There have been some great cars that debuted in the last decade of the 20th century. After all, auto enthusiasts were blessed with some fantastic cars such as the Bugatti EB110, the Mazda RX7 FD, or the legendary McLaren F1. On the other hand, there have been plenty of dreadful automobiles, some of which have gone down in history as the biggest eyesores of the automotive world.
The 1990s were a hard period for American vehicles and muscle cars in particular. Check out some of the most hideous cars of that decade, and try to pick the worst one.
The Chevy Caprice is one of America’s beloved sedans. The sales figures peaked in 1968 with around a million units sold that year! While the older generations of the Caprice from the 1960s and the 1970s have gone down in history as icons, the fourth-generation released in 1991 did not share the same faith. A quick look at the photo above should be enough to realize why.
Its predecessor, the third-gen Caprice, was badly in need of an update. The sedan debuted for the 1977 model year and remained essentially unchanged until 1990. Despite a controversial update to the exterior styling, the fourth-gen Caprice borrowed many components from its predecessor. Unsurprisingly, Chevrolet does not brag about the sales figures of this generation of the Caprice.
Saturn used to be a subsidiary of General Motors. The S-Series was a line of fuel-efficient, budget-friendly compact cars that were first introduced on the market for the 1990 model year. The first-generation of the S-Series consisted of 3 different cars: the SL, SW, and SC.
It is hard to pick which of the 3 Saturn vehicles was the ugliest. The SW was a station wagon variant of the SL sedan, while the SC was a 2-door coupe. In 1996, the second-gen of the S-Series was introduced. It was arguably even worse. GM tried to update the car once again with the debut of the third-gen in 2000, before discontinuing the car and shutting Saturn down a few years later.
Ferrari F512 M
The 512M is the Ferrari Testarossa you have never heard of. While the original 512 TR released in the 1980s was a massive hit worldwide, the F512 M from the 1990s was very different.
Ferrari attempted to update the legendary Testarossa for the 1994 model year. The limited car featured new, arguably worse tail lights. The iconic pop-up headlights were gone, too. The bumpers were altered, and the updated front lid gave the car a much less aggressive stance. Only 501 units were produced. As ugly as this car may be, the F512 M has become sought-after by wealthy automobile collectors.
The Chrysler Imperial has been around since the mid-1920s. 1990 saw the debut of the seventh generation of Chrysler’s upscale sedan. It was certainly not the prettiest car made at the time. As if that wasn’t enough, the Imperial was also heavily inspired by the Cadillac Deville.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the seventh-gen Imperial is the headlight design. The hideaway headlights were supposed to be a nod to the past. In effect, the Imperial looked like an outdated Cadillac DeVille rip-off. The sedan was discontinued just 4 years after the launch, with a little over 40,000 units sold in total. Despite a concept vehicle unveiled in 2006, Chrysler never released another Imperial.
The original Ford Taurus became a massive success. Ford had the hard task of creating an updated version of the beloved sedan. It is fair to say that the American automaker failed miserably. The third-gen Taurus debuted for the 1996 model year.
The front end was fitted with strange round headlights. The entire car featured smooth lines, like essentially any other American car from the 1990s. Luckily, the third-gen Taurus was quickly discontinued less than 5 years after its debut. Unsurprisingly, its successor was a lot more pleasant to look at.
The Scorpio was an executive four-door sedan sold by Ford throughout Europe. Following the success of the original Scorpio, Ford Germany developed the updated second generation. The second generation Scorpio debuted for the 1994 model year. It was a tremendous downgrade from its predecessor, design-wise.
The front end of the Scorpio featured weirdly-shaped headlights, an awkward front-grille, and not much else. The second-gen Scorpio was fitted with a long rear light that dominated the rear end. As if the sedan was not enough, Ford also sold the Mark-II Scorpio as a wagon. It’s hard to pick which one looks worse.
Without a doubt, the EV-1 made by General Motors in 1996 deserves to go down in history. The car was extremely innovative for its time and set the entire electric vehicle industry back on track. However, if you ignore the EV-1’s historical impact and focus purely on the car’s design, you will be left with an ugly, quirky automobile.
