(iSeeCars) – Identifying the best-looking cars and best-looking SUVs of all time is no simple task, as opinions on what defines a good-looking car are highly personal. With no clearly defined rules regarding specific styling elements, including proper hood-to-body ratio, ideal roof slope angle, and overall proportions, we’re left to paraphrase a famous quote, “a beautiful car is in the eye of the beholder.”
That said, several classic models have stood the test of time, while some other new cars and crossovers have immediately caught the attention of automotive aficionados, who feel their sleek, timeless shapes that will age gracefully in the coming decades. Highly practical brands, like Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo, didn’t make the list, but those automakers still produce some of the best vehicles if you’re seeking passenger safety and fuel economy.
And while high horsepower sports cars and supercars commonly dominate these lists, we’re going to stay focused on the best cars and the best SUVs with compelling design, first and foremost. If they happen to have a high performance threshold and impressive top speed it certainly won’t count against them. But for this list, “best” means most attractive, not necessarily best driver’s car.
This classic Ferrari is simply a combination of sleek bodywork and perfect proportions. It’s likely the 275 GTB was a response to Jaguar’s E-Type, which debuted a few years earlier and a model which Enzo Ferrari himself described as “the most beautiful car ever made.”
The Ford GT, or GT40 depending on which era you’re talking about, was a mid-engine coupe designed to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. While the design was meant to win races, it’s also one of the best-looking cars of all time, made even better in the second-generation 2005-2006 version.
The car that got Enzo’s seal of approval, and no doubt inspired the number one car on our list, Jaguar’s E-Type is another example of clean body lines and perfect proportions. Its modern counterpart, the Jaguar F-Type, isn’t quite as perfect in execution, but still quite a looker.
Officially the first “supercar” – earning that title with a mid-engine V12 powertrain – the Miura introduced the world to the concept of beauty and power coming together in a low-slung shape. It looks like it’s hitting triple-digit speeds even when parked, and has aged incredibly well.
Another Italian beauty from the 1960s, this car was stunning even before it starred in a John Hughes movie about a high school kid ditching class. That role simply widened the awareness of how well Ferrari had refined the shape of its 250 series cars, which started in the early 1950s and was perfected by 1961.
The first year of the second-generation Corvette, 1963 was the only model year with the split window design, creating a visibility challenge for drivers and an overall shape that holds up 60 years later. The flip-around quad headlights only add to the Corvette’s cool car status when they’re deployed.
Offered in both coupe and roadster form, it’s the elaborate “gullwing” doors on the coupe that complete this German sports car’s otherwise iconic shape, including a large three-pointed star dominating the car’s prominent grille.
One of the few modern cars to make the list, the Z8’s design follows the approach of the classic cars on this list – clean, simple lines and perfect proportions. The Z8 is beautiful from head to toe, but the way its rear end tapers to a crisp point, with sleek taillights contrasting the bodywork, is where it captures that 1960s design magic.
With nearly six decades of production it’s not easy picking a single 911 to honor for design, but the 1973 Carrera RS not only offers the classic 911 profile, it does so with cool “Carrera” door graphics and classic five-spoke wheels. This one also happens to offer an incredible driving experience.
Only one muscle car makes the list, but it’s among the coolest cars ever made, inspiring a modern Dodge Challenger revival in 2008. The original Dodge Challenger has appeared in numerous movie roles, often featuring its ultimate 426 Hemi, 8-cylinder engine that easily spins the rear wheels and roasts the tires.
If you’re wondering whether we mean the new Ford Bronco or the original 1960s version, the answer is “yes”. Both Ford SUVs offer classic, boxy proportions, and the original even came in truck and convertible form. The modern Bronco looks best in two-door form, but even the four-door looks cool.
It may serve as the premium division of the Hyundai Motor Company, but Genesis’ styling team is consistently hitting home runs. All the brand’s newest models look good, but the GV70 looks great. Seductive body panels and sleek quad headlights make it a beautiful AWD utility vehicle.
There’s nothing inherently stunning about the Jeep Wrangler, but it defines the term “iconic” when it comes to small SUV design. The boxy shape of early Land Rovers, Ford Broncos and Toyota FJs? They all owe a hearty “thank you!” to the original four-wheel drive, off-road SUV, the WWII Jeep Willys that eventually became the Jeep Wrangler.
Given this brand’s history of producing attractive coupes and sedans, including the Alfa Romeo Giulia and 8C, it’s not surprising the automaker found a way to make beautiful all-wheel-drive conveyances. If you’re not worried about mpg, we’re particularly fond of the larger wheels and quad tailpipes (and turbo engine) on the Quadrifoglio version.
Maserati joined the midsize SUV trend in 2017 with the Levante. It features a curvaceous roof culminating in a spoiler over the hatchback rear end, along with a sloping grille. Yet its roomy interior retains sport utility practicality and cargo space. The most powerful Trofeo version rides on 21-inch wheels over gloss red brake calipers
The name is controversial, but the combination of SUV proportions and Mustang styling cues undeniably works. And it does stay true to the Mustang’s sporty, rear-wheel-drive layout (all-wheel drive is optional). The Mach-E also features hidden exterior door handles and a solid front grille to further its “future of personal transportation” style. Did we mention this SUV is an electric car?
The British sports car maker just released its first luxury SUV, and while it’s a bit late to the SUV party, this one makes up for it with exceptional styling that reflects the brand’s heritage. Under the DBX’s long hood sits either a twin-turbo inline 6 or twin-turbo V8 engine, both of which offer appropriate exhaust notes to compliment its styling.
The Q8 offers a compelling exterior shape and cool front-end styling. It rides on the same platform as the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Volkswagen Touareg, but unlike the aggressive design of those models, the Q8 shows the same classic reserve we see in the brand’s Audi R8 supercar. We’re also fans of Audi’s intuitive touchscreen infotainment system and driver assist technology.
Every modern Land Rover SUV features a clean, upscale exterior design and near perfect proportions. And while we like the boxy Land Rover Defender’s design attitude, the Range Rover Velar takes it a step further, with a sloping roofline and sleek headlights and taillights. Its shorter wheelbase means it’s not the most practical or capable Land Rover, but it is the prettiest.
Yup, Kia made the list of most beautiful SUVs, and the truth is there were at least three worthy candidates. But while the full-size Kia Telluride is both an attractive and highly functional large SUV, and the brand’s compact SUV, the Seltos, has a cool “spunk” to its styling, the midsize Kia Sorento still offers a third row, and is simply a remarkably good looking SUV.
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