The new millennium has seen a resurgence in the popularity of various older car types, as well as innovation in new directions. Read about some of the models that have helped shape consumer tastes since 2000.
The crossover vehicle
Also called a crossover utility vehicle (or CUV), the crossover vehicle includes many of the features associated with an SUV or hatchback. Such features may include the rear door and shared passenger / luggage space. However, unlike an SUV, a crossover vehicle has a unibody construction rather than being built on a frame. While some CUV-compliant cars have been around for decades, the term was invented by marketers in 2008. The coinage of the new term corresponds to a large spike in production of these mid-range cars, a compromise among SUVs. , trucks and sedans.
The hybrid car
Despite increased awareness of global warming, the driving force behind the growing popularity of hybrids is gasoline prices. Sports sedans were first produced by just a couple of manufacturers, but now all the major brands seem to power their own gas-efficient electric machine. While electrical outlets for charging cars are not yet common, hybrids have the main advantage of being able to use gasoline as well. This makes the vehicle more conducive to road trips, and it also paved the way for hybrids to find their way into the hearts and driveways of average Americans.
Produced in Great Britain, the Mini has been around since the 1960s. In 2000, the classic car began to be produced by a subsidiary company. While the original manufacturer maintains control to this day, the branch represented an adjustment in the image. A convertible version and a five-door crossover vehicle were also introduced. The Mini also skyrocketed in popularity with the 2003 release of the remake of The Italian Job. Watching the Minis walk down the stairs and dominate the cityscapes made Americans appreciate these brave cars.
The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) was vital to the US military presence in the War on Terrorism. As the American demand for these giant cars became apparent, the manufacturer began producing everyday versions. These versions used a different acronym and three different models (“1”, “2” and “3”) were produced before the economic downturn caused consumers to question the brand. Without a hybrid option, the fuel economy made this vehicle an expensive option.
Ultimately, these brands and models represent a wide range of consumer interests. One could argue that the new millennium has seen polarization in both car buyers and politics. From the rear wings to the scissor doors, manufacturers and consumers want to differentiate themselves from the rest.