Sometimes, automakers don’t quite get it right the first time. Maybe there’s a limit to the available technology or budgetary constraints that impose some harsh limits. But once in a while, that automaker will come back for round two and make a car that puts the first generation to shame. This morning, we asked for your favorite second-generation cars, and you picked some great ones. Let’s see what you came up with.
2 / 12
In terms of style, I would chose the Ford Fusion when they switched to to Aston Martin front end.
I have a friend who owned a second-generation Fusion back in college. Between the Ecoboost engine and the AWD system, it certainly wasn’t slow. Due to various statutes of limitations, I will neither confirm nor deny that it could pull off some exquisite snow drifts.
Submitted by: Packardbaker
3 / 12
The first generation Toyota Prius was essentially just a crappy Toyota Echo with a battery shoved in it. The second generation was when it really, truly became an interesting consumer product to be taken seriously.
No one really remembers the first US-bound generation of Toyota Prius, the one that just sort of looked like A Car. It wasn’t until 2003, when the car gained its now distinctive weird egg shape, that it really caught on.
Submitted by: neverspeakawordagain
4 / 12
E30! When the E21 came out it was criticized as a weird 2002 successor. The E30 brought sexy back!
What more can be said about the E30 3-series? One of the great classics in touring car racing, rally, and Bring A Trailer record-breaking. The E30 generation even gave us the M3, one of the most loved sport sedans in history. And just look at those fenders.
Submitted by: I love you but I’ve chosen hooning!
5 / 12
FRS/BRZ isn’t a great answer, IMO, because it’s mostly a refresh and the original car was already pretty fucking great.
Corvette came to mind, but since that’s taken, I’m going to try to think outside of the box here and suggest a Cadillac. The CTS. Because the second generation brought us this:
The CTS’s first generation may have had a V variant, but it didn’t come in a long-roof silhouette. For the Ultimate American Road Trip Wagon, buyers had to wait until the CTS’s second outing in 2008. Good things came to those who waited, too, since that wagon packed 556 horses under its hood.
As for the Toyobarus, the first gen was fantastic. I put my money where my mouth is on it and bought one. But to an owner, it seems like the second generation fixed a lot of the odd, niche flaws of the early cars.
Submitted by: Bags
6 / 12
The Panamera is a good candidate. In the flesh I always found the 1st gen to be really awkward looking, especially in the back. A misshapen, squashed Cayenne, with lumps in all the wrong places.
G2 made tons of very subtle changes that added up to a genuinely lovely-looking car.
It may feel like it’s been ages, but the Porsche Panamera is only on its second generation. The first one debuted twelve years ago, looking more than a little lumpy and misshapen. Its facelift helped a bit, but the car didn’t truly start to look good until the 971 generation hit in 2017.
Submitted by: Pit Pat
7 / 12
Toyota Celica... no question.
The E30 wasn’t the only second-generation car to birth a beloved nameplate. The A40 Toyota Celica, introduced in the late seventies to replace the Mustang-styled first generation, formed the basis for the first Celica Supra — progenitor of all the Suprae we know and love today. That first Supra may not have had four-digit horsepower, but it started something, and the second-generation Celica is to thank.
Submitted by: andreas8088
8 / 12
There was some debate in the comments as to whether the Z32 300ZX counts, and it’s a very good question. After all, the S130 is the second generation Fairlady Z in Japan, where the names never changed. Over here, though, the 300ZX is separated from the older cars by a new model name and a new make. I’m counting it.
While the Z31's looks are vastly underrated, the Z32 is the 300ZX that everyone recognizes. It’s the one with the twin turbos, the softened edges, the Diablo headlights. If you could pick either one to own, which would it be? Be honest.
Submitted by: jayjaypea
9 / 12
SW20 MR2 all day
The AW11 MR2 is a classic, with hard-edged lines straight out of a cyberpunk novel. But its second generation, with swooping styling and a turbocharger behind the seats, is the one many see as Peak MR2. This was the snap oversteer king, the one that earned its reputation for danger.
Submitted by: vernonfreedom
10 / 12
[Just a picture of the second-generation Viper, sitting there, menacingly]
The second-generation Dodge Viper was a much more livable car than the first. The original Viper was an exercise in “how little car can we wrap around this engine,” but its successor added a few creature comforts back in. Less “massage seats” and more “windows that are a part of the car,” but still. Progress.
Submitted by: V10omous
11 / 12
Mazda RX7 - Thread closed
MikeofLV (Long Visland, presumably, spoken in a spooky vampire voice) originally commented this with a photo of the third-generation FD RX-7. Ordinarily, this would be heresy, but Mike’s stumbled onto a hidden truth: The FC RX-7 ruled. It may not have introduced fuel injection or turbocharging to the model, but it did refine them — and add a hood scoop in the process. Any car good enough for Ryosuke Takahashi is good enough for me.
Submitted by: MikeofLV
12 / 12