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Geneva 2016: Top 5 production car disappointments

#5 Ssangyong Tivoli XLV

Why is it here? Because it marks a returns to form for Ssangyong as the maker of the ugliest cars on earth. The regular Tivoli may not be a great looker, but at least it’s a decently-proportioned small crossover. And proportions is exactly what this overstretched, under-wheeled monstrosity gets so horribly wrong.

#4 Ford Edge & Kuga Vignale

Why are they here? This must be the lamest attempt at making mainstream cars “premium” since British Leyland’s similar efforts in the 1970s. As they say, you can put lipstick on a pig…

#3 VW Phideon

Why is it here? Because it represents the worst of VW’s design instincts. Rather than produce a truly luxurious-looking car based on the Audi A6 platform, VW decided to give it the look of a 2011 VW Jetta, complete with a fake air vent behind the front wheels that give it an eerie similarity to another design turkey – the new Lincoln Continental.

#2 Maserati Levante

Why is it here? After a 5 year wait since the gorgeous Kubang concept came out, and even longer since the equally-stunning 2003 concept of the same name, this is the best that Maserati could offer: a gawky-looking crossover with all the dynamism and design flair of a melting marshmallow. In a nutshell, it looks too tall, too narrow, and the wheels are too small. It would have been disappointing if it was made by a lesser carmaker, but the sting is all the greater given that it comes from the same people that gave us the drop-dead gorgeous GranTurismo and Ghibli.

#1 Audi Q2

Why is it here? This was Audi’s chance to break the mould and create a small car that is both funky, and points to the future of Audi SUV design. Instead what we got is a car that manages to be both unattractive and generic, the kind of design that people make fun of when it comes out of China, complete with a ghastly C-pillar whose “accent” coloring makes people think that Audi forgot to remove masking tape before showing the car. Truly, a wasted opportunity.

Dishonorable mentions:

#1 Porsche 718 Boxster

Why is it here? Two very different reasons. First, it ditches the naturally-aspirated 6-cyl for a turbocharged 4-cyl engine. Second, because some genius at Porsche decided the Boxster name was not recognizable enough, and forced a meaningless “718” moniker on the facelifted model.

#2 Aston Martin DB11

Why is it here? This is bound to be a controversial choice, as the DB11 is many people’s best car from Geneva. However, to me the DB11 tries to hard by half to be different to the gorgeous DB9. I understand the desire to move the design on, but the DB11’s styling details, such as the air extractors behind the front wheels or the “floating roof”, deny it the most important trait for a GT car: elegance. Smooth these rough edges out and the DB11 will be beautiful; as is, it’s a case of “close, but no cigar” for me…