Ugly cars

Beauty is subjective, so why not pick a car others call ugly to get yourself a better deal? Here we round up eight great quirky-looking cars

Sam Naylor
Aug 31, 2021

The way a car looks can be surprisingly important to many drivers. Most people don’t want to be seen in cars they consider ugly, but more than this, they may choose a model with sharp looks, even if it might not be the best choice for them. 

However, if you’re a smart buyer and can see past ugly looks, there are some great cars out there to choose from; they could even prove much better value than other options - just because some drivers find them a bit ugly. Here we take a look at some ugly cars that some drivers will reject on looks alone, but that are well worth a second look.

This is because all the cars below have at least one talent that means we can easily overlook their slightly awkward styling. Under each car we’ve included what we think this talent is, whether they’re ugly but practical or ugly but great to drive. Better still, you might love the way that some of these cars look. If so, they could be a clever choice for you.

All the cars here are available to buy now on Buyacar.co.uk, so they’re all relatively new models. This means that you might argue that they’re not actually all that ugly - after all, there have been some truly dire car designs from a few decades back.

Yet most modern car makers are keen to avoid any of their cars being branded as ugly, and so rather than taking a risk with a bold design, most choose dull or bland designs rather than ugly ones. This means they’re less distinctive, but not ugly either.

So even though we think - and of course style is all a matter of taste - that the cars below are ugly, we applaud the car makers for taking a risk and launching a car with a bold design. Plus, of course, each of them is great in its own way as well.

Ugly cars

1. Nissan Juke

Ugly, but good at: practicality and ease of driving

Used deals from £7,448
Monthly finance from £154*

The Nissan Juke is a controversial way to begin this list, because it’s actually a really popular car, chosen because people love the way it looks. We love that it’s distinctive and stands out from the crowd, but it’s not traditionally handsome and the bulbous shape of the bodywork won’t be to everyone’s taste.

The Juke is a practical small car, though, with a good amount of boot space and enough space for the kids in the back. It’s also easy to drive thanks to a high-up driving position and light weighting for the controls, plus it’s really well equipped for the money.

Nissan sold plenty of them over the years it was on sale - there’s a new model on sale now that’s a bit more modern-looking - so there are hundreds of used versions for sale at good prices at any given time. It’s a good value option if you can live with the bold looks.

2019-PRESENT NISSAN JUKE BUYERS' GUIDE

2010-2019 NISSAN JUKE BUYERS' GUIDE

2. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Ugly, but good at: carrying lots of passengers and luggage

Used deals from £11,995
Monthly finance from £264*

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is an upmarket people carrier that takes a big step away from the way BMWs usually look. Its dowdy design means it doesn’t have the sporty look of other models in the maker’s range, yet it’s actually better to drive than it looks.

The Active Tourer uses similar engineering to the Mini range (BMW and Mini are part of the same company), which means it’s actually quite fun to drive, yet its real strength is its practicality. It has a 468-litre boot, which is plenty for a relatively small car, as well as lots of space for passengers in the back. Access is good too, so it’s great for child seats.

The 2 Series Active Tourer is also fitted with an excellent range of engines. The best is the 225xe model (with prices starting from £19,790 or £322 per month on BuyaCar), which is a plug-in hybrid. You can charge up with a wall socket overnight and drive to work in the morning entirely on electric power, yet there’s also a petrol engine for long trips.

BMW 2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Vauxhall Crossland X

Ugly, but good at: keeping you comfortable

Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £163*

The Vauxhall Crossland X doesn’t just suffer from an awkward name, it’s not exactly a looker either. Okay, it’s not as offensive as some of the other cars on this list, but its side profile is what we reckon is so bad about it - it looks slab-sided, with a big nose and a small tail and the chrome line along the roof just looks naff.

Of course the Vauxhall is here because it’s also a good car underneath. It’s really practical for one thing, with a big boot considering it’s a small car, plus plenty of leg and headroom in the back seats. It’s also very well equipped for the money, with a large touchscreen media system that includes all the features modern drivers want.

Best of all, the Crossland X is really comfortable. It disguises lumps and bumps in the road particularly well and doesn’t jiggle and bounce over potholes. The seats are also really comfortable and easy to get in and out of, too.

