6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

A well-designed bonnet scoop on the right car can be a fine thing, but sometimes manufacturers end up putting one where it doesn't belong...
6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

Bonnet scoops are supposedly one of those achingly cool indicators of a proper performance car. There to allow more direct air flow into the engine, or maybe just for improved cooling in a high-performance setup, a good one complements a car’s brawn or its naked potential for speed.

A bad one can just be embarrassing. It’s the pair of socks in the front of your underwear. While this one is open for plenty of debate, we’ve picked out a few bonnet scoops that just don’t work for us. For some the problem is that they’re about as necessary as a duck in a phone shop. For others it’s that they look terrible. Either way, feel free to disagree as we list our top offenders in the world of bonnet scoopery.

Kia Sedona/Carnival

6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

If it’s one thing a well-executed family bus needs it’s a totally superfluous bonnet scoop. Or… maybe not. The Sedona, optimistically named the Carnival in markets outside Europe, was launched in 1998 with a weirdly large scoop fronting its otherwise remarkably dull body. It was like someone had put an MPV on a bonnet scoop for some reason.

Whether or not this was technically functional for the low-output engine options, it looked utterly ridiculous, like you’d just been to a car parts shop and put it on there yourself after taking experimental medication. It’s a big thumbs-down from us.

Toyota Celica (MkVII)

6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

Once upon a time the Celica was a rally hero, iconic in Castrol colours and still a great-looking car today. Then the MkVII came along. It was a pretty thing, but in front-wheel drive only and with a chassis that had all the dynamism of a morning milk delivery, it was as sporting as an elderly Labrador.

And yet, it had a bonnet scoop. Blessed with less purpose than a hair dryer in a monastery, this scoop was purely for style. To give it its due, when buyers ticked the ‘massive rear wing’ option on the 189bhp T-Sport version it seemed to suit the overall effect better. That car’s 2ZZ four-pot revved to over 8000rpm and sounded like a nest of hornets in attack mode, at least giving the sharply-styled but soft-edged Celica some performance, but the bonnet scoop added nothing.

Mini Cooper S & JCW

6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

The first BMW-era Mini Cooper S, released in 2001, was supercharged. The scoop at the top of its stubby and handsome nose led straight to a little blower that pumped the 1.6-litre engine’s power up to an angrily-delivered 163bhp. Unfortunately, that engine had a habit of eating itself in too many examples, so it was replaced with an all-new item in the all-new R56 generation in late 2006.

And the scoop? It stayed, because it had become a defining aesthetic feature of the Cooper S and JCW models, but now you could tape it over and it’d make no difference. The days of the scoop’s purpose had gone: yet another aspect of the Mini had become solely style-led. At least the turbocharged R56 made up for it by being an absolute hoot.

Suzuki Alto Works

6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

Realistically, a water-cooled engine needs a fair amount of power before a more direct means of air induction becomes necessary. That makes the ridiculously aftermarket-looking bonnet scoop on the 1987 Suzuki Alto Works look a bit misplaced. The Works was the first kei car to hit Japan’s legal power limit for the class… at 64bhp.

But, basically, what you got was a tall, narrow city car best suited to shopping trips and possibly falling over around corners. Giving it this bonnet scoop was like giving a pug puppy an aggressively-studded collar. At best, it’s a bit of a joke. If you’re on board with that, go nuts!

Toyota Supra

6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

Come off it, Toyota, the Supra’s feeble scoop was neither one thing nor the other. It wasn’t authentic enough, it didn’t look particularly natural on the car’s nose and it lacked any oversized shock factor; the thing that makes the old Mazda 3 MPS’s equivalent work so well.

The more pictures of it that you look at, the less right it seems. It comes across like a cheap aftermarket add-on that was designed for a much smaller car. It’s definitely better off without it.

Nissan Pulsar/Sunny GTi-R

6 Times Bonnet Scoops Were Just The Worst

After all our bleating about non-functional bonnet scoops, here’s one that actually serves a purpose. The rare and surprisingly special Nissan Pulsar GTi-R was built with an SR20DET turbocharged four-cylinder engine and four-wheel drive. It kicked ass courtesy of massive traction and 227bhp, which, at the time in the early 1990s, was a huge number. The Pulsar didn’t weigh a whole lot, either, and was massively tunable.

Named the Pulsar in Japan and the detuned Sunny in the UK, it was a purposefully ugly thing that would still keep hot hatchbacks honest even today with a rumoured 0-60mph time of 5.4 seconds. That scoop was one of its least attractive features, though. Long and louvred, it looked like it needed a rhinoplasty. Surely there was a neater, more stylish alternative to the cooling dilemma? At least, from the driver’s seat, you didn’t have to look at its worst side…


Griffin Mackenzie

Half of these do kinda fit the goofy look of the car not gonna lie

06/20/2018 - 14:52 |
284 | 0

I agree, except for the supra, they all fit the car “philosophy” pretty well. It does make them stand out in a giid way

06/20/2018 - 21:37 |
38 | 0
Rahul 1


06/20/2018 - 14:53 |
0 | 0

The kia with the scoop somehow makes it look more like a soccer mom is car

06/20/2018 - 14:56 |
2 | 2
GTRTURTLE 🔰 🐢(Oo \ S K Y L I N E / oO) (Koen

Hey if they are functional I can kind of forgive the ugly look

06/20/2018 - 14:57 |
30 | 0

Of course they’re functional! With these, cars can achieve MAXIMUM S U C C

06/20/2018 - 19:02 |
18 | 0
Sir Wafel (WhyBeAre of CT) (Multipla Squad) (propane)

What do you mean that Kia was called Carinval outside Europe? Here in Poland it was called Carnival and that’s very much in Europe

06/20/2018 - 15:10 |
2 | 2

You just solved your own question… Unless they said Poland was outside of Europe.

06/20/2018 - 15:25 |
0 | 0

In Portugal was Carnival too

06/20/2018 - 16:09 |
0 | 0

Poland can into Europe

06/20/2018 - 18:14 |
0 | 0

Yea, in Latvia it is also the Carnival.

06/20/2018 - 18:16 |
0 | 0
Sebastian Sohlberg

The KIA is the only one i don’t like

06/20/2018 - 15:11 |
20 | 2

And that one actually has a reason for it’s existence in the turbodiesel models

06/20/2018 - 19:29 |
6 | 0
Aaron 15

The mini looks great with the scoop - without it, the car would look quite plain!

06/20/2018 - 15:21 |
110 | 2

Just going to ignore the fact that yugo used them? Ok then.

06/20/2018 - 15:24 |
104 | 0
Filip Pisarić

In reply to by Jopel

That scoop didn’t have anything to do with engine itself, it was there to provide fresh air to a heater core, when it was winter time you just turned it other way around so that cold air wouldn’t interfere with your lovely warm interior :D

06/21/2018 - 08:27 |
6 | 2

In reply to by Jopel


06/21/2018 - 11:03 |
0 | 0
David 27

the Supra’s hood scoop is functional..

06/20/2018 - 15:27 |
10 | 0
TurboToddler (Straight-five)

In reply to by David 27

Still not good looking tho

06/20/2018 - 15:39 |
6 | 4

Oooo that Alto Works - it’s a great quirky car so for me the scoop is pretty cool!

06/20/2018 - 15:32 |
20 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Quirks, you said?

06/20/2018 - 22:12 |
52 | 2


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