The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All Time

Every few years, carmakers try and give their cars a bit of a facelift to keep them fresh. Jalopnik readers know ten operations that turned out botched.

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The key distinction here is that we're talking about mid-cycle refreshes, not whole generation changes. These pairings are all basically the same car underneath, just with the outsides beaten with an ugly stick.

Many of us desperately wanted to point out that the US-market second generation Ford Focus looked like an abomination compared to its international, handsome predecessor, but the change was more than just a facelift.

Having said that, are there any appalling mid-cycle refreshes that we forgot about? Let us know in Kinja below.

Photo Credit: Old Car Brochures


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

10.) 2000 Hyundai Tiburon

Hyundai's late ‘90s Tiburon was a handsome, if boring, sporty coupe that somehow got turned into an insect-eyed monstrosity for its 2000 refresh. It looks like it came out of a black lagoon.

Suggested By: Salmanorguk2, Photo Credit: Hyundai


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

9.) The Last Pontiac Sunfire

While the '95-'02 Pontiac Sunfire wasn't the prettiest car around, somehow Pontiac made the car ugly to scare children with its final 2003 refresh. How was it even possible to go from bad to so much worse?

Suggested By: evoCS, Photo Credit: evoCS


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

8.) 1978 AMC Pacer

The AMC Pacer is often criticized as one of the ugliest cars ever made, but we kind of appreciate the clean, modern lines of the '75-'77 original version, especially up front. AMC managed to screw that up, giving the car something between a Burt Reynolds mustache and a weird lip on its 1978 update.

Suggested By: Jonee, Photo Credit: Alden Jewell and Old Car Brochures


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

7.) 1974 Chevy Camaro

Most gearheads idolize the '67-'69 Camaro as the prettiest generation of Chevy's pony car. They are wrong and don't let anyone tell you different.

The most beautiful Camaro was the 1970-'73 car, which looked so good Pininfarina praised the design. Naturally, Chevy screwed it up with a half-assed attempt at integrating the huge, newly-regulated 5 mph bumpers. It was all downhill after that.

Suggested By: Jimal, Photo Credit: Chevrolet


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

6.) 2009 Acura RL

The 2005-2008 Acura RL may not have been the most groundbreaking design, but it was handsome and conservative. Acura then decided that their cars were too conservative, so they gussied up the RL with heavy headlights and the infamous beak. Ugh.

Suggested By: sellphones2493, Photo Credit: Acura


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

5.) Fiat Multipla

The '98-'03 Multipla was a car so outstandingly ugly, that your eyes were bludgeoned into liking it. It may have looked like it had a disease, but it had a funky thing going for it. Fiat got scared and in 2004 they neutered the look, making it just a bland six-seater.

Suggested By: fintail, Photo Credit: Fiat


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

4.) Blobeye Subaru WRX and STI

Continuing our theme of ugly cars going from bad to worse, the old Corolla-esque Bugeye Impreza got no kind words in the media, so Subaru backtracked and made the ‘Blobeye.' Now we look back on the bugeye as charming and the blobeye as just dull.

Suggested By: HammerheadFistpuncher, Photo Credit: Subaru


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

3.) 2007-2009 Jaguar XJ

The 2003-2007 Jaguar XJ was an expertly retro, aluminum chassis update to the classic XJ shape. Then, in the end of '07, Jaguar grafted a gaping parrot fish mouth onto the front end. Yech.

Suggested By: BigHarv, Photo Credit: Jaguar


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

2.) Ford Five Hundred to Taurus

The '05-'07 Five Hundred was a boring car, but at least it was vaguely handsome with Audi A6-lookalike proportions. For the '08 year Ford tried to do two things right: They gave it the name it deserved (Taurus) and attempted to bring the car up to date with its European ‘Kinetic' styling. It ended up just looking like they stuck a razor on the front end.

Suggested By: Ash78, Photo Credit: Ford


The Ten Worst Automotive Facelifts Of All TimeS

1.) The 1955 Studebakers

The early ‘50s Studebakers were some of the most beautiful, restrained American cars ever made, with styling that rivaled the best from France and Italy. But then Studebaker realized the only way to more sales was chrome chrome CHROME, so they dipped the whole front end in the shiny stuff. They ruined a classic.

Suggested By: Hawk-GT, Photo Credit: Alden Jewell and Old Car Brochures