Once upon a time, pickup truck advertisements on TV used to brag about towing capacity, durability, and reliability. Now, the same brands put out commercials boasting that their pickup trucks feature Bluetooth connectivity, ventilated leather seats, and extended sunroofs.
Pickup trucks are supposed to do truck stuff, though, not look fancy! Of any automotive genre, pickup trucks consistently used to prove the idea that form follows function. And the best pickup trucks were simple and tough—and they managed to look simple and tough.
However, there have been plenty of pickup trucks that missed the mark. Whether brands were trying to stand out too far or make a fashion statement, some of these trucks turned out downright ugly. Keep scrolling for 18 pickup trucks that are so ugly, no one should ever buy them.
18 Subaru BRAT
The Subaru BRAT is definitely ugly, though it's acquired a bit of a cult status in recent years. Along with the rise of 'Subie Bros' has come the 'BRAT bros' who drive their rusted-out 4x4s around gentrified, uber-hip inner cities. But the real reason no one should ever buy a BRAT is their inability to drive past a sprinkler without rusting.
17 Current Ford F-150
In the arena of modern pickup trucks, the entire industry has lost its track. The Ford F-150 is ugly enough to turn the most diehard Ford guy into a RAM fan for life. Plus, the bed walls on the current F-150 are so high that anyone with a gooseneck trailer has to buy a lift kit (a suspension kit—for their trailer!) to be able to get up over the tailgate.
16 Chevrolet SSR
The Chevrolet SSR might go down in history as the biggest flop of any pickup truck ever. But the most surprising thing about it is that GM even had a glimmer of hope that it would sell. That retro-styled exterior, the hardtop, the bed-cover, and the borderline useless interior come together to make a package only a very certain customer could enjoy.
15 BMW M3 Pickup
If this E30-generation BMW 3 Series looks like someone performed a pickup truck conversion in their backyard, guess again: this was a factory effort to turn an M3 into a pickup truck! BMW Group admitted that employees built the ugly little truck to haul parts around their factory complexes, and it proved pretty successful, given that it "...went about its work around the factory premises reliably for over 26 years..."
14 Current Honda Ridgeline
Honda's Ridgeline pickup truck often gets praise from car critics because it handles so much like a car. As Car and Driver said about the Ridgeline, "Looking for a quintessential crossover? It has a comfortable cabin and refined road manners." So it's a crossover pickup truck, then? That's not a good thing! And the chopped-off rear window looks just as ugly as most crossovers, too.
13 Chevrolet K10 Sno Chaser
Very few truck guys would even recognize a Chevrolet K10 Sno Chaser if it drove by them (without the badging, that is). But there aren't many trucks that can pair classic styling on the front end with such an egregious bed-mounted spoiler. These are rare trucks, though, and Grand Rapids Auto Gallery called them "among the lowest" production quantity of all Chevy special-editions, so not many people will have to ever see such a monstrosity.
12 Ford Skyranger
Another of the absolute strangest pickup trucks ever made is the Ford Skyranger. In fact, with that convertible top and a spoiler at the rear of the bed, it could be considered a precursor to the Chevy SSR. Car and Driver claims that Ford only commissioned 17 to 19 of these from American Sunroof Company—and that's truly a good thing.
11 Current Toyota Tundra
Toyota used to make simple, reliable little pickup trucks that could drive for hundreds of thousands of miles with little more than an oil change every few years. But now, the mighty Tundra is poised to compete with Detroit pickups—or so Toyota hopes. But even the ugly trucks from the US can barely compete with the Tundra's hefty looks, not to mention the borderline-hilarious hood scoops.
10 2002 Toyota Tundra Stepside
Where did Toyota begin to lose its way in the truck world? Fans of the brand would likely point to the Tundra Stepside, which debuted at the 2002 Chicago Auto Show. The concept was slammed and lowered, though the version that eventually hit the streets was just as ugly, thanks to those strange, blob-like taillights and a literal step where the stepside begins.
9 Cadillac Mirage
The Cadillac Mirage counts as a pickup truck, though its just about as ugly as a truck could get. Clearly hearkening to its El Camino cousin, the Mirage was a dubious effort from the get-go. Did anyone want a luxury version of a car-truck combination? Turns out, the answer was—and remains—a resounding, "No!"
8 Chevrolet Avalanche
The Chevrolet Avalanche had one cool detail: its huge truck bed sidewalls could be used as insulated coolers for tailgating. The rest of the strange pickup is, simply put, strange. It's not an SUV and it's not a truck, but the rear of the passenger compartment can fold down to open it up to the elements. Plus, all that cladding is just plain ugly.
7 Subaru Baja
Subaru was clearly trying to reproduce its former glory when it released the Baja, which was inspired by the BRAT. But the result was little more than a station wagon with the rear canopy chopped off—and all that cladding only served to remind people of the Pontiac Aztek, which isn't exactly a good thing.
6 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Another questionable decision to chop up a perfectly acceptable vehicle and turn it into a truck came in the form of the Explorer Sport Trac, from Ford. But the Sport Trac turned into a parts-bin special that never really made sense, especially from a company that sold the wildly successful F-150 and decided to end US delivery of its small Ranger pickup.
5 2004 Honda Ridgeline
At the very least, Honda can be proud that the current Ridgeline isn't as bad as the original, which debuted in 2004. Somehow, that big truck with its steep bed walls is a unibody vehicle, which has led to the unfortunate development of the current Ridgeline, which got rid of the sloping walls in favor of a stark and steep passenger compartment rear window.
4 Mercedes-Benz X-Class
At first glance, not much about the X-Class pickup truck looks like a Mercedes-Benz (other than the enormous badge on the front). But then again, maybe that gaudy badge size was deemed necessary by Mercedes-Benz's executives, who worried there wouldn't be enough to differentiate their pickup from its Nissan Navara sibling. Unfortunately, there still isn't.
3 Mitsubishi L200
The Mitsubishi L200 goes by many names, of which L200 is only one. Over the years, it's also been known as the Dodge Ram 50, the Plymouth Arrow Truck, and the Fiat Fullback. But there's a reason no badge-engineering or name change would stick to this truck, which has only gotten uglier and uglier as the years (and redesigns) have gone by.
2 GMC Topkick
GMC's Topkick, as well as its Chevrolet Kodiak sibling, are really just semi-trucks with pickup beds on the back. The result, no matter how beefy it might be or how many pounds it can tow, is just ugly. Not only does the truck bed look absolutely tiny, but the passenger compartment looks far too upright for stability on anything but the smoothest roads.
1 Datsun U521
Possibly the weirdest creation by a brand otherwise known for producing uniformly good-looking vehicles, the U521 pickup by Datsun is seriously baffling.
It's a 510 with the rear canopy cut off to produce a truck bed. That recipe might sound like it could have been a potential success—and that's because it was, in the Datsun 520. But the U521 was a strange half-chop that left a bit more space in the cabin, resulting in a downright baffling profile.
Sources: Car and Driver, BMW Group, and Wikipedia.