These are our picks for the best looking cars available today.
This wasn’t an easy list to make. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, and so everyone’s top 10 looks different. We also grappled with whether or not to consider only designs that are more classically “pretty” or “gorgeous,” or if “distinctive” deserves some time in the spotlight. What about SUVs?
Well, one of them makes the cut. We’ve even managed to include an entry from most every segment out there. The connective tissue? Every single one of these cars is one we can’t help but look back at every time we walk away. These are the ones we find an excuse to take more photos of. Presented in alphabetical order, here are AutoGuide‘s best looking cars of today.
The Reasoning: Acura nailed the assignment the moment it decided the current TLX would be lower and wider than the one it replaced. The massaged proportions give this sedan an excellent stance. Acura’s latest design language is a hit for us too, aggressive but not overstyled. In Type S trim, big wheels fill out those arches, a quartet of tailpipes punctuate the rear end, and it even comes in a retro-tastic shade of orange.
These dramatic looks don’t break the bank, either. The TLX continues the tradition started by the old 3.2 TL, remaining a relatively affordable entry in the compact(-ish) sport sedan segment. Prices start right around $40,000.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
The Reasoning: We can’t pretend SUVs don’t exist. They make up the majority of new vehicle sales, and have done so for multiple years now. The additional height and visual bulk are anathema to beautiful design, however. Or at least, they usually are—but nobody told Alfa Romeo.
To our eyes, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the best of the breed. Curvy where others are slab-sided, the Stelvio is a mountain we’re happy to climb any time. Alfa’s distinctive front-end design makes this an easy one to spot in the distance, too. The best angle might just be the rear three-quarter: the tapering roofline and little tailgate lip bridge the gap between SUV and wagon. Throw on a set of oh-so-pretty telephone-dial wheels like the Quadrifoglio and the ohs and ahs are sure to follow.
Bentley Continental GTC
The Reasoning: When it comes to big grand tourers, few do it better than Bentley. With such a large canvas to work with, Bentley’s designers have crafted a beauty, one that manages to capture both grace (the upright grille, the flowing lines) and muscle (the defined rear haunches). The Continental’s strength lies in its versatility, with the blinged-out Mulliner and stealthier S models highlighting its range.
Of course, a major part of the appeal with Bentley’s big-bucks model is the available convertible body style, in addition to the traditional coupe. All the better to admire the peerless craftsmanship in the cabin, then.
The Reasoning: Not that we’re the first to say it, but a few years ago, Ferraris weren’t exactly pretty. (We’re also not the target audience, and we doubt Ferrari cares what we think anyway, but we digress.) The brand has rediscovered its mojo, however, and no model so perfectly encapsulates that Italian beauty like the gorgeous Roma coupe.
A low, long nose and set-back cabin align the Roma more closely with the pretty classics of the brand’s early years. Same goes with the clean flanks, with just one sharp crease down low to break up the curves. There’s nothing old-school about the thin LED headlights, but there is in the smiling egg-crate grille they frame. From any angle, the Roma is stop-you-in-your-tracks pretty.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Reasoning: Hyundai’s retro-futuristic SUV-slash-hatchback continues to demand attention. The Ioniq 5 design is chock-full of clever details, from the pixel light designs on either end, to the camera aperture wheel arches between them. There’s a funky interplay between all this bleeding-edge modernity and the throwback spindle-spoke wheel design. Throw in some interesting paint choices, including a gold matte and a color-changing teal, and no wonder it remains our favorite EV design.
The best part of the Ioniq 5? This is high design for the people. The 5 is the volume model of Hyundai’s Ioniq sub-brand, the one meant to sell in larger numbers. Just because something is mainstream doesn’t mean it needs to be boring, and the Ioniq 5 is proof of just that.
The Reasoning: Sticking with Korea here, we have nothing but love for the Kia K5. Sedans have fallen out of favor as of late, especially the mid-sized variety, and that’s a shame when they’re as satisfying as Kia’s latest.
The K5 leads with an aggressive take on the brand’s Tiger Nose, which blends almost seamlessly with the thin headlights. There are a lot of conflicting angles here, enough to make you think it shouldn’t work—but it does. Kia’s yellow “heartbeat” DRLs are a fantastic design cue, adding energy to the car’s light signature, and making it clear it’s a Kia at night. Move around to the side and the rear window extends so far back you’d swear this was a liftback, like an Audi A7 for half the price. It isn’t, but the way the chrome wraps down and around the glass is a cool, unique touch. Full-width taillights are hardly unique these days, but the LED dashes that reside inside are. Round it all out with some pretty wheel designs, especially on the hi-po GT model, and the K5 adds more than a dash of style to staid segment.
Reasoning: We’ve waxed lyrical about the Lexus LC before. Even now, multiple years after its debut, it’s a stunner, a concept car for the road. To think there was a time where we couldn’t conceive of a pretty car wearing that Lexus spindle grille. We were wrong.
We’ll go one further, and say that the convertible is the better-looking option. The coupe is pretty, of course, yet the proportions are even better sans roof. This is a drop-dead gorgeous drop-top. Plus, driving with the roof down gives you a better taste of the creamy naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8’s soundrack, itself one of the great engines left on sale. Mark our words: the LC will be a coveted future classic.
Reasoning: Stop and close your eyes. Picture the future of luxury cars. Chances are, the image in your head lines up with the Lucid Air.
The Air encapsulates post-modern luxury. It isn’t shouty about its costliness; it’s simply self-assured. Aerodynamic needs have naturally shaped it, but the wind tunnel hasn’t shorn off its identity. In fact, Lucid has already set itself apart from the pack, with large volumes and brushed metal highlights. The way the windshield seamlessly extends back into the glass roof never fails to wow people, either. Inside, Lucid has worked to separate the front and back of the cabin, giving the latter a real lounge vibe. It’s not cheap, but the Lucid is the real luxury deal.
Reasoning: We haven’t forgotten about the humble hatchback. Compact cars still sell, and while it might not be topping the sales charts, the Mazda3 is the style leader in our hearts.
There’s something almost Italian about that low, squinty face and raked tailgate. We also like Mazda’s refusal to sully the sides with strakes and creases. The smooth curvature plays well with the light, but there’s complexity behind the simplicity: Mazda had to retool its painting operations just to handle the 3’s flanks.
Sure, the thick C-pillar eats into visibility. The rear row is one of the tighter ones in the class, too. We don’t care. The 3’s mature driving dynamics, classy cabin, and pretty looks still make it one of the most alluring cars, even as the most affordable entry on this list.
Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
Reasoning: We had to end on a classic two-seater note. There are a lot of pretty choices out there, but for us, it’s the 718 Boxster. More specifically, it’s the Spyder, the GT4-without-a-roof.
Why this one? Those humps, pretty much. You can get most of the same experience in the Boxster 4.0 GTS, sure, but the top-down aesthetics are lacking there. The bodywork swelling up and into the roll hoops looks ace, and helps visually balance the Boxster front-to-rear. We even like it with the hood up, as the Spyder’s more delicate roof design makes the car look like it’s ready to attack. Yeah, it’s not powered, but we like the sense of occasion that provides.
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