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The 20 Most Influential Cars of the Last Decade

Most Influential Cars of the Last Decade

Cars have to be the best invention ever made, as they have really eased how we move and get to places. Geeting into 2020 we bid goodbye to the 2010s. The last decade has produced some truly magnificent and influential cars; ranging from electric vehicles with a hands-on driving range to SUVs that helped shape the automotive landscape into what it is today. So which cars from the past 10 years are the most influential and significant? The article below ranks the best cars from the outgoing decade that stood the test from the least remarkable to the most significant. We classify the cars on this list according to power horse and speed, comfort and pricing. Keep reading to find out our picks of the best cars of the last decade.

20. Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90

This has without a doubt been the decade of crossovers. There have been various new entries into the market in all ranges and sizes and Volvo had not been left out of the fun. The Volvo XC90 can also be referred to as 2016’s SUV of the year. The XC90’s turbocharging options deliver exemplary performances and have ensured that the car is at the top of the price ladder. This crossover’s design marked the debut of the flexible scalable architecture platform.

19. Porsche 911R

Porsche 911R

There are people who would argue that there are better Porsches that would fill this slot better and more effectively than the 911R. The reason why the Porsche 911R made it on this list is that it has a 4 litre naturally aspirated engine, a genuine 200 mph speed, and a 6-speed manual gearbox. The only downside to this car is that it has a vastly inflated price and many changing hands.

18. Rolls Royce Phantom

Rolls Royce Phantom

If we are being honest, there are better rides than the Rolls Royce Phantom and if you are looking for speed then you might want to cross this car off your list. It is, however, on ours as one of the most important cars of the decade simply because of its style and comfort. Rolls Royce prides itself as being providers of luxury and comfort. The company’s newest baby on the market the Phantom seeks to provide customers with exactly that. Also for an extra buck or two, you can get a customized Royce that fits your style in every way.

17. Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40

Roads in the past decade have been flooded with crossovers and whether you like them or not they are seemingly here to stay. If you can’t beat them you might as well join them and if you are in the market for one then you might as well go out on a limb and ensure that it is a good one. This is where the XC40 comes in. This car is like the Volvo XC90 but brilliant, smaller and more affordable. With the Volvo XC40, you ensure you have a good bargain for your money, comfort and brilliance all in one car.

16. Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata put Korean automobile makers on everyone’s radar. This 2011 model has seen other Hyundai inventions follow its path to be bigger and better and that is why it is on this list. Its debut into the automotive industry shocked everyone with its daring exterior styling. According to Motor Trend,  the Sonata was the first to embrace the downsize trend with a lineup of a hybrid variant and 2 four-cylinder engines. This car was a well-calculated risk that brought forth rewards in plenty with its quality improvements and long warranties.

15. Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chiron

The Bugatti Chiron can be considered as a pin-up for a generation of young speed crazed enthusiasts and the flagship for other performance cars in the industry. It is for this reason that it simply has to go down as one of the best cars of the decade. The world has no need for a hypercar of 1500 horsepower’s but thanks to cars like the Bugatti Chiron, engineers can keep pushing themselves to make greater models and young car enthusiasts can keep dreaming for such inventions.

14. The Google Car

The Google Car

We are not entirely sure if this car was a test experiment for Google but none was ever sold. Never mind all this though because in probably a decade or two when autonomous cars become the new reality, you will be able to sleep in your car while it drives you and you will have the Google Car to thank for that. Ignore its general build and what changes it would have brought for otherwise manually driven vehicles but it is its conventionalism that will have changed how the world moves. During that time, this car would be remembered to have started the movement and that is why it made it to our list of the most influential cars of the outgoing decade.

13. Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

Allow us to give you a spoiler alert, Tesla appears on this list quite severally. That being said, the Tesla Roadster which was introduced in 2008 became an upgrade from the wavy Model S that had been brought forth by Tesla. There was a time when electric cars were just upgraded golf carts and the Tesla Roadster is what had car enthusiasts and reviewers pausing for a minute. Its fiendish acceleration and its wonderful 244-mile range are what got everyone’s attention. The Tesla Roadster also helped Musk survive the near-death of his inventions by providing him with some critical cash. Musk has become the Zen master of surviving as Tesla’s downfall has been predicted over and over again. With the changes the roadster brought forth, we can only hope that the question of whether Tesla survives or not gets answered quickly.

12. 2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

Tesla has defined to us what an electric car should be and should look like but the Nissan Leaf is what paved the way for the heavily produced electric car. The 2011 Nissan Leaf provided masses with a budget-friendly yet comfortable electric car. Nissan Leaf would go on to become a best-seller in the Electric Vehicle market worldwide and has really improved greatly over the years.

11. Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes S-Class

This list would be incomplete without at least one or 2 Mercedes Benzes. The 2014 S-Class model represents the biggest leap in interior design we ever saw. Years later, the Mercedes S-Class still is ahead of its competition inside. With it came along more defined new technology which included a perfuming cabin, a semi-autonomous driving system and a modern camera system that could predict bumps and prepare the necessary suspension to absorb all those bumps with no fuss.

10. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The Mustang and the Camaro modified themselves to become sports cars but according to Road and Track,  the Hellcat took a whole other different direction. Instead of making the Hellcat well rounded, Dodge decided to throw in some more power and went for the classic muscle car approach. Despite the risk, the approach seemed to work out just fine for the Dodge. The Challenger Hellcat might not have done much to advance its state of the art but it was among the first to fire shots in a new horsepower war where the average minimum cost of entry at the time was a mere 700hp.

9. Cadillac CTS V Wagon

Cadillac CTS V Wagon

The Cadillac CTS is the unicorn of the decade. This is true to the fact that Cadillac has been producing just the same style of body and they are nowhere close to the second-generation cars. Cadillac sales have since gone down and the company seems to be headed for a downfall but the CTS Wagon seems to be the last of its kind that car enthusiasts loved.

8. Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

At this point, we can only say that Elon Musk has had a productive yet controversial decade. Tesla Model S can be argued to have been the best Tesla model of the decade but that would be discrediting Model 3. Never mind that the Model S was the first electric car to have won the Motortrend’s Car of the Year Award. The Tesla Model 3 has enabled Tesla to grow and become the mainstream vehicle brand it is today. Even when its electric appeal is taken away, the Model 3 still remains the best electric sports sedan you can invest in today. It also remains to be the electric vehicle to beat. The vehicle sold so many units in 2019 that it exceeded units sold by the Audi A4, the Mercedes Benz C-Class and the BMW 3 series combined. That is pretty impressive for a sports sedan.

7. Volkswagen TDI Diesel Lineup

Volkswagen TDI Diesel Lineup

The Volkswagen clean emission cheat scheme saw them program their engines to control their emissions for a clean environment. This experiment might have worked out well in the laboratory but not so well in the real world. The VW emission scandal has been quite far-reaching and to cut the long story short, Volkswagen has delayed its release of vehicles due to federal oversight. Dieselgate killed the clean diesel emission myth and pushed Volkswagen to take an electric car approach. The manufacturer is still paying legal fees but their TDI Diesel Lineup was a great machine.

6. BMW M2


The BMW M2 according to Motoring Research, is a shockingly good performance car. The vehicle has a combination of a well-developed chassis with a supercar acceleration all wrapped up in a sufficiently compact packaging. This car is simple and to the point.

5. McLaren 600LT

McLaren 600LT

Some car enthusiasts might argue that McLaren 600LT has to be the best car that McLaren has ever built. That is arguable though if you think about the various cars on the McLaren catalog. However, the car can be said to be probably the best driver’s car of the year 2018.

4. Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

Owing to its 2015 redesign, Ford finally joined the bandwagon and became a sports car brand. From the Bullitt to the Eco Boost High-Performance pack and the Shelby GT350R, Ford Mustang has exquisitely morphed into a lineup of some of the most serious sports cars of the decade.

3. McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren has been in existence longer than we care to admit. However, their presence has been made noticeable in recent years with their top-notch inventions which leave nothing to chance. The 12C model saw the company go into a craze of super-fast, well-handled and manageably comfortable rides. McLaren’s speed is evident in the speed film Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw film.

2. Ferrari 458 Speciale

Ferrari 458 Speciale

According to Drive Tribe, the Ferrari 458 is simply the pinnacle of cars in the decade. It has a 4.5-liter engine that produces an impressive being the last ever V8 supercar makes it one of the greatest and influential cars of the past decade.

1. Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Tesla is like the apple of cars of the last decade. Elon Musk broke the market with new cutting edge technology and has since then been creating top-notch vehicles. The Tesla brand of cars might be remarkable ones but the Model S has to be one of the most important cars that have graced this decade’s market. Electric cars before the Model S were dreadful as they took forever to charge and lasted only a few yards. The Model S entry into the market changed everything. Musk’s technology made electric cars admirable and something that people would want to actually have.


Cars today have experienced a significant change from when the decade began. Cars have now been made into small power trains with the various semi-autonomous technologies and tons of performance that provide good value for money.

The decade has seen the rise of various brand models such as Tesla and the fall of some such as the Cadillac. Every year each brand creates a supercar in the hope of trying to catch up with the already fast technological world and the cars above have seemingly passed the mark for most car enthusiasts.

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Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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