Being ugly is a selling point for these tiny Japanese vans

Multi-Purpose Vehicle Or MPV

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid can use electric only
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid can use electric only for local trips and gas for longer trips.

Multi-purpose vehicle is the all-encompassing term that is used for vans. It is a broad term that aptly describes the many different roles that vans perform in our cities.

MPVs can vary in size from a small truck to smaller than a standard car, showing the variety of design and purpose for these vehicles.

In many countries, particularly the USA, MPV is a designation for a people carrier, and the class contains three different sizes, of which the MPV is the largest. The other class sizes are a mini MPV and a compact MPV.

An example of an MPV is the Chrysler Pacifica, which is considered a luxury MPV. It comes as a gasoline-powered model or a hybrid model.


The all wheel drive 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid mini
The all wheel drive 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid minivan.

Minivan is a term most commonly used in the USA in reference to the larger people carrier vehicles in the MPV class.

Sometimes, the term minivan is used to describe the entire MPV classes of people carriers, but the word is normally prefixed with a size specifier, such as a compact minivan or a small minivan.

When minivan is used as a standalone term, it is usually in reference to the largest class of MPV. In the USA, the term minivan is often associated with the social designation of the soccer-mom, who needs a suitable people carrier to transport children for sporting activities.


6. Suzuki X-90

Yes, we’re sure this isn’t a large toy car like the ones you find outside a supermarket. It is actually a real car that was produced by a real manufacturer.

It looks like someone has taken any other T-top roofed car and squished it into one odd shaped Suzuki.

The T-top roof makes it even stranger as it would suggest you can have a lot of fun in the X-90. You could have some, but it would take just over 14 seconds to feel any of that fun as it slowly trickles up to 60mph.

Buick Terraza

During its unheralded, three-year run, the Terraza symbolized its fitful, chaotic upbringing. It was designed to be a luxury version of  GM’s  minivan lineup. When Oldsmobile,  Pontiac and  Saturn were scrapped, the low-selling Terraza went to the junkyard along with it. Although the larger-sized Terazza looks disjointed, what with its mismatched-sized windows, this car deserves more credit than minivan historians might otherwise give it. It’s the precursor to the much-ballyhooed  Buick Enclave.

Volkswagen T2 Microbus (1968-1979)

The first iteration of Volkswagen’s iconic microbus appeared in 1950, making it in a sense the minivan’s forebear. But it is the second-generation model known as the T2 that became an icon of the Flower Power generation. VW sold the T2 model in the United States until 1979, when it was replaced by the third-generation model, but it lived on in slightly modified form in Brazil until 2013. The company delivered its all-electric version called the ID. Buzz this year.   Related: The Coolest VW Vans Through the Decades

Toyota Van (1984-1989)

Toyota had been making “mini” vans called the LiteAce and TownAce since the early 1970s in Japan. But it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that it brought a modified TownAce to the United States. Toyota never gave this van a special name for the U.S. market; it was just called “the van.” The boxy, cab-forward design never caught on with buyers here, and it was soon succeeded by the Toyota Previa.   Related: Cars No One Wanted to Buy

Toyota Van

The  Toyota Van, also known as the Toyota MasterAce, looks like a Japanese version of  Volkswagen’s iconic microbus. In fact, it was Toyota’s early answer to  Chrysler’s  minivan, with U.S. sales starting in 1983. Hilariously, certain trim levels were referred to as the “Wonder Wagon” in advertisements. Sadly, a full-fledged minivan with only three doors is anything but.

General Motors produced a van reminiscent of a household appliance

MORE: Minivans Are Attracting New CustomersGeneral Motors (GM) marketed the same van under three names between 1990 and 1996. They were the Chevrolet Lumina APV, the Oldsmobile Silhouette, and the Pontiac Trans Sport. To give GM due credit, they were far more imaginative than Toyota. According to Car and Driver, GM wanted to make a futuristic van, and perhaps they succeeded. But the aerodynamic style should have brought something other than a household appliance to the customer's mind. Car and Driver noted that instead, it rather unfortunately reminded people of a handheld vacuum. The windshield sloped at the same angle as the hood, and the rest of the van was essentially a rectangular box.The exaggerated sloping meant that taller drivers and passengers might hit their heads on the doorframes upon entry or exit.The vans did have incredibly efficient drag ratios, at least, and they were front-wheel drive—the first minivans of their kind for GM, who was just catching up to Chrysler in this respect.Ultimately, instead of zooming off into the future, the Lumina APV, the Silhouette, and the Trans Sport were left behind after only seven years of production.

10. Fiat Multipla

There’s an age-old jokey acronym for Fiat that’s branded about among car enthusiasts and the auto industry in general. That is: Fix It Again Tony.

Now we don’t claim for one second to know the internal affairs of Fiat’s design HQ. But it wouldn’t be completely ludicrous to guess that this acronym came about from a curse said during one of several meetings about signing off the Fiat Multipla’s design. How many times did they have to tell the hypothetical designer (Tony) to fix the look of this hideous car before putting it out for production?

Not a lot is our bet, as it’s still made our list of the 10 ugliest cars ever made. If we were swapping the entire meaning of the superlative ‘best’ to mean ‘ugly as sin’, then we’re definitely saving the best ’til last.

Much like a few of the cars on this list, the Multipla actually drove quite nicely and included some incredibly practical features. But it is little wonder why Fiat decided to give it a much needed facelift in 2004.

Fortunately, the Multipla was merely a blip on Fia

Fortunately, the Multipla was merely a blip on Fiat’s record. The Italian manufacturers have since produced some great cars, including the Panda, and the incredibly popular Fiat 500.

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