1 of the Ugliest Cars Was a Minivan Crossover From a Now-Dead GM Brand
The Pontiac Aztek is widely regarded as one of the ugliest cars ever made. However, it isn’t the only unsightly model from the former GM brand. The Pontiac Montana SV6 was the company’s attempt to give its Montana minivan a makeover into a fresh family hauler. But the result was more Quasimodo than quasi-SUV.
The Pontiac Montana SV6 plopped SUV-like styling onto a minivan
The Pontiac Montana SV6 began in the early heyday of the minivan when the company introduced the wedge-shaped Trans Sport in 1990. Pontiac redesigned the Trans Sport in 1997 and gave it a new nameplate: Montana.
In 2005, the automaker introduced the second-generation Montana with a revised moniker, “Montana SV6,” nodding to its 3.5-liter V6 engine. But the SV6’s styling was far more noticeable than the updated name.
As the popularity of SUVs rose, Pontiac apparently thought it could gain an edge over the minivan competition by combining SUV styling with minivan proportions. The result was, uh, intriguing.
The Montana SV6 almost looks like two vehicles welded together at the beltline. The lower half’s fairly squared-off proportions make the rounded greenhouse look plopped on top, particularly in profile. Not helping this ugly car’s case, the B-pillar has sharp corners and is angled forward. The C- and D-pillars are rounded and angle toward the rear. The middle and rear side glass panes also appear to rise from the beltline and flow toward the liftgate at different angles.
But perhaps the homeliest portion of the Montana SV6 is its front clip. Pontiac’s split-grille design juts out from the Montana’s front fascia like buckteeth and isn’t in keeping with the rest of the vehicle’s design. Its recessed headlights and fog lights further emphasize its bucktoothed mouth.
Minivans have always prioritized function over form, but even among vans, the Montana SV6 is particularly hideous.
Pontiac was already struggling to attract minivan buyers, and the Montana SV6 didn’t help. Critics were lukewarm, with Edmunds saying, “Although the 2006 Pontiac Montana SV6 features a slick interior and distinctive styling, it doesn’t have the on-road finesse or in-cabin conveniences of its minivan competitors.” The company killed the SUV-like family hauler due to poor sales in 2006, just two years after its restyling.
More embarrassing for the Montana SV6 was that it came on the heels of arguably the ugliest car of all time: the Pontiac Aztek.
When was the Pontiac Aztek discontinued?
The Pontiac Aztek was intended to be a lifestyle vehicle with plenty of pragmaticism for taming the urban jungle and the roads less taken. But it’s remembered best as one of the ugliest cars ever to roll off assembly lines and one of the biggest automotive flops.
Pontiac introduced the Aztek for the 2001 model year, but its contentious styling couldn’t sway enough buyers despite its versatility and practicality. Pontiac discontinued the Aztek after the 2005 model year due to abysmal sales.
Does Pontiac still make cars?
Though you might still see Pontiac cars on the road, the automaker was one of several that parent company General Motors killed during the 2000s. Redundancy across the GM lineup was a factor, but the death knell for Pontiac came when General Motors filed for bankruptcy during the Great Recession. In 2009, GM announced Pontiac would be no more, and the final Pontiac model rolled off the assembly line by early 2010.
What are the ugliest cars of all time?
The questionably styled Pontaic Montana SV6 is perhaps remembered only as one of the ugliest cars since SUVs began their rise to prominence. And with relatively new body styles come wholly unconventional looks — the Montana SV6 is hardly the only ugly duckling.
Notably horrid-looking cars include others from GM’s ranks. The Aztek may live in infamy, but it had a similarly unattractive counterpart, the Buick Rendezvous. Furthermore, the Chevy Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XUV — the extended-wheelbase versions of the two SUVs — looked like an amalgamation of three entirely different SUVs and were introduced just as Pontiac was killing off the Aztek and introducing the Montana SV6.
However, GM doesn’t corner the market on ugly SUVs. The Subaru B9 Tribeca had a simultaneously goofy and horrifying face. And the Suzuki X-90 was odd not only because it was a tiny convertible ute but also because it was so cutesy and oddly proportioned. The same could be said of the Nissan Juke subcompact crossover, which has since been replaced by the Kicks. Also, Acura ZDX, produced from 2010 to 2013, was one of the first fastback-style SUVs. Even in a segment rife with unflattering designs, the ZDX is undeniably a frontrunner as the ugliest of the bunch.
Additionally, the Lincoln MKT, the second-gen Jeep Compass, the Infiniti QX56, the 2001 to 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe, the 2003 to 2011 Honda Element, the Honda Crosstour, and the Dodge Nitro had more conventional proportions and designs, but the results were far from appealing.