The other day, my normal daily schedule of cups of coffee and white chocolate was interrupted by going outside – a place of insects and UV rays – and helping my uncle polish his Nissan X-Trail in the sun.
It was very tiring, and obviously being the uncle who’s going to leave me a small Model A Ford when he departs, I couldn’t hate him, but I found myself hating his car instead.
The X-Trail is pretty inoffensive to be fair, but untamed, I started thinking about all those times that Nissan has blighted the world with ugly things, and while this was initially only an outlet for anger and suffering, it actually became a genuine intellectual exercise.
So much so, that I've condensed it into a little report to share with you.
1) 2011 NISSAN JUKE
Yes, it's a predictable inclusion, but don’t say I never gave it a clean slate. When I heard that everyone hated the Juke, I tried to be its friend and defender. Then two days after its release, I decided everyone was right.
2) 2008 NISSAN NUVU CONCEPT
I know what you’re going to say. It’s only a concept vehicle, and that’s not really fair.
Well, my thinking is, if Nissan is willing to expend its resources on it, slap their logos on it, and boast about it to hundreds of people under their banners at motor shows, then they’ve well and truly owned it.
And this was Nissan's boast about the Nuvu: "It is light, clean and easy to drive. It is practical and a sensible size, yet it also embodies an element of fun: the future doesn't look so bad, after all."
When we realised they weren’t going to produce it, no.
3) 2003 NISSAN CUBE
Apparently, it was inspired by the curves of a Jacuzzi. I can just imagine that phone call.
"Hello? Yahamoto. You were supposed to fax the designs four days ago. Where are dey?
Yahamoto... are you in de bath?’’
4) 2015 NISSAN TEATRO FOR DAYZ CONCEPT
However, if you thought the Cube was bad, try Nissan’s other foray into the cube form. Not only is it very hideous, it’s also a bit senseless.
Executive Design Director Satoshi Tai says "Designing a car to appeal to the generation we call `share natives' required us to intentionally not use knowledge and tried-and-true approaches we had amassed. For example, through design we typically try to convey a sense of acceleration, power, or supreme quality. But these values do not resonate with share natives. If anything, such car traits just call to mind old-fashioned technology that bears little relevance to their lives."
So you don’t want a car that in any way suggests it can get you places quickly, or that it’s been built well? And that’s relevant to your life?
5) 2002 NISSAN ELGRAND
There’s this sentiment out there, probably partly inspired by that most lovely and successful of ladies, Simone de Beauvoir, that having a family isn’t cool. Well, do you know what’s not cool? Being a 45-going-on-14-year-old computer game addict.
Unfortunately some of this sentiment has crept into carmakers’ thinking, and as a result, family cars are often deliberately drab, even foolish-looking, like maternity wear. Not that I know that.
And nothing screams ‘’I’ve got seven kids and they all say ‘Thank you’ to the icecream man” more than Nissan’s spacious, but ugly people-mover.
6) 2011 NISSAN MURANO CROSSCABRIOLET
Generally, taking the roof off something makes it look a little less beautiful and wholesome. This is fine, if the car is a DB11 and what you’ve just created is the DB11 Volante. But if you’re starting with something hardly-pretty like the Murano – oh no.
7) 2007 NISSAN BEVEL CONCEPT
It’s probably the only car in history to be specifically designed with “male empty-nesters’’ in mind, and to be honest, with that unshaven and trackpanted market, it might have sold reasonably well with its capacious rear, ideal for stocking with boxes of Warhammer.
2010 NISSAN TOWNPOD CONCEPT
Apparently, ‘’Nissan Townpod users do not appreciate stereotypes or status symbols. For them, the ultimate status is to have no status."
There’s no such thing as no status. “Look everyone, I have a very ugly car and I’m proud of it” is a status.
9) 2005 NISSAN PIVO I CONCEPT
Er, it’s good in that the cabin swivels around so you never really back out of a carpark. But there are also programs in today’s cars that can park for you, so.
9) 2011 NISSAN LEAF
It's important to stress that I’m not mocking the Leaf because it’s electric. In fact I quite like the newest Leaf, with its unique but stupidly-named E-Pedal. Basically, it’s one pedal; to accelerate, you push, to slow down, you let off, and to hit the brakes, you actually take your foot off completely.
However, the previous generation Leaf was the car that prompted Matt Davis, Head of Fiat Product Marketing to sagely quip, “Ugliness is the worst form of pollution.”
BONUS 11TH) THE NISSAN SUNNY
However, possibly the worst form of ugliness is dullness. At least things like the Juke make us look, and get annoyed, whereas with boring cars, no emotions are stirred.
It’s why a speech by Hitler makes better listening than one by George Brandis. Even though Hitler’s is obviously bad.
So with that in mind, the Nissan Sunny. 4.4 metres of car, in grey.
SO, WHICH IS THE UGLIEST NISSAN?
And just to commemorate that Nissan can do a nice job when it has a mind to, or when it doesn't lose itself in some mindless sub-market research, take this, the 370Z Nismo Roadster Concept...