What was the 1991 Dodge Viper trying to be? A Mazda Miata? The hood of the Viper was so large that it made you wonder if bigger really was better. Then, the 1992 version came out, and it got even larger, somehow. It’s easy to say that the new 2017 Dodge Viper is sleeker, smoother, and actually looks like a speedster.
Don’t get us wrong. The classic Mustang was nice even if we ignore the unloved stepchild called the Ford Mustang II. (What a disaster, amirite?) The newest models of the Mustang clearly shows that Ford demands respect. They’re sleek, masculine, and still have a low price tag. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You got it!
The classic Volkswagen Beetle wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t have any pizazz. We all loved Herbie (not the remake), but it’s time to put him to rest. The old model was ridiculously antiquated even for 1945. Now, the Volkswagen Beetle compliments the suave exterior design with an upgraded interior. The bigger wheels and angled windshield design bring you into the future.
The Classic Camaro was great and all, but didn’t it look like a lot of other cars at the time? It didn’t look too unlike a 1967 Chevy Impala. Unless you knew your stuff, could you spot the Camaro? Nah. The new Camaro is hard to miss. The engine doesn’t purr—it growls like a beast. No matter who you are, you feel awesome in a 2017 Camaro.
Fiat 124 Spider
There’s no reason to have headlights above the hood. It looks ridiculous, even if it was the style. Let’s talk about the new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. Namely, the fact that it’s utterly beautiful. It’s smooth, and they’ve reduced the height of the headlights, which gives it a faster appearance. The new Fiat 124 Spider looks like you’re never more than 10 minutes away from your next race.
The Vintage Jeep was completely jacked. Sure, it was perfect for general-purpose use, but it was pretty ugly. The creators were thinking form over function, but you can tell that thing was made in like seven weeks. Your car doesn't have to look like it rolled out of an archaeological dig or the military (even if it did). The new Wrangler is streets ahead. It can go off-road, and you can feel awesome behind the wheel. It kept the boxy look, but not every car can have great curves. Doors or not, the Wrangler is miles ahead of the Vintage Jeep, mostly because it doesn’t break down like the classic version.
Miata has experimented with some weird designs over the years, including headlights folding into the hood. Exactly what everyone wants: one headlight stuck in the hood. You’ve seen it—we all have. The new Miata looks so much better, and we want one now. Drop the old, ugly convertible top you have to replace every three years and upgrade to the hardtop convertible. You heard right. Hardtop convertible.
The Nissan Skyline was at least trying to look speedy, but the body design with a spoiler on the back just left one question: why? Gotta love the drag in the back. Skip ahead several decades and get introduced to the Skyline GT-R line. The thing almost looks like a freaking Aston Martin—one of the original Bond cars. Who doesn’t want to feel like the best international spy that’s ever lived?
Vroom, vroom. If you don’t believe that the 1927 model T is ten times better than the 1908 version, you need to check yourself. You’re seconds away from wrecking yourself. Improvements? Uh, doors! The 1927 version has doors. That means the rocks won’t kick back and scuff your patent leather shoes. Don’t even get us started on the hardtop. No more tears in the fabric.
(Image via Momentcar)
The Ford F-150 has been one of the best trucks on the market. It’s been number one or near the top every year since it came out, so how could it improve? It dropped over 700 pounds! The 2015 Ford F-150 swapped to an aluminum body, which caused it to become 732 pounds lighter. This means the truck could get better performance from gas mileage to speed.
Ford Taurus SHO
The Ford Taurus is a good car, so the SHO was sure to be a hit. Nope. The “Super High Output” sedan was a high-performance variant with a V8 engine. It was a bust at first, but the 2010 remodel came along and blew everyone out of the water. That model later won “Car of the Year” by Esquire. It had the same powertrain as before but got some unique additions like the seating, side cladding, dual exhaust, and the rear bumper. Appearances mean a lot!
Originally the luxury version of the Ford Expedition, the Navigator is the model that put Lincoln on the map. Before the creation of this luxury SUV, the brand created some pretty uninteresting vehicles. Afterward, Lincoln became synonymous with luxury. Thanks to the Navigator, people finally paid attention to Lincoln again.
Every so often, the Corolla will come out with a new generation, but we got bored with the same old stuff. Sure, it’s reliable, but there’s nothing to attract us. That is, until the newest 11th generation. It did away with the dull body to get something a little sportier. It also offered a manual transmission and hatchback body with the 2019 model. The Corolla became fun again.
Porsche 911 997
Porsche made a bad decision with the 996: they got rid of the round, bug-eye headlights. It may seem like a small thing, but it was enough to turn people away. Sales plummeted, but then Porsche saved itself by releasing the 997 in 2005. This one brought back the bug-eye headlights and interior design, but it kept some improvements from the 996 – like the basic profile and lower drag coefficient.
We have to admit that recent Ford Escapes are looking pretty sharp, and that’s all thanks to the 2013 remodel. Before this, the Ford Escape was getting boring. The boxy shape was fading out of style and made it look old and dated. Thanks to this change, Ford Escape sales have continued to outpace competitors like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Guess change isn’t always a bad thing!