The lack of a front grille, covered rear wheels, a very narrow body, and a weird shape overall did not make the EV-1 a particularly pretty sight to behold.
There have been quite a few fantastic-looking vehicles built on the GM W-Body platform, also known as the GM10. The 1990s Buick Regal, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, or the not-so-great Pontiac Grand Prix all shared the same platform. The Lumina, however, was nothing like them.
The Lumina was nowhere near as futuristic as the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, or as sporty as the Pontiac Grand Prix. In fact, the Lumina was not particularly exciting in any way. A small flat-four motor-powered this bland sedan. Production of the first-gen Lumina ended 4 years after the launch, with a little over 900,000 units sold in total.
Pontiac Grand Prix
The Pontiac Grand Prix shared the same platform as the previously mentioned Chevy Lumina. Not only did the two cars share many of the components, but they were also both equally hideous.
Unlike the 4-door Lumina, the Grand Prix is a two-door coupe. The exterior design is braver than the bland Lumina. The front end looks as if the car had crashed during the assembly process. Like the Lumina, the Grand Prix is a hard pass. The car was refreshed in 2003, though it was still based on the same platform, before being discontinued for good in 2008.
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Like many other American cars in this list, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo used to be an extremely good-looking car. The fourth-gen from the 80s, for example, shared the same pleasant design language as the Chevrolet Caprice, while also slightly resembling the Foxbody Mustang. The same cannot be said about the fifth-gen Monte Carlo from the mid-1990s.
Clearly, American automakers were struggling with exterior design in the 1990s. The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is a great example. The car looked bland and was actually just a two-door variant of the Lumina.
Do you remember the Buick Skylark? The car was first launched in the 1950s. The first two generations of the Skylark were simply spectacular to look at. Arguably, things started going downhill when the third-gen debuted in 1975. However, nothing really comes close to the sixth-generation Skylark that debuted for the 1992 model year.
Other than the iconic nameplate, this Skylark does not really have anything in common with its predecessors. Buick dropped fancy styling in favor of a bland, reportedly modern look. V8 powerplants were no longer fitted in the Skylark after 1980, so there really was no point in buying one. GM successfully ruined what was once an exciting automobile.
Cadillac contributed to the plague of ugly, bland sedans of the 1990s. Much like the Chevrolet Lumina or the Caprice, the Cadillac Catera featured smooth seemingly-modern lines around the exterior of the vehicle. While the aim was to design a timeless vehicle, the final product turned out bland and extremely boring.
You might be surprised to hear that the Catera isn’t exactly a Cadillac! GM used the same V-platform as the European Opel Omega B. The Catera was, in fact, a rebadged American variant of the Opel Omega. Less than 100,000 units were made during the car’s 5-year-long production run.
The original Riviera is an icon of the American automotive world. Production began for the 1963 model year, and the car was instantly adored by car buyers and automotive journalists alike. Decades later, Buick unveiled the final eighth generation of the Riviera for the 1995 model year.
The 1995 Riviera was nothing like its predecessors. Any signs of the car’s upscale styling were nowhere to be seen. GM’s attempt at creating a modern-looking Riviera clearly missed the mark. Unlike its predecessors, this Riviera was bland and straight out ugly. The car was dropped from the line up 4 years after its debut and hasn’t made a return since.
In 1994, Ford replaced the underrated Foxbody third-gen Mustang with the fresh fourth-gen. The car’s exterior design featured smooth curves that were reportedly supposed to look modern and futuristic. At least in theory.
In reality, the fourth generation of the Mustang could very well be the ugliest one of them all. Many would argue that the 1994 Mustang even tops the hideous Mustang II from the 1970s. While it’s hard to say which one looks worse, one thing’s for sure. The fourth-gen was a massive downgrade from the Foxbody. Luckily, Ford introduced the successor in 2005.
The Firebird is a decent-looking car, especially when compared with some of the upcoming vehicles on this list. When looking at the 1993 Firebird side-by-side with its predecessor, however, the refreshed model looks a lot worse. Despite some cool quirks like pop-up headlights, the Firebird was nowhere near as beautiful as its predecessor.
