The Hyundai Ioniq 5, with its pixelated lights and evocative design, is part of a trend of weird cars that are trying to make a statement in the age of electrification. | Photo by Andrew Hawkins / The Verge

It’s been a real WTF kind of year for car releases, new machines in new shapes with offbeat marketing leaning on gimmicky features that nobody asked for. Gimmicks are nothing new, but as I was pondering yet another incredibly quick, perfectly quiet EV, it occurred to me that I’ve been having an increasing number of head-scratching reactions to new cars over the past few years.

Cars are, by my estimation, getting weirder on the whole. While an endless number of oddball models have come and gone over the decades, we’re presently awash in an incredible density of quirky gimmicks and outré styling exercises. Why? Because the looming wave of electrification is commoditizing many of the features traditional brands have historically leaned…

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