The success of the resurrected Camaro and Mustang has prompted a revival of other classic vehicles that we thought were gone forever (or at least stuck in the past). Among the popular models getting reincarnated or radically reworked in 2014 are the Jeep Cherokee, the Toyota Corolla and, of course, the totally redesigned Corvette Stingray. Here’s a look at some highlights.
After a 13-year hiatus, Cherokee is back with an all-new powertrain, nine-speed automatic transmission, advanced traction control system, three different 4x4 options and the familiar seven-slot front grille.
“Jeep buyers are some of the most loyal on the planet, and the Cherokee name still holds a lot of brand equity,” said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “Jeep is bringing these models back at the perfect time because sales of midsize and small SUVs are on the rise, with no sign of slowing down.”
Cherokee’s four versions range from a basic sport package ($22,995 MSRP) to the high-end Trailhawk ($29,495 MSRP). All have improved off-road capabilities and fuel efficiency (as much as 31 miles per gallon highway), as well as more comfortable and stylish interiors with all of the high-tech communication and entertainment gizmos that are expected in today’s cars.
Launched in 1966 during Japan’s quest to conquer the global auto market, Corolla was the best-selling car on the planet by the mid-1970s. By the turn of the century, it looked outdated and underperformed compared to other vehicles in the same class. But rather than toss it in the dustbin, Toyota decided to return to the basics that made Corolla such a hot commodity in the first place. The latest version is lower, wider and longer, for a streamlined look that places the car firmly in the 21st century.
“They didn’t have a choice,” Cars.com executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder said. “For decades it was fine for affordable compact sedans to be conservatively styled, but now the class is a very competitive one, full of lookers like the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Kia Forte and more. Bland just doesn’t cut it anymore.”
Pandering to the green crowd, the Corolla LE Eco ($18,700 MSRP) gets as much as 42 miles per gallon on the highway. But there’s also a lean, mean Sport version ($19,000 MSRP) that comes with fog lights, rear-deck spoiler, 16-inch steel wheels and chrome-tipped exhaust.
—Joe Yogerst, Brand Publishing Writer