There is a certain rule that most car manufacturers follow when it comes to the life cycle of their models. Usually, one generation of a car lasts around six or seven years, before the automaker introduces the next generation, which often brings a host of changes and improvements. To make the current generation feel fresh, most automakers have implemented a mid-cycle facelift, with best efforts to update the car and keep it in line with market demands and competition.
Facelifts are so called because most of the noticeable changes happen on the outside of the car. It’s a great opportunity for the automaker to refine the design and give the car some new exterior upgrades, like new and improved lighting or maybe their new logo, if it’s been updated in the meantime. . In most cases, this goes very well. Sometimes facelifts can radically change very strange or ugly cars and make them more pleasing to the eye.
ten fiat multipla
One of the internet’s most iconic cars, the Fiat Multipla was introduced in the late 90s in an attempt to solve the minivan crisis in Europe. It was the same length as a normal family sedan, but it was extra wide, to accommodate two rows of three seats. It was also very tall, and the first generation car is infamous for one thing and one thing only; it’s hideous.
Even though the looks didn’t stop the Multipla from doing well in terms of sales, Fiat realized that they were making quite a controversial car. In 2004 they implemented a facelift, which immediately improved things drastically. The bump under the windshield was smoothed out and normal headlights were fitted, while the rear replaced the embossed “MULTIPLA” lettering with a Fiat badge. You can’t help but feel that some of the Multipla’s original, crazy appeal has been lost, though.
9 Jeep Cherokee
The automotive world went up in flames when this generation of Jeep Cherokee was released for the 2014 model year, and not in a good way. The front was heavily, strongly criticized for its absurd upside-down headlights and pitiful daytime running lights just above.
It took a while, but Jeep finally rolled out a facelift for the Cherokee in 2019, replacing the ridiculous upside-down headlights for more conventional units. Although the new Cherokee looks much better, we can’t help but think the new Compass looks a little neater.
8 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
As we know, the different iterations of the adorable Subaru Impreza WRX STI are referred to by the shape of their headlights. Although North America missed out on the original Mean Eye and later Bug Eye models, the first to be officially sold on the continent was the Blob Eye generation in 2004. The front end was a bit confusing and the headlights were, well, blobby.
In 2006, Subaru introduced a facelifted WRX STI, known as the Hawk Eye. It featured Subaru’s new corporate face (which we’ll get to), along with more conventional headlights. It was still the full WRX STI package, only it was easier on the eyes.
seven Ssangyong Rodius
When the internet talks about the ugliest cars in history, the original Ssangyong Rodius is a regular, and a regular for the top spots on those lists as well. There is no other way to put it; the Rodius is a truly unsightly automobile, with appalling proportions and perhaps the most obscene rear windows in automotive history.
2014 saw the introduction of a new Rodius, which was called the Turismo in some markets, and things got a bit better. Make no mistake, it’s by no means a beautiful car, but at least compared to the first-gen Rodius, the second-gen is much, much better.
6 Citroen C5 Aircross
2017 was a bit of a sad year for Citroën, as they phased out their C5 sedan in Europe, much to the chagrin of many. A year later, they brought back the C5 nameplate for…a mid-size crossover. What a surprise. That’s not too bad though, as the C5 Aircross is a pretty solid crossover with a bigger emphasis on comfort. The original model looked a little busy, though.
Citroën seems to be on board, as they’ve cleaned it up a lot for the 2022 facelift model that’s just been unveiled. The silly upside-down headlights were ditched in favor of more conventional units, with a front light bar and a much cleaner front bumper design. Well done Citroen.
5 Subaru (B9) Tribeca
Do you remember the corporate face of Subaru in the mid-2000s? While it did run on the Impreza Hawk-Eye somewhat, their flagship B9 Tribeca SUV was…a different story. Besides being the only Subaru in history to adopt their proposed and absurd nomenclature, it was a very unfortunate looking SUV.
It was so poorly received that a facelift that got rid of the company’s terrible face was introduced just two years later. The damage was done, however, and the Tribeca was never as successful as Subaru had hoped. It’s a shame, because the bulbous styling aside, it was a very good car. However, their latest three-row competitor, the Ascent, does much better.
4 Peugeot 308 (second generation)
Let’s get one thing clear; the 308 is by no means an ugly car. The second generation was one of the best-selling cars in Europe during its heyday, and it’s easy to see why. However, the first generation was a bit busy when it came to front styling. A big smile, very angular, and the badge was on the hood for some reason.
The facelifted 308 improved things a bit. He moved the badge to the front and center of the grille and cleaned up the lower bumper vents for a much smoother look. The end result is one of the most beautiful modern C-segment sedans, and no one wonders why it lasted nearly 10 years on the market with always good sales, despite the advance of competition and the advent of SUVs.
3 Chevy Camaro
All car enthusiasts remember the absolute fiasco that was the proposed MY2019 facelift for the Chevy Camaro. With styling seemingly inspired by the bespoke Camaro used in Transformers: The Last Knight, the facelifted Camaro was immediately criticized left, right and center. It just looked bad to have such a huge grille up front.
Thankfully, GM realized the error of its ways very quickly, and they rolled out an emergency second facelift, which split the obnoxiously massive grille with a body-color stripe, which was an instant improvement. Still, that doesn’t distort the unfortunate reality that the Camaro is very likely on its way out.
2 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W212)
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the best luxury sedans of all time. Through all its generations, it has always been a benchmark in the segment; excellent comfort, practicality, performance and luxury. The W212 E-Class arrived in 2009, and the styling somewhat divided opinion. The split headlights, secondary-looking LED DRLs and the odd crease above the rear wheels.
In what has to be one of the most dramatic facelifts in automotive history, the 2014 E-Class facelift corrected all those flaws, consolidating the headlights and DRLs into a single package. The arched pleat has also been replaced with a simple horizontal pleat. The end result was a truly beautiful and stately luxury sedan that retained all the qualities that made the E-Class a worthwhile purchase.
1 Fiat Croma
Launched in 2004, the Fiat Croma was the Italian automaker’s flagship family car. It was a break. It was a minibus. It was an SUV. He was stuck in awkward limbo between those three segments, not helped by his Kinder egg style.
In 2008, Fiat restyled the Croma. As well as a new face, new Fiat badging and new headlights, the Croma received a subtle plastic coating on the exterior, which gave it a more SUV-like appearance, somewhat filling the aforementioned limbo the pre-facelift car was stuck in. .
The new BMW M3 and M4 models are finally here and many are finding the pig-nosed grilles – but drivers are completely forgetting the history of the iconic grille.
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