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BMW M3, Hyundai Tucson and Honda Civic Type R, misshapen or just misunderstood?

A face only a mother could love? The new BMW M3 might be bold in styling, but at least it stands out.

It’s a hard truth, but not all babies are born cute. Some children need to ‘grow into their features’ over time, but of course we’d never say that to the parents because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

This is true of cars too, and while some grow on you over time, others start awkward and stay that way. Let’s be clear, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some cars just polarise opinion more than others.

It’s also not easy to design a car, and because of the long lead times, most car design work is set years before it goes on sale, which means the challenge for designers is to shape a car that will look good nearly a decade after they pen it.

To be clear, we aren’t calling these cars ugly, just pointing out that they have divided opinion. Here are our picks for the most polarising vehicle designs on the market today.

BMW M3, Hyundai Tucson and Honda Civic Type R, misshapen or just misunderstood?

BMW M3

In BMW’s defence they tried to break it to us gently, unveiling the Concept 4 at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show with its ‘bold’ and ‘striking’ new grille.

Taking the brand’s trademark kidney grille to the extreme, the new M3 and M4 feature a controversial buck-tooth-like front fascia.

The M3/M4/4-Series isn’t the only BMW model to feature huge grilles these days (X7, I’m looking in your direction), but we can’t help but feel the brand has taken the already-handsome standard 3 Series into a polarising direction. Maybe it will grow on us?

Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai has become a much more adventurous company in recent years, stretching itself into the performance car market and introducing electric vehicles. But its bravest move is its latest design decisions, with a clear push to make its cars stand out more.

The latest Tucson is the embodiment of that, with an in-your-face grille, and angular and edgy flanks. Some have compared it to the Lamborghini Urus (not always in a positive way), while others have commended the South Korean brand for trying to take its mid-size family SUV in a more premium direction.

As Hyundai learnt with the Kona, it can take time for a new model to grow on buyers, so only time will tell if this bold new Tucson will win over the public.

Honda Civic Type R

Some would argue that the best part of the driver’s seat of the Type R is getting to steer one of the best hot hatches ever made, others would say it’s because you can’t see the exterior from the inside … but we’ll leave it up to you to decide which side of the fence you fall on.

What is not in dispute is how Honda did such an amazing job on the powertrain and chassis, which is packaged inside a body with a polarising design.

The Civic screams ‘boy racer’ with its huge rear wing and generally busy aesthetic with seemingly an ‘aero’ (or just unnecessary design) element on every panel.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic
3.6
From
$22,390
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Lexus LX570

Sure, it makes sense that Lexus would sell a luxury version of the popular Toyota LandCruiser. It also makes sense that Lexus would graft its ‘spindle grille’ onto the hulking off-roader to give it the brand’s signature style statement (similar to BMW’s once small kidney grille).

But it could be argued that the two don’t work so well together. The LX570 may be a spacious and luxurious SUV, but the spindle grille hasn’t upscaled well to the bigger vehicle.

It makes much more visual sense on other models, like the LC500 and compact NX SUV, where it adds a degree of sharp style, but it might just look a touch too large on the LX.

Lexus LX 570

Lexus LX 570
3.6
From
$137,636
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

BMW X6

2020 BMW X6 M50i

Not to pick on the Bavarian brand, but the company has taken more risks than others when it comes to design. After decades of conversative, evolutionary design, BMW opted to have more fun with its cars in recent years.

It also tried to capitalise on the increasing demand for luxury SUVs and invented the, until-then-uncalled-for, segment for ‘coupe-style SUVs’.

The X6 was the origin of the species and it has spawned many rivals (Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe to name the obvious ones), so credit to BMW for creating a new sub-segment of the market.

Now in its third generation, the X6 still looks a little too awkward to our eyes, but there is no denying the success of such a body style and the impact it has had on the automotive industry.

Did we get it right? Or are we being too harsh? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or join the debate on social media.

BMW X6

BMW X6
3.8
From
$46,900
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)