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Iconic Cars Which Set The Trend

By raccars Published

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Sometimes a car comes along that changes the automotive landscape. It doesn't have to be a supercar or anything very special, it just has to strike a chord with the public. The Nissan Qashqai is a prime example of this - it's affordable, practical and sparked a massive craze for the 'crossover' sector. Now, every manufacturer has to have one on its roster. What other cars opened up a niche in an ostensibly already saturated market?

Nissan Juke

It's never created quite the same splash as its predecessor the Qashqai, but the Juke did start a similar semi-trend. Essentially a more compact version of the Qashqai crossover, the Juke is a supermini SUV, riding upon the same size footprint of a supermini but with the elevated ride height and beefy off roader styling of a 4x4. On the whole, it works well but interior space is horribly limited.

Range Rover

In 1970, there were luxury saloons and there were off roaders, and never the twain shall meet - until the Range Rover... this was the first time a car with serious off roading ability could also boast comfort and luxury, a combination the auto industry has exploited ever since. Even now, there are major manufacturers still trying to catch up with the formula first captured by the Range Rover.

Renault Espace

The French brand has lost its way somewhat since the release of the Espace in 1984, but for a long time this MPV trailed all others in its wake. So ubiquitous has the MPV become, that it's hard to believe that once large families had to choose between a mini bus or an estate, until Renault managed to combine the two so neatly into one boxy but clever package. As usual, all the other manufacturers scrambled to follow suit.


Like the Espace MPV, others had come up with the same idea before but never managed to achieve major commercial success with it. In 1976, VW set the blueprint for the 'hot hatch' trend that dominated the Eighties auto market and is undergoing an exciting renaissance today. The modern Golf faces a tougher and more competitive market than ever, but still manages to lead the pack.

Toyota Prius

Hated by many for what it represents, the Prius finally managed to make hybrid and electric motoring a viable commercial concern. Critics have been divided since its release in 1997 on its looks and performance, even questioning its green credentials, but it's hard to argue against its position as a game changer in the environmentally friendly car market.

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