Ugly Car Guide: Citroen CX25

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Every so often, we bring you the Ugly Car Guide--the spotters' Bible to the stuff that'll make you heave in a parking lot even if you haven't been up 'till 3 a.m. dualing Jaegerbombs and butterscotch-pudding shots.

This week, Ugly Car Guide comes to you from the Green Mountain State of Vermont, thanks to our buddy Dan Lerner and his eagle-eyed swoop down on a Citroen CX, struggling to strike a pose in a public parking lot.

Originally we got the photos in low-res, because sending them in higher-resolution "doesn't make the car look any better," he writes. We've blurred out the plates to protect the owners anyway.

The silver CX25's a 1980s vintage, spotted in the Capitol Plaza of Montpelier--the smallest capital city in the United States, Lerner points out.

The CX? It's anything but small. It was Citroen's replacement for the vaguely futuristic and somewhat pretty Citroen DS, but it completely lost the story line with its oversquare headlamps, tapered C-pillars and drooping rear end.

Citroen started building the CX in 1974, the same year it filed for bankruptcy and got swallowed up by Peugeot. That could explain why the CX had been planned out with a rotary engine--Gremlin, anyone?--but ended up with an underpowered four-cylinder under the hood.

Despite the gaffes, it was named European Car of the Year in 1975, and had an enviably cushy ride and lots of rear-seat room, making it useful as a chauffeur car, even as an ambulance. Sadly, the wonky French-isms kept it from going mainstream in most countries--crap like a single-spoke steering wheel, and the plush-riding hydropneumatic suspension with selectable ride height that got it barred by the NHTSA.

If it weren't so ugly, you could consider it avant garde. Grace Jones did: she featured the CX prominently in her 1985 video for Slave to the Rhythm, and even shaved her hair in the shape of the car. Something she probably did totally clean and sober, we speculate.

This example's a later one, probably imported on the grey market after President Reagan lifted some of those prohibitive NHTSA rules after he was elected to office in 1980. Lerner points out "it appears to be an automatic with ABS, per the badges to that effect."

His takeaway sounds like ours.

"Yuck, by the way," he says.



Got an ugly car for us to ridicule? Send the pics and your take via Twitter @therealma or to us at desk [at] highgearmedia (dot) com. If we run your photos, we'll blot out any identifying marks so Google won't have yet another way into your underwear.


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Comments (8)
  1. I have a CX25 Turbo II. Granted - from the back, it's not the best looking vehicle ever produced, but from the front, with the proper European headlights, it's not bad looking. See those mirrors? Same ones as on an XJ220 supercar.
    The turbo is not slow - 140mph top speed and better acceleration than most big American sedans of the time while simultaneously getting nearly twice the MPG. How? You mentioned the shape of the back - Now look at a Prius designed 25 years latter. How about that funky suspension? It's not just to go up and down. I love tailgating 911's and BMW -M's through curving highway on/off ramps. If I tried that in a similar size/era US sedan, I would not be around to post this.

  2. The comment 'uggly car' for a citroen cx, is for me (Citroendriving Dutchman) the proof that Americans have no sense of good taste.

  3. Citroen's are an acquired taste to US eyes and there are several automobiles that are venerated here for their looks that have Europeans thinking WTF. Frankly I'd acquire a CX if the the opportunity and resources presented themselves.

  4. you don't know what you say m8
    this citroen was, and still is, absolutely stunning
    and it's an italian sayng it

  5. you don't know what you say m8
    this citroen was, and still is, absolutely stunning
    and it's an italian sayng it

  6. Thumbing through a recent Hemming's magazine yesterday that featured that model, though not that car. That is technically a Citroen CXA. CX Automotive, Federalized and imported the CX to the US after Citroen withdrew from the US market.

  7. Couldn't agree less, Marty: CX is, IMHO, a real beauty. In fact, is one of my favorite cars of all times! The US headlights may be really guilty, I guess...

  8. It's a real beauty, I couldn't agree more!

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