The European E36-generation of the BMW M3 wasn’t the same as the one that hit the market in the US. The one we got was less powerful (basically neutered), which honestly wasn’t the M3 we all wanted. Thankfully, BMW realized its mistake and created the E46. It brought life back into the M3 and gave us a quick-revving straight-six with over 330 horsepower. It’s one of the best M cars ever made, without a doubt.
The first-generation Panamera had an incredibly smooth ride, but its appearance? Well, it wasn’t up to par. It was shaped weird and even looked awkward at some angles. Then, the second generation fixed all those odd little errors. The 2017 Porsche Panamera blew everyone away. Thankfully, Porsche got rid of those odd trims, too. The last thing you want from your sports car is a hatchback design, am I right?
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The Aston Martin Virage was supposed to be a replacement for its V8 models. The only problem is that it was uninspired. It looked like it was thrown together at the last minute with simple ideas we’d seen a million times. So, Aston Martin went back to the drawing board and came out with the Vantage. We wouldn’t have the Vantage if it weren’t for the Virage, and the former definitely out-performed its predecessor.
When the Quattroporte first made its way to the market, it was extremely expensive. It was built like other Italian cars that had come out in the ’60s. Maserati realized it might have been a little too expensive, so they began making it cheaper (which made it uglier). The 1999-2001 model looked like your average sedan. Then, the fifth generation released. It improved on everything from the body to the engine, showing that Maserati was still a competitor to pay attention to.
Toyota MR2 SW20
The first MR2 that released on the market was small. It was built to be a sports car, which is great, but it didn’t have much in terms of an everyday livable vehicle. So, Toyota was forced to change it up. The second-generation SW20 was much better. The interior was larger, making it more livable, and it also had more amenities. Sports car plus everyday car equals success.
Chevrolet Corvette C6
The C5 was just a weird addition to the Corvette lineup. Sure, it was an improvement on the C4 in some ways, but we’re about to drag on those headlights again. The pop-up headlights never looked right on a Corvette, but that’s the least of our complaints. The C6 got back to Corvette roots (and dropped those stupid headlights). The new generation was everything we liked about the C5 plus what we missed from the C4.
When the Cadillac CTS hit the market, it was an odd size. It was too big to be called a small sedan but too small to be midsize. It was in a weird limbo until Cadillac improved by creating the second generation. It got bigger, embracing the size, and was bumped up to the midsize category, giving it new engines and a gorgeous new design. With that, we lost the coupe and wagon, but oh well. The CTS had enough to offer to keep us happy.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Chrysler 300C. Many consider this model upgrade to be the thing that saved the Chrysler brand. The 300M was a luxury sedan, sure, but it was far over-priced for what we got in design. The V6 engine sounded like a dream, but it wasn’t very responsive. Driving just felt sluggish at best. The 300C fixed that issue by swapping out the engine for a top-of-the-line 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, which produced a whopping 340 horsepower.
The Supra obviously got its inspiration from the Toyota Celica, except it was longer and wider. Basically, why bother with it rather than the Celica? It took two more generations before the Supra had promise, and by the fourth generation, the Supra had peaked. By the fourth try, the Supra was a speed demon and became one of the most modded JDM cars.
The SL-Class was remarkable when it first hit the market, but you can’t keep doing the same thing without a redesign. It started production in 1954, and by 1989, the “redesigns” were stale. During the ’90s, Mercedes lost credibility as a quality auto builder, but the fifth-generation SL-Class changed that terrible streak. The SL600 and SL65 AMG were given V12 engines that produced a monstrous 604 horsepower. That put Mercedes right back on the throne as one of the best makers of luxury vehicles out there.
The Honda Civic fell into the same rut as the Toyota Corolla. It’s been around since 1972, and it’s been through tons of different sizes and shapes. The market favors a larger car, so the Civic followed suit, but it began to look and feel cheap. It also didn’t drive well, which didn’t fit the reputation we’d grown to know and love. The 2016 Honda Civic redesign put Honda back on the market as one of the kings the compact car. It got a huge reboot and became fun to drive thanks to a variety of different trims and upgrades.
One of the most dramatic redesigns of all time has to be the Acura NSX. When the NSX hit the market, everyone loved it. It was powerful and was considered the Ferrari of Japan. However, Acura didn’t keep up with competitors, and the NSX became lackluster. It eventually fell to the wayside thanks to the Nissan GTR. So, the NSX was redesigned with a stronger twin-turbo V6 engine combined with three electric motors for a total system output of 573 horsepower.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
The C55 was a good car, but can we talk about the C63 AMG? Sure, they both had naturally aspirated V8s, but the 6.2 liter was one of the best ever. It became an instant classic, making it one of the best redesigns in history. The C63 AMG also had improvements to the chassis dynamics and braking. The C55 may be more powerful, but the C63 had much more to offer.
The McLaren MP4-12C was a great car, especially for McLaren’s first effort. The only problem was that it was very clearly made for a track and not for everyday drives on the street. McLaren listened to these complaints and came back with the 650S. This one had the same aggressive speed but improved on steering and calmed things down a little. It was like the 12C grew up and became more refined.
The B8 Audi A4 was a fine car, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. It was alright for your everyday drives, as long as you didn’t want anything with pizazz. Audi realized its mistake and came back with a new remodel, the B9 Audi A4. That was what we signed up to drive. This A4 brings back the fun in driving an Audi, and it can go toe-to-toe with the BMW 3-series.