QOTD: Automotive Face Lifts Gone Wrong?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Face lifts are a tricky balancing act when it comes to automobiles. A well-done lift can enhance looks while bringing youth or perhaps modernity to what was previously dated. But taken too far, results can end up cartoony, or even grotesque. We got a small dose of this particular topic recently on a Question of the Day post that covered bad Nineties sports car design from America. Specifically, we took a look at how Ford altered the appearance of the Mercury Cougar four times over its last few years as a personal luxury coupe. Today, we are all about face lifts and how they can go wrong.

The better examples will blend into your memory as something that was notable and yet also forgettable; that’s how mild redesigns are supposed to be. There’s a face lift that stands out to yours truly in a bad way:

It was a modification on the third generation Range Rover. When the new L322 Range Rover succeeded the P38 for the 2003 model year in North America, it brought with it good looks of slab-sided modernity, and a size more befitting its price and competition when compared to its smaller predecessor. But Range Rover has always been known for long product cycles, so numerous adjustments were made over the years. The first couple in 2005 and 2007 were subtle enough, but in 2010 things got radical. Here’s the result:

Gills on the sides increased in size, headlamps sprouted LED growths, the grille adopted a Gillette look, and everything became a bit too detailed (fiddly, in British English). Things got worse from there via more adjustments and additional trims, until the brand new model was introduced in 2013. What are your selections for facelift ruination in the automotive sector?

[Images: Land Rover]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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3 of 59 comments
  • Ebtx66 Ebtx66 on Nov 01, 2019

    I’m not a big fan of the 5th generation Civic Type R over the previous generation but my vote for absolute worse was the 3rd generation Taurus. That thing was hideous.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Nov 06, 2019

    Would it be fair to have a question of the day regarding twins badged separately? I often find that I have a strong preference for one over the other. For example the original Vibe looks better than the original Matrix, but the facelifted Matrix looks better than the facelifted Vibe. The thrust of the question wouldn't necessarily have to be about facelift, but about which looks better. Cavalier/Sunfire Matrix/Vibe Prism/Corolla Nova/Corolla

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 06, 2019

      (Corey - minor point - if there is another facelift article we might want to define terms - facelift and major model are two different things... many understand but perhaps not all.)

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.