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Most drivers don't want to be seen in this car

Monday, 5 Aug 2013 | 4:17 PM ET
Smart fortwo car
Source: Daimler AG
Smart fortwo car

When CarInsurance.com asked drivers to choose from 12 cars made in the last decade that they would be most embarrassed to drive, nearly half of the 1,500 participants chose the petite Smart fortwo built by Daimler AG.

Forty-eight percent of the drivers surveyed said the fortwo was the car they wouldn't want to be caught in.

(Read more: Cheapest & most expensive cars to drive)

"All these cars are bold statements. You either love them or hate them," CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups said in a statement. "But even considering that, a lot of people don't like the Smart fortwo, and those who don't like it seem to despise it."

When asked to pinpoint the worst attributes of the Smart fortwo drivers said it was "too small," "too dorky," "too girly," and it "tries too hard."

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Smart, a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, has had a tough time gaining popularity in the United States. The company recently revealed a host of updates to the 2013 fortwo in hopes of stimulating demand. With a top speed of 78 mph, the electric-powered, city-friendly two-seater starts around $12,490.

As for the fortwo being selected as the most embarrassing car, a Smart executive dismissed the critics. "We're different, and we're the un-car. People that like traditional cars aren't necessarily going to be a fan. We're about fun, safety and individuality," said Smart General Manager Mark Webster.

Sales in 2013 of electric cars through May include 8,850 for the Tesla Model S, 843 for the Mitsubishi i, 723 for the Ford Focus Electric, 364 for the Toyota RAV4 EV, 83 for the Honda Fit EV and 62 for the Smart fortwo EV, according to hybridcars.com.

While the fortwo came in first place with a cringe score of 7.6—a number representing the relative weight of all votes cast for a particular vehicle based on a 1 to 10 scale—the Nissan Cube was in second place with a cringe score of 3.6, followed by the Hummer H2 with a score of 3.5.

Vehicle/CringeScore

1. Smart ForTwo: 7.6
2. Nissan Cube: 3.6
3. Hummer H2: 3.5
4. Chevrolet SSR: 2.1
5. Volkswagen New Beetle: 1.9
6. Subaru Baja: 1.6
7. Lincoln Town Car: 1.6
8. Pontiac Aztek: 1.4
9. Plymouth PT Cruiser: 1.0
10. Honda Element: 0.9
Source: CarInsurance.com

"Women really didn't like the H2," Toups said. "Dislike of the Cube was more on generational lines: The older you are, the less likely you are to find it embarrassing."

(Read more: Look what the ladies are driving!)

CarInsurance.com also asked drivers to chose the type of vehicle they felt were most embarrassing. Inexpensive compacts topped the list at 29 percent while minivans and eco-friendly hybrids rounded out the top three with 23 percent, and 15 percent respectively.

—By CNBC's Karma Allen. Follow him on Twitter @iam_karma.

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