The Top Five Ugliest Grilles Ever

Ugly pig nose mask II

By David Boldt

At the dawn of the automotive era, grilles — and the radiators behind them — were awaiting the development of water cooling. Air was the only cooling medium at the time, and people, noting the lack of what is now a conventional grille, were making a much bigger fuss over the lack of a conventional horse. It was only later, with the advent of front engines cooled by water that the radiator moved ahead of the powertrain; in almost all cases an attractively sculpted grille provided both functional protection and brand identity.

In later years, grille structures were modified by rear engines (Volkswagen Beetle), midmounted engines (Porsche Boxster) and, much more recently, no engines (Nissan Leaf). Despite their growing importance in pickup trucks, grilles are often regarded as a design afterthought by the committees making such decisions. And while "ugly" is always in the eye of the beholder, we've assembled our Top 5 in this ugly contest. If you think you might own one, the time to turn away is now.

 

1) Ram ProMaster

ProMaster Design 2 II

Regrettably, in this listing there can be only one winner. Happily, that winner is essentially the undisputed champ. We know of nothing on the automotive landscape less happy than the front end of Chrysler/Fiat's new van. Born of Italy's popular Fiat Ducato, the Ram ProMaster seems to have received an extra injection of ugly in its transformation from pizza wagon to plumber's helper. If it was ours we could see but one solution: Spend your days driving in reverse.

 

2) Nissan NV

2012_nissan_nv_sr_03 II

For those of you enjoying the stylistic adventurism that is Nissan's 370Z Nismo Coupe or Infiniti FX50, know that no one responsible for those two design icons would have had anything to do with Nissan's NV. Designed with little more than a straight edge, the NV cargo/passenger van sits atop a modified Titan platform. If the design team had retained the Titan grille we might have avoided its inclusion — or at least its inclusion near the top of this list. Instead, this black mass rivals that of the Ford Econoline, but is even less integrated into the truck's stylistic — if you will — whole. It's a massive mess and perhaps the very best argument for having a front-end collision. Daily.

 

3) Mitsubishi Raider

Mitsubishi-Raider_DuroCross II

A re-skin of the relatively attractive Dodge Dakota, the Mitsu was wrong in so many ways. With an inept execution up front, the sheet metal never got better, remaining awkward from the truck's front clip, through the cab and back to the bed. Happily Mitsubishi dealers, then as now, were in relatively short supply, as were prospects for Mitsubishi's midsize pickup truck. Since its launch in 2006, we've seen three.

 

4) Ford Econoline

2008-ford-econoline-cargo-van II

We were torn between Ford's first Econoline (from the Kennedy/LBJ era), which essentially had no grille, and Ford's much more recent iteration, dating to its face-lift around 2003. Back in the day, the Econoline — like the F-Series — was really targeted toward the small business owner and not the soccer mom (soccer had not caught on yet). Functionality trumped style, and most of the Econoline's cooling needs could be met by a small inlet mounted beneath the front bumper. Almost 50 years later this solution doesn't look particularly attractive, but — to its credit — it was an integrated solution; with the late-model Econolines, not so much.

As with the Econoline's contemporaries at GM, revised collision standards collided with architectures dating back to Reagan (or was it Nixon?). To that end, the marriage between dated platforms and new front clips look like they come from the Jimmy Durante School of Design. For trucks that had previously done little to show their age, the addition of this black plastic mass was, both literally and figuratively, a slap in the face.

 

5) Early Dodge Ram

Dodge_ram-van-1500 II

What had at one time (during its 1971 launch) been a relatively attractive take on the domestic passenger/utility van ultimately lost its appeal when a revised front clip was added to a very nondescript grille. "To hell with elegance," the design team seemed to say, "It's a truck." And the designers probably had stopped caring roughly a decade earlier.

