Mahindra KUV100 Side Profile
Despite having some beautiful cars, these manufacturers somehow also designed these displeasing cars

Top 5 Ugly Cars

They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but some cars are just ugly, no two ways about it. I am going to start this listicle with a disclaimer that this is just my personal opinion so if you own either one of these 5 cars, please don’t get butt-hurt, more so because this listicle is all about ugly cars which sold well because of practicality.

Maruti Omni Price
India’s most popular minivan, the Omni never received any major updates

Maruti Omni

I know this car has been a workhorse but it’s ugly, period. Maruti Suzuki never bothered to make any significant changes to it either and while it can carry a lot of people, those inside the vehicle get friend requests from their death wish. The Omni might be easy to drive, but is unsafe, noisy and lacks stopping power. However, it’s been an absolute favourite for small traders, schools, hospitals and even kidnappers which is the reason why it sold so well, as it was practical and thus the value for money price made people ignore its ugliness. It was eventually discontinued after 35 years of sales as it was unable to meet the new safety norms.

Toyota Qualis
The car which popularised SUVs in India, the Qualis was just too boxy and awkward

Toyota Qualis

Designed with just a scale and a pencil, the Qualis is a box on wheels. There is no design element on this car and it is top-heavy, making it look ugly and ungainly, not to forget a body roll magnet. Yeah, yeah I know many people love the Qualis for its reliability and that’s largely the reason for it to become such a sales success because, at the time of its launch, the other options like the Tata Sumo and Mahindra Bolero were very unreliable. The Qualis was a practical car, with good space, a decent engine although very noisy and a steering wheel from a freaking bus which is the reason you could charge your family members money to take a trip in it.

2019 Maruti Eeco
One of India’s best selling cars, the Eeco chose function over form

Maruti Eeco

Starting life as the Versa, this van was so ugly that even a brand association with India’s biggest superstar at the time of launch couldn’t manage to make it sell. Maruti went back and re-launched the Versa as the Eeco, dropping the price and repositioning it in the process. Unfortunately, they didn’t change the ugly design. Still, the Eeco became a sales success as it is a practical car with good space and it can carry up to 7 people, it’s the cheapest MPV in India currently with decent mechanicals although not very safe or refined but enough to get the job done.

Mahindra KUV100 Accessories
A practical interior matched with a hideous exterior, the KUV100 was a disaster

Mahindra KUV100

Well I said ugly cars which sold well. This one really didn’t sell that well but is hugely practical, the only hatchback crossover which can seat 6 people in comfort. The Fiat Multipla seems to be the inspiration for the 6-seater layout of the Mahindra KUV100. While Mahindra got the design completely wrong, they got the ride quality and storage spaces absolutely right including a hidden compartment in the rear floor. But it’s ugly, more so from the side and the various angles of the car are not in cohesion. Mahindra’s obsession to overdo the design with unnecessary cuts and elements didn’t help matters either. The ugly design of the KUV100 does come across as a surprise because Mahindra owns Pininfarina and some really award-winning designs have come from the Mahindra stable like the Quanto, NuvoSport, Verito Vibe, e2O and TUV300 Plus. A small respite came in the form of the NXT facelift but since the silhouette of the KUV remains the same, well, it’s on the podium here.

The Dzire was just a Swift with a boot tacked on to it without any attempt to make it proportionate

Maruti Swift Dzire

The first generation which although had the best driving feel was largely a Swift with a boot attached to it, making it an ugly looking 3-box car. In fact, Suzuki Japan wasn’t even convinced about making something like this but Maruti soldiered on and the rest, as we know, is history. The Dzire was a massive hit even though it looked ungainly and simply hideous. But it was practical with decent space, good handling, punchy engines and a big boot. What I fail to understand is how the style-conscious Indians accepted the Esteem replacement to be a good-looking Swift being turned into an ugly thing which is everything but Dzire-able.

2014 Honda Mobilio India Review
Cars like the Mobilio didn’t sell well despite being extremely practical

And then there were ugly cars which in spite of being practical and ugly just didn’t sell like the Nissan Evalia, Honda Mobilio, Tata Manza, Toyota Etios, etc. Oh wait, this listicle consists mostly of MPVs and it seems MPVs can’t look pretty but exceptions exist in the form of the new Toyota Innova, Kia Carnival, Mercedes-Benz V-Class and Toyota Vellfire. Oh wait, most of these vehicles are just buses which don’t need a commercial driver’s license to be driven. Then there are cars which look good that didn’t sell like the Fiat Linea and the Ford Fiesta. Also, it’s not just in India, abroad too there are cars which are practical but ugly and sell well. At the the top of my list is, of course, the Infiniti QX80, what was the designer even thinking while doing the rear? And on that disappointment, it’s time to end.