The Most Dreadful Cars of 2012

Automotive design is part art, part engineering, and part manufacturing, part marketing. On exceptional events, all those parts come together to create a luminous, inspirational car. They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but these ten cars definitely needed a generous beholder to be sold.

Designing a car is no easy business. It’s a process that takes years and is often opening linking studios located across the world — conceptualizing, modeling, wind-tunneling, focus-grouping. When the final product arrives at your local auto mall, it’s been vetted more times than a presidential candidate.

It’s easy to ignore all the cars that are bland, blah, boring, banal and blasé. No one sets out to design an ugly car. At least we don’t think anyone does. But the ugly ones, the ones that pollute your day with their visual aggression; the ones that defy rational explanation; the ones that bring up a lump of half-digested food in your throat; they demand that attention be paid to them.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that no one raised a hand at some meeting in a boardroom at some time during the manufacturing process and said, “Excuse me, but this is just a hideous piece of machinery.” Of course if they did, we wouldn’t have lists like this. Also, let’s be clear that there is no stigma attached to having owned any of these vehicles.

We have all made mistakes in our lives. It may help to think of your time with these cars as you would any failed relationship. You live; you learn; you move on. This year, art, engineering, manufacturing and marketing have collaborated to produce the vehicles on our list of the Ugliest Cars Of 2012.

Toyota Prius v

 Toyota Prius v
Toyota Prius v

Toyota Prius v
Segment: Compact Hybrid
MSRP: $26,400

Smart Pure Coupe

Smart Pure Coupe
Smart Pure Coupe

Smart Pure Coupe
Segment: Subcompact
MSRP: $12,490
Porsche Panamera



Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera
Segment: Performance Sedan
MSRP: $75,200
Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet

Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet
Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet

Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet
Segment: Convertible SUV
MSRP: $44,540
Mitsubishi i MiEV

Mitsubishi i MiEV
Mitsubishi i MiEV

Mitsubishi i MiEV
Segment: Subcompact Electric
MSRP: $29,125
MINI Coupe

MINI Coupe
MINI Coupe

MINI Coupe
Segment: Subcompact
MSRP: $22,000
Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Segment: Seven-Passenger Crossover
MSRP: 52,690
Lincoln MKT

Lincoln MKT
Lincoln MKT

Lincoln MKT
Segment: Seven-Passenger Crossover
MSRP: $44,300
Lexus CT 200h Hybrid

Lexus CT 200h Hybrid
Lexus CT 200h Hybrid

Lexus CT 200h Hybrid
Segment: Compact
MSRP: $29,120
Honda Crosstour

Honda Crosstour
Honda Crosstour

Honda Crosstour
Segment: Crossover Wagon
MSRP: $30,340

GMC Terrain

GMC Terrain
GMC Terrain

GMC Terrain
Segment: Crossover SUV
MSRP: $25,480
Ford Transit Connect

Ford Transit Connect
Ford Transit Connect

Ford Transit Connect
Segment: Van
MSRP: $22,035
Acura ZDX

Acura ZDX
Acura ZDX

Acura ZDX
Segment: Crossover Hatchback
MSRP: $46,020