The Firebird shared the platform with the fourth-gen Camaro. Sadly, both of the cars lost their aggressive styling in the 1990s.
Everybody loves a great-looking sports car. Especially if it’s powerful and available at an affordable price. The Subaru SVX did not meet any of these requirements. In the United States, the SVX was available at $24,445 for the base model. What’s more, this Subaru sports car was neither particularly powerful nor great-looking.
The SVX debuted in 1993, the base model came powered by a 3.3L flat-six. The car could reach 60 miles per hour in 7.3 seconds. Less than 25,000 units were sold before the car’s production came to a halt in 1996.
Subaru Impreza Casa Blanca
Subaru is not exactly famous for its design. Sure, cars made by this Japanese automaker outperform most of their competitors, especially the souped-up Impreza WRX STI. And when the manufacturer began offering a factory conversion of the Impreza wagon, and the Impreza Casa Blanca was born.
It is hard to believe that this car could ever come out of a Subaru factory. The front end looks completely out of place, to say the least. The front bumper looks as if it were photoshopped onto a regular Impreza wagon. Surprisingly, over 5,000 units of the Casa Blanca Impreza were sold.
Do not be fooled, the Subaru SVX is not the only ugly Japanese car of the 1990s. While some of the most iconic JDM sports cars are from the same era, many automakers experimented with weird vehicles throughout the 90s. That way, the Suzuki X90 was born.
At first sight, it’s rather difficult to tell what type of car the X90 was meant to be. The X90 is a quirky, lifted two-door compact that’s turned into a tiny SUV. It has a removable targa top, too. Of course, it does.
While the Suzuki X90’s hideous styling is hard to beat, this SUV made by Isuzu between 1997 and 2001 could very well be even more of an eyesore. The goal of the design team was to make the VehiCROSS an SUV that is lightweight yet tough, as well as fun but environmentally-friendly. Sadly, it turned out to be neither one of those things.
The VehiCROSS was a massive failure in terms of sales. After all, it is hard to think about what kind of car buyer would want a VehiCROSS with tons of better alternatives. Sales in the US peaked in 2001 at 4,153 units sold that year.
Europe has had its fair share of automobiles that were not particularly visually-pleasing. The Renault Twingo could easily top the list of the ugliest European cars ever made. The car first debuted for the 1993 model year as an affordable, fuel-efficient daily driver.
Renault chose to go all out when designing this tiny subcompact. The front end of the Twingo was designed to resemble a smiling face. The extravagant design does not end with the exterior, either. Once you step inside the Twingo, you might feel as if you’ve been transported to a set of a low-budget science fiction movie from the 1980s. That did not stop buyers, though. The Twingo was available until 2007 when it was replaced by another Twingo!
When thinking of ugly cars, the Fiat Multipla is one of the first vehicles that may come to your mind. After all, the Multipla is a solid piece of proof that sometimes it’s better to make a bland-looking car, rather than forcingly trying to be innovative. The Multipla has won many awards, but not the kind of awards you’d want to brag about.
The first-generation Fiat Multipla was dubbed the Ugliest Car by Top Gear, while the Telegraph completely obliterated its exterior styling back in 2004. After years of being made fun of, the Multipla was updated in 2004. The newer variant was nowhere near as silly as its predecessor.
The Reliant Robin is the most infamous British car of all time. The car became famous for its unique three-wheel drivetrain, which may have seemed innovative at first. Soon enough, it was discovered that the car was not only completely silly-looking but also unsafe to drive. If a Robin would turn too quickly, it could roll over!
For some odd reason, Reliant thought it was a good idea to freshen up the Robin in 1989. Then, the second-gen Robin was facelifted once again in 1999. The car’s production ultimately shut down in 2001.
Italian cars are often regarded as some of the most beautiful in the world. While that’s certainly true for the most part, the Ypsilon clearly disproves that belief. In fact, this hideous creation from Lancia could easily be one of the ugliest Italian cars of all time.
The car’s styling is unique in the worst way possible. The entire exterior design is ugly, though it competes with an equally-disgusting interior. Luckily, the car was slightly improved with the release of the refreshed second-generation in 2003.
