While some cars seem like they’ve been around for too long, some others blow us away with innovative designs and prescient ideas of what the auto industry will look like in the future. Usually, concept cars do this best, but every now and then, a radical roadgoing model will come out that we fail to praise because we just didn’t get it. What car do you think was truly ahead of its time?
Car history will certainly look back on the EV1 as one of the greatest examples of this, but to say that an electric car was ahead of its time just feels a little wrong because you could argue the EV1 was actually timely. The transition to EVs should have happened by now. The rest will be history.
Of course, you can also consider cars ahead of their time because of their utility or design. Most days, I have to fight the urge to tell someone — anyone — that the Aztek was truly the precursor to modern, boring crossovers. Still, that’s not completely fair to the Aztek, because for all of its faults and misspellings the Aztek was not afraid to embrace unsettling design. The Aztek’s utility as a car was overlooked because of its styling, but at least the car wasn’t afraid to get weird with it.
The same goes for BMW’s recent models with their goofy grilles. The Bavarians have lost it according to car writers and lovers alike, but it’s possible that BMW’s new M3 and M4 are supposed to be polarizing. Not just for the sake of it, and not just to repulse or attract people in as strong a way as possible, but because BMW had to go out on a limb in order to grow its evolutionary tree.
Whether it’s because of their design or drivetrains, so many cars have been mischaracterized or maligned when they should have been celebrated. But what do you think? What car was truly ahead of its time?