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Iconic Cars of the 2010s

April 15, 2020
As we enter a new decade and leave the 2010s behind, not only do we look towards the future, it’s also a wise choice to take a step back and reflect on the past. The 2010s were truly an incredible decade for automobiles around the world. Cars have never been safer, faster, and better for the environment than in the era we are living in now. This is of course fairly obvious: with the constant and rapid advancement of technology, we are currently at the zenith of automotive design, and the 2020s will be even better. As with any other period in time, some cars have come to define the decade due to factors such as their pioneering design, technology, or cultural significance. These are the vehicles which will go down in the history books. Listing all of them would be a monumental task, and to do each one justice would require writing a work rivaling the size of the most extensive dictionary. Instead, we’ll focus on just a few iconic vehicles that defined the decade and helped further the automotive world. (Keep in mind that this list is entirely subjective and the opinion of the author alone, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Fortem or its staff—constraints also include article length, as previously mentioned.) Without further ado, here are just a few of the most iconic cars of the past decade!


Sure, the original Bugatti Veyron 16.4 was released in 2005—and sent ripples across the automotive world as it did so—but it was only in 2010 when Bugatti released the 16.4 Super Sport that history was truly made. In July 2010, a Super Sport set a Guinness World Record as the fastest production car in the world, reaching an average speed of nearly 268 miles per hour (exactly 267.856 mph or 431.072 km/h). This speed shattered previous records, with Bugatti’s record itself only being beaten seven years later by a Koenigsegg Agera RS averaging 277.87 mph (or 447.19 km/h) in November 2017. Regardless, Bugatti and its now legendary Veyron are in the record books forever.


What’s the polar opposite of an 8-liter quad-turbocharged W16-engined (yep, 16 cylinders and an unusual W configuration) German behemoth which set production car speed records? Probably the Nissan Leaf, a diminutive electric car from one of Japan’s biggest brands. So why is the Nissan Leaf noteworthy, then? Well, since its initial release in 2010, the Leaf has become the best-selling electric car in the world; the first to sell over 400,000 units worldwide as of March 2019. With new charging station infrastructure in constant production and EV sales continuously rising—not to mention the passage of legislation limiting sales of ICE cars in certain countries—the Leaf is set to have a bright future ahead.


Continuing the trend of successful electric vehicles on our list is the relatively new Tesla Model 3, itself from the relatively infantile (in the automotive world) Tesla brand. However, its age belies its success, as the Model 3 has quickly become one of the best-selling EVs in the world. Despite being plagued by occasional quality control issues, the Model 3 continues to enjoy sales success. With a starting price of just under US$40,000 before incentives and EV discounts, the Model 3 represents great value with 250 miles of driving range. That figure is just for the entry-level Standard Range Plus trim. Range jumps up to 310 and 322 miles for the Performance and Long Range Trims, respectively. With this excellent range and the popular image Tesla has cultivated, Tesla is also set to have a bright EV future ahead.


This spot may not apply to any specific vehicle but is instead dedicated to an engine. Not just any engine, but a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 aptly named the Hellcat by Fiat Chrysler Automotive (after the Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter aircraft of WWII fame). So beyond being a huge supercharged V8, what’s so special about it? It’s rated at a whopping 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, all accessible in three vehicles under $100,000 each. Less than a decade ago, this value for performance would be simply unheard of. The SRT Trackhawk, Hellcat Charger, and Hellcat Challenger represent the pinnacle of the ICE engine in an affordable package. We may never see something like these vehicles ever again, and for that reason the mighty Hellcat engine deserves a spot on our list. Thank you, Chrysler.


Last but certainly not least is the venerable legend: the Toyota Corolla. This humble compact car has evolved through 13 distinct generations since its introduction in 1966, with global sales figures totaling over 44 million units sold just 50 years later in 2016. Its longevity did not diminish much in the 2010s, with sales slightly down due to the rise in the popularity of crossovers (in the US) but still strong regardless. Longevity isn’t the Corolla’s only strongpoint, however. Toyota’s well-known record of (nearly) flawless reliability has invariably passed onto the Corolla, making it the most popular car worldwide. Its longevity, durability, and dependability has made the Corolla the special car it is today, and thus its spot on this list is well and truly deserved.


Remember, we couldn’t list every vehicle we wanted to, even though there were many, many stellar vehicles produced in the 2010s. This was a brilliant decade for the automotive world and we hope to see this trend continue into the 2020s, however that vision may manifest itself! Do you agree or disagree with our list? If you had to choose just a few vehicles from the 2010s to add to your own list, what would they be and why? We’d love to hear them: please feel free to leave your comment down below!
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