The Ford Cougar, sold as the Mercury Cougar in the United States, was a sports car introduced by the American automaker for the 1998 model year. The car was originally meant to be badged as a third-generation Ford Probe, but the Cougar nameplate was chosen instead.
The Cougar was designed with Ford’s New Edge design language in mind. The controversial styling was not adored, to say the least. Despite having a rather small powerplant (the base model came powered by a 129-horsepower 2.0L flat-four), the Cougar was agile and fun to drive. Due to low demand, production was quickly discontinued just 4 years after the car’s debut.
If Oldsmobile reintroduced the Achieva today, perhaps UnderAchieva would have been a more fitting name for this weird sedan. As if the terrible name wasn’t enough, the car itself was awful, too!
At first glance, the Achieva’s two striking features are the mustache-like front grille and the rear wheels that are partly covered by the rear fenders. While the awkward grille can definitely appeal to some buyers, the semi-hidden rear wheels look completely out of place. It looks as if someone had forgotten to fit the car with proper rear fenders!
Pontiac Trans Sport
Minivans are all about utility and practicality, rather than exciting exterior design or exceptional performance. It may seem that most minivans look the same as one another, the Pontiac Trans Sport certainly stands out. Not in a good way, though.
The car was first unveiled for the 1990 model year, with a major facelift in 1993. GM noticed a lack of sporty-looking vans on the market and decided to fill that gap with the Pontiac Trans Sport for some reason. The final product is one of the ugliest minivans ever made.
The second-generation of the Dodge Intrepid was unveiled in 1996 for the 1998 model year. Somehow, the American automaker managed to make this sedan look even worse than its predecessor.
For some reason, Dodge thought fitting the Intrepid with a front end that somewhat resembled the second-gen Viper was a good idea. A year after production began, Dodge even introduced a souped-up R/T variant of this weird sedan. Despite the R/T nameplate, the performance-oriented Intrepid only made 242 horsepower from its V6 motor.
The Chrysler Concorde was unveiled alongside the previously mentioned Dodge Intrepid back in 1996 for the 1998 model year. The two cars shared many components, including the platform they were built on. In addition, both of them were equally hideous.
The styling of the front end of the Concorde resembles a catfish. Therefore, it appears very similar to the fourth-gen Camaro at first glance. The Chrysler Concorde, however, has no performance to back up the somewhat aggressive design language. The most powerful variant of the car came fitted with a 3.5L V6 that was anything but quick.
Back in 1999, Toyota released the Echo. The photo above is not stretched in any way, the Echo just has really awkward proportions that can best be observed from the side profile. Apparently, the car was designed with young buyers in mind. We are not sure what kind of young drivers would want a car that looked like the Echo, and the terrible sales figures prove we’re not alone.
Sales in the US reached an all-time high at around 49,000 units before they began to plummet dramatically. The car was finally pulled from the market in 2005.
The Ford Aspire, much like the previously mentioned Toyota Echo, looks the worst from its side profile. The Ford Aspire, also known as the Ford Festiva or the Kia Avella, was a joint project developed by Ford and Kia.
If you’re a fan of silly, cartoonish cars, this might be the perfect choice for you. If not, it’s probably best to skip the Aspire and any of its rebadged counterparts. It is a hard pass.
Eagle Summit Wagon
In case you did not realize at first sight, the Eagle Summit Wagon was designed as a minivan. It may be hard to see, as it looks a lot shorter and narrower than your typical van. What’s more, reducing the dimensions of a minivan kind of defeats its purpose, doesn’t it?
The Eagle Summit Wagon was just one body style of the second-gen Eagle Summit, which was also sold as a four-door sedan and a two-door coupe. The car was discontinued in 1996 and has never made a return.
Without a doubt, the Nissan Quest was a reliable minivan. It debuted back for the 1993 model year and was developed by Nissan and Ford. In fact, the variant available in the United States was rebadged as a Mercury Villager.
The Quest is an incredibly bland-looking minivan. While the exterior design was certainly not a priority for the automakers, it looks as if they did not even try to make the Quest look appealing at all. The original Quest was replaced in 1998.
