What Is The Best Looking Car In The World?

Smart ForTwo Cabrio - MAT Foundry

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but also an ancient mathematical equation, apparently.

The Golden Ratio principle garnered much attention last year when it was used to crown George Clooney the ‘most beautiful man in the world’. A beauty king needs a beauty queen of course and soon after the same formula anointed model Belle Hadid to this make-believe throne.

While few would argue against eithers dazzling good looks, we predict consensus will be harder to come by after similar research ranked, you guessed it, cars. Indeed the world’s most beautiful vehicle isn’t exactly a knockout…

Motoring website Carwow took it upon themselves to compare and contrast every car released in the last decade. All 626 of them to be precise. A detailed and some would say cynical process found that 2016’s Smart ForTwo Cabrio was petrolhead perfection. Yes, you read that correctly.

Fighting off competition from the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini is the compact smart car patronisingly referred to in some quarters as ‘gawky’. Gawky can be great but gorgeous? Really? Understanding the criteria adds at least some context to an otherwise bizarre list.

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio itself dates back to 300BC. An algebraic equation, it has long been deployed to ‘measure perfection’ using a literal ratio of 1:1.618 (or Phi). In short this implies that the most pleasing form to the human eye is that of a rectangle.

The age-old calculation has been used by architects, artists and designers the world over for some 2,300 years and is perhaps best associated with Salvadaor Dali’s painting ‘Sacrament of the Last Supper’.

Handsome George however, unwittingly introduced the principle to a new generation and given the subsequent coverage it was perhaps inevitable that petrolheads would muscle in on the act.

Cue Carwow whose somewhat liberal adoption of the ratio is not without controversy.

Firstly their internal boffins chose to focus solely on the front of vehicles. So while the likes of bumpers, headlights and wing mirrors were included in analysis, side and rear views were not. Nobody is quite sure why.

Original promo photos were mapped by the most significant fifty ratios between the points. Final scores were shown as a percentage and calculated by a vehicle’s conformity to the golden ratio. We know, it’s not exactly easy to follow.

Such maths afforded the Smart ForTwo a magnificent if mystifying 98.83%. In this one instance perhaps you can argue with science.

The remainder of the top five was equally bemusing. The VW Up (98.62%) is apparently the second most attractive car of the last ten years, leading the Vauxhall Mokka (98.57%), the Toyota Corolla (98.56%) and the Nissan Mircra (98.55%) respectively.

But whose bringing up the rear? Ford drivers look away now…

The Fiesta is by all accounts the ugliest hunk of steel released since 2010, it’s 2012-17 ST edition scoring a lowly 34.31%. Ironically this is Britain’s most popular set of wheels according to outright sales, suggesting us Brits have either good humour or poor taste.

In total four Fords are included within the bottom ten in findings sure to anger the American automakers.

Alongside the Fiesta, a bottom and infamous five is comprised of the Mercedes GLC 64 AMG Coupe (35.25%), the Audi A1 Sportback (35.48%), the Audi RS7 Sportback (25.54%) and the Ford Kuga Vignale (36.44%) respectively.

Ford Fiesta - MAT Foundry


Understandably they and others are pouring scorn on Carwow’s unique study. Ignoring rear and more significantly side views – arguably the best representation of a design – was always likely to draw ire.

There is even a suggestion the perplexing league table is as calculated as it is controversial, designed to generate headlines and hits alike. For while Carwow’s users now number a million this is a drop in the ocean compared to the traffic generated by big names such as Top Gear.

Originally launched in 2010 as a research site providing reviews from a mixture of experts and users, Carcow was reimagined and reborn in 2013 as a car buying platform.

Those willing to accept their intentions as honourable and honest choose simply to mock the Golden Ratio itself, claiming these findings prove its archaic and no longer fit for purpose. After all in what universe could a Smart Car prove more attractive than the Lamborghini Aventador (445th in the rankings) and Ferrari 488 (557th)?

Well Carwow’s apparently, whose Mat Watson was quick to defend their findings.

“Obviously the golden ratio doesn’t tell you everything about the beauty of a car, like the sound it makes when you rev the engine, the finish of the interior or that ‘new car smell’, but it is interesting to see how closely car manufacturers stick to these dimensions and apply it to the ‘faces’ of some of the most popular cars available today.

The first thought when you mention a Smart car probably isn’t dashing good looks, but when you think about the precision that has gone into every element of its design to create a car so small, but so effective, it actually makes a lot of sense.”

Ultimately what’s attractive and what’s not is and always will be a matter of taste and something no mathematical formula can truly define. Heck, there may even be a handful of females out there who don’t fancy Mr. Clooney.

And while those behind Smart ForTwo and VW (who led the way in three annual studies) may take heart from this research, others will simply dismiss it. That may be for the best.


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