What’s The Ugliest But Most Fun To Drive Car?

They say not to judge a book by its cover, and today’s question of the day seeks to prove that point. Race teams are fond of saying that a car that look fast often is, but I’m not sure that our gut instinct for design is that good.

For example, consider the Kammback, a sudden stop at the end of a car that (when done right) can make it more slippery through the air than an ill-designed, but more elegant long tail. Or the Gurney flap, a small vertical tab on a wing that somehow makes it work better? That makes no visual sense to me.

My point is that just because a car looks fast or, more to the point, good, doesn’t mean that it is. And just because a car looks weird, doesn’t mean that it can’t be fast or, more importantly, fun to drive.

Read: Tesla Engineers Were So Dismayed By Cybertruck’s Design That They Tried To Make Their Own

Although the first-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata’s reputation has now been fully rehabilitated, I distinctly remember a time when its soft edges, its gently smiling face, and its little engine earned it the reputation of “chick car,” and made it much maligned among enthusiasts, despite the fact that it was clearly a blast to drive. While I concede that it may be considered comely by today’s standards, it’s a fine example of how looks don’t always relate to experience.

More controversially, I would argue that the third-generation Miata’s attempts to look like a bar of soap don’t make it particularly attractive. I’d still love to have one in my garage, though. Less controversially, the Mini Coupe was an ill-conceived attempt to turn random word association into a car, and resulted in a truly dumb-looking product. And yet, it was based on a Mini, which meant that it was fun to drive.

Come to think of it, England’s automotive industry has quite a few crimes to answer for. Despite being a two-door sports car, the Triumph TR7 and TR8 are legendarily ugly cars, but are allegedly fun to drive (though I admit I’ve never been behind the wheel of one, so I can’t verify that).

A vehicle doesn’t have to be sporty to be fun, though. Because of its place in the Jeep lineup, the Cherokee has to be off-road-ready. Having driven one around Moab, I can tell you that it’s a surprisingly capable little off-roader in its most hardcore trim. And having looked at one, I can also tell you that it ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.

What do you think, though? What car is a lot of fun to drive despite being widely (or personally) considered as ugly? Let us know in the comments.

 What’s The Ugliest But Most Fun To Drive Car?


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