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Hot Take: The Pontiak Aztek Is No Longer Completely Ugly

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author photo by Will Kinton August 2017

Here's a take that's so hot you can barely touch it: The Pontiac Aztek is no longer the ugliest car on the road. I know, I know. It's been lambasted ever since it came out as the ugliest car ever made. It was ungainly, overstyled and, as a result, it was a substantial flop. People still cite the Aztek among the ugliest cars ever made, but unfortunately they're wrong, because they're neglecting to take two things into consideration.

The first is the fact that car design has in many ways caught up with the styling of the Aztek. It seems like many manufacturers have given up on clean, soft, timeless lines -- and instead, they want to shock you, Aztek-style. Take the current-model Toyota Prius, or the Lexus Predator grille that has almost single-handedly changed Lexus's image, or especially the new Honda Civic Type R. In that company, the Aztek seems ... almost reasonable. While it is large and definitely ungainly, it doesn't look like that much of a departure from the Subaru XV Crosstrek in terms of design. In many ways, the Aztek was really just ahead of its time.

The other thing that people are neglecting to take into account when they call the Aztek the ugliest car of all time is the existence of the first-generation Subaru B9 Tribeca. That, ladies and gentlemen, is actually the ugliest car of all time, and it's aging like a fine milk. How did anyone at Subaru look at that grille and think it worked for a 3-row crossover? It's completely out of proportion with the rest of the car, almost as if the front and the back were designed by completely different teams on opposite sides of the globe.

Subaru Tribeca

At least the Aztek is a coherent and cohesive shape. It also had an optional tent built into the rear, which is actually pretty awesome. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Aztek gains value eventually -- emblematic of the early 2000s; initially scorned but later widely accepted as a curiosity.

Will Kinton likes cars, so he writes about them on the internet. He also tweets about them on Twitter, and frequently takes pictures of them on Instagram. He's based in Virginia, and currently drives a 2013 VW GTI. It's a good car.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Hot Take: The Pontiak Aztek Is No Longer Completely Ugly - Autotrader