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14 Ugly But Great Cars, Trucks, SUVs

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/23/2014 Karla Sanchez

They say not to judge a book by its cover, so with that said here are some ugly cars, trucks,and SUVs that can prove to be great if you can get yourself to look past the ugly.


1. Acura RLX

© Provided by MotorTrend Acura's "Power Plenum" grille exudes anything but power, as the polarizing five-point design has been called everything from a rhinoceros nose to a beak. Even though the automaker is well aware of the bad reception the design has received, it's still keeping the look alive, albeit with a much softer appearance. The RLX was supposed to debut a subtler design, but it still doesn't look good, especially combined with the busy "jewel eye" headlights. If you get to know the RLX, however, you'll find it offers up a comfortable and compliant ride, luxurious interior appointments, and a bit of sport with the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD.

2. Lexus NX

© Provided by MotorTrend That mouth! The NX is brand-new, but some people are already over its appearance, mainly because Lexus' spindle grille is beyond exaggerated for a crossover as compact as the NX. Making the grille look even larger are tiny headlights that look even smaller because of the separate checkmark-like LED daytime running lights underneath. Although the "Predator"-ish face is enough to scare small children, the NX is a fun little crossover thanks to a quick 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, and it's priced competitively.

3. Nissan Juke

© Provided by MotorTrend This isn't a cute ute -- it's an ugly one. Juke designers looked to rally cars with bug-eyed accessory-like headlamps and wild wheel-arch blisters for inspiration, but instead of the end product looking like a rally car, it's a catastrophic mess with a weird lighting setup that features two pairs on either side of the grille. However, its small size reflects its playful demeanor, which is communicated even more in the Juke Nismo RS. The souped-up Juke looks meaner and packs more of a punch with 211-215 horses compared to the Nismo's 197 hp. (The standard Juke has 188 hp.)

4. Jeep Cherokee

© Provided by MotorTrend As soon as photos were leaked of the new Cherokee's design, the responses were immediate and strong. In an early media preview, before the sheet was even pulled back, Jeep reps said, "You're probably going to hate it." Like the Juke, the Cherokee features an upper light strip that consists of LED running lights and turn signals, while the actual headlights are mounted on the lower front fascia. Some argue that the Cherokee looks better in person than it did in pictures, and it appears that's true because the crossover has been one of Jeep's best-sellers. It also helps that the new Cherokee is unmistakably a Jeep when it comes to off-roading capability.

5. Kia Soul

© Provided by MotorTrend The Kia Soul is the last of a dying breed. Sales for slab-sided cars have dwindled over the last few years, leading the Honda Element, Scion xB, and Nissan Cube to be killed off. This is evidence that people just don't like boxy cars, and although the Soul has better and more modern styling than those cars, it's still an eyeful, especially when it's painted in crazy colors such as lime green and mustard yellow. Since the Soul is the Korean automaker's best-seller, however, it must be doing something right. For around $27,000, buyers can fully trick out their Souls with heated seats for all four passengers, cooled front seats, panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights, smart key, the UVO infotainment system, and much more.

6. Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

© Provided by MotorTrend Mercedes' new entry-level CLA-Class looks absolutely stunning from the front with its attractive diamond grille, but walk around back, and things get ugly. In Europe, Mercedes makes the stunning little A45 hatchback, and from the B-pillar forward it looks the same as the CLA, but because Americans prefer sedans, designers had to make the CLA, which appears to have a truncated miniature sedan body that throws the the car's proportions off. Either way, the CLA is great for those looking to dive into the luxury pool without spending too much cash.

7. Mini Coupe

© Provided by MotorTrend Where's the other half of this car? The Mini Coupe looks like a four-door Cooper that got rear-ended. The design takes some time getting used to with its smooshed A-pillar, wraparound rear glass, and a fat rear end with a high-opening tailgate. Topping it off is what Mini calls a "Helmet Roof," which is exactly what it looks like. Give this two-seater the benefit of the doubt, though, and it'll have you smiling from ear to ear, as the Coupe is one of the most entertaining Minis in the lineup with its superb go-kart-like handling. The Cooper S and JCW trims come with a zippier engine and are the Minis that'll get your blood flowing.

