Why do Saturn cars look so damn weird?

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Saturn consistently puts out cars with weird, lopsided angles and lines. It’s not just me - a girl I know who OWNS a Saturn thinks it looks ugly and somehow “off” , and that most Saturns look that way.

This isn’t really a matter of opinion. You can’t contest that there is something unconventional and somehow not normal about the style of Saturn cars. It’s the angles and curves…they just don’t look symmetrical and “straight,” the way most cars do.

Saturn SL2

Saturn Vue

Saturn Ion

From all I’ve heard, Saturns are reliable, and usually a good deal. But I’m all about aesthetics, and I just don’t get the aesthetics of this particular company. Do they have Martians or Frank Gehry working in their style department? Why do their cars all look so damn WEIRD?!?!

Saturn, if you’ll recall, was GM’s effort to rebuild their image, and to do this, they wanted to produce a car that was different looking and would appeal to people who normally shied away from GM cars. Supposedly, they were aiming to take on the Japanese, with the car, so they went with a “clean” look (i.e. a very minimalist design).

Weird? Have you seen the Toyota Icon? Or the Aztek?
How about the Honda Element? Now that’s a weird-looking car.
There’s a new Chevy out that’s freaking butt-ugly. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s a little two-seater thing with a convertible top.
Personally, I like them, but a lot of people think the PT Cruisers are weird-looking.

Saturns are pretty normal compared to some cars.
BiblioCat, proud owner of a Saturn wagon
(I think it’s rather nice-looking. Simple, clean lines and all. I like simple.)

All of those other vehicles might be weird (and some, like the Element, are just ugly,) but Saturn is the only company that consistently puts out cars with weird lines. Their station wagon seems to be one of the exceptions (it does have clean lines.)

I guess I’m not a car person or something - I don’t see anything weird about any of the pics you linked to. They’re motor vehicles. They get you from point A to point B. Beyond that, I don’t get it.

Saturns don’t look weird to me, but they do look incredibly boring. Most of them, anyway.
I own a Saturn SL2, and I want to trade it for something more attractive/interesting. I won’t, but I want to.

When they first came out, I noticed how totally different the front ends were. Weird-ass headlights and so forth.

The weirdness is definitely closely linked to the front end. A lot of it is the combined shortness and unusual slope of the front - not only is it not as long as it “should be,” it curves downward at an unconventionally steep angle, most noticeably on the Ion (third image.) The proportion between the sizes of the windows and the windshield is also skewed.

I have an SL2, and I think it’s rather pretty, myself. But they do put out some odd looking cars. But mine has been very very reliable and I’d forgive it even if it was butt-ugly for that.

The SSR?

I like the look of Saturns. The shape isn’t weird, it’s a unique design feature. Many car brands try to retain a consistent design feature, like the grille pattern of SAAB and Volvo.

For some reason, the daytime running lights (required in Ontario on all cars after… '92 I think) are the centre-most lights… Making the car look crosseyed. It’s disconcerting.

I love my '93 SL2 to death… given that, I’d say they look different, not necessarily “weird”. The headlights are the big thing, especially on the older ones. That said, there have been a lot of cars cited in this thread that I’d call “freaking weird looking”, and I imagine it’s a matter of opinion for the most part.

Actually, I see this in every car on the road today. To me, a car should be all angles and lines, as they were in the 80s, where my brain is kept. I do not understand the appeal of the “seed-pod” design in the least, no matter how many times people explain the claim of better aerodynamics to me. It is simply not worth it to have such ugly cars.

I think part of it is the plastic panels they use on the vehicles. Remember the commercials about how you could kick the door of a Saturn with no damage? The thing is, those plastic panels expand and contract more in heat and cold, and thus the gaps between the panels has to be larger. That gives the cars a somewhat disjointed appearance. The Ion doesn’t seem to have those gaps though, so maybe they’re not using plastic, or they’ve improved the process or materials.

Frankly, I think Saturns look strange because they are GM vehicles and GM can’t design worth a crap any more. They may be turning this around - the Solstice is a very pretty car, and the new Vette looks nice. But in the past decade or so, it seems that GM vehicles come in two categories: bland, or ugly. Or festooned with plastic cladding. Yech.


I took my driver’s test in 2000 (I was past age 16 so yes, I know I’m an anomaly :D), and the tester kept asking questions designed to see your knowledge of driving. I was on a 5 lane road (two in both directions and a turn lane) in the left-hand lane. He asked if I would move left or right if a car in the oncoming lanes suddenly swerved into mine. Obviously the answer is “right” since you don’t want to move into oncoming traffic.

Then he asked, “So, if you had to hit something when you swerved, what would you hit?”

I was panicking, because I didn’t like to concentrate on this stuff when I had a driving test to pass, dammit! My mind was a blank. Then I said the only thing that came to mind: “Uh, a Saturn…”

He said, “Whah?” And I replied with, “They have plastic doors! I’d rather hit plastic than metal!”

I don’t want to know what comment he scribbled down on my sheet. :smiley:

I agree that Saturns look odd. The main thing, to me, is the headlights (they DO look cross-eyed) and odd slopes.

Those plastic panels are definately part of it. “Seed-pod” is a very good description too, the peculiar oval shape of the door handles along with the materials make them look almost organic.

Now HERE is a Saturn I could buy…