But the Germans — BMW and Mercedes — transformed from being about quality and performance to being about social status.go to site
The 50 greatest cars of the past 20 years
Enter Lexus, Toyota's effort at using its vaunted manufacturing prowess to compete with Mercedes. It was a huge risk.
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But it paid off. Honda's Acura was actually the first Japanese carmaker to take the plunge in , and Infiniti followed with Acura. But Lexus achieved the gold standard in — and in the process saw Toyota hit its US peak. Introduced in the early s, the vehicle transformed the rugged utility truck, intended to be an expedition vehicle, into the preferred set of wheels for suburbanites with families.
In the process, the Explorer effectively ended the station wagon's long reign as the practical family car. Clobbered by a spike in gas prices after the financial crisis, the Explorer mounted a comeback, and by it was once again a vital Ford vehicle as Americans turned away not just from wagons but family sedans. As SUVs go, none have been as influential as the Explorer. The nameplate remains in Ford's lineup — and a vehicle that is still an excellent choice. The McLaren F1 represents the pinnacle of s automotive technology. The British supercar helped pioneer advanced carbon fiber construction and delivered performance no other production car could approach for more than a decade.
In the s, the F1 stood alone atop the automotive universe. Its BMW V12 effortlessly produced horsepower at a time when was tough to come by.
And it's mph top speed would remain unchallenged for nearly a decade. The McLaren F1 was so good that a lightly modified version of the road car went racing at the 24 House of Le Mans in The F1 didn't just win, it dominated the most grueling sports car race in the world by finishing first, third, fourth, and fifth. Toyota spent years and billions developing an anti-SUV: a relatively modest, homely four-door with a secret weapon under the hood. That was the Hybrid Synergy Drive, the first commercially viable gas-electric hybrid.
Almost overnight, consumers had a vehicle — and a Toyota, no less — that could deliver elevated fuel economy and cut down drastically on emissions.
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The first-generation to hit US shores around was based on the dowdy Echo economy sedan, but the next gen offered that now-infamous Prius profile, thought by many to be the ugliest car in the road, but for Prius owners, a thing of beauty. Toyota has sold over 6 million Priuses Prii, if your favor their camaker's own plural, decided in a contest and although hybrids have given up mindshare to electric vehicles, the impact of the Prius can't be overstated.
Like the Ford Model T almost years earlier, it changed everything. That the kind of thing Porsche's sport-car loving loyalists said when the company announced its SUV plans. The widespread assumption was the Porsche would make a fool of itself. It so didn't. The Cayenne swiftly garnered both the respect of Porsche-philes and the admiration of owners. Porsche set out to build the greatest SUV on Earth — and succeeded. Sure, the Cayenne wasn't a But with the brilliant new SUV, Porsche created a new market for high-performance luxury utes and raked in the spoils.
Fast forward to and every other major luxury brand save Ferrari has an SUV in its lineup. And Ferrari is preparing to take the plunge. Thanks to the Porshe Cayenne for taking the risk and leading the way. If there's a car that could plausibly be argued more important that the Model T, it's the similarly named Model S. Tesla and CEO Elon Musk had, with the company's original Roadster, proven that electric vehicles didn't have to be glorified golf carts; they could be fast and sexy.
It was fast, comfortable, stylish, and luxurious. Motor Trend named it Car of the Year for Over the following years, Tesla would upgrade the Model S's range and performance, culminating in the PD, which can outrun supercars from mph. The Model T was monumentally important.
But the Model S was monumentally dazzling. The best car from the latest decade — might not be a car! For all its faults, Uber joined on-demand ride-hailing with the app economy and made it possible to eliminate much of the friction of getting around. In short order, users realized that Ubering yep, it became a verb could be cheaper than owning a car.
The company remade the urban landscape and in the process shook up the taxi business. Prior to CEO Travis Kalanick's departure in , Uber was reckless and defiant in its relentless efforts to dominate the new market it had created. The law-bending and at time law-breaking wasn't good. Nor were the battles with governments in Europe.
Consumer Reports' Top Pick cars
But there's no debating that for the first time since the invention of the automobile, Uber got a massive number of people thinking about why they might not ever need one. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass.
It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Matthew DeBord and Benjamin Zhang. Facebook Icon The letter F. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. LinkedIn icon The word "in". Fliboard icon A stylized letter F. Ford We selected two cars from each decade that lived up to our criteria.
The best cars ranged from pickups to supercars. Yes, Tesla made the cut. Why it's here: The F-Series pickups were originally introduced as work trucks and delivery vehicles for businesses, farms, and ranges. Why it's here: The dashing, roadster incarnation of the Corvette became street legal in , and while it evoked on a smaller scale some of the moods and trends of the s, it also looked forward to smaller, snazzier s rides, such as the Ford Mustang.
Why it's here: The "people's car," as the Volks-Wagen was originally defined, was created by Ferdinand Porsche at the behest of Nazi Germany for a cheap vehicle for everyone. Volkswagen or Toyota. Toyota or Volkswagen.
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Both automakers can stake a claim to leading important industry measures of quality. Shopping for a car — new or used — is exciting. CarStory has proof. In a recent survey, the website asked shoppers how they felt about looking for a used car, and nearly half of those responding 49 percent indicated…. Made in America.
Three words that carry special meaning as we approach the Fourth of July — Independence Day — the most American of all holidays. While there…. Skip to content Toggle navigation. News rankings show. Used cars are the way to go for most American buyers.
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