Funnily enough, the FCX-80’s concept was “the future”—meaning that it was designed to predict what future urban vehicles would look like, bearing in mind the car’s spaciousness, efficiency, and weight.
The model was shown at the 1979 Tokyo Motor Show, and certainly featured some novel, and even futuristic, design decisions. Sadly, it’s unconventional appearance doomed it to obscurity.
The 1979 Toyota FCX-80 was good on paper, bad in practice
The 1979 Toyota FCX-80 boasted plenty of interesting, original ideas, but dropped the ball on its design.
For example, mounted on the model’s hood is a central pod with headlights and air intakes. In terms of functionality, this is a useful feature, but there’s a reason why no other car has ever used this design: it looks, to quote
Jalopnik, “like an awkward robotic duck with an underbite.”
The car also has a side-window concept, which is interesting in theory, but unlikely to actually work in practice. While the car’s sharp angles and geometric paint slashes are certainly eye-catching, these elements end up looking more awkward than elegant.
As Jalopnik.com says, “It’s all just perfect and terrible and wonderful at the same time.”
Ugly Toyota: Inside and out
Toyota proved itself
ahead of its timewith the FCX-80’s interior, which had a flat floor that made the car feel spacious. The controls were color-coded and illuminated and seem like they would have been intuitive to use.
But these designs are not enough to make up for the bright yellow plastic tubing surrounding the car’s seats, nor the bulky rubber accordion boots used to connect the tubes.
The resulting aesthetic is disastrous. While the FCX-80 may have offered some unique ideas in terms of design and ergonomics, it did so at the expense of style.
While this concept car was supposed to be futuristic, it certainly doesn’t look like anything from the past 45 years of auto history. Fortunately, Toyota never graduated the FCX-80 past the concept stage, so you won’t see any of these clumsy-looking vehicles on the road.
The 1979 Toyota FCX-80 isn’t the only ugly Toyota
The 1979 Toyota FCX-80 concept car might be one of the ugliest cars Toyota ever made, but the automaker has made plenty of other ugly cars in its day.
Hot Carslists some of the ugliest cars in Toyota history.
Top of the list is the eccentric 2001 Toyota Pod, which has a design so unique, it’s barely recognizable as a car. The Pod, like the FCX-80, is a concept car, though according to Toyota, it’s “not just a car.” This is abundantly clear from its weird, boxy frame, as well as it’s alien-like features: this model “changes colors according to its mood” and has a tail (yes, you read that right) that “wags when it’s happy.”
Another weird (but not in a good way) model is the 1990 Toyota Sera. At first glance, the Sera seems like a nice-looking car, with its muted gray-green metallic hue and its sleek, roundish body.
But then the Sera’s doors go up: they don’t open, they go up. Instead of opening to the side or sliding inward, these doors fold upward, making the vehicle look a bit like an angry cobra rearing its head.
Also on the list is the 1995 Toyota Mega Cruiser, which is a behemoth of a car. With its huge, bulky frame and imposing build, the Mega Cruiser didn’t fare well with consumers, and made most of its sales to the Japanese military.
Another ugly Toyota was the 2004 Toyota Yaris Verso. It was another disappointment, with its strange, sloping front and overly tall doors. Not only was this car ugly, it was also unforgivably slow, reaching 60 miles per hour in a full 12.5 seconds. Thankfully, the Yaris Verso never made it to American markets.
Other strange and unsightly Toyotas include the 1994 Toyota RAV4, the 2009 Toyota Venza, the 2010 Toyota Prius, the 1999 Toyota Echo, the 2004 Toyota Hilux, the 1995 Toyota Cavalier, the 2016 Toyota Mirai, and many more.