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3 Cars With Attractive Rears
Let Down By Ugly Noses

March 22, 2013 by Matt

Subaru Legacy Rear Black

Subaru Legacy Front Silver

2003-2009 Subaru Legacy. Every time I come up behind one of these, I make a mental note to look for a nice 5-speed on Craiglist when I return home…and then I pass it and catch a glimpse of the nose in my rear view mirror. The concave rear treatment combined with the inswept taillights and general stance give the ’03-’09 Legacy a taut, arrow-like presence from the side and rear. But the fascia is so awkward, so anodyne it completely undercuts the effect.

Nissan Altima Rear Silver

Nissan Altima Front Silver

2007-2012 Nissan Altima. While maybe not attractive in the conventional sense, the ’07-’12 Altima’s rear gets major points for being immediately recognizable and adventurous. The way the tops of the taillights flow into the horizontal surface of the trunk recalls a sports car’s low, wide rear—even if the Altima’s isn’t; the visual effect is there. Come around to the nose, however, and all the adventurousness melts away, replaced by a yawn-inducing, stock corporate grille treatment. Unfortunate.

Acura CL Rear Silver

Acura CL Front Silver

1997-1999 Acura CL. The 1997 CL’s lovely rump was actually featured on a Car and Driver cover back in the day. The nose, however, was buried further in the story, and for good reason. Compared with the distinctive taper of the trunklid and elegant simplicity of the taillights, the fascia was depressingly conventional. The grille, the headlights—they were all in the usual places, but none of it converged with the same eye-catching grace as the elements in the rear.

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Filed under: Aesthetics


  1. John D says:

    I can relate… ;)

  2. Jack says:

    I think the front end of the subaru fits better when it’s in wagon form rather than sedan form, but that’s just me

  3. Dan S says:

    Matt, i totally agree with your observations, especially with the Legacy, it is a handsome rear but a very blah corporate front.

    Another car i would propose for this list is the 2005 Sebring Convertible, the rear is gorgeous, almost Aston Martin like, but the front oh my god is terribly ugly and haphazardly stitched together.

    • Matt says:

      The rear end of those is nice, though I wouldn’t call it particularly outstanding. The nose of that generation Sebring convertible is beyond hideous. Inexcusable that they let it leave the factory looking like that.

  4. Dan S says:

    Hahaha, design is a very interesting gamble.

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