The third generation of the Chevrolet Cavalier used to be a rather popular, affordable daily driver. The car was offered as a 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe, and a 2-door convertible. While the Cavalier was a decent vehicle in its price range, it was far from the prettiest automobile made by Chevy.
The third-gen Cavalier shared many components with the Pontiac Sunfire. Unlike the Sunfire, the Cavalier looked extremely bland and hideous at once. Even after visual modifications, the Chevy Cavalier remains quite ugly.
Pontiac Grand Am
The fourth generation of the Pontiac Grand Am debuted for the 1992 model year. For some reason, the design team at Pontiac believed that this was a good-looking vehicle. Its predecessors, however, were not particularly pretty either. The fourth-gen takes the cake as the ugliest one of them all.
Like the majority of the cars in this list, the front end design is perhaps the most striking part of the vehicle. The front-grille and the shape of the front fascia are just hideous. The car was replaced by the fifth-gen in 1998, though it remained pretty much identical design-wise.
In the United States, the Daewoo Matiz was rebadged and sold as the Chevrolet Spark, or the Pontiac Matiz. Back in 1998, this tiny subcompact car was first introduced in various markets worldwide. The aim of the Matiz was clear from the get-go, the car was supposed to a fuel-efficient daily driver available at a fraction of the cost of its competitors.
While the styling of the Matiz is horrendous, it is impossible to overlook the success of the car. The small vehicle was sold in thousands of units all over the planet, and its modern counterpart is still produced to this day.
Many auto enthusiasts are completely unaware that the Nubira was ever sold in the United States. If you’re after a budget-friendly, rare vehicle that looks like a cheap knock-off of any other sedan on the market, consider getting the Daewoo Nubira.
The car was first introduced in 1998 but wasn’t brought over to the US until 2000. As the Korean automaker was struggling financially, the car was pulled from the market within two years. Today, the Nubira is a rare sight in the United States. Perhaps that’s for the better.
For the past few years, Hyundai has released a variety of underappreciated sports cars. Back in the 1990s, however, the automaker was just entering the sports car market. The Tiburon Turbulence, released in 1996, was far from the ideal sports car.
The coupe featured an extremely weird front end design, with headlights that simply looked out of place. Under the hood, the Tiburon packed a 1.6L flat-four for the base model. A more powerful 2.0L flat-four was available as an extra option, too. The Korean automaker replaced this hideous coupe with the second-gen Tiburon in 2001.
Whether you are a fan of this South Korean automaker or not, one thing is for sure. Hyundai has come a long way in the last few decades. Hyundai cars today are reputable for their reliability, fuel economy, and budget-friendly prices. Back in the 1990s, this was certainly not the case.
The prime example of the “old-age” of Hyundai is the Accent. Not only is it very ugly, but it is also unsafe. The manufacturer cut costs when building this car to save costs and maintain a low price point, sacrificing the driver’s comfort and safety features. The Accent earned just 1.5 out of 5 stars for occupant safety in a series of crash tests conducted by EuroNCAP.
Volkswagen Golf Harlequin Edition
Many modified car enthusiasts appreciate a custom paint job. Some custom paint jobs are done so well that they’re appreciated by all sorts of car freaks, even if they’re not fans of over-the-top customization. While the car photographed above may seem like a one-off project or a crashed Golf shoddily put back together, it actually came out of the factory that way.
The Harlequin Edition of the Volkswagen Golf paid homage to the legendary Beetle, while also showcasing that Golf parts can easily be swapped out and interchanged. Whatever the aim was, the final product looks rather silly.
Believe it or not, this infamous Yugoslavian car was actually a hit at first. Although the car appeared on the market in 1985, its terrible success-turned-horror story deserves to be mentioned in this list. Not to mention that the GV looked outdated by about 30 years at the time of its release.
At first, the Yugo GV was a budget-friendly hit. A brand new Yugo cost less than $4,000, which seemed like a great deal. Soon enough, it became apparent that the GV lacked any sort of build quality and safety features. Sales plummeted in the late 80s before the automaker shut down just a couple of years later.