I’m a firm believer that you have to go out of your way to buy a truly awful car these days. They still exist, but the relentless advancement of technology and manufacturing has raised the proverbial floor. I think this is especially obvious when considering nameplates that were once a punchline and have now become solid options in their respective classes.
With that in mind, I ask: Which model do you feel improved the most from one generation to the next?
This question can be played two different ways. You could name a car that went from bad to good, as many of Hyundai’s models did in the mid-to-late 2000s. A standout I’ve actually had the experience to compare is the Nissan Sentra, which I feel had a major glow-up moving to the current generation — particularly with regard to interior design and quality.
You could also spotlight a nameplate that went from good to exceptional. I recall being blown away by the eighth-gen Civic introduced in 2005, with its forward-thinking exterior styling that has aged very gracefully in the last decade and change. Hell, I’d say it looks leagues better than the last two eras of Honda’s compact. That includes the new one and its smashed face.
I’m sure if you go back further through history — when bad cars were more common than they are today — you’d be able to cite even more dramatic examples of new cars putting their predecessors to shame.
What say you? Name a car that saw the most profound leap from one generation to the next.