Milestones

20 years ago: These cars, trucks, and SUVs were introduced in 2001

The Aston Martin Vanquish was first produced for the 2001 model year.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

The turn from 2020 to 2021 was just a few days ago but the changeover from 2000 to 2001 was 20, even though it might seem like "just yesterday". The second year of the 21st century was ripe with iconic model debuts, though some less iconic found their way in there. Let's take a look back at the cars, trucks, and SUVs that were introduced in 2001.

2001 Aston Martin Vanquish

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2001, but that wasn't the first time it was seen. The company hinted at the model in January 1998 with the Project Vantage at the New York Motor Show. The car was designed by famed artist Ian Callum.

The Vantage had a carbon fiber and aluminum platform, a 5.9-liter V12 engine, and a six-speed gearbox with paddle shift capability. Its carbon/steel/aluminum subframe carried the engine and front suspension.

Vanquish shared its engine with the CB7 Vantage. Its exterior panels were hot-formed by a process called 'superforming', which was pioneered by the automaker in the late 1970s.

2001 BMW 7 Series

2001 BMW 7 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

The E65 generation of the BMW 7 Series was in production from 2001 to 2008. Development of the car started in 1996 and it wasn't until 2001 at the Frankfurt Auto Show that the car was revealed. It launched in Europe just eight short weeks later.

At the time it debuted, the new look of the model was a departure from the visual identity many BMWs were sporting at the time. Its kidney grille and similarly sized headlights, as well as squared off back end, created a design trend whose lineage clearly exists today in the company's lineup.

2002 Buick Rendezvous

2001 Buick Rendezvous

Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick Rendezvous may have had most of its success because it was the SUV that Tiger Woods was billed to endorse. The corporate cousin of the Pontiac Aztek debuted in 2001 as a 2002 model. The Redezvous was the first truck Buick brought to market since 1923 and they did all they could to market it as having the comforts of an SUV with the handling of a truck.

The Rendezvous was the shot in the arm Buick needed at the right time. It served as the launching point for the brand's modern North American presence before its run ended with the 2007 model.

2002 Chevrolet Avalanche

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

With Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade underpinnings, the Chevrolet Avalanche seemed like it had the right stuff to make a lasting impact - and it did. The four-door, five- or six-passenger truck was part SUV with more comfortable appointments and styling. It also had a second row of seats that could be folded down in combination with the Convert-a-Cab system to make a bed.

The product's first buyers could get their Avalanche with either a 5.2-liter V8 or an 8.1-liter V8, making 285 or 340 horsepower, respectively.

Production of the Avalanche started in autumn 2001 and ended in April 2013, spanning two generations.

2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

From 1999 to 2001, the TrailBlazer was a Chevrolet Blazer trim level. Then, in time for the 2002 model year, the General Motors company gave North America its own Chevrolet TrailBlazer model. It came standard with a 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder engine that produced 273 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Buyers could upgrade to a 5.3-liter V8 that achieved 302 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. All models had four-wheel drive.

Today, the Chevrolet Trailblazer is a small crossover that retains little, if any, of the heritage of its namesake.

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid

2001 Honda Civic Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc

The Honda Civic Hybrid squeaks in as one of the last models introduced in 2001. It debuted arrived in the Japanese market in December of that year. At that time, it was the most fuel-efficient five-passenger gasoline-powered production vehicle in the world.

This first-generation Honda Civic Hybrid is based on the seventh-generation Civic. It came to the U.S. in the spring of 2002 as a 2003 model year vehicle.

Today, the Civic Hybrid has been replaced by the fuel-efficient Honda Insight in the company's North American lineup.

2008 Honda Fit

2008 Honda Fit

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc

The Honda Fit, known as the Honda Jazz in international markets, was introduced in Japan in 2001. It would slowly make its way into Europe, Australia, South American, South Africa, Southeast Asia, China, and Mexico before arriving on U.S. shores the better part of a decade later (as shown above).

The small and versatile car is known today for its fuel efficiency, numerous cargo configurations, flat-fold front seat, and easy maneuverability. Honda recently announced that the Fit is leaving the North American market.

