The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

The cars that defined the decades

Age before beauty...


COOL AND groovy, City boy racer or slighty smug — there’s always been a car that captured the mood over the past 50 years.

The Sixties: Mini

The cars that defined the decades
The Mini came closest to capturing the mood of the Swinging Sixties. It was affordable, classless, knew how to have a good time and its radical front-wheel drive made other cars seem square.

The Seventies: Daimler Sovereign

The cars that defined the decades: Daimler

The Daimler Series III was effectively a posh Jaguar, with deep-pile carpet, lashings of leather, walnut trim and, naturally, an ashtray for the cigars of Arthur Daley and other “entrepreneurs”.

The Eighties: Golf GTI

The cars that defined a decade: Golf GTI
A City career, where you played the markets by day and the clubs by night, meant sleeping through the alarm and needing to race into work. The Golf GTI was perfect: launched in right-hand drive in 1979, it was fast enough to give a Porsche a run for its money away from the lights.

The Nineties: Ford Mondeo

The cars that defined the decades: Ford Mondeo

The Mondeo put Ford in the modern age, with front-wheel drive, airbags and antilock brakes, not to mention steering that worked and engines that didn’t drown out conversation. Hundreds of thousands of drivers gave it a thumbs-up.
Read our First Drive review of the 2015 Ford Mondeo here 

The Noughties: Toyota Prius

The cars that defined the decades: Toyota Prius

Sent by Toyota to save the planet, the hybrid family hatchback got off to a slow start in 2000. But as the decade rolled on and alarm bells sounded over inner-city emissions levels, its ability to run on electric power at low speed tugged at the conscience. Today, nearly every car maker has a hybrid in its range.

 


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