What’s the Most Important Car of the 21st Century?

We’ve been treated to a barrage of great cars so far this century, but which do you think is the most important?

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A photo of a BMW i8 coupe in a room full of vintage BMW cars.
Is the BMW i8 the most important car of the 21st century?
Photo: BMW

Cars are always evolving, improving, and changing as the years roll on and the technology adds up. But while innovations like the first ever car, the inaugural vehicle to have a three-point seatbelt and the first car to be fitted with a horn might be in the past, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still important cars being built today.

As cars have sought to improve the joys of driving, as well as the safety, efficiency, and creature comforts you find behind the wheel, we wanted to try and uncover which vehicles from the past 22 years are the most important. Namely, what is the most important car of the 21st century, so far?


Efficient engines, hybrid power and electrification have all run rampant through the automotive world in recent years. As has a switch to SUVs and the demise of the sedan. What vehicles do you think led these revolutions?

Then there are the outside factors that have shaped the automotive landscape so far this century. The 2008 financial crisis led everyone to drive something smaller and our warming planet and rising gas prices pushed people towards more economical vehicles, for a little while at least. Did any manufacturers manage to capitalize on these moves and create a vitally important vehicle?


Personally, I think an argument can be made for the BMW i8. Premiered in 2013, this plug-in hybrid sports car offered a glimpse at things to come from legacy marques like BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche. Now, all three are clamoring to create desirable EVs, a trend that started with the slick-as-heck i8.

But that’s just my two cents, what cars that have been built since 2000 do you think fit the bill? Head to the comments section to let us know your picks for the most important car of the 21st century and we’ll round up a slideshow of some of the top responses tomorrow afternoon.