Inspired by my post on the short lived Altima Coupe, I noticed something.

As the 90s waned and the 2000s bloomed, cars were getting more and more expensive to build. Less and less cars were offered in multiple body styles because they cost more to design, build, and certify for the road. The last of the body on frame passenger cars were also dying off, soon to be replaced with unibody sedans and SUVs, which were more difficult to modify.

As a result, less manufacturers built lower volume body variants, even as people shifted towards the extreme practicality of SUVs. That era produced quite a few forgotten body variants of normal cars, some of which will be listed here.


Malibu Maxx

This generation of the American Icon was ruined not by Daewoo, but by Opel, by rebadging its Vectra C model. However, this brought about the Maxx hatchback sedan variant, which had a sliding rear seat to increase either leg room or cargo space on demand. However, it remains hideous, though in a new way, regardless of its utilitarian design. It would have been so much better as a true hatchback, and most people took heed.

2. Tundra Stepside

The mid 2000s saw a resurgence of stepside pickups during the retro craze, with Chevy and Ford taking the lead. Some did this better than others, and Toyota had no past truck to draw from with this style of bed. When they decided to offer this trendy bed configuration, it just didn’t turn out well. Not many were made because the regular truck already looks pretty good and those taillights just aren’t flattering.


3. Ford Focus Coupe

This generation of Ford Focus had all the bases covered, whether it be sedan, coupe, 2 and 4 door hatchback, or 4 door wagon. The take rate on the two door hatchback and wagon was pretty low, but the coupe is the most forgotten of all. These cars are just hardworking reliable commuters and family haulers, but the coupe is almost nonexistent on the roads today. Unlike the Ford Explorer two door, the rarer models seem to have been the first to leave the road.


4. Dodge Stratus Coupe

There were quite a few low volume coupes in this era, but this has to take the cake for obscurity; Dodge’s short lived experiment in targeting the remainder of the personal luxury coupe market was a complete flop. It wasn’t even based on the sedan but was related to the Mitsubishi Eclipse! The only reason I know these exist is because of an RCR and a recent spot in the wild. Even old Murilee Martin can’t resist its beigey goodness, though his had the much more common automatic.


There is also one for sale near me with a manual! Who exactly is this for?

2001 manual Dodge Stratus Coupe! Destined to be a junkyard gem one day! I am preserving this image online for future generations to marvel/make fun of

What is your pick for the most obscure early 2000s body variant?

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