Cars That Were Just Too Embarrassing to Drive

Finding the fastest car in the world is straightforward. You compare top speeds from the racetrack and crown a champion. However, choosing the ugliest car is a different story: There are always people who see “tough” where others see “obnoxious.” Likewise, some folks might see “ambition” in cars you would prefer to ridicule. We could ramble on about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, but we have ugly cars to discuss. As a driver, it’s easy to tell when your car is a subject of mockery. People look away quickly when you try to catch their eye, or you might see them laughing and pretending there’s something funny besides the thing you’re driving. But it’s not something else; it’s your car.

Everyone has experienced the feeling. Whether it was the last car on the rental lot or a vehicle you inherited from grandpa, you’ll find yourself driving a poorly rated beast at some point in your life. We suggest you take the opportunity to have fun with it and enjoy yourself. While you’re at it, be grateful you’re not driving one of the most laughable cars in history. Here are the list that were just too embarrassing to drive.

Fiat Multipla

The Fiat Multipla fills us with terror. Maybe it’s because people sitting inside look like they’ve been confined to a plastic deathmobile without proper headlights. Its low front clearance and chopped ends enhance this “rollercoaster compartment on the highway” effect. We’re not sure why anyone ever tried the bulbous, Humpty Dumpty design Multipla, but no one ever should have.

Coda sedan

The Coda electric sedan was so plain and cheap-looking it makes you wonder why anyone ever considered making it. But, hey, it was electric, so the kids in America would go nuts for it, right? Wrong: It sold 117 units before the company went bankrupt. To be fair, we could have called out the Hafei Saiao, the car on which Coda is based, rather than this frumpy EV. Then again, third-rate Chinese cars don’t cost you lot — Coda’s electric sedan did.

Nissan Cube

In its sales pitch for the Cube, Nissan referenced its “friendly front grille inspired by a bulldog wearing shades.” You can’t make this stuff up, folks. A few years back, Americans called it the second most embarrassing car on the road, likely for the meandering blob designers stuffed between two straight lines. If you’re a fan of Veep, you know exactly why the show’s writers gave this car to Jonah Ryan. But everyone knows why another Veep character called it “a minecraft piece of shit.”


Ford Taurus

Over time, insects exerted more and more influence over car designers. By the mid 1990s, they were able to infiltrate one of the world’s most popular cars: Ford Taurus. For the third generation (1995), things got ridiculous, especially in the front of this car. Ford seemed obsessed with making every part into the shape of an egg, and succeeded. We’ll spare you the pain of looking at the Taurus wagon from that era.

Chevrolet SSR

Professional clowns celebrated the arrival of Chevrolet SSR in 2003. Finally, automakers understood what the merriest profession needed in a vehicle: a punchline on four wheels. Prior to that, clowns were forced to modify existing cars to fit their act, and you needed an expert body shop to pull it off. “No more,” we imagine GM telling the Bozos and Baskets of yesteryear. “We have a car we guarantee people will not take seriously. We’ll even stock it in yellow.”

Ford Edsel

Where others failed for not trying enough, Ford’s Edsel failed for trying way too hard. American car makers struggled to avoid excess in the late 1950s, and Edsel consolidated the worst of the era into one vehicle. You can call out the car’s absurd look at every angle, but its primary offense was the front. Some described the centerpiece as a cut lemon; others described it in more vulgar terms. But everyone agreed it was horrible.

Nissan Juke

We remember being at an auto show when a new Nissan Juke made its debut. “More like ‘Junk,'” muttered an auto journalist in attendance, while another kept referring to it as the “Puke.” Indeed, there is plenty to dislike about this car. The bug-eyed headlights that soured people on the Nissan Leaf are here. So are a confused grille, deranged bumper, and an extra four headlights for the visually impaired. In an era of awkward, small crossovers, Juke set a new standard for ugliness.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

This is what happens when you let insects eat too much. They get bloated and misshapen, grow wheels, then start channeling electricity for greater mobility. Seriously, theMitsubishi i-MiEV was not much of an EV and even less of a car. It’s the definition of a car as appliance, with everything sacrificed in order to get the most range. The experiment didn’t work: i-MiEV could only travel 62 miles on a full charge.


Chevrolet Cavalier

Why are the windows as big as the doors? Should the doors be lower that the hood but higher than the fender? Why does every line seem off by about an inch? Either GM designers took the era’s obsession with asymmetry to extremes or the 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier was one of the biggest disasters in history. We have tried to imagine feeling cool driving this car down the road, but it’s impossible.


Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

You can usually count on a convertible giving off a cool vibe, but that was never the case with Nissan’s Murano CrossCabriolet. Apparently, Nissan wanted to see what would happen if you reduced the utility of a crossover by removing two doors and most of its storage. Then, in a fit of desperation, designers mixed in a drop-top scenario before sending it into the market. There are some things you should never do with an SUV, and slicing the top off ranks high on the list. The final insult was the starting price: 48 lakhs in Nepal.

Chevrolet Caprice Wagon

You have to sympathize with American car consumers of the early 1990s. While they had plenty of affordable options, the public’s choices existed in a style vacuum. Take the Chevy Caprice wagon from the era. Soccer moms who didn’t opt for a minivan could choose this vehicle, which the local police department favored for rounding up perpetrators. The back end of the wagon pushed the car’s length to a stunning 18.1 feet. Imagine trying to keep a low profile (or park) in this beast.

Mitsuoka Orichi

It’s not the paint job: Mitsuoka Orochi looks ugly in any color. Nonetheless, the Evangelion Edition did highlight some of Orochi’s worst features, like the bottom-feeder front and triangular hood vent. Look, Orochi was “a fashion supercar,” so not everyone was supposed to comprehend the automaker’s conception (except Derek Zoolander, perhaps). Mercifully, they only produced 11 models of this special edition.

Tatra T77A

The early Tatra was the first car serially built for its aerodynamic properties, so beauty was not its primary goal. Anyone who saw one — especially from the back — could see that right away. Later Tatras were even more hideous, but we’re fine exposing the company’s early visual tragedy, the rear-engine T77A. The protruding headlights are offensive, but this car’s back end is a monstrosity. Meanwhile, the “your doors are about to fall off” look came standard, straight out of the factory.

Jeep Compass

Tell people you bought a Jeep and they’ll imagine a steel-heavy bruiser ready to conquer the wilderness. So who rounded up all the plastic in sight and slapped that iconic badge on the 2006 Compass? This lump of a vehicle looked dull from every angle and dragged the brand down to previously unforeseen depths. Compass featured the worst grille in Jeep history, bizarre headlights, and enough cut-rate details to predict the Chrysler bankruptcy that followed a few years later.

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