Besides being smaller than standard American cars, the Corvair had an air-cooled opposed-cylinder engine (conceptually similar to the Beetle's) mounted in the rear (also à la Beetle). For nearly 50 years, the standard for American cars was a water-cooled motor placed at the front of the car driving the rear wheels, so the Corvair concept was indeed bold. But that engine layout was flawed because it creates a weight bias towards the rear of the car that usually causes handling problems under certain conditions.
So it was that lawyer Ralph Nader wrote an exposé of the Corvair that benefitted his career and destroyed the Corvair brand. That and other Corvair information is reported here.
As for styling, the first Corvair series (1960-1964 model years) can be classified as "functional," but not at all beautiful.