The last example of an automotive mudge that we looked at was the Ssang Yong Rodius of 2004. In comparison with the 2001 Pontiac Aztek, it’s almost good.
As part of some other research I did a visual analysis of the Aztek. The quintet shows the car as it is, the vertically stacked confusion, the two conflicting themes and a detail look at the shutline horror at the front. An interview I found with Bob Lutz revealed that prior to the Aztek GM had decided to ensure 40% of their cars were innovative. Without needing a degree in philosophy you can see how this kind of planned spontaneity is self-contradicting.
Here is the side view. The lower white arrows point to an attempt to make the Aztek look as if it has great approach angles. Instead those bumpers seem to hang extra low. The green lines show two slightly different window lines. The upper white arrow shows a frail little strip of body colour. The wheel arches are different front to back. And the shut lines for the wheel arch cladding distract from the vague flaring of said cladding.
Note the slight droop of the rear panel between the lights. The lights have a horizontal cut but as the line turns the corner a downward curve sets in. Here is a mild rework showing that small changes could have saved it. I think the rear wheel arch flair is still wrong in my version. It’s organic and sweeping while the front is square and not sweeping.
The rear wheel arch cladding is constrained by the fuel filler hole and should be higher and look exactly like the front. Both should be changed at the same time. These are the sorts of changes you would identify in a half an hour and might take six months to implement. Was the Aztek rushed? It would seem so. I was not able to change the rear bumper. It needs to be entirely revised and the tailpipe tucked away.
So, what is it we experience aesthetically when looking at this? Is it because we know it could have been otherwise that makes it so offensive?