It was voted the ugliest car in the world and the only debate was if the Fiat Multipla was uglier than the Pontiac Aztek. But on the U.S. soil, it was the ugliest car ever, hands down!
The Aztek was might be considered a harsh example of a car designed by the “form-follow-function” concept. The marketing department placed the requests based on marketing studies, the engineers put the elements together and the designers connected the dots. And the result was named SRV – Sports Recreational Vehicle.
Without looking at the Aztek, a car that could fit five adults, go camping, use the tailgate as the roof for the tent, and have better comfort than your neighbor who sleeps on the grass-level should have been fun. Moreover, it was good for city driving, for those weekend shopping session at Walmart and going to a movie in the evening. But not with that design like a shoebox with headlights and a raked tailgate that was split-opened with the glass upward and the rear panel downward.
Inside, the Aztek featured a car-like dashboard design with rounded shapes for the instrument cluster, in total contrast with the shape of the bodywork. The center console looked taken from a sedan and the center stack from the Pontiac Montana minivan. In the back, the rear seats could have been folded and removed releasing a huge cargo area. On the interior panels in the trunk, the Aztek was fitted with speakers and volume knobs, for an open-air party. The lowered part of the tailgate could have been used as a seat, with cupholders molded in it.
Despite its huge advantages of a recreational vehicle, the exterior design with its air-dam into the hood and angular surfaces scared the buyers. Interestingly though, the car scored high scores in satisfaction criteria for those who bought it.