Twenty years in the car industry is like 234 human years; around three lifespans pass in this time and revolutions come and go.
So how have the models which have survived - or been replaced - across the ravages of two decades, fared since 1997? We dug out a 1997 copy of Autocar to find out. Take a look below to see how they compare.
Twenty years on: Autocar verdicts
Best then: Volkswagen Polo
Best now: Ford Fiesta
1997 Mk4 Ford Fiesta - “Super-smooth engines, great handling, classy interior, pity about the nose.”
2017 Mk7 Ford Fiesta - “No longer a class-beater in every regard, but so far ahead of the curve on ride and handling that it’s unassailable.”
1997 Rover Mini - “Voted the greatest car of all time. Several times. ‘Nuff said.”
2017 Mini 3-door hatch - “Three-pot engines and cleverly redesigned interior make the Mini a superb choice. Pricey to buy but worth the money.”