Americans cars have come under scrutiny over the years. They have been described as dull and boring compared to their European counterparts. According to Carthrottle, American car manufacturers tend not to invest enough in their design process. The designs are lacking and the cars that come off of the assembly line are in most cases basic in nature.
One factor that can be seen as a hindrance to the quality of the designs is cost. American cars are generally affordable. In order to keep the costs as low as possible, American car manufacturers have to compromise on some features. In most cases, it is usually the design that that takes the biggest hit. According to one Quora user, American ideals of the perfect car differ significantly from the rest of the world.
Americans are also abandoning muscle cars because of the rising costs of gas. Having said that, there are still some American cars that are setting benchmarks when it comes design. Some of these cars are over 50 years old, while others are very much still in production. Some of them are even very affordable even though they might look expensive.
Here are 10 American cars that are boring to look at along with 10 others that are absolutely stunning.
20 Bland: Chevrolet Vega
The Chevrolet Vega was on the assembly line from 1970 to 1977. The car even received accolades when it first launched. According to Wikipedia, the Chevrolet Vega was voted Motor Trend Car Of The Year in 1971. Everything went south after that.
There was nothing impressive about the exterior and owners quickly began experiencing problems with the engineering, safety, and reliability. There were also numerous problems reported regarding rusting.
There were a couple of recalls and several design upgrades to address the complaints from consumers, but that was not enough to save the reputation of the vehicle. General Motors decided to end production of the car in 1977 as a result of growing pressure from the media and consumers.
19 Bland: AMC Pacer
The AMC Pacer was on the assembly line for just 4 years, from 1975 to 1979. It had a round shape which was a departure from the box shape that was synonymous with vehicles during that period. According to Wikipedia, the car was advertised as "the first wide small vehicle."
The exterior was weird-looking and the shape was just generally off-putting. Car and Driver Magazine noted that the AMC Pacer was the first car of its generation that was designed from the inside out. The main goal of the manufacturer was to provide adequate room in the car's interior, even if it meant messing with the exterior design.
18 Bland: Pontiac Trans Sport
The Pontiac was Chevrolet's attempt at trying to conquer the minivan segment. It was first introduced to the market in 1989 and was in production for a full decade. Chevy was responding to the Chrysler minivans which were dominating the US market in the late 80s.
When it was introduced as a concept 1986, the Pontiac Trans Sport featured futuristic styling and it was well received. According to Wikipedia, the majority of the features that were shown in the concept version were never actually featured in mass production. One such feature was the gull-wing passenger door which had excited potential buyers. Instead of glass panels, the car producer decided to go with high-gloss. The resulting vehicle barely resembled the original prototype.
17 Bland: Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
The Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible was featured on Auto Express' list of the worst cars ever made. You just have to look at the exterior to understand that Chrysler made one of the biggest mistakes in their automotive history with this one.
According to Auto Express, the car was conceptualized in the late 90s when Chrysler was going through a rough patch. The automaker even attempted a partnership with Mercedes so as to become profitable again.
The designers and engineers were the ones who were adversely affected, because there is no explaining the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible. The car had sloppy handling and poor built quality. There was no structural rigidity.
16 Bland: Ford Mustang II
The Mustang has contributed to the rich heritage of the American auto industry. There have been some truly awesome Mustangs over the years. Still, things have not always been rosy for Ford. The Ford Mustang II came under heavy criticism when it first launched. It also suffered from a drop in sales.
Ford was starting to make bigger muscle cars which went against the grain of the tradition. The car was first launched in 1974 and was available as either a coupe or a hatchback. According to Autotrader, many car enthusiasts consider the Ford Mustang II to be a tragedy. The fact that it was launched during the oil crisis might have given it a lifeline.
15 Bland: Cadillac Cimarron
CarBuzz described the Cadillac Cimarron as rebadged disaster. According to the website, the Cimarron has become a symbol of why rebadging will always fail. Cadillac was trying to follow up on the trail of the wildly successful 1975 Seville. They wanted to make a smaller car, but ended up making an uglier one in the process.
The fact that the car producer preferred to call it "Cimarron From Cadillac" was a sign that they were already embarrassed by the unit even before it was launched for the mass market.
