10. Pontiac Aztek (2001-05)
This is a joke, right?
A vehicle best known for being the ugliest car produced within the past decade that wasn't involved in some horrible, jaws-of-life-necessitating wreck is an "icon" Is that what iconography has come to these days?
Well, ask Vince Gilligan. The creator of the recently ended AMC series Breaking Bad made it the vehicle that main character Walter White was cursed to own after his business partners bought him out of a multibillion-dollar enterprise and sentenced him to life as a high school chemistry teacher. It's a vehicle so ugly, forlorn and depressing that only White's cancer trumped it as a reason for cooking and dealing blue meth. Only when White became meth kingpin Heisenberg was his trusty Aztek demoted from a drug-dealer killing machine to a bad joke.
Keep in mind, however, that not all icons are remembered for their greatness. The Edsel and the Yugo, for example, are remembered with a shudder by car lovers both for their appearance and for their futility on U.S. car lots.
The funniest part about the Aztek is that just about everything but the car's exterior design and sloping cargo space were brilliant. If you owned one of these monstrosities, you were driving a vehicle with car-based, unibody construction that had all of the space and height of an SUV but few of the gas-guzzling concerns. While the rolling philistines laughed at you from atop their truck axles as they burned through $60 worth of gas, you were driving what would later be known as a crossover -- you know, the vehicles your detractors would be trading in their clunkers for just a few years later when gas prices soared right along with unemployment and housing foreclosures.
It's still pretty funny when a taxicab-yellow Aztek rolls by, but that model ended up with the last laugh.