 

Comments

So many vehicles you can add to that list. In no particular order:

1 Mazda BT50, looks like it is smiling at you.
2 Acura ZDX
3 Pontiac Aztec
4 Lincoln MKX
5 Fiat Multipla
6 Ford Falcon Forte and Futura AU (1998)
7 Fisker Karma (moustache)
8 Subaru Tribeca
9 1958 Edsel
10 2014 Toyota Tundra

#1 Mitsubishi Raider
#2 Dodge Dakota 2005-2011
#3 Chevy full size 2003-2006
Every other ugly vehicle after these three.

I think just about all the newer current full size trucks have ugly grills, with the exception of the Ram. I disagree with number 5 above, doesn't look bad for a Van.

Worst grills currently on trucks

1.Chevrolet Silverado
2.Toyota Tundra (1794 is the worst)
3. Ford F-150 (Chrome versions)
4. Ford Econoline
5.Honda Ridgeline

Where is the SUPER DUTY?

I think the Super Duty is on the Front of the Econoline , same front end.

I thought the 2006 Chevy truck didn't look bad, it's everything afterward that does.

Fords van made the list, but not the Supper Duty trucks? They look just as ugly!

The Ram van #5 doesn't look bad, nor does the Raider.

Some of the 1990 Chevy trucks with single headlight were pretty ugly. The duel headlight helped a lot.

New 2015 Fords belong on the list.

Eh, 4 and 5 don't look too bad. The 2015 should have been on here though.

Full disclosure i am a Dodge/Ram fan, but having said that, I thought the Raider looked much better than the Dakota at the time. However, I though the last gen Dakota looked better.
I think all the vans on the list don't really deserve it. They are vans, and vans are pretty much boxes with rounded corners with seats in them. I really don't expect much style from full seize van. Function over beauty.

Yeah the 2014 and 2015 f150 should be on here.

My truck a BT50 has an ugly front end and a$$ end.

But surprisingly it adapted well to some makeup. A bullbar and driving lights has spruced up the looks of my vehicle quite nicely. A pretty truck seems to not take as well to bull bars and driving lights.

I think all of those oversized grilles are designed to save the manufacturer money in design and construction and appeal to the small tockly syndrome that seems to infect many of the pickup fraternity.

It doesn't matter what vehicle there is, a large grille destroys the looks of a vehicle, unless you can see it is warranted, ie, a Mack, Kenworth, etc.

Any part of a vehicle has to appear that it has some function or it wouldn't be there. Just adding animated crap like an un-functional overly large and animated grille appears the designers can't design to form, fit and function.

I'm hoping aerodynamics will come into play more with pickups. It's already appeared with real trucks and commercial vehicles.

@Big Al: I'm assuming you have Mitsubishi Tritons down by you. Man, are those thinks un-trucky. "Bubble" is the first word that comes to mind when I see them.

#5, the Ram Van, is actually one of the better looking front ends on a van that was introduced during the Nixon administration.

What about the brand new Mustang "guppy" mouth?? It's a close challenge to the Edsel!

The current gen Ram grille should be number 1, that thing is hideous, and they made it worse by copying the tapered bar design that Ford uses, speaking of which the new Canyon grille is a bastardized Ford grille.

As classy as Mid-fifties GMC's had been with their chrome Dagmars, the late fifties with the "fleet" package went completely the other way. Most unattractive IMHO.

The old Subaru Tribeca (the one that looked like an Edsel) is the number one, two and three most ugliest ever.

Even the Edsel wasn't that ugly, not to mention that the Edsel had some honkin' V8 firepower under the hood too.

Van's in general are goofy looking. Nissan should have learned from the Chevy Uplander. You can't blend truck and van, it just doesn't work!

@Toycrusher, never forget that some of the most beautiful cars, trucks ever built were panel trucks, panel wagons, station wagons. Even the Ford Bronco was a lovely thing, but it too was half truck half station wagon.

@Snapdragon McFisticuff
I don't really judge the overall performance of a vehicle by it's looks.

If you feel inferior because of the way a vehicle appears you could be deemed superficial (this sentence isn't directed at you, but a generalisation that could pertain to most any consumer purchase).

The Triton did look quite polarising when it was released. So did my BT50. We seem to have more of a variety of looks in our pickups. The US has a very 'cloned' look with the big grilles.

But as work vehicles they appear to do quite well.

