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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A black and cream 1966 Ford Bronco is parked on a rock pile.

A Blast from the Past: SUVs Then and Now

Sport utility vehicles have been around for decades, and some have even become household names. From the rough and tough Bronco to the luxurious Escalade, many of these models have stood the test of time. Evolving over the years, today’s modern SUVs are almost unrecognizable compared to their predecessors. So, if you want to get a full overview of SUVs past to present, then you’ve come to the right place. Also, if you discover one you like, run a Google search for a “used SUV near me” to find one locally.

The Ford Bronco

First debuting in 1965, the Ford Bronco was originally retired in 1995. Throughout its initial run, it evolved from a compact SUV to a full-size SUV before ultimately being put to rest for about 25 years. The reason the Bronco was laid to rest for so long was to make room for the Ford Expedition on the market. However, due to popular demand, the folks over at Ford decided to breathe new life into this old model. Currently, in production, the new 2021 Ford Bronco will be on its way to dealership lots soon.

The first generation of Broncos ran from 1965 to 1977. Its boxy, body-on-frame construction made it a popular choice for people who enjoy the outdoors. Powered by straight-6 or a small block V8 engine, these adventurous vehicles could be purchased with a 3-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. They even came with extremely cool options such as a CB radio, a tow bar, a winch, and even snowplow. Originally offered in a single trim, things began to change with the second generation.

From 1978 to 1979, the Bronco was produced as possibly the shortest production run of any generation ever. Entering the full-size SUV market, these models were powered by large V8 engines. However, they felt more like trucks than SUVs.

This led to the third generation of models spanning from 1980 to 1986. Still considered a full-size SUV, this 3-door model was evolving. Again powered by a straight-6 or V8 engine, it was bigger and more ferocious than ever before. Buyers could also choose between exciting packages such as the XLS, XLT Lariat, and Eddie Bauer.

The fourth-generation ran from 1987 to 1991. This generation is marked by a complete restyle. It got a fresh grille, new bumpers, a restyled hood, and new exterior light housings. The interior was updated as well with restyled seats, door panels, controls, and dashboard. In 1991, the Silver Anniversary Edition Bronco was released. This model featured Currant Red exterior paint and the first leather interior in a Bronco.

The last production run before retirement was the fifth generation from 1992 to 1995. These models featured a more rounded body style for improved aerodynamics. They were also built with better safety features, including front crumple zones, 3-point rear seatbelts, and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. There was even a special edition known as the Nite model.

After 25 years in retirement, the Ford Bronco is now back for its sixth generation. Coming out in 2021, this new version is a mid-size SUV offered in two convertible body styles. You will be able to pick between 2-door and 4-door versions. There will also be two much smaller but more powerful engine choices: a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 and a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6.

An orange 2008 Hummer H3 is parked in front of red rock formations.

The Hummer

As one of the most controversial vehicles to ever be put into production, the Hummer began its commercial run for civilians in 1992. Inspired by the M998 Humvee military vehicle, the first General Motors Hummer was known as the H1. This model was offered in multiple body styles, including a 4-door open-top, 4-door SUV, 4-door hardtop, 2-door fleet, and 2-door enlarged cab. Manufactured until 2006, this utility vehicle came with four-wheel drive and few different V8 engine options.

Released in 2001, the Hummer H2 was marketed as a full-size SUV that drove more like a truck. Produced until 2009, it was manufactured with two different V8 powertrains. Standard features included tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery, and heated seats throughout the cabin. It was, by far, the most luxurious Hummer model to date. For the 2008 production run, Bluetooth connectivity was added as well as a DVD entertainment system.

In an attempt to create a more eco-friendly model, the Hummer H3 was released in 2005. In it’s short, 5-year run, it was categorized as a mid-size SUV. The powertrain lineup featured I-5 and V8 engines, and it came with keyless entry, a 6-speaker sound system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Shutting down production in 2010, no other Hummer models have been made in 10 years. However, GMC recently announced that production will soon begin on a new Hummer EV. Said to be an electric truck with incredible off-roading capabilities, Hummer enthusiasts will just have to wait for more details to surface about this surprising model.

The Cadillac Escalade

A common used SUV near you, a black 2018 Cadillac Escalade, is shown driving on a cobblestone road.

First released in 1999, the Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV that American drivers dream about. The first generation only lasted from 1999 to 2000, and the vehicles were mechanically identical to the GMC Yukon Denali. Only available in a single trim, buyers loved it and wanted more.

From 2002 until 2006, the second generation of the Escalade established the vehicle as a household name. Powered by one of two V8 powertrains, these vehicles came standard with heated and ventilated seats, heated and cooled cupholders, a moonroof, and plenty of other luxury features.

The third generation was groundbreaking for the Escalade. Spanning from 2007 to 2014, a hybrid version was introduced during this production run. Although it has slow acceleration, the hybrid Escalade got a Super Bowl endorsement from Eli Manning, and then everyone had to have one. Standard features include heated leather seating, a power liftgate, and tri-zone climate control.

From 2015 until 2020, the fourth generation managed to maintain its spot at the top of the luxury SUV list. While the hybrid had already been retired before the end of the third generation, the newest models were equipped with some stellar features, including a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot and a 360° parking camera system. The upcoming 2021 Cadillac Escalade is set to mark the beginning of the fifth generation and will be available with a diesel inline-6 engine as well as the traditional gasoline V8. There are even rumors floating around of an electric Escalade EV that will share a platform with the Hummer EV.

The Chevrolet Suburban

Ending our list with something pretty impressive, the Chevrolet Suburban is the longest-running nameplate in the history of automobiles. This SUV has been around since 1935, and it has no plans of retiring any time soon. Currently, in its twelfth generation, we could write a book about this impressive model. It has undergone every sort of change you can imagine as auto industry trends evolved over the years.

The eleventh generation is our personal favorite. Produced from 2015 until 2020, these models can be found with loads of cool features. A couple of different V8 powertrains are available as well as a slew of well-equipped trim levels. As for the newest twelfth generation, it will kick-off in 2021, and we assume that Chevy won’t have any trouble moving these extremely popular full-size SUVs.

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