The SUVs That Were Ahead Of Their Time

Land Rover is one of the most fascinating carmakers out there, because whilst they initially made their name by only selling one offroad car (technically two if you could the 90 and 110 as separate models), they have since become one of the most innovative manufacturers out there.

This has led to some truly unique models that were ahead of their time, such as the influential Land Rover Discovery, the dramatic Evoque and several two-wheel-drive models that were highly ambitious, innovative and controversial at the same time.

At the same time, that classic 4×4 that could climb every mountain and ford every stream still endured, helped by Land Rover engine rebuilds that breathed new life into the ageing Rover V8.

However, they were not the only SUV makers who were ahead of their time in this regard. Here are some other offroaders that were ahead of their time, for better and indeed for worse.

The Volkswagen Golf Country

The VW Golf is a car that, whilst exceptionally popular and versatile in its own right, you would not necessarily describe as an ideal off-road vehicle. However, in 1990, VW created an incredibly advanced attempt at a crossover decades before the concept even had a name.

The Golf Country was originally intended to just be a concept car, but after a massive stack of pre-orders, they were quite quickly convinced. Essentially, the Country is a Golf CL Syncro that was lifted, given a bullbar, a spare wheel mount, skid plates and fancy offroad lights.

To VW’s credit, they made a serious attempt at an offroader with the help of some of the best manufacturers of the time. Unfortunately, that lack of compromise meant the ride suffered, as did the sales.

Later attempts would make crossovers far better on the road, albeit by compromising the offroad capabilities.

Pontiac Aztek

Proof that being ahead of your time can be a double-edged sword, it is abundantly clear that the Aztek is far from a good looking car.

However, styling aside, it was a brave attempt at creating a swiss army knife of a car with a brave, daring sense of style. Had more care been put into its construction instead of creating a car out of bits of other GM machines, it may have had a chance.

It helps that other crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai are similarly strange-looking.

Lamborghini LM002

Affectionately nicknamed the ‘Rambo Lambo’, the LM002 project was considered to be a shocking pivot for a company known for its space-age looking hypercars towards making offroad cars with an eye towards the military market.

It didn’t take, with the LM002 selling just 300 units, but given that even Ferrari has developed an SUV of their own, along with the far better received Lamborghini Urus, the LM002 looks well ahead of its time.

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