Why Do Pickup Trucks Have to be Ugly Now?

Courtesy: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Courtesy: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images /

Have designers just run out of ideas for handsome designs? It seems that all the new pickup trucks are as ugly as sin.

It used to be that trucks were the burly, handsome machines of the automotive industry. They were the automotive equivalent to the Brawny paper towel guy. Now they look like a transformer that got stuck mid-transformation.

Chevrolet unveiled its 2020 Silverado HD this week. While I’m sure the pickup will be more than capable at towing, hauling, off-roading, and basically every other thing you could possibly expect a heavy-duty truck to do, there’s one big problem. It’s butt ugly.

Chevy’s 2020 Silverado HD has a face that even its designer has to hate. It looks like two designers who totally disagreed compromised their way through the entire design and ended up with a pickup that nobody would like to look at. And General Motors, being the company it is, decided it just had to try to sell the thing because it needed to make some money.

The Silverado HD is Ugly, So are Many Others

To be fair to Chevy, Ford, Nissan, and most other truck companies make ugly trucks, too. Ford’s heavy-duty pickup, the Super Duty, keeps getting bigger and squarer with weird headlights.

All the automakers are coming out with strangely shaped headlights. What’s wrong with square or round headlights? They look fantastic, and I don’t know anyone who wants their headlights to look like alien eyes or some other amorphous shape.

Nissan’s truck could look good, but again the headlights are its downfall. It has a handsome shape otherwise and Nissan didn’t do something weird with the grille, which is nice.

Toyota, for the most part, makes decent looking trucks, but the Tundra is up for a redesign, and if the rest of the automaker’s lineup is any indication of where they’re going to take their half-ton, I’m betting on it looking like some kind of automotive fish with a bed.

Are There Any Good-Looking Trucks?

Yes, thankfully. There are three. The 2019 Ford Ranger—specifically the base model in black, blue, or grey—the 2019 Ram 1500, and the Jeep Gladiator. The Ram looks best on the outside in Laramie Long Horn Edition, but the interior of that truck looks like the company was trying way too hard on the cowboy stuff. You can’t have everything, I guess.

While the Ram is a legitimate achievement in the styling department (bravo Ram designers), the fact that the Ford Ranger looks so good is more due to the fact that it’s basically just the international model brought here.

Ford didn’t restyle the model for the American market, so they’re essentially cashing in on an older style. I assume when they get around to redesigning or refreshing the vehicle specifically for the North American market, they’ll mess it up.

The Jeep Gladiator is a dream come true. It’s tough and rugged looking, but Jeep didn’t have to do much in the styling department. Just slap a bed on the back of the Wrangler and call it good. Hard to mess that up.

Why Can’t We Have More Good Looking Trucks?

I don’t understand why automakers feel the need to make their trucks look weird. For me, truck styling peaked in the 1990s. Trucks were square and had rectangular headlights and just looked cool.

All the automakers today are experimenting with weird grille designs, odd-looking headlights, and other silly stuff. They don’t have to. They should focus on giving me more storage and more practical features.

I don’t want my truck to look weird. I want it to look like a truck and be super handy. The new fully electric Rivian R1T truck looks weird. That said I’m very excited about it because it offers so much that other trucks don’t.

You get a frunk, a weird storage space behind the rear seats and between the bed, and a fully electric powertrain. I wish it didn’t look like a space-age bar of soap, but at least those guys are adding in some seriously useful things.

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Anyway, the point is the new trucks coming out are ugly, and I only expect it to get worse as time goes on. It will be interesting to see how Chevy’s new uggo Silverado HD sells. I don’t know if I could stand driving something that ugly.