There comes a point in every car’s life when the manufacturer decides it needs to spruce things up. The result is the routine “mid-cycle refresh” — a nip-and-tuck that puts a new face on an old design the car wasn’t proportionally built to have in the first place. Few redesigns in this vein turn out well.
Today we want to know which cars you think are the worst offenders.
Redesigns happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, automakers attempt to modernize desperately aging vehicles, bringing older cars visually in line with newer members of the roster. A good example of this is the refreshed Ford Focus that emerged in 2008 — a car mechanically similar to the original and timeless New Edge-styled model, only festooned with incongruous ridges and that Gillette razor grille the Blue Oval was infatuated with in the late aughts. This was also the impetus behind that godawful Mazda guppy mouth that ruined the NC Miata and RX-8 late in those cars’ lives.
Personally, though, the redesigns that offend me the most are those that neuter daring, controversial statements. While it’s not necessarily the worst example of this phenomenon, here I’m reminded of the latest Jeep Cherokee refresh, which opted for a more conventional front fascia after the original design split the headlight assembly into upper LEDs and lower projectors. I don’t know if that look was aesthetically superior to the post-facelift mug, but hey — at least it was weird and you noticed it, which is more than can be said about most crossovers.
All this is leading up to what, in my opinion, is one of the most egregious examples of an automaker cowardly snuffing out the pulse of its design department. The Chris Bangle era of BMW design gets far more hate than it deserves, and the recipient of the bulk of it — the E65 7 Series — was a valiant effort to thrust the luxury marque into the future and reject any temptation to rest on its earlier design successes. The E65's unique scalloped headlights and contentious decklid treatment were absolutely eviscerated by old heads though, and so the post-refresh version is depressing by virtue of its utter gutlessness.
I expect to get some flak for dying on the Bangle hill; while that happens, why not share your candidate for worst automotive redesign or refresh?
Which freshening or redesign represents the worst bungle by an automaker?