8. Mitsubishi Mirage

© Provided by MotorTrend There's nothing attractive about this dinky little car except for its outstanding fuel economy. Achieving up to 44 mpg on the highway, the Mirage is the mpg king among non-hybrid cars while still putting certain hybrids, such as the Honda CR-Z, to shame. Such great fuel economy is enough to make you forget about the Mirage's not-so-hot appearance, defined by its bland front end and dinky low-rolling-resistance tires.

9. Subaru Outback

© Provided by MotorTrend It's not quite often you see "Subaru" and "sexy" in the same sentence, and that's because the Japanese cars are not made with design in mind but rather capability and durability. The Outback is a prime example. It looks rather awkward because it's hard to tell if it's a wagon or crossover, and it's not visually exciting. Even though the Outback won't win a beauty pageant, its functionality and value have made it the automaker's number-one seller.

10. Ford Flex

© Provided by MotorTrend Like the Soul, the Flex isn't very easy on the eyes given its sharp corners. It tries to be a station wagon, minivan, and crossover all at the same time, but the styling just doesn't work in its favor. It also does a very poor impression of the Range Rover by having the "Flex" badge affixed above a polarizing grille that looks like the upper half of the original RoboCop's face. While the aluminum tailgate panel and contrasting colored roof are an effort to make it look more premium, it still looks ugly. That doesn't mean it's no good. The Flex serves as a great family vehicle with lots of interior cabin space for seven passengers.

11. Toyota Tundra

© Provided by MotorTrend While the Cadillac Escalade reigns as the king of bling, even its front grille is more toned down compared to the Tundra's chrome-tastic snout. In this truck's case, bigger is not better, as it boasts a humongous front grille that could almost pass as one found on a semitruck. You're better off behind the Tundra's wheel, both so you don't have to look at it and also because it boasts a real workhouse of an engine: Toyota's 5.7-liter V-8 that makes 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque.

12. Alfa Romeo 4C

© Provided by MotorTrend Acura's polarizing beak doesn't look nearly as bad next to the Alfa 4C coupe. The first thing you see when looking at it head-on is an upside-down triangle front grille flanked by two huge air dams. The oddly shaped headlights don't help the coupe's case much either, because they look like creepy spider eyes with five small lights and two larger ones in the same unit. It's a shame the two elements are front and center because the 4C coupe is a beautiful exotic otherwise. Although its interior is quite boring, Alfa has been quick to say the Italian car is all about the driving experience rather than bells and whistles. It doesn't even have power steering! The 4C is also ultra-tossable thanks to a lightweight body that weighs about as much as a Fiat 500.

13. Porsche Panamera

© Provided by MotorTrend Porsche loyalists were up in arms when the automaker announced it was bringing a four-door luxury sedan to market, and its polarizing design only added fuel to the fire. Porsche even admitted recently (link: that the Panamera suffers from design mistakes and promised its replacement would look much better. Either way, the Panamera has been a top-seller and is unmistakably a Porsche from behind the wheel with its sports-car-like driving behavior.

14. BMW X6

© Provided by MotorTrend Business in the front and a party gone wrong in the back. The X6 introduced the automaker's idea of a fastback crossover, which has inspired other weird-looking vehicles, including the Mini Cooper Paceman. Although we agree that the 5 Series GT is much uglier, the X6 is at least fun to drive, especially in M form. With BMW's driving dynamics still present in this crossover, the X6 is as much fun to drive off-road as it is on the road. Despite its questionable looks, the X6 is a bizarre success, and it's been so popular that it's even spawned a little mini version known as the X4.

14 Ugly Great Cars© Provided by MotorTrend 14 Ugly Great Cars

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