2003 Infiniti G35

2002 Infiniti G35

​Photo courtesy of Infiniti 

The Infiniti G35 was unveiled in June 2001, sharing a platform with the Nissan 350Z. It made its North American dealership debut in 2002 as a 2003 model year vehicle. The rear-wheel drive sedan had little in common with its G-Series predecessor, the G20, instead taking a note from the BMW M vehicles.

The car was available with a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual when it was new. Its V6 achieved 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, and had 48-52 weight distribution. The AWD model of the G35 sedan is called the G35x.

2002 Jeep Liberty

2002 Jeep Liberty

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Liberty was introduced as a stepping stone model in the company's lineup. When it debuted as a 2002 model in 2001, it was slotted between the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the smallest four-door SUV the automaker offered.

Seen as a replacement for the Jeep Cherokee nameplate, the Liberty had a Renegade trim level, which would eventually inspired the name of an even smaller four-door Jeep SUV.

2001 Jaguar X-Type

2002 Jaguar X-Type

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

The Jaguar X-Type was a front-engine compact executive car designed during the period when Ford owned Jaguar. It shared a platform with the Ford Mondero and was available with all-wheel drive.

The model filled a lucrative hole in the Jaguar lineup and Ford hoped that it would help double the company's sales. That didn't happen. Though it was projected to sell 100,000 units per year, just 350,000 total X-Types were produced during the car's eight-year manufacturing run.

2001 Lamborghini Murciélago

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

The Lamborghini Murcielago succeeded the Diablo in the company's lineup. Manufacturing of the flagship sports car commenced in 2001 with the first models coming to North America wearing 2002 model year VINs.

The car marked an important moment for Lamborghini as it was the first new design in 11 years and the first model under Audi ownership. The Murcielago was designed by current Chief Creative Officer at Hyundai Motor Group, Luc Donckerwolke.

Just 65 were produced in 2001 but production picked up with 442 coupes coming off the line in 2002.

2002 Lincoln Blackwood

2022 Lincoln Blackwood

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Ford made the Lincoln Blackwood exclusively for the U.S. and Mexico markets from 2002 to 2003. It was the first pickup truck Lincoln ever sold, and was initially met with enthusiasm when it debut at the North American International Auto Show in January 1999.

The luxury truck was a bit before its time offering more glitz and glam than practicality. The features list included a power tonneau, plush carpeting, a box lined with stainless steel, and a navigation system.

Lincoln made just 3,356 Blackwoods at its Kansas City Assembly plant from August 2001 to December 2002.

2002 Maserati Spyder

2002 Maserati Spyder

Photo courtesy of Maserati

By 2001, Ferrari was well into its ownership of Maserati, having purchased the brand from Fiat in 1999. A series of new vehicles were developed including Quattroporte Evoluzione and 3200 GT. The Maserati Coupé and Spyder replaced the 3200 GT in the company's lineup for the 2002 model year. Those two would eventually be replaced in the company's lineup by the GranTurismo and GranCabrio.

The Spyder was unveiled at the 2001 Frankfurt Auto Show and sales of the model started in March 2002. The Spyder marked Maserati's long-awaited re-emergence in the U.S. market.

Maserati gave the Spyder an electronically operated soft top that took 30 seconds to deploy/stow. The Coupé and Spyder were both powered by a Ferrari 4.2-liter V8 engine that delivered 385 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission was available, as were paddle shifters. The Spyder version of the car had a 176 mph top speed and could get from zero to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds.

2002 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Design work that began in 1996 to resulted in the Mercedes-Benz SL (R230) debuting in July 2001. It was first presented to the public at the 2001 Frankfurt Auto Show with production beginning the following month. The car was designed using what at the time was state-of-the-art super computer referred to as the "CAVE" (Computer Aided Virtual Environment). The computer used five projectors to create the virtual image.

Mercedes sold the SL in two variants for the 2002 model year: SL350 and SL500. For the 2003 model year (shown above), the SL 55 AMG and SL 600 were added to the company's lineup.

2003 Mitsubishi Outlander

2003 Mitsubishi Outlander

​Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The Mitsubishi Outlander was introduced to the Japanese market in 2001 but wouldn't make its way to the U.S. until 2003. In Japan, the model was known as the Airtrek and came with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or a 2.4-liter diesel engine. Both engines were paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.

