Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have been around a lot longer than most people think. Just look to these Ford classics.
In the automotive world, there seems to be a misconception that the SUV is a new concept. While they are more popular today than ever before, SUVs are far from new. These versatile vehicles have been traversing American roads for generations, with no sign of slowing down any time soon.
For proof of the long heritage of SUVs in the automotive market, one needs to look no further than the list below. The five classic Ford Motor Company SUVs included in this list have all made a significant mark on SUV history.
Ford SUV Models
Ford SUV Models have been around for many years, with each new model building on the success of its predecessors. The list below contains some of the most iconic Ford SUV models ever released.
- Ford Bronco – First introduced in 1966, the Ford Bronco was one of the first SUVs on the market and quickly became a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.
- Ford Explorer – The Ford Explorer was first introduced in 1990 and quickly became the best-selling SUV in the country.
- Ford Escape – The Ford Escape was first introduced in 2001 and has since become one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market.
- Ford Expedition – The Ford Expedition was first introduced in 1997 and is still one of the largest SUVs on the market.
- Ford Edge – The Ford Edge was first introduced in 2006 and quickly became a favorite among SUV shoppers looking for stylish and efficient vehicles.
First-Generation Ford Bronco
First available for the 1966 model year, the millions of small SUVs on the roads today can trace their roots largely to this popular vehicle. Interestingly, this first edition Bronco was actually offered in three different body styles—a station wagon, a roadster, and even a pickup. There were also four engines available, two straight-6 options and two V8s.
Later-generation Broncos would continue to build on the success of this first design, even including the Ford Bronco interior style, until the line was discontinued in 1996. The Bronco name will forever be etched in SUV history for a couple of reasons. First, Ford has announced that this line will return to production in 2019, so Ford Bronco fans can look forward to an opportunity to own a new version of this classic. Also, it was a 1993 Ford Bronco that was featured in the infamous O.J. Simpson low-speed chase across Los Angeles.
1991 Ford Explorer - The Old SUV of Ford
The Ford Explorer is an old SUV that was introduced in the year of 1991. It became one of the best-selling SUVs in the country and is still one of the most popular SUVs on the market today. It is known for its stylish looks, efficient performance, and overall reliability. If you are looking for an old-school Ford SUV, the Explorer is a great choice.
The original Ford Explorer, though, true to its trucking roots, was built as a body-on-frame vehicle. Like a lot of Ford commercial trucks, this vehicle was bulky but well-liked by the community. While the Explorer was, and still is, hugely successful, the original version did suffer early setbacks stemming from a number of rollover accidents. Improved suspensions, lower profiles, safety features, and sportier designs through the years have increased the popularity of the current fifth-generation Explorers.
Although it did not enjoy a long life span like many of the other Ford SUV models, the Excursion will always hold a place in automotive history. Simply put, it was the sheer size of this SUV that caused it to stand out from the crowd. No mass-produced SUV has ever been as long or as heavy as the Excursion. Available engines for this massive model included a gas-powered 6.8L V10 and a turbodiesel 7.3L V8.
As you might imagine, fuel consumption was a big problem with the oversized Excursion. It was no coincidence that the decline in sales of the Excursion was mirrored by a rise in gas prices. Few vehicles in automotive history have had as quick a rise and fall as the Excursion—it sold more than 50,000 units in 2000 and was already out of production after 2005.
Second-Generation Lincoln Navigator
This SUV didn't bear the Ford badge, but it certainly falls under the Big Blue umbrella. Lincoln is the luxury line with Ford, and the Navigator set the bar for luxury family cruising. The second generation of the Navigator hit the market in 2003, and it featured a number of luxury touches. Two V8 engine options were available for this Navigator, which was related by the platform to both the Ford Expedition and the popular F-150 pickup.
Initially put into production in 2000, the Escape has led the way for what the modern SUV/crossover has become. This vehicle features comfortable seating for up to four adults, but it also has a relatively compact design and excellent fuel economy. Introduced around the same time as the Excursion, the light and nimble Escape proved to be the model that would remain relevant as the years went by.
The Escape underwent aerodynamic changes in 2009, including front and rear spoilers, and got top marks in front, side, and rear crash tests. Now selling around 300,000 units per year, this popular SUV continues to show signs of enduring sales.
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