Flagship Models: Your Favorite Automaker’s Most Iconic Vehicle

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The definition of a flagship model can often be somewhat nebulous. It can vary from most luxurious to the most recognizable, the most enduring to the most expensive. At BestRide, we believe that a flagship model should be the definitive, unmistakable representation of THAT OEM (original equipment manufacturer). It should showcase the values, capabilities, and visual design that perfectly encapsulate the brand. The flagship is the poster child! Now, with these criteria in mind, here are our personal picks for THE quintessential flagship models of several popular manufacturers.

Chevrolet – Suburban

Chevy Suburban through the years/Image Credit: Chevrolet

The Chevy Suburban has been in production since 1935, making it the oldest model still on the road of ANY OEM. For an SUV to stick around for over 8 decades, it goes without saying that it has been wildly popular with consumers. The Suburban is THE definitive family hauler, with room for 8 as well as ample cargo space. It even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having been in over 1,700 films and TV shows since 1952. The Suburban is an American-made machine designed with the suburban family in mind (hence the name), and it has continued to deliver safety and reliability over its impressive lifespan. Add in the modern infotainment touches of the 21st century and you’ve got the absolute Chevy flagship.

Ford – F-Series

Ford F-Series through the years/Image Credit: Ford

Speaking of old-timer models that have been around the block a time or two, Ford’s F-Series of trucks certainly aren’t greenhorns. Just a little over a decade after the Suburban made its debut, Ford’s first-generation pickup rolled onto the scene in 1948. Known as the Ford Bonus-Built, this truck was Ford’s entry into the medium and heavy-duty truck world. Over the years, these trucks would evolve in capability and design while also becoming engrained in American culture as the truck for the working man. The Ford F-Series is now in its 14th generation, with V6 engines and design amenities the Bonus Built would have never even dreamed of. The F-Series has been the best-selling pickup truck line in the United States, firmly establishing themselves not only as Ford’s flagship models but as American icons.

Jeep – Wrangler

‘80s Wrangler/Image Credit: Jeep

The modern Jeep Wrangler is a relatively young model as far as flagships go, debuting only 36 years ago in 1986. However, the “Jeeple” comradery and culture that has been fostered around Wranglers and #JeepLife are too passionate to be discounted. The Modern Wrangler took the place of the long-lived CJ (Civilian Jeep) Series, further modernizing the interior for a little more comfort and a little less utilitarianism. But don’t be mistaken, the Wrangler was built to get down and dirty, rock-crawling and off-roading with the best of them. Jeep Jamborees, off-road adventure weekends, take place across the country and bring in thousands of loyal Jeep enthusiasts. Sure, you’ll see a variety of Jeep models at these events, but the Wrangler is the undeniable symbol of the Jamboree. The Wrangler is synonymous with Jeep as a brand, and chances are when someone says “Jeep”, the Wrangler is what comes to mind first. I guess you could say #ItsAJeepThing.

Toyota – Corolla

Toyota Corolla/Image Credit: Toyota UK Magazine

When the Corolla debuted in 1966, it was hard to imagine that it would become such an enduring symbol and flagship of Toyota as a whole. The Corolla was designed to be a practical family car that was both economical and affordable, and not much has changed in the past 50+ years. Designs and amenities may have evolved with the times, but this unassuming machine has maintained steady popularity as a safe, practical vehicle, especially for new drivers. The Corolla is now in its 12th generation and is considerably less boxy than its predecessor. You don’t have always have to be flashy to be a flagship model, you just have to prove that you can provide consumers with a consistently safe and comfortable driving experience.

Porsche – 911

Porsche 911/Image Credit: Porsche

Closing in on 60 years in production, the Porsche 911 (originally named the 901) is the model that spawned an enduring line of impressive performance cars. Over 1 million have been produced since 1963, and Porsche claims that 70% of those machines are still roadworthy. The design has had subtle changes over the years as tastes have evolved, but for the most part, has maintained that unmistakably dynamic silhouette. Throw in the 911’s illustrious and impressive racing career, and this particular flagship has acquired the status of a true automotive icon. It’s said that creator Ferdinand Porsche stated, “The 911 is the only car you could drive on an African Safari or at Le Mans, to the theater or through New York City Traffic.”

Volkswagen – Beetle

1969 Class 11 Beetle/Image Credit: Volkswagen

Although the first-generation Beetle wasn’t sold in the United States until around 1950, this little machine got its start much earlier. In Germany, the first Beetle rolled off the line in 1938, though civilians wouldn’t be able to get their hands on one until 1947. The Beetle is a cultural icon, instantly recognizable to even those who have absolutely no interest or knowledge of cars. When the Beetle made its appearance in the states, its very existence seemed like an act of rebellion and counterculture. In a time when America was doubling down on the “bigger, bolder, and better” mindset, the Bug was small, simple, and unassuming. With just one major redesign in the late ‘90s, the VW Beetle has maintained a powerful following and an even more iconic presence. Even with the Beetle no longer in production, it’s no doubt the first image that pops to mind when someone says “Volkswagen” or “VW”.

Each of these vehicles is a true icon, not just of their manufacturer’s lineup, but of the auto industry as a whole. These machines are the true ambassadors of their brand. While some may have been retired from production, their designs have persisted through the years and made their mark. If you’re looking to make one of these icons one of your own, you’re in luck. Start your search for your personal flagship ride right here at BestRide.com!

Annie Boss

Annie Boss

Annie grew up in a small mining town in northern Utah, which gave her an early appreciation of big trucks with even bigger tires. She has a true passion for writing, as well as injecting lighthearted fun and gentle goofs into every piece she puts out. Annie now resides in Phoenix, Arizona, and has been writing about automotive and automotive-adjacent topics for the past two years. Her dream car is a bright yellow hard top Jeep Wrangler with SHERA on the vanity plate.