VAUXHALL CROSSLAND X BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Suzuki Baleno

Ugly, but good at: value for money

Used deals from £7,900
Monthly finance from £146*

The Suzuki Baleno is more likely to be accused of being bland rather than ugly, but its odd-looking lights and grille earn its spot on this list, we think. The Baleno was unfortunate to sit next to the much more attractive Swift in the Suzuki lineup when it was launched, too.

Yet the Baleno is a hidden gem. It uses the same engines and tech from the Swift, but it’s more practical and better value. This means it’s really fun to drive, which you don’t expect given how it looks, plus the 1.0-litre engine is a delight to use and very economical.

It has all the equipment you need, plus there’s a big boot and loads of room inside. All this comes at a very low price for second-hand models, so it scores highly for value for money. It’s a bargain and if you don’t mind the drab looks, the Baleno is a surprise hit.

SUZUKI BALENO BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Honda Civic

Ugly, but good at: handling a twisty road

Used deals from £8,691
Monthly finance from £178*

The Honda Civic was known in the past as a very plain looking car, but the most recent model is far from that. It’s covered in creases, extra details and weird styling that really give it a bold look - and to many, it’s a rather ugly car.

The high-performance Type R version takes this to the next level, with extra fins, wings and spoilers all over the place. Yet behind all that is one of the best cars of its type to drive. The Type R is an utterly brilliant driver’s car that’s perfect for track days and twisty roads, but even the basic versions of the Civic are satisfying to drive.

This is because the Civic is comfortable on bumpy roads but also sharp around bends. The engines are pleasant to use but economical, and the manual gear shift is really slick and nice to use. This Honda is also really practical, with a huge boot and lots of room for passengers. It’s a great all-rounder no matter which model you choose.

HONDA CIVIC BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Toyota Prius

Ugly, but good at: keeping running costs low

Used deals from £17,995
Monthly finance from £269*

Sometimes ugly car designs aren’t just a failed attempt at standing out, as the Prius proves - its unusual looks are a result of chasing aerodynamic efficiency to boost fuel economy. The rounded-off looks might remind you of a fish - and that’s because both fish and the Prius need to be slippery to move efficiently without wasting energy.

The Prius is a hybrid and is highly focused on achieving the best possible efficiency, which means it’s very easy to get more than 60mpg without even changing your driving style. Some drivers will even be able to get over 70mpg from the Prius on a regular basis, and they’ll do so in total comfort.

This is because the Prius is one of the most comfortable cars around, plus its electric motor means it’s extremely quiet and smooth around town. It’s muted on the motorway too, thanks to the aerodynamic body shape, and there’s plenty of equipment inside the roomy cabin. The Prius is often overlooked as a family car but it’s actually a great choice because it’s so cheap to run and spacious inside.

TOYOTA PRIUS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Hyundai Kona Electric

Ugly, but good at: driving a long way on electric power

Used deals from £28,070
Monthly finance from £360*

The Hyundai Kona Electric’s nose looks a bit awkward, with no grille because it doesn’t need one - yet as it’s based on the normal Kona, which does have a grille, it ends up looking a bit awkward. Luckily the Hyundai is a great car, which makes up for it.

It has a fantastic range of around 280 miles on a single charge, which is still competitive with brand new EVs coming out now. It’s also easy to drive thanks to the high driving position, light controls and single-speed gearbox, plus it has all the modern tech you could want in the cabin.

It’s roomy inside, even in the rear seats, and the boot is a good size as well. The Kona Electric is also relatively comfortable over bumps, so it’s a great all-round family car if you’re ready to live with a car that needs occasional charging.

HYUNDAI KONA BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Kia Soul

Ugly, but good at: keeping drivers calm and relaxed

Used deals from £8,350
Monthly finance from £169*

The Kia Soul was launched as a model that would capture the public’s attention and turn Kia from a brand that made dull cars into a vibrant and exciting one. It did so with standout looks, but for some people, the Soul’s boxy-but-rounded shape is rather ugly.

Yet because of the boxiness, it’s actually really practical inside, with a big boot and easy access to the load area, plus lots of room for passengers. It’s also decent to drive, though not as comfortable as you might expect, partly because many models use large alloy wheels, meaning less rubber between you and the road - so find a model with smaller wheels if you value comfort.

The Soul is reliable and some models even still have some of their manufacturer warranty because it came with seven years when new, so it makes a good-value used buy. It was never hugely popular, but the latest version is electric only and better than ever - it offers a long range, smart interior and loads of equipment.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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