The Pontiac Aztek was a mid-size crossover, the first offered by General Motors, that was produced by Pontiac from the 2001 model year to the 2005 model year. The Aztek was heavily criticized on its exterior styling, with Time magazine in 2007 calling the Aztek one of the worst cars of all time, and again in 2010 as the 34th worst invention of all time. A poll in The Daily Telegraph in August 2008 placed the Aztek at number one of the "100 ugliest cars" of all time.
Given that many sport utility vehicles (SUVs) were rarely driven off-pavement, a new car-based "crossover" was marketed with hopes of providing SUV-like elements customers actually wanted. These features included large cargo capacities and elevated seating. The vehicle was marketed to younger drivers who could picture the Aztek as complementary to an active outdoor lifestyle with fewer of the drawbacks perceived with traditional SUVs such as poor gas mileage, uncomfortable ride, high step-in height and vulnerability to roll-over. Television commercials portrayed the Aztek as an adult "My Buddy", able to go along for all sorts of adventures such as getting lost in remote southwest locations or as a sleep-in vehicle before an open fire in a municipal park.