Trends and visual appearances of cars will constantly change. As better FE is demanded and different materials are used for vehicles, like the aluminium F-150 style will change and evolve to suit.

Look's only affect sales, as does vehicle performance.

The 2015 F-150 should be on this list. Don't forget about the 2014 Super Duty, which is fugly also. The grille on the Nissan NV looks like one off of a 2000's Ranger.

Big Al--I am not a big fan of the big rig grills with lots of chrome. I just as soon have a smaller grill with less chrome. Actually just make the fronts more aerodynamic. The only grill that is really ugly in this article is the Fiat/Ram van in the first picture which reminds me of something out of the "Cars" movie but how many commercial buyers really care what the grill looks like as long as the van meets their purposes.

Those Chinese eyed silverados should have topped the list along with the current models. I've never seen such ugly trucks in my life. I have to turn my head when I see one of these. I thought the fiat was an ugly truck but gm has em beat, but not by much. Call the FORDs ugly if you want but they sure sell the hell outta them.

Hey, you guys forgot about the Mahindras! Especially the Scorpio SUV and Pik-up. And the first generation Great Wall Wingle/Steed/V-Series pickup definitely is no breath of fresh air, either.

2011-up Super Duty. The black one on the base model trucks.

I've said this here before as has Lou. 2003-2006 Chevrolet Silverado's with it's angry Chinaman slant eyed pointy snout is on par with the Promaster. (Well, almost). I think this is the era where Silverado's status really went downhill as a result and fast. Especially compared to what Ford came out with in 2004 to battle against. It should easily be #2 fighting it out with Nissan on this list. They got better with the 07 redesign but it had problems of it's own. The GMC's from 03-13 were far better looking keeping the classic Chevrolet look.

The Econoline is ok but the chromed Express is far better. I don't think the Ram van is bad , just 90's blah.

Almost every work van ever aint pretty. If you wanna stick to pickups thats easy undisputed winner is the last gen Tundra easily the ugliest pickup truck front end ever.

What a person finds attractive is highly subjective. I do agree that the ProMaster is ugly but I do suspect that ugly proboscis improves aerodynamics quite a bit.

Aztec should me top of Any ugly list!

Can't beet the 1992 Ford Crown Victoria, it had not grill
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/594/3801/26484400003_large.jpg?v=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_F-550_Super_Duty_(Sterling_Ford).JPG Gota be one of the ugliest front ends Ive ever seen.

@FordTrucks1
@Truck crazy

Don't be ignorant and lay off the racist crap or I'll make a comment about the colour of your necks.

FORD SUPER DUTY should be number one!!!

Ford SuperDuty is #1 in ugliness.

Well I certainly agree that the ProMaster has an ugly front/grill. In all fairness though, I don't think anyone here goes around looking at vans expecting to see a stunning design. Like has been mentioned, vans aren't meant to have killer looks.

As, an interesting side note, apparently the Ford E-Series vans 75-91' nose was the design influence for the Ranger and Bronco II nose. Quote from wikipedia article:
"Although the 1986 Aerostar minivan would introduce styling far different from the Econoline, the basic styling of the full-size van would heavily influence the Ford Ranger (and its SUV offspring, the Ford Bronco II)." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Econoline)

Lastly, I really question the use of a pig snout for this article. Not too long ago there was a troll coming around here saying stuff like "oink oink, miss piggy was the design inspiration for the Ram", trying to mess with us Ram guys. I sincerely hope PUTC put up that picture in good faith, not as a means to stir up the trolling again. The thing about the whole situation is us commentators can do our part to abstain from the trolling, but it has to go both ways and that includes the staff of PUTC. Someone has to set the example here. Who's it gonna be?

We have our Gold, Silver and Bronze winners on the podiums.
1. 14+ 1794 Tundra (I need not explain)
2. 11+ Super Duty (Even though it is not part of the grill the silver medal was secured by those disturbing dually fender flares.)
3. 07-13 2nd Gen Tundra (Rock Warrior and TRD Sport excluded)

Honorable Mention
2015 F150 (You took on some of the 07 and 14 Tundra aerodynamic features of a hood with a raised curving slope from windshield to the grill. With the grill that sticking out further than the headlights. Ford did it a little better than the 1794 Tundra and Most 2nd Gen Tundra models.)

