The 2000s weren’t the best of times for American automakers. With an economic recession in 2008 and record-high fuel prices, the American car all but dried up. The domestic automakers were the first businesses in history bailed out by the taxpayers. In this period in the 2000s, all domestic automakers were trying to keep up with the immense popularity and surging momentum of the Japanese automakers. For example, you may remember how popular the Toyota Prius was around 2007-08. Toyota soared to new heights in popularity and Honda was right behind them.
But that’s not to say that the American automakers fell by the wayside as there were some success stories to be had. The revival of the Cadillac brand is one of the biggest success stories of the decade. There was also the birth of the V-Series performance division of Cadillac and the revival of the Chevrolet Camaro. We looked at some of the most underrated American cars of the 2000s. These are cars that you might remember not giving a second look at when they were new.
20: Dodge Intrepid R/T
Why is the Dodge Intrepid R/T important? Because this was Mopar’s reentry into the NASCAR circuit. Dodge was once again a player in the motorsports world, and the Intrepid was the first car Chrysler used for this newfound debut in the 2000s. The Dodge Intrepid was also an important car for Chrysler in general as it cemented the automaker in the family sedan segment. Although the styling was debatable, the Intrepid was an important car for Dodge and the auto industry as a whole (via Car & Driver).
The introduction of “cab-forward” design was the start of the automotive industry moving away from the boxy designs of the 1980s. Cars were becoming the aerodynamic vehicles that we have today. None of it would have come to fruition without the forward-thinking move from Chrysler that jolted the industry into action. The Intrepid doesn’t get the credit it deserves, and the R/T was a special edition model that brought an attitude to the Dodge lineup.