By on April 29, 2020

We continue our conversation on automotive design from the recently ended 2010s this week. Prior installments in this series have covered the best and worst affordable SUVs and CUVs, and last week, the best of the not so affordable.

In today’s entry, we’ll discuss the worst upscale 2010s designs to ever grace the driveways of North America.

Our guidelines are much the same as last week’s entry. Consideration may only be given to production vehicles, so concepts and one-off West Coast Customs designs are off-limits. We’re only considering model years 2010 to 2019. And no bargain basement stuff: When new, your selections must have cost more than $48,000.

It took me all of 1.5 minutes to pick a big, expensive, hideous design for today:

2019 Lexus LX 570 articulation

Look at that big-time flex. Is that like a four-door Wrangler with a vaping bro inside? No, it’s a Lexus LX 570. The largest and most expensive SUV Lexus has ever offered is also the ugliest. You’ll notice I’m using present tense while speaking about a vehicle from the prior decade. And that’s because this design is (unfortunately) still with us today. More on that in a moment.

Lexus began offering a slightly more leathered version of the J80 series Land Cruiser back in 1996 as the LX 450. They did the same again in 1998, when the model received the V8 it needed and was renamed LX 470. The second generation lived a full 10 years before it was replaced by the third generation. In 2008 gen three received more V8, and was christened LX 570.

The first version of the third generation was just fine, albeit not as stately as the second generation model. Its first visual rework occurred for 2013, and things started to go downhill. The idea of a spindle grille was introduced, but not executed fully… yet.

While marginal, the refreshed LX was much more acceptable than what arrived in 2016. For its ninth birthday, the LX was reworked into the monstrosity seen above. A full-height spindle grille ruined the visage. The rear was also redone, with decreased visibility via a smaller and sharper window design at the D-pillar. Rear lamps also grew more aggressive lenses, and were shorter but spread over more of the tailgate.

All in all, a terrible adaptation of a design scheme which was meant for much smaller vehicles. Though the spindle grille ruins most things it touches, the LX is especially egregious. Easily one of the worst upscale ($91,000) designs of the 2010s.

What’s your selection?

[Images: Jaguar-Land Rover, Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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52 Comments on “QOTD: Worst Upscale SUV Design of the 2010s?...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    There are so many ugly one-off megabuck SUVs that can be chosen, I decided to go with an actual production SUV, the Rolls Royce Cullinan. Not only is it ungainly it also has no purpose other then showing the world that you have money to burn and no taste

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/IeZ1bDcKTdE/maxresdefault.jpg

    Good topic, Corey, lots of good choices

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Well…Corey and Lie2Me took my two, but I think I have a third card to play…Bentley Bentayga. Another in the line of the “More Money than Common Sense” line of vehicles. Let’s punch and pull a Continental up and out, graft on some truly awful fender flares and other cliched styling cues, pork it up by, what, 1000 pounds more, and call it a day.

    I don’t get it. And I don’t think I’m alone because (and I don’t live in filthy rich car capitals any longer) I’ve only seen one out in the wild in my slice of flyover country. It didn’t look better in person.

    But that LX570 wins, hands down. Pray the designer who had to graft that front onto what was an attractive design had to do it at gunpoint or doesn’t work at Toyota/Lexus any longer.

    And now I can play my X6 card from last time as well! Dear Lord…no. What hath Hell wrought?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I actually parked next to a Bentayga the other day and was able to get my first really good look at it. Outside of a beautiful black cherry paint job it was rather unimpressive, about the same size and scale as a Jeep Grand Cherokee. I was really disappointed :(

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I mean, if. you consider that it’s on the same platform as Volkswagen Group’s other midsize overlanders (Touareg, Q7, Q8, Cayenne, Cayenne Coupe and Urus), it makes sense. Whereas the Cullinan is on a bespoke Rolls-Royce architecture (shared with the Phantom) and so has impressive proportions, even if it’s really no bigger than a Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      “Let’s punch and pull a [car] up and out, graft on some truly awful fender flares and other cliched styling cues, pork it up by, what, 1000 pounds more, and call it a day. ”

      Can be said about every CUV/SUV based on a car.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        I was in London last June.
        Those Bentaynga thingies are all over. I was shocked.

        #2- Why is that Lexus (pictured) have it s front right up on the curb? Lets take this a little further, why would someone use that picture??? I dont get it.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m pretty upset that you picked the X6.

      Why? It should have been in the article. If not the article, the very first post. The fact that it took as long as it did is appalling.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    There’s an LX570 in my neighborhood that is robin’s egg blue. It’s an, eh, interesting color choice on such an ungainly vehicle.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I could have sworn we did this one already because I know I nominated the Range Rover Evoque convertible.

