Design Essay: The Strange Allure of Ugliness

2003 Porsche Cayenne

Are tastes changing, or is taste simply disappearing? We try not to cover our eyes…

In recent times however, a marked change seems to have occurred, in that a grotesque appearance doesn’t seem to be quite the curse it once was. Whereas the unseemly conveyances of the past were for the most part condemned to commercial failure and social ignominy, many of today’s automotive success stories are, by contrast, conspicuously uneasy on the eye.

How exactly does a car almost universally derided upon launch, in large part due to its bloated and piggish appearance, go on to not only propel its once-beleaguered maker into the commercial stratosphere, but to turbocharge a premium SUV revolution which swept the entire industry?

We’re glad you’re enjoying Car Design News

To continue reading this article and others like it SIGN-IN or SUBSCRIBE TODAY

For a one-time only 30 DAY FREE TRIAL REGISTER HERE

This article is available to CDN subscribers only
SUBSCRIBE TODAY to gain full access

CDN Comp Tablet phone image2

The benefits of your subscription include:

Access to motor show and concours coverage, trend and technology reports, design reviews of new and classic concept and production cars, exclusive interviews, regional reports, who’s where, design essays, career resources, design competitions, regular newsletter updates PLUS comprehensive degree show reports from the world’s leading design schools, the CDN archive of sketches, images and articles spanning 20 years of coverage.


An online subscription also gains you access to exclusive designer interviews from our annual Car Design Review yearbook, and access to exclusive interior design reviews from Interior Motives magazine. You can also receive Interior Motives in print through our online + print subscription, or buy individual copies of Interior Motives and Car Design Review.


Fees start from £55/€60/$70. Packages available for students, individuals, schools and corporates.

cdn-newspress-award-banner      cdn-newspress-award-banner

Gain full access to subscribe today

For a one-time only 30 DAY FREE TRIAL REGISTER HERE

ALREADY SUBSCRIBED - Individual, Studio, Student or School

You now need to register your details and sign-in for full access to

here