When it arrived on U.S. lots looking like the model in the photo above, it replaced the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and featured a modified grille and headlights. In the U.S., Mitsubishi sold the Outlander with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 157 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque. It was available with either front- or four-wheel drive.

The Outlander is still sold in the U.S. It is set for a redesign for the 2022 model year, which will debut in February 2021.

2002 Toyota Camry

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The fifth-generation Toyota Camry was introduced in 2001 as a 2002 model. In the U.S., the new generation marked the end the Camry CE trim level and the reintroduction of the Camry SE grade. Toyota sold the 2002 with the buyer's choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (157 brake horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque) or a 3.0-liter V6 (190 brake horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque). The Camry LE and SE were available with a manual transmission when equipped with the inline-four.

Opting for the top-tier Camry XLE gave owners a model equipped with alloy wheels, a JBL premium audio system, and leather upholstery. Side airbags and vehicle stability control were available as add-ons.

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New sports car

2022 Subaru BRZ pricing announced

The BRZ is all-new for 2022.

Subaru

Earlier this year, Subaru announced the all-new BRZ sports car, which is coming this fall to replace the previous generation of the car that was discontinued in 2020. It, along with its Toyota cousin, the 86, get more power, updated interiors, and better technology than their predecessors.

The BRZ Premium is the base trim of the car. It starts at $28,955 after destination. Adding an automatic transmission drives the price up by $1,600 to $30,555. The BRZ Limited starts at $31,455 after destination, which shifts to $33,255 with an automatic transmission.


2022 Subaru BRZ The BRZ's compact size and manual transmission make it enthusiast friendly.


The 2022 BRZ gets a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine that produces 228 horsepower. Part of the appeal of small, sporty cars like BRZ is that they are infinitely more fun to drive than larger, more computerized vehicles. To that end, the car comes standard with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. Buyers can opt to swap in a six-speed automatic transmission, but that almost defeats the point of the car. A Torsen limited-slip differential, vehicle stability control with track mode, and 17-inch wheels round out the car's standard performance features.

Inside, the BRZ comes with an 8-inch touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and dual-zone automatic climate controls. A new gauge cluster display can show amps, coolant temperatures, or the car's lateral g-forces, and when track mode is engaged, the tachometer shifts from a circular to a color linear graph.


2022 Subaru BRZ An updated interior and tech are highlights of the new BRZ,

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Updated vehicle lineup

Toyota is going more places in 2022 and beyond

Toyota is giving its spunky 86 sports car a makeover for 2022.

Toyota

"Let's Go Places", Toyota's tagline adopted nearly a decade ago, speaks to the automaker's goal of "evolution and commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define". Today, Toyota has sold more than 15 million vehicles and is continuing to innovate with connected technologies and alternative powertrains and is global leader of hybrid electric vehicles.

Toyota plans to offer approximately 70 electrified models globally by 2025, in a lineup that will feature 15 dedicated battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), including seven in the new the "bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand and also plans to bring electrification to its truck lineup.

The Japanese manufacturer recently invited a cadre of journalists to its U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas, to learn more about the company's latest developments and goals, as well as to hear about new and concept vehicles from both Toyota and luxury stablemate Lexus, during a three-day event that was akin to a Toyota-centric auto show. There were ride and drive opportunities in Plano and at the nearby Eagle Canyon Raceway, with a high-speed track and off-road course and even a "secret reveal" of the all-new Tundra. The breadth of new offerings includes models from every segment of the auto market, ranging from BEV to truck and high-performance.


Toyota bZ4X Concept The bZ4X shows Toyota's vision for its bZ (Beyond Zero) electric sub-brand.Toyota


Of the nearly two dozen vehicles on the roster, we selected the following models to highlight:

**The Toyota bZ4X Concept is Toyota's vision for the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles sold under the "Toyota bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand. Jointly developed with Subaru, the sleek SUV is close in size to the RAV4 and will have a 300-mile range; the AWD model has stunning and chiseled looks, 20-inch wheels and showcases the new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform. Notable is the long wheelbase with short overhangs and open-concept interior, with a "bridge" style center console, a large infotainment screen and a unique digital gauge for instrumentation.

