On 420, the Cars They Had to Be High to Approve
Marijuana's unofficial holiday, 420, is here, and cities across the country are gearing up for celebrations at a time when the federal government has signaled increasing hostility toward pot use.
More than half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana use, and roughly a quarter of this group allow recreational use. Despite rules in marijuana legislation preventing public consumption, recreational use is expected to be on full display in places like Denver, which is hosting a rally that's expected to draw tens of thousands of revelers.
It's more evidence that getting high has gone mainstream, but it got us wondering if it's already been that way for some time in automotive circles. Because, come on, how else would a car like the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet have ever been greenlighted?
We wracked our completely clear brains to come up with the list below of relatively recent, wacky-looking cars that management must have been high to approve.
Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
Chrysler's retro-inspired PT Cruiser compact hatchback was a hit when it launched and inspired other retro-styled cars, but the soft-top convertible was an oddity from the get-go. Looking something like a giant bathtub on wheels, the convertible wasn't particularly graceful, and the "basket handle" above the seats made things worse.
Hyundai's sporty Veloster hatchback brought a big dose of unique style to the Korean brand's lineup when it debuted – along with one particularly head-scratching element. Not content with the two-door coupe body style but also not willing to turn the Veloster into a four-door hatchback, Hyundai settled on the obvious remaining choice: three doors, with an extra rear door on the passenger side. Um, OK…
Adventurously styled compact SUVs are becoming more common, but even today — more than 15 years after the last one left the factory — the VehiCross is out there. Massive fender flares, loads of body cladding and fangs in the grille, the VehiCross turned heads, but it was an experiment that didn't last long.
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
The Murano mid-size SUV might have made this list on its own, but the CrossCabriolet convertible version made it a lock. Automakers are a bit obsessed with creating new models by combining existing body styles — coupelike SUVs, for instance — but Nissan's attempt at a convertible SUV was positively bonkers and was only around for a few model years before fading away.
Speaking of a car straddling two body styles, the Suzuki X-90 was one of the early efforts on that front, blurring the lines between coupe and SUV with sporting styling that made it hard to know whether it was coming or going.
Toyota has a history of building distinctively styled eco-friendly cars with its lineup of Prius hybrids, but the Mirai takes things to new heights with its jutting, angular design. Powered by a fuel-cell drivetrain that uses hydrogen to generate electricity, the chemical reaction generates pure water, too. Though not recommended for drinking, perhaps that H2O is good for something else?
Toyota FT-4X Concept
With its mix of colors — including a black vertical stripe above the rear wheels — enlarged fenders and two-door body style, the FT-4X is sort of the modern-day VehiCross with Manga comic book influences. Will Toyota build it? Who knows, but we are talking about the same company that gave the go-ahead to the Mirai. Hmm…
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept
VW has been teasing us with concept microbuses for years, and the latest is the trippy I.D. Buzz Concept (yes, that really is its name). Despite warm-and-cuddly retro styling, the Buzz's technology looks to the future with an all-electric drivetrain and self-driving features. To infinity … and beyond!