Early Crossovers Were Stupendous (Part Two)

4w ago

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In Part one of this two-part series, the list was maily cars from the 50s and 70s but now we are in the walkman age with funky little off-roaders. Crossovers at that time were like Mini Coopers or Fiat 500s, they were icons and truly reflected the personality of their driver. I mean you didn't have to look through the window to know that the driver's got freckles and a ski board and is on his way to the beach. Nowadays you'd find a middle aged man with a belly the size of the car's spare tyre carrying stuff from the grocery store.

Suzuki Samurai

Look its tiny body and chunky wheels! The Suzuki Samurai is essentially a hybrid between a Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota Land Cruiser of the 80s smashed together in a body the size of a basketball shoe. However this isn't anything like today's "crossovers" that are based on small hatchbacks, in fact, it is one serious off-roader that will never let you down. You can still find this 80s 4x4 doing some crazy rock climbing, but of coarse with some minor modifications.

AMC Eagle

The AMC Eagle is more of a lifted estate car, but many believe that it payed an important role at popularizing crossovers. It had loads of space in the cabin, featured some huge tyres, had a high ground clearance and finally all-wheel-drive. It was unstoppable, and could pretty much handle any hard terrain. It had the winning formula, and no compromises, perhaps that's why it's seen as the godfather of crossovers.

Toyota RAV4

The first generation RAV4 appeared in 1994, and was by far the best crossover Toyota ever made. Firstly, it came in three different variants, a 5 door, a 3 door and a 3 door soft top. Sadly the soft top didn't make it past the original RAV4. All-wheel-drive was an option but came as standard with a front-wheel-drive, and you could choose between a 5 speed manual box or a four speed auto. The later generations of the RAV4 were somewhat controversial over the years and the RAV4 lost its charms and personality.

Crossovers lack personality these days, they need to be brought back as the young adventerour's car. That is why they were made in the first place, and that's how they were supposed to be all along. However it's the consumers that drive the market, so in some way we are the ones to be blamed. I just hope one day the market comes back to its senses and stops buying these ridiculous cars.

Read Part One HERE

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Comments (28)
  • My ex girlfreinds brother thought he was a rap star at 18. his Mom wanted to give him a nice rav4 and he refused. (total idiot !). i found a new mechanic the other day and he had a samuari covered in black bedliner with gun mounts on the rollcage fn awsome

    1 month ago
    1 Bump
  • The AMC Eagle was more significant than people realize. First off, there were several models, including coupes, sedans, and hatchbacks. It was all based on the Concord. AMC already had most of the parts from Jeep, including the venerable inline 6. It was just a matter of adapting it all to a car, making it AWD, and practical and seamless for daily driving on dry roads.

    The Samurai was a real 4WD, just 3/4 scale. It was unfairly bashed for its handling in a rigged road test, not that a Jeep CJ probably handled any better. If I remember correctly, Suzuki sued and won. We, in the states, lost. In fact we lost Suzuki entirely. If they brought in the Jimny, I'd buy it.

    The small RAV4 and CR-V were great. The new ones are huge, more SUV then CUV.

    1 month ago
    1 Bump
    • True, the new ones are a bit meaningless to me.

      1 month ago
    • Most of it is just "marketing speak", an attempt to create a new category. Adding AWD and a bit of ground clearance to a car just makes it a taller car with AWD.

      1 month ago
      1 Bump

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