Heralded as the vehicle that revived Toyota's sportscar lineage, the all-new 2022 GR 86 hit the track with pro drivers before meriting its Gazoo Racing badge. The lightweight 2+2 rear-drive sports coupe has been engineered with more rigidity, and a horsepower bump from 205 to 228. Added torque moves the needle from 156 to 184 lb.-ft. from its naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine, when set up with a manual transmission; peak torque is lower in the rpm range to bring a more linear driving feel. Zero to 60 times have dropped from 7 to 6.1 seconds for the manual and moved from 8 to 6.6 seconds for the automatic.

The Gazoo team put their mark on front and rear frame reinforcements; weight-shaving components, such as aluminum roof panels and fenders; new aerodynamic body elements, a functional MATRIX "G" Mesh grille and exterior air vents. The refashioned interior gets race-inspired touches and Alcantara-trimmed front buckets. Onboard are a host of updated technologies and audio/communications features; it comes in two grades, GR 86 and GR 86 Premium.


2022 Toyota Supra A91-CF Toyota will offer just 600 Carbon Fiber Edition Supras when it goes on sale in fall 2021.Toyota


The GR Supra A91-CF (Carbon Fiber) Edition goes on sale in the fall; only 600 will be available in North America. Exterior design features include numerous carbon fiber elements; a functional aero kit; duckbill rear spoiler; special edition forged 19-inch matte-black wheels with red calipers and a Toyota Supra logo; and new colors. Inside the red-and-black themed cabin with Alcantara-and-leather and carbon-fiber trim are heated sport seats and a collection of top standard features. A turbocharged three-liter inline-six with an eight-speed transmission has paddle shifters and brings zero-to-60 in 3.9 seconds. Performance parts include adaptive Variable Sport suspension, an active rear sport differential, and front Brembo brakes with red calipers.

Both cars offer complimentary one-year memberships to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) comes with instruction from experts and the opportunity to participate in a High-Performance Driving Event.

Two new Tacomas add choices, capability and other new features to Toyota's mid-sized truck lineup.

The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro bumps up off-road performance with a 1.5-inch front/.05 rear lift; TRD-tuned 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks, and new suspension components, using machine-forged aluminum construction on the pickup's control arms. Toyota Racing Development's upgrades bring improvements that aid in obstacle clearance with a 36.4-degree approach, 24.7-degree departure, and 26.6-degree breakover angles. New black TRD wheels make a wider track width than stock versions, while new Goodyear Territory all-terrain tires have an aggressive sidewall design. A new exclusive Electric Lime Metallic color is added to the mix. New hood graphics are available that complement the blacked-out hood scoop. A color-keyed rear bumper, door handles and power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators will trim the dual-color styling theme, along with black overfenders and new badging. An aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering provides additional trail protection. Unique LED headlights with sequential turn signals feature TRD Pro inserts, while Rigid Industries LED fog lights help illuminate the road and trails ahead.


2022 Toyota Tacoma The Tacoma gets even more off-road goodies for the 2022 model year.Toyota


Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short-bed model, the TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 and is available with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Nifty features include a Multi Terrain Monitor that displays front-, rear- and side-camera views on the 8-inch multimedia touchscreen; the instrument panel's 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display has an inclinometer and tilt gauge. Inside are TRD-themed black leather-trimmed heated front seats, TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro all-weather floor mats., plus a standard moonroof and Toyota's Safety Star System, along with a broad array of technologies.

The 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition, built on the Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab, upgrades off-road performance. It is1.1 inches higher in front and boasts an approach angle of 34 degrees; the rear is lifted 0.5 inches for a departure angle of 23.6 degrees; breakover angle is improved at 26.4 degrees. Unique styling comes with four exterior color choices, black badging accents and a new Trail Edition badge on the rear tailgate. Rear bumpers are now color-keyed to match the exterior grille with new unique bronze-colored lettering and new bronze-finished wheels that offer a 0.5-inch wider track width both front and rear and are fitted with new Goodyear all-terrain tires with an aggressive sidewall tread pattern. New is lockable bed storage while the driver's side storage includes insulation and can double as a cooler. It's also equipped with a 120V power outlet in the bed. Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque) and locking rear differential, as well as the Tacoma Tow Package, with a maximum towing capacity of 6,400 pounds.

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