There were only a few cosmetic differences between the Chevrolet Cavalier and the Cadillac Cimarron. The car only managed to sell 26,000 units in its first year of production, which was less than a third of what Cadillac had anticipated.
14 Bland: Lincoln MKT
The Lincoln MKT has been on the assembly line since 2010 and is one vehicle that continues to divide opinions when it comes to aesthetics. It is currently the largest crossover SUV from Ford. The car has no any direct predecessor, although it does share underpinnings with both the Flex and the Explorer.
The first generation had a dull design which formed the foundation even for the latest models. Under the hood, you get a 3.5-liter V6 engine which can produce up to 365HP. The front grille fascia is linear across the different generations. That is one of the features that make it stand out on the road, although many people tend to find it repelling.
13 Bland: Chevrolet Spark EV
The Chevrolet Spark EV was first launched at the Los Angeles Motor Show in 2012. It is a fully electric vehicle and it seems as though not a lot of thought went into the exterior design.
According to Wikipedia, the Chevrolet Spark EV had only sold 1,684 units as of 2015.
This shows that people expect more in an electric vehicle. A modern electric vehicle needs to also look good and that is why Tesla has become a market leader. The car was succeeded by the Bolt in 2016 because it had a longer range. Other than the EV model, the Chevrolet Spark line of cars are not that impressive when it comes to exterior looks.
12 Bland: Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is described as a supermini car and has been on the assembly line since 1976. According to Wikipedia, Ford has sold over 16 million Fiestas ever since its launch. The first generation had an artistic exterior but the same cannot be said of the newer models.
When it launched, it was the smallest car ever to be produced by Ford. Smaller cars are always going to face design limitations, and this one was no exception. The first generation was only available in Europe upon its launch. All talk of looks aside, the car is popular in the UK because of its compact size and it performs exceptionally well when it comes to gas economy.
11 Bland: Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade was first launched in 2014, although it looks like something directly out of the 90s. It has definitely not aged well and aesthetics seem to be a secondary selling point.
The main value proposition has to be the price, as you can get a new Jeep Renegade for as low as $21,295 and the four-wheel add-on for an extra $2000.
In terms of performance, you get a 2.0-liter L4 engine, which can put out up to 168HP. There have been a total of 247,761 Jeep Renegades sold in the United States as of 2017. Car and Driver gave it a 3.5 star overall rating. They singled out its weight and its handling as their main points of criticism. It has a top speed of 116 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in 10.3 seconds.
10 Beautiful: Chevrolet Corvette C1
The Chevrolet Corvette C1 has to be one of the most beautiful cars that have been manufactured in the United States. According to Topspeed, the exterior of the Chevrolet Corvette C1 was its biggest selling point. It has bubble canopy design which distinguished it from other cars in the mid 50s.
The most adored features were the front grille and the nose at the front of the car. The smooth flanks and fenders also play a big role in the car's overall exterior aesthetics. One could be forgiving for assuming that the Corvette C1 was the fastest car on the road by just looking at its exterior.
9 Beautiful: Pontiac GTO
It would be impossible to talk about the most beautiful American cars ever built without mentioning the Pontiac GTO. The car was on the assembly line from 1964 to 1974, and then revived in the year 2006.
According to Wikipedia, the name was inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO, which was also a beast in its era.
The first ever Pontiac GTO was available in either coupe hardtop or a convertible option. There were several models over its ten year run and they are widely considered some of the finest American cars. Car And Life criticized the car's slow steering, but other than that, there isn't a lot to complain about. The car has aged gracefully and it is definitely something you'd want to keep for posterity.
8 Beautiful: Cadillac Coupe de Ville
The Cadillac Coupe de Ville was first launched in 1958 and was in production right up until 2005. The latest generation is nothing to write home about. The magic happened with the first and second generations of these cars.
According to Wikipedia, the first Cadillac Coupe de Ville sold for around $3,496. The 62 series was one of the first hardtop coupes to be produced in America.
It had all the luxury one would need. It came with grey leather seats and even included a telephone in the glove compartment. The second generation Cadillac Coupe de Ville had redesigned grilles which slanted backward. Some of the standard features included were plain fender skirts, dual speed wipers, power steering and automatic transmission.
