The best Super Bowl car commercials of all time

Whether it's showing how you can cruise the Big Boy in your GTO or win a race in your Mercedes-AMG GT, car companies keep the creativity flowing on Super Bowl Sunday.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
4 min read
VW The Force ad

Everyone remembers little-kid Darth Vader from this 2011 ad.


Whether or not you're a football fan, there's a big reason to watch the big game each year: the commercials. With most of America's eyes on the boob tube, companies bring out the big advertising guns, spending millions of dollars on TV spots that are oftentimes just as important as the Super Bowl itself.

Here at Roadshow, we're specifically interested in the car commercials. So ahead of the upcoming Super Bowl, here's a look back at some of our favorites from years gone by.

Read more: See all the Super Bowl 2020 commercials so far

1969 Chrysler: Scuba Diver

Trippy music, underwater diving and a haunting children's choir are all featured in this 1969 commercial for Chrysler. This was the earliest car commercial I could find from the Super Bowl, and now I can't get the tag line out of my head: "Chrysler, your next car is here."

2011 Chrysler 200: Imported from Detroit

Chrysler upped its game significantly with the 2011 commercial for the 200 sedan featuring Eminem. While the 200 proved to be a sales dud over the years, eventually being discontinued, I still get chills when I watch this commercial. At two minutes, it's one of the longest commercials in the history of the Super Bowl.

2011 Volkswagen Passat: The Force

2011 also saw the adorable Volkswagen Passat commercial featuring a mini Darth Vader having trouble accessing The Force. The kid really makes this commercial, as we can all feel their disappointment, even through the Vader mask. Then dad, being a good dad, remotely starts the Passat, filling his kid with surprised joy. Brilliant.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado: Super Bowl Blackout

In 2015, Chevrolet brought the country into a panic for 30 seconds when its commercial started with a fake television outage. The ad for the midsize Colorado truck and its 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot -- so you can stream the game in a power outage -- isn't particularly funny, but it's still a great commercial, showing a problem and offering a solution.

1990 Nissan 300ZX: Turbocharged Dream

You can see the Blade Runner inspiration in this Nissan commercial directed by Ridley Scott from 1990. I love the sound design of all the different vehicles trying desperately to catch the twin-turbo 300ZX, and the dream-like cinematography is excellent.

1997 Nissan: Pigeons

Nissan went for the laughs in this 1997 commercial, featuring pooping pigeons chasing a way-too-fast Nissan. With Kenny Loggins singing his iconic song Danger Zone, the pigeons chase down the freshly washed Nissan to no avail. If you don't laugh when a pigeon yells, "Afterburners!" then maybe you should check your pulse, because it's hilarious.

2015 Nissan: With Dad

One more from Nissan, folks, but not for the reasons you think. This 2015 commercial tells the story of a dad who is also a race car driver, and the family he leaves at home. Personally, I have to wonder why the mom couldn't have been the race car driver, or why the hell his family doesn't travel with him. I know I'm supposed to feel sympathy for the guy chasing his dreams at the expense of his family, but come on. Nevertheless, this one was a bit of a tear-jerker for lots of folks.

2013 Ram: So God Made a Farmer

This 2013 commercial for Ram trucks put the focus on farmers, extolling the hard work and sacrifices made by the folks who keep our country fed. The stunning cinematography captures the grit and determination of people working the land while the words, from a 1978 speech by broadcaster Paul Harvey, describe a life so difficult most of us would quit on the first day.

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT: Fable

I love this 2015 commercial so much, mostly because that cocky rabbit gets owned by a tortoise driving the Mercedes-AMG GT. I mean, this little guy is awesome. He jumps it, drifts it and even picks up a cute li'l lady rabbit in his GT, just to be a jerk. That's my kind of competition.

1970 Pontiac GTO: The Humbler

This commercial from 1970 takes us back to the days of cruising, bell bottoms and rumbling V8s. This suave dude makes sure every one at the Big Boy hears him coming when he pulls a knob on the dash and makes the exhaust twice as loud.

2017 Audi: Daughter

Some folks found this Audi ad from 2017 to be a bit preachy, but as a woman in the male-dominated fields of both auto journalism and off-road racing, I dig it. I love that the kid takes her competitors in stride, beating them with smart and focused driving. It doesn't necessarily make me want to go out and buy an Audi, but it does inspire me to be a role model for the next generation of female car enthusiasts.

Did we miss any? Post your favorite Super Bowl car commercial in the comments and let us know.