QOTD: Would the Pontiac Aztek Be Successful In 2017?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
qotd would the pontiac aztek be successful in 2017

The Pontiac Aztek was widely regarded upon its 2000 debut as one of the ugliest new vehicles to ever set wheel on pavement. Between 2000 and the last sales trickle in 2007, General Motors sold just under 120,000 Azteks in the United States.

Americans were admittedly gung-ho for SUVs in the early part of this century, but not to the extent they are now. In 2002, for instance, when Aztek sales peaked, passenger cars still accounted for nearly half of all new vehicle sales. They account for just 37 percent now.

2017, not 2002, is the time for SUVs and crossovers. And while we’re not advocating for the return of the Pontiac Aztek, we wonder whether the Aztek would be far more successful now than it was then, and not just because everybody and their dog is now choosing an SUV/crossover instead of a car.

No, we wonder whether the Aztek would succeed in 2017 because, to be frank, there are already a wide variety of decidedly unattractive SUVs selling rather well today.

The Lexus NX is no conventional beauty, but Lexus sold twice as many NXs in 2016 as Pontiac sold Azteks at the Aztek’s peak: 27,793 units in 2002.

In fact, last year, 59 different SUV/crossover nameplates produced more U.S. sales than the Aztek did when it was at its most successful point. And in that mix of 59, there are surely some others that aren’t among the planet’s most attractive vehicles, subjectively speaking.

Forget style, there are many SUVs/crossovers selling more often now than the Aztek did then that are old (Ford Expedition, Dodge Journey), or expensive (Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GLS), or discontinued (Jeep Patriot), or about to be replaced (Volkswagen Tiguan), or undersized (Buick Encore).

Perhaps the Pontiac Aztek was simply ahead of its time. American consumers are now willing to fork over significant sums of money for a BMW X4, Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, Lexus LX570, and Maserati Levante.

Could the Pontiac Aztek, immensely practical and entirely avantgarde, be just what GM’s doctor ordered in 2017?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @timcaingcbc.

Join the conversation
2 of 80 comments
  • Durishin Durishin on Apr 23, 2017

    If the tent qualifies as a "safe space," ABSOLUTELY!

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on May 01, 2017

    Really, I think the biggest problem with the ugly is the way the front clip looks like it has four eyes and two noses. The positioning does too much to mess with the human brain's facial recognition cues, at least in photos. There was a little of that in the concept but the production version turned it up to 11. As to the tupperware interior comments, I would think that in a vehicle like this that would be a feature, not a bug. When I picked up a used Chrysler Pacifica I felt that way about the rear interior until my kid used the center console as a stepstool and I realized it was quite easy to clean.

  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that
  • John Williams Sounds like a Burnout Special you can put together on any 5.0 F150. Whoever said this was Cars and Coffee bait is right on the money.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 (  Bronze or  Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the  Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
  • Scott "It may not be the ideal hauler to take the clan cross-country to Wally World considering range anxiety "Range Anxiety is a chosen term that conceals as much as it discloses. You don't care about range that much if you can recharge quickly and current BV's (battery vehicles) can't, no matter how good the chargers are. From what I've been reading it is likely that within 5 years there will be batteries in cars, most likely Tesla's, that can charge fast enough with no harm to the batteries to satisfy all of us with no need to increase range beyond a real world 300-ish miles.And that's when I buy one.
  • Charles I had one and loved it . Seated 7 people . Easy to park , great van