7 Beautiful: Lincoln Continental
The Lincoln Continental has to be one of Ford's greatest achievements. The car has been in production since 1939 and hasn't stopped yet. According to Wikipedia, the Lincoln Continental nameplate has been used on 10 generation of cars from the automaker. There was an emphasis on luxury when the car was first launched, and it was considered to be even bigger than grand tourers and sports cars.
According to Top Gear, the car has served several roles for Ford over the years. It was the only nameplate sold by Ford between 1961 and 1976. Classics Cars Of America recognizes the 1938-1948 Lincoln Continental as a full classic. This makes it one of the last built vehicles to achieve such an iconic status.
6 Beautiful: Ford Gran Torino
The Ford Gran Torino was on the assembly line from 1968 to 1976. According to Wikipedia, the most popular models were the 4-door sedans and the 2-door hardtops. Ford also produced some high-performance variants which rocked larger engines than the normal ones.
An example was the 7.0-liter 429 "cobra jet" engine cars. They were categorized as muscle cars because of their raw power.
There were a couple of cosmetic changes to the 1969 model. There were changes to grille which made it look bolder and more conspicuous. All the 69 models came standard with a 4.1-liter L6 engine. There were no major changes to the grille after that, as it was one of the features that made the car stand out the most.
5 Beautiful: Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler has been in production since 2007 and is one of best vehicles to have ever been produced in the United States. The style and design have been improving ever since its introduction and the latest model is a sight to behold.
Car and Driver has described it as one of the most capable all-around SUVs for the money. The price starts at $28,940 for the new model.
There is always the worry that modern styling will interfere with the traditional charm the car has had on enthusiasts over the years, but the designers did a great job on the 2018 model, especially when it comes to the front fascia. The 7-slot grille is still intact but has been given a modern vibe and feel.
4 Beautiful: Cadillac CTS-V
The Cadillac CTS-V is dubbed as a high-performance variant of the CTs. There are a couple of noticeable differences even when you look at the interior. The car first hit the market in 2004 and was set to compete in the Sedan segment. It was to be an affordable offering compared to its competitors like the BMW M5 and the Audi RS6.
The first generation came with a meshed grille which gave it a unique front fascia. Under the hood is a 5.7-liter V8 engine which can produce up to 400HP. The Cadillac CTS-V was listed on Car and Driver's top 10 cars of 2009. The latest model continues with the same philosophy when it comes to exterior design.
3 Beautiful: Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE
The new Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE comes as convertible or a coupe. It would be hard to choose between the two because they both look really good. According to Car and Driver, the new 2019 version is an evolution of the quality design and performance that has been consistent in the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE.
The new model features dual element LED tail lamps which were previously limited to the front lights.
In terms of performance, the new Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE has a V8 engine that can produce 455HP. The car has a limited top speed of 165 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. Fuel economy is decent with this beast as you can get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway.
2 Beautiful: Dodge Challenger Hellcat
The Dodge Challenger nameplate has been used on three generations of cars. The car was first produced in 1958 as a full-sized 2-door sedan. The current model doesn't come cheap- you'll have to part with $50,840 for a base Hellcat, but that price could be justified considering what you will be getting.
Car and Driver has described it as one of the best-looking muscle cars of the decade. Aside from its obvious aesthetic appeal, the car has serious power under the hood. It comes with a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine which can produce up to 707HP. Buyers have the option of choosing between a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. The automatic comes highly recommended as it can finish the 0 to 60 race in 3.6 seconds.
1 Beautiful: Ford GT
The Ford GT was first introduced to the world in 2004. According to Wikipedia, the first concept version of the car was shown in 1995. The first generation heavily borrows from the GTO40 when it comes to the exterior design. The new GT is going to be the most expensive American car on the market, as the base price is set at $453,750.
It has all the makings of a hyper car even though it is an American brand. There were 4,038 units built between 2004 and 2006 and the car has already become a collectible even though it is less than 20 years old.
The new GT's production will be limited to 250 units a year which will continue its trend of being a rare vehicle. Some car enthusiasts are of the opinion that the price is not justified since the Lamborghini Huracan is faster- and $150,000 cheaper.
Sources: Wikipedia.org; caranddriver.com; topspeed.com