This vehicle is notorious for being an under-achieving ‘crossover’ model, being neither a decent minivan, nor an SUV, and is also well-known for having an ugly, plastic appearance.
Walter’s Aztek has had its windshield broken several times during the course of the series. Once when Wayfarer 515 crashed with a chartered plane, the debris from the mid-air collision causes debris to land on his vehicle, breaking the windshield. ("ABQ") Walter is pulled over and given a citation for driving with a broken windshield, an encounter that infuriates Walter. Walt tells the officer the crack was caused by debris from the Wayfarer 515 collision. "Hellfire rained down on my house!" he screams. His behavior leads to him being pepper sprayed and arrested by the officer who pulled him over. ("Caballo Sin Nombre")
The front end was banged up when Walt drove the car into two rival drug dealers who were about to kill Jesse. ("Half Measures") Later Mike Ehrmantraut tells him to get it fixed immediately, and he does. ("Full Measure") The back end got banged up when Walt intentionally steered his car into oncoming traffic to avoid having to take Hank to the industrial laundry where the superlab was hidden ("Crawl Space").
When Walt's mechanic had finished repairing the Aztek yet again, Walt realized he didn't want the vehicle and sold it to his mechanic on the spot for $50. He then leased a new Chrysler 300. ("Fifty-One")
Behind the scenes
The Aztek was one of two vehicles that had been established in the show pilot, before Dennis came on as Transportation Coordinator in Episode One. He credits show creator Vince Gilligan with a clear vision for what all the cars should bring to the show’s production:
“The story that I got was that Vince was presented a few options and fell in love with his ‘Mr. Chips’ [a reference to the 1939 film Goodbye, Mr. Chips about an aging headmaster] riding around Albuquerque in this vehicle.”
And that distinctive green color was all Vince, as well. Interesting that the Pontiac Aztek was voted as one of the worst cars made. [It] kinda made Mr. White look somewhat pathetic. [But] Aztek owners tend to be very protective of their vehicles, and this just goes to show you that Vince shares the same view of the majority of those taking the aforementioned polls.”
- There were 3 Azteks used in the show. The main vehicle driven by Walt, a crash double also used as a parts car, and a second crash double. The main car will remain on display at Sony Studios. The second crash double was used in the crash scene with Hank, and had severe rear damage, it sold at Auction October 8th 2013 for $7,800.
- The Aztek is symbolic because of Breaking Bad's setting: New Mexico (the Aztecs were ancient people of central Mexico, of which New Mexico was once a part).