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Most Improved Cars Of The Last 10 Years

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/30/2014 Conner Golden

As time passes, new cars become increasingly advanced, well-made, safe, and reliable, when compared to cars of the past (generally). Following are models that have taken big leaps from their previous iterations.

2015 Chrysler 200

© Provided by MotorTrend Between the years of 2010 and 2014, no other car was the butt of so many jokes and the target of such disdain as the Chrysler 200. With a low-quality interior and a last-decade approach to design, the 200 was a candidate for worst car produced to be sold in the United States. While the previous-gen 200 was a dud, the 2015 200 fixes all of the complaints reviewers had, and is shaping up to right the wrongs of the past with sharp styling and a quality interior.

2014 Kia Rio

© Provided by MotorTrend Go to either the first or second generation of the Kia Rio, and the difference in quality from the previous to the curret model is incredible. Engine offerings are more efficient, styling has been modernized, and Kia is making a name for itself by stuffing as many options as it can afford into base, entry-level sedans. High value, this one.

2014 Kia Optima

© Provided by MotorTrend The 2011 Kia Optima is the one that started it all. The Optima went from being an automotive footnote to one of the leaders in its highly competitive mid-size class, quickly becoming one of the most attractive mid-sized sedans available. This generation of Optima received a facelift for the 2014 model year.

2014 Hyundai Accent

© Provided by MotorTrend As a whole, Korean cars from the early 2000’s were not ideal products. They had a competitive warranty, but the build quality, standard options, and unattractive styling prevented cars like the Accent from ever being anything but a car people avoided if they could. The current Accent is a case-in-point of the great strides Korean automakers have made in the recent years.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

© Provided by MotorTrend The previous Jeep Grand Cherokee suffered from the same issues that ailed most Chrysler products from that generation. Spotty quality, garish chrome body cladding, and below average fuel economy prevented the Grand Cherokee from competing within the market it was priced for. The current Grand Cherokee couldn’t be any more different. A sumptuous interior with a host of efficient and refined drivetrains places the Grand Cherokee in the same group as some luxury SUVs.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze

© Provided by MotorTrend What can be said about the Chevrolet Cobalt that hasn’t already been said? The Cobalt was not necessarily a poster-child for quality and design, but the recent GM recall fiasco places the Cobalt in even worse regard. The Chevrolet Cruze was a step up for Chevrolet, proving to be a much more attractive compact sedan than the Cobalt ever was.

2014 Chevrolet Impala

© Provided by MotorTrend The ninth-generation Chevrolet Impala was a remnant of pre-bailout GM, which even executives admit had problems. The Impala was supposed to be Chevrolet’s flagship sedan, highlighting all of the technology and features available, but instead remained in production for entirely too long with far too many compromises. The all-new and redesigned Impala may not be an inspiring car, but it is a step in the right direction.

2014 Dodge Dart

© Provided by MotorTrend The sleek- and modern-looking Dodge Dart couldn’t be more removed from its predecessor, the Dodge Caliber. The Caliber was a product of early- to mid-2000s Chrysler, where interior quality and styling was not their strongest suit. Underpinning the Dodge Dart is a modern Alfa Romeo chassis, with a fresh interior and exterior accents. Hard to believe the Dart was separated from the Caliber by just one model year.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado

© Provided by MotorTrend The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are in an era of trucks that are leaps beyond previous models. Previously, they were re-skinned Isuzus and had flimsy interiors and were grossly underpowered, unless you went for the more expensive and less-efficient range-topping engines. The 2015 Colorado provides an efficient base four-cylinder engine, with a 306-hp V6 as a powerful option . Interior and exterior styling is all new, and much improved.

2014 Cadillac CTS

© Provided by MotorTrend The previous generation of Cadillac CTS was not a bad car, but this new generation of CTS takes Cadillac far away from the quality control issues that plagued GM of the early 2000’s. We found the new CTS to be so vastly improved, ever closer to the German competition, so we voted the 2014 CTS Motor Trend’s 2014 Car of the Year.

2015 Aston Martin Vanquish

© Provided by MotorTrend It’s hard to say that the first generation Aston Martin Vanquish was “bad.” But the hand-built grand tourer was a beautiful car with below-average performance for the price. Its successor, the DBS, was better, but Aston truly found its stride with the 2015 Vanquish, which gained a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic that radically altered – for the better – the car’s driving characteristics.

Tesla Model S

© Provided by MotorTrend Tesla’s first foray into the electric car market with the Tesla Roadster resulted in blisteringly quick and responsive sports car, but it had an overall build quality that was more kit car than $120,000 roadster. The Model S is still quite fast (3.9 seconds to 60 mph), has room for 5 +2, and a longer range, all vast improvements over the proof-of-concept Roadster. The immensely cool Model S impressed Motor Trend so much so that we crowned it Car of the Year in 2013.

2013 Honda Civic

© Provided by MotorTrend Upon the release of the 2012 Honda Civic, reviewers were not impressed. Ride quality was worse, the fun-to-drive aspect had all-but-disappeared, and the steering became vague. A push to shave costs was evident all around the interior, which seemed spartan and plastic. For 2013, Honda rushed a mid-cycle refresh after only one year, making the 2013 and newer Civic a class leader once again.

2013 Nissan Altima

© Provided by MotorTrend As the 2006-2012 Nissan Altima was a huge step up from the outgoing model it replaced, so was the 2013 Altima. It added modern styling, a nicer and more solidly built interior, more refined engine options, and a better level of standard equipment. No longer a dated-looking also-ran, the Altima remains one of the strongest selling mid-sized sedans on the market.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro

© Provided by MotorTrend While the final iteration of the fourth-gen Chevrolet Camaro was a fun-to-drive, boisterous burnout machine, it suffered from a dated interior and handling which was more in tune with an Impala than a Corvette. Chevrolet brought the Camaro out of an eight-year hiatus in 2010, and it has proven to be a stronger car than its predecessor. It may be heavier and relatively difficult to see out of, but it handles well, goes like stink, and is much more livable than the wedge-like Camaro it replaces.

Most Improved Cars in Last 10 Years© Provided by MotorTrend Most Improved Cars in Last 10 Years
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