Automakers are capitalizing on consumer nostalgia with remakes of classic SUVs. Here are three of the most anticipated SUVs on the verge of a major comeback.
Land Rover Defender
The legendary Land Rover Defender recently returned to the U.S. market this spring for the first time since 1997. Initially named the Land Rover 90 and Land Rover 110, the boxy SUV was known for its ruggedness and utility. What helped set the Defender 90 apart was its transition from a soft-top architectural roll cage to a model that offered a distinctive, detachable fiber-glass roof or hard-top roof option to complement its station wagon style.
The SUV was introduced to the U.S. as an upscale version of the Jeep Wrangler in 1993 but struggled to comply with local Department of Transportation guidelines such as crash safety and lighting requirements.
In its final year of U.S. production, the Defender 90 was modified with a new engine paired with a four-speed automatic transmission but was ultimately unable to update its airbags based on new U.S. regulations introduced in 1998.
In 2020, the Land Rover’s boxy, rugged style persists with a newfound sense of elegance. The SUV comes in three trims: Defender, Defender First Edition, and the Defender X. There is a wide range of standard features such as the electronic air suspension, terrain response, and eight-speed automatic transition. The upgraded technology options paired with the off-roading capabilities make this model a pleasant blend of past and present.
The Ford Bronco
Now back based on popular demand, the Ford Bronco is set to return in 2020. The Bronco was cemented in pop culture history for its fresh body style, versatility, and capability as a 4×4.
What made the Bronco so innovative was that it was powered by an alternative 289 CID V8, the same as the Ford Mustang; no other 4×4 had this kind of power at the time.
From its initial release in 1966 to its discontinuation in 1996, the Bronco evolved as a roadster, wagon, and pickup truck. Before its discontinuation, the Bronco rose in popularity after the infamous O.J. police chase on the LA 405 interstate in 1994.
The Bronco ultimately was sunsetted two years later as family-friendly SUV models became more in demand and the Ford Explorer and Ford Expedition replaced the Bronco.
The new generation of the Bronco represents the renewed consumer interest in off-road-ready SUVs. The 2021 Ford Bronco reveal events were canceled as a result of COVID-19 but the modernized SUV is still expected to debut sometime this spring.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
The original Jeep Wagoneer had a cult following of its own during its production from 1963 to 1991. Parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to reintroduce the famed SUV in 2021, exactly thirty years later. Jeep has only teased the modernized Wagoneer without much detail, but interested buyers can opt to buy a restored original version of the Jeep Wagoneer before its expected release in 2021.