been on the market for at least a couple of months.

    It was very entertaining. The Pontiac and Buick displays were very near each other and the Pontiac folks had several Azteks on display including one with the tent option set up. It was kind of cool if you didn't look at the outside of it.

    I went over to the Buick guy and asked him if you could get the tent on a Rendezvous and he had a long, rehearsed speech about how the Buick was an entirely different vehicle and had no parts in common with the Aztek. Um, yeah...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I think the Aztec is ugly, but the Nissan Cube burns my eyes.

    I was behind one today. It reminds me of the rear of a '98 Taurus with a box welded on top.

    I can only imagine if one of the Big Three had come out with that design (although I'm glad they didn't).
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,410
    I don't know why the Cube has been growing on me. It is mighty wacky looking - asymmetrical to boot.

    Oh, if GM had made it you would have never heard the end of it! Heck, if Honda made it it would be another sign that the styling folks at Honda continue to have lost their minds.

    With Nissan it's merely the latest in quirky designs....
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,197
    The Cube reminds me of this cookie jar my Mom once had:

    image
This discussion has been closed.