|For immediate release
April 9, 2005
Jenny Lawhorn, 202.513.2754
NPR's Car Talk Listeners Pick Ugliest New Car
2005 Pontiac Aztek Awarded Dubious Distinction
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Tom and Ray Magliozzi, a.k.a. Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, the hosts of Car Talk from NPR, unveiled their ugly side this weekend, revealing the winner and runners-up of the "2005 Ugliest Car of the Year." The winner of this dubious honor? The 2005 Pontiac Aztek, a car-based SUV that looks like a cross between a wagon, SUV and minivan-and about which everyone has an opinion. Said one listener, "it looks like it went into the crusher before the showroom!"
The Aztek was chosen from among ten finalists nominated by thousands of listeners and web visitors for their not-so-very-easy-on-the-eyes qualities.
Why a contest for the ugliest new car? "Some people thought ugly went away with the AMC Pacer," noted Car Talk co-host Ray Magliozzi, "but it turns out, it was just dormant."
"Ugly is lurking around every fender with the 2005 model year," says Tom Magliozzi. "Not everyone can design a beautiful car. The other designers need work, too. We thought it was high time we celebrated their achievements."
The results were announced on Car Talk's April 9th edition. About the winner, comments were, well, less than guarded. One listener bemoaned, "it looks the way Montezuma's revenge feels." "Was Pontiac taken over by a high school shop class?" asked another Car Talk fan.
The Scion xB garnered second place, while third went to the Hummer H2, which looked, to one Car Talk listener, "like a rolling dumpster." Listener comments about those cars were no less reserved. Being ugly isn't all bad, however. About the Scion, one listener remarked, "its appearance should serve as an innovative but effective first line of defense against car theft" while another wondered if "the cleaning lady took the plans out of the trash as a joke-and nobody noticed."
Over the past eight weeks, listeners have nominated their picks for the most appalling cars by writing to the show's headquarters in Harvard Square or by voting online at Car Talk's Web site at cartalk.com. More than 10,000 people voted in the final runoff.
The seven other car finalists were the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Chevy Avalanche, Subaru Baja, and BMW 5 Series.
"Let's face it," says Car Talk co-host Tom Magliozzi, "if there's one topic we know anything about, ugly is it."
Car Talk is public radio's most popular entertainment program, airing on nearly 600 stations with more than 4.4 million listeners a week tuning in for an hour long tune-up on car advice and humor. Full results from the contest are posted at cartalk.com.
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