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While many electric vehicles (EVs) are sleek and stunning, a good bulk of them have designs that leave something to be desired. This is due to car companies trying to ease our transition into EV vehicles by making them look more familiar to current ICE models. Of course, we all know gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs need a functioning grille for cooling the engine. However, adding features like a fake grille that don’t serve any purpose has done nothing for the modern look of electric vehicles. 

Thankfully, most manufacturers are now moving away from the trend of adding a useless piece of molded plastic to the front of their vehicles. From those remaining, here are the top five electric vehicles we think have the ugliest fake grilles.

1. Chevy Bolt EV

The Chevy Bolt EV’s grille design has a wavy look, almost like a plastic piece of textured fabric. It is stuck awkwardly to the lower half of the nose of the car, making you think it might be a storage compartment of some kind. With a base price of $31,995, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt has a combined range of about 259 miles, according to Car and Driver

2. Chevy Bolt EUV

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV has a very similar fake grille to the Bolt EV, featuring a melted look. Chevy has chosen to emphasize the weirdness by making the grille slightly lighter than the body color. Under this is a black piece of molded plastic attempting to look like a grille, except it isn’t. Edmunds reports it has a 200-horsepower powertrain and a range of about 247 miles. 

3. Kia Niro EV 

The “grille” on the 2022 Kia Niro EV is nothing more than a decorative inlay. The outline features the familiar shape of a gas powertrain grille, but that is all it is, a shape. The good news is the 2023 model year mostly does away with its fake grille. Car and Driver reports that many positive features on the 2022 model, including a more refined look than some boxy SUVs. The Niro EV has an estimated EPA range of 239 miles and a new 10.3-inch touchscreen. 

4. Subaru Solterra

A light blue 2022 Subaru Solterra compact electric SUV model with an aesthetic fake grille panel
2022 Subaru Solterra | Subaru of America, Inc.

The Subaru Solterra is a tough-looking electric SUV but also suffers from fake grille syndrome. It looks like someone grabbed a piece of plastic, folded it over the bumper, and riveted it on. This faux grille doesn’t even pretend to have cooling air holes. On the plus side, Edmunds reports the Solterra EV features Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and 8.3 inches of ground clearance, which is pretty substantial for an EV.

5. Toyota bZ4X


Eight of the Ugliest Car Ever Made

Toyota’s high-end EV entry has a lot going for it, but the fake grille holds it back in the looks category. Although Toyota almost embraces the idea of a cooling-free driving experience, they still can’t resist a black plastic piece at the bottom looking for all the world like a burly air intake, along with a large wrapped piece of body color material above it. With a starting price tag of $42,000, the Toyota bZ4X impresses with features like an all-new battery structure, enhanced ride comfort, and better stability. 

These are five examples of the ugliest fake grilles we have seen on some otherwise great electric vehicles. If Polestar and Hyundai are any indication, car makers are starting to resist the temptation of making new EV vehicles look like old gas powertrain vehicles, and we’re fans of it.