Porsche, Mustang, Beetle, game-changing cars

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SummaryConsidered by many automotive enthusiasts to be the purest sports car ever made...

the leaping jaguar hood ornament, as well as the four round head lamps.

Lexus LS400: For decades, the Japanese had built a reputation for reasonably-priced, economical, reliable and comfortable sedans. No one believed they could attempt a luxury car. That question mark was erased in 1989 when Toyota launched the LS400. It was powerful, comfortable and superbly quiet. Above all, it was luxurious and revolutionised the luxury-car market by raising the bar for reliability in the category.

Honda Civic: The 1984 Honda Civic arguably set the stage for the modern compact car. It grew in size and refinement, transcending the image of a cheap “econobox” and becoming a popular choice for families on a budget. Initially gaining a reputation for being fuel-efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly, subsequent models added refinements to upgrade its mid-range sedan status. By 2012, it had been the top-selling car in Canada for 14 years and its worldwide appeal is testimony to its design and reliability.

Toyota RAV4: Back in 1996, Toyota broke tradition by designing an SUV on a car-like uni-body platform instead of the truck-type body-on-frame design that was commonly used till then. With a fully-independent suspension, it provided more agile handling and a better ride, and ushered in the era of the more civilised SUV.

BMW 3 Series: A contemporary icon, the 3 Series has been the sport-sedan gold standard for decades. Its blend of handling, performance and practicality has influenced the design of many of its competitors, as well as many of today’s mainstream passenger sedans. The second-generation 3 Series, introduced in 1983, was the first four-door.

Toyota Prius: The first hybrid to be commercially available worldwide, the petrol/electric Prius made “hybrid” a household word. Introduced in 2000, it wasn’t the first hybrid to be sold, but its popularity set the stage for a revolution that has caused every major automaker to play catch-up. With oil prices and the economic downturn, hybrids are the new Beetle.

BMW 7 Series: With its game-changing iDrive electronic control system, the 2002 7 Series kicked off one of today’s hottest trends: The move to full-featured infotainment systems. Touch-screens, joystick-like controllers, etc, have become commonplace now, but the 7 series was where it all started.

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