The Pontiac Aztek is widely considered as one of the ugliest vehicles ever produced, and one of the biggest failure for a car in modern history. The Pontiac Aztek was a crossover that though it started as a cool, exciting concept, cost-cuts from GM turned it into a plastic shortcut on wheels. The journalists and pop culture alike have fun of everything about the car since it was first introduced in the 2000. Recently, used as a tool to further the character of Walter White, a 2004 Aztek was used in the show Breaking Bad, giving the Aztek a whole new generation to make fun of it. While not many people are willing to come forward and say that they own this failed experiment, here’s my story about the my family’s 2004 Aztek.
My parents bought the car back in 2005. Our Aztek had been a rental car which had 14,000 on it. When we found a souvenir coil from Disney World in the car, we figured out that the Aztek was a well used rental vehicle. I was never really a fan of the car when they first bought it, having eyes that saw ugly nature of the Aztek. My sister, on the other hand, for some unknown reason, like the car ever since she saw a brochure for the car at the GM dealer my father worked at the time. We are all not sure why she likes it so much. Our parents continually drove the Aztek into my college years. In 2010, when my parents got a Subaru Forester, my sister got the Aztek to drive while I got her car, a 1995 Monte Carlo. After she bought her own car, I received the Aztek in late 2013, and have been driving it ever since.
Life with an Aztek is not as bad as its exterior would have you to believe. There are some benefits to driving the car. For one, you don’t see the exterior of the car, and though the interior of my Aztek does have a strange, tessellation pattern, the seats are comfortable and the stereo is still impressive even by modern standards. My family has taken a wide variety of long road trips, and my mother drove it on many business trips across the state. You can also fit a lot in the back of the Aztek’s rear hatch. I’ve been know to fit entire drumsets into the back of the car with enough room to fit a couple more instruments. The Aztek, in reality, is not that bad as long as you don’t look at it.
Another thing about the Aztek is the extremely impressive all-wheel drive. It is the same GM all-wheel drive system that were in most GM products during the decade. Since my Firebird is not exactly a snow vehicle, I drive the Aztek during the winter months. The Aztek, for a lack of a better term, is a tank in the snow. My family has driven the Aztek through snow high enough to be pushing the snow with the front bumper as we went along. To my knowledge, the car has never gotten stuck in a place that it can not get out of. The Aztek is also endlessly reliable and has never really broke down. It was not until recently when the rear bearing finally wore out that the car had any true mechanical problems.
So, despite it’s ugly exterior, the Aztek is a reliable, durable vehicle that has served my family well in the decade that we have owned the car. We have managed to but almost 166,000 miles on the car since 2005 and it has only began to show it’s age in the past year or so. Admittedly, however, for me it is still slightly embarrassing to be seen driving the Aztek. However, when driving the car, you have to constantly have to remind yourself how the car is really not as bad as its reputation. The car has been nothing but reliable, practical and comfortable. The bad reputation is just something that you have to live with.