    Maybe that was for some other “worst of” list, the vehicle qualifies for so many.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I just want to point out visibility after the LX 570 2016 refresh is the same, because Lexus/Toyota did not actually change the shape of the window openings. They just stuck glass over black sheet metal to change the window line shape (the pricey version of fake black plastic “windows”).

  • avatar

    Lincoln MKT. Just awful, especially the earlier versions with the baleen whale grille.

  • avatar

    You aren’t even close. My son owns the older version of this truck, without the gaping grill (given to him by his grandparents they run forever). But there are way worse. In fact, the two that top my list are probably the most expensive. The Bentley Bentayga (also in the running for worst name ever) https://www.gocars.org/for-sale-view-41770/2019-bentley-bentayga-in-new-york-new-york-10019 and the Rolls Royce Cullinan https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a29622365/2019-rolls-royce-cullinan-by-the-numbers/ are horrible.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Before I even clicked open I was thinking of the LX570. I’m sure a fine vehicle but it is one where it just doesn’t flow right and looks like they took a boring vehicle (land cruiser) and stuck on a grill that doesn’t match.

    The Bentley also came to mind. For costing so much money it sure does look cheap and ungainly.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    How about one that is “ugly” from a marketing standpoint. Even as it is a sales success, the Caddy Escalade is obviously just a blinged up Suburban. It is almost as if Cadillac is a trim level rather than a different supposed brand.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Infiniti QX56 and QX80. Just overwrought. The first generation looked like a bloated Nash Rambler wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Lol, I always liked the 1st gen QXs. I made up a scenario of Batman settling down with a wife a kids in his suburban Batcave driving one of these along with the 1st gen QX-70 :)

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I do like the first generation Infiniti FX. Aka the bionic cheetah. The FX45 with the V8 is very muscle car like. The second generation FX, later renamed QX70 looked odd with the elongated proboscis and canted headlights like a 59 Buick.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    You are all wrong. The LX570 may be ugly, especially with the spindle grille, but nothing can hold a candle to the “special” beluga whale look of the 2011-2017 Infiniti QX56/QX80. The placement of headlights below the grille center – combined with a curved hood – made for a comical, goofy front design that was a rolling joke, especially on a vehicle so large. Every single angle on this SUV is woefully ungainly and mismatched with the rest of the design. The misery even continues to the interior, where a solid slab of buttons faces the driver and passenger from the center stack, graced with faux wood trim.

    The front end was trimmed up in 2017, but it honestly didnt make that much of a difference – but you can call it “better”…

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      They put an 8 liter in that thing?!

      No, I realize the naming convention change at that time, I just always think of Infiniti utility vehicles as “Q-by-” whatever ever since the original Pathfinder-based Qx4. (best wheels ever!) Everything else had a 4×4 badge on it, so it seemed to make sense. Then they switched to engine size monikers (Q-by-30, Q-by-45) and that all makes the Q-by-80 seem a lot more wasteful and nose-heavy than it actually is.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      +1

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Since everyone else has already bagged on the usual (obvious) subjects – Bentayga, LX570, Cullinan – I’ll nominate the BMW X7.

    Worst plastic face-job since Jennifer Grey.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’ve gotta agree with SSJeep. The 2016+ LX 570 is bad, but the QX56/QX80 is worse.

    Having said that, as a former 2011 LX 570 owner, I want to bag on two more bad aspects of the 2016. The first is that the spindle grille fascia cuts into approach angle quite a lot and is easy to get hung up on things off-road, so it affects function as well as looks. The second is that Lexus decided to go with a horrendous Rimz On Layaway 21″ wheel design that is on the majority of the trucks out there. (The one you pictured has the much more civilized base 20s.)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I actually kind of like the giant Infiniti SUV.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Really, the Lexus? Terrible opinion to have when the bentayga and range rover velour exist.

  • avatar
    luni

    The Answer is the Lexus LX 570. I don’t know of anyone that wasn’t already a Toyota loyalist (there are alot of them) that would even look at one of those cars. That grille is… ugly, i’m just going to say ugly.

    At least with the Rolls-Royce or Bentley, they look like SUVs that cost more than six figures. That Lexus is overpriced just be looks alone.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    2 spring to mind – the oddball roofline on the big Infiniti and of course the hideous Lexus front ends.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Infiniti the worst, closely followed by that Lexus. Their CUVs follow suit.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Why is there a picture of a Range Rover? From where I’m sitting I don’t think they make an ugly car.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    These picks are hard to top.
    While not nearly as blatantly hideous as the lx570, I think the latest Range Rover Sport deserves a mention. A large greenhouse with good visibility is the only redeeming feature of the segment, yet JLR squashed the roof.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I don’t know anything about this segment, so when I saw the title, I thought Escalade. Then I saw the LX 570 pic and figured that had to be the worst. Until I looked up the Cullinan, and the Bentayga, and the QX56/80. I’ll just call it a four-way tie so they can each have a trophy.

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