10 Year Challenge: Car Edition
The 10 Year Challenge has been making its way around Facebook and Instagram, "challenging" people to post side-by-side photographs of themselves now and 10 years ago. It's not exactly the Ice Bucket Challenge in terms of effort or importance, but hey, it's something to do.
So, in that spirit, here are a whole whack of cars from 2019 and 2009. Queue Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were."
James Riswick, Contributing Editor
2009 Hyundai AccentNo car company has come as far visually in the last decade as Hyundai. Well, except corporate sibling Kia. The radical transformation would begin two years later with the Hyundai Sonata, but until then, this jolly little yellow Accent without standard ABS would be kicking about for those who needed the thriftiest of transportation.
2019 Hyundai AccentWow, look who got hot. OK, hot for a subcompact sedan. That's quite the transformation.
2009 Kia OptimaI once wrote that this Optima was styled by the Witness Protection Program. So anonymous, it might as well have been invisible.
2019 Kia OptimaToday's Optima is just an evolution of the car that came between it and the previously shown Invisi-car. Still, shows how far Kia has come in 10 years.
2009 Mercedes-Benz A-ClassWe didn't have an A-Class in 2009, but Europe sure did. This thing's styling was inspired by a door stop.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-ClassThe previous-generation made the transition from door stop to traditional compact hatchback. This latest one, introduced for 2019, makes the A-Class available as a sedan for the first time.
2009 Mercedes-Benz E-ClassElsewhere in Stuttgart ... The 2009 E-Class was still rocking the quad headlight look that debuted with the previous generation in the late 1990s.
2019 Mercedes-Benz E-ClassVa va voom. No more quad headlights and things have gotten slinky in E-Class land.
2009 Jeep Compass
Gah! Kill it! Kill it!
A decade does not make this thing any better.
2019 Jeep Compass TrailhawkPhew, that's better. Today's Compass is actually quite the attractive little SUV. It's even pretty cool in Trailhawk guise.
2009 Ford RangerThat's right, they still sold the old Ford Ranger in 2009. They'd actually sell it another two years after that. This for a truck that traced its bones to the 1980s.
2019 Ford RangerThe toy-hauling trailer isn't the only thing that's gotten bigger in a decade. The new Ranger makes its return to the United States for 2019 ... and it's damn good.
2009 Lexus LX 570This is the 2009 Lexus LX, which belongs to the same generation that's still sold today. Except ...
2019 Lexus LX 570Bam! They slapped the most gargantuan rendition of the "Lexus Signature Spindle Grille" on the thing to bring it up to, ah, date? Changes to the interior were more welcome and are less likely to frighten small children.
2009 Nissan 370Z Coupe2009 was the first year for the 370Z, the completely redesigned replacement for the 350Z.
2019 Nissan 370ZNope, not a lot has changed in a decade. The same could be said for Nissan's Frontier pickup. The GT-R is the same generation as well.
2009 Nissan PathfinderNot everything at Nissan has remained frozen in amber. This is the body-on-frame third-generation Nissan Pathfinder.
2019 Nissan PathfinderAnd this is the unibody fourth-generation Nissan Pathfinder. Maybe you'll find some paths in it, but you certainly won't be able to go down them.
2009 Ford Mustang BullittThe last Mustang Bullitt was actually introduced 10 years ago. It was pretty bad ass.
2019 Ford Mustang BullittStill green. Still bad ass.
2009 Kia SportageGet ready to laugh at juxtaposition in 3 ... 2 ... 1
2019 Kia SportageSo today's Sportage does have a sort of deranged clown thing going on, but holy cow, look at that transformation! It looks like way more than 10 years have passed since the Sportage was that wimpy like ute-let. Way to go Kia.
2009 Volvo S60
2019 Volvo S60
2009 Honda AccordThis was the first year for what was arguably the most disappointing Honda Accord. It ballooned in size and the interior was junk compared to the cars that came before and after. Its styling was also not universally loved, especially at the rear.
2019 Honda AccordThe current Accord's styling is also controversial, but there do seem to be more defenders this time around. And unlike its predecessor from a decade ago, the latest Accord is anything but a disappointment. You can even get it with a manual transmission.
2009 Chevrolet SilveradoAh, what a clean, classic design. Not trying too hard, not overwhelmed by chrome. Things would soon change ...
2019 Chevrolet SilveradoUntil we got here! Well, the red is about the same. Admittedly, this is the off-road-oriented Trail Boss, but no semblance of classic simplicity was attempted anywhere in the 2019 Silverado line.
2009 Lexus ES 350Beige.
2019 Lexus ES 350Not beige. In color or driving experience.
2009 Buick LaCrosseThis thing looks like Anime Hannibal Lecter was glued to the front of grandpa's Safeway shuttle. And those stupid portholes. Ugh. It's shocking Buick survived this era. Thanks China!
2019 Buick LaCrosseCompared to that monstrosity, the soon-to-be-departed 2019 LaCrosse might as well be an Aston Martin.
2009 Hyundai SonataNow let's close this out where we began. The 2009 Hyundai Sonata was actually a pretty good midsize sedan -- you could see that Hyundai was really putting the pieces together. The car that followed would shock the industry -- the current Toyota Camry's designer told me it was one of those cars that truly surprised his team and required some serious rethink.
2019 Hyundai Sonata
That revolutionary 2011-2016 Sonata never received a significant mid-life refresh. Didn't need it. It's unfortunately conservative predecessor, on the other hand, went under the knife last year to spruce things up a lot (and make it better to drive). This is the car that resulted.