My 5 worst would be 2013 Lincoln Navigator and MKH,2014 Jeep Cherokee,2013 Toyota Tacoma and 2013 Ford Super Duty.

Come on, none of those even make the list. Try a 1960 GMC. I know there even uglier ones. Check out USSR trucks. Your list is a beauty parade. Try again.

Have you guys noticed that actually the 2015 F150 grill resembles a lot the Pig Nose (those upper cut corners make it look round just like the hog snout)

@ cdnmark, call us what you want, but a racist no. Where did you get that from? I guess your ignorance shows what you are. I need go no further, stupid.

Yes, the current Ram grill should be number #1. Not only does it have the trademark "pig snout" oink oink, but it has a forward reverse slant to it. Talk about double yuck! Now, forward thrusting front grill themes might have looked innovative during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, it looks downright ugly on a modern day vehicle.

Just when you thought Toyota couldn't make the Tundra any fuglier, they out do themselves and create the '14 design disaster update which sets a new record for fugly. A mishmash of old and new combined into one rather unattractive overdone overwrought package.

The '14 Silverado would look a lot better if it had some front hood edge in the front. The current design has the top of the grill reaching up to the top of the hood line giving it an unfinished "not quite right" appearance.

The only good looking F-150 grill and front end is the one on the special edition Raptor. The '15 looks like two design teams did the truck. One design team that did it from the firewall on back and another one that did it from the firewall on forward.

Ram has the nicest looking grill, it flows well with the truck and isn't ridiculous looking, most people would agree even if they don't like Rams.

The Toyota Tundra, and especially the higher trim levels, should be at the top of this list.

Gawd those trucks are ugly.

If you do the "ugliest rear end" then the Toyota Tundra stepside trucks from several years ago should be #1.

Big Al, you could probably shape a half-ton like a Porsche at the front if you wanted to, but you couldn't do it to a Super Duty because of the size of the radiator, unless you made the hood/bonnet longer. That would be ridiculous. It also makes parking them a lot more difficult when they slope down out of your visibility, so I kind of like them the way they are. Interesting thing about drag coefficients and appearance, the 2007 Tahoe has a lower drag coefficient than the Porsche Cayenne, even though the Porsche has the rounded looks and is smaller. Granted the Tahoe isn't the toughest looking truck on the road.

@Alex
The size of the radiator??

I wonder how they can cool a 6.2 in a Holden ute?

Alex, really.

@Truck crazy

"Those Chinese eyed silverados"....?

Maybe racist is a bit harsh, but that is definitely an ignorant statement.

@ big Al
I wonder hold long it would take the "Holden ute" to over heat with a 8 foot plow attached to the front end pushing snow all night....yes the size of the radiator or as much air you can get to it.
come on Al

@Big Rad
Yeah, so what's the outside temp when using a big snow plow?

The grille size on US pickups has little to do with cooling.

@Big Rad
Yeah, so what's the outside temp when using a big snow plow?

The grille size on US pickups has little to do with cooling.

lol a Holden ute having as big of a radiator as a Super Duty or Ram 3500! That's funny! Their radiators are more inline with a Camaro. You have obviously never popped the hood of a Super Duty! There is no way that radiator will fit inside a car engine bay. You must have some visual perception problems if you think otherwise!

Just looked it up. Commodore V8s have about a 17'' radiator height (similar to the Camaro), a 2008 Super Duty has a 31.4'' radiator height. Do you still have thoughts that you can slap a Commodore nose on a Super Duty? Still believe it's not for cooling? But you can pull a 20,000 lb pound trailer up what TFL Truck calls "The Ike Gauntlet" with a car radiator! Also engines don't need cooling for plowing snow! The snow is cold enough to keep the engine cold! LOL!

The series "Breaking Bad" made the Aztec cool. Walter White though did step up to a Chrysler 300.



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