Special Report

Cars That Stand the Test of Time

Source: Tramino / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

18. BMW 3-Series
> Year introduced: 1977

The BMW 3-Series has been cruising American roads for more than four decades, making it one of the longest-running models still sold in the U.S. market. Originally produced in 1975, BMW first began selling 3-Series vehicles in America in 1977. Across its seven generations, the 3-Series has been known for its adaptability. BMW has offered it in sedan, touring, coupe, Gran Turismo, M3, and more variations.

Source: Bryan Mitchell / Getty Images

17. Honda Accord
> Year introduced: 1976

The Honda Accord hit the U.S. car market in 1976. It was designed to be fuel efficient amid the 1970s’ oil crisis. The first iteration of the Accord was a hatchback and Honda did not offer the now-familiar sedan style model until three years later. The Accord was America’s top selling car in four different years — 1989, 1990, 1991, and 2001 — selling around 400,000 units each of those years. The Accord’s sales have dipped from that peak in recent years, dropping below 200,000 sales in 2020 as consumer preferences shifted towards SUVs and crossovers, in addition to the reduced demand due to COVID-19.

Source: Tramino / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

16. Jeep Cherokee
> Year introduced: 1974

The history of the Jeep brand dates back to World War II, when the U.S. Army used the Jeep’s forerunners as a new light reconnaissance vehicle. After the war, the Jeep was altered and introduced to civilians and became a popular auto brand. Jeep unveiled its longest-running model, the Cherokee, in 1974. The Cherokee was billed as the “youthful and sporty” successor to previous Jeep models like the CJ-5. The Cherokee has since undergone four refreshes, with its fifth generation debuting in 2014.

15. Volkswagen Golf
> Year introduced: 1974

Though Volkswagen’s Golf hatchback has been sold in the U.S. since 1974, the name Golf dates to 1985. Before that, it was known as the Rabbit. The German automaker’s vehicle had initially been introduced to the U.S. market to replace the Beetle. The Golf sold nearly 7 million models in its first generation from 1974 to 1983, and the brand is still going strong today, introducing its eighth generation in 2019.

Source: vw.com

14. Volkswagen Passat
> Year introduced: 1973

Along with the small, sporty Golf, Volkswagen also rolled out a larger, family-focused model — the Passat. Named after the German word for trade wind, the original version of the Passat was called the Dasher in North America and was largely similar to the Audi 80. A later generation was known as the Quantum from 1982 to 1990, before the name was changed to Passat, the name used today.

Though the Passat has been available in the U.S. for more than four decades, it may not make it to a fifth. Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter said in 2020 the Passat would be discontinued in favor of SUVs at some point in the next decade.

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