Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A dark blue 2018 Chevy Cruze is shown on a city street after visiting a Chevy dealer.

Long-Gone Chevy Cars We Wouldn’t Mind Seeing Reimagined for Today

They say there’s nothing new anymore. Everything is based on something else, either “inspired by” or a dead ringer knock-off. There are no new stories, no new songs, just repetition, and the past coming back again. We see it in movie remakes, television reboots, and even at your local Chevy dealer. Kind of.

Lately, the American market has been seeing a resurgence of previously discontinued vehicles being reimagined and re-engineered for the modern age. While it’s hard to believe this is due to a lack of creativity and imagination on behalf of designers and engineers, many of these returning vehicles have sold quite well. This indicates that the appetite is there, especially when a discontinued favorite is updated with all of the bells and whistles we enjoy in modern vehicles.

Chevy is almost done phasing out all of their cars to focus on trucks and SUVs, so if something had to return, surely it would be one of their cars. But which would it be? Take a look at three popular discontinued Chevys to see which you think might make a comeback someday.

The Chevy Cruze: What If It Ruled the World?

The Chevy Cruze had its last hurrah in 2019 and left the manufacturing line in a blaze of glory. Even the nit-pickiest critics found it a very acceptable vehicle. It was offered as a hatchback or sedan in its final years, with a choice of gasoline or diesel-powered engine. In fact, stepping back a bit, the diesel engine was potentially paired with an available manual transmission. Looking at the Cruze as we head into the 2023 model year kind of makes you wonder what might have been.

It’s not surprising that Chevy discontinued the Cruze. After all, they have recently instated a very strict “no cars” policy that takes the Spark and the Malibu to the chopping block. The performance-oriented Corvette and Camaro get a reprieve.

Chevy’s smallest SUV is the Trax, which is getting a major facelift for 2024. The Trax has been offered with diesel and manual transmission options in the past, just like the Cruze. Could the Trax eventually fill in the void left by the Cruze? Granted, they’re two entirely different classes of vehicle, but it might just be possible to capture that certain something that came with the “just right” balance of simplicity and luxury drivers could experience behind the wheel of a Cruze.

As with many other Chevy vehicles, the ability to choose from a seemingly endless list of options was clearly a major factor in the Cruze’s success. After experiencing a few not-so-impressive years, the Trax appears to be ready for a 2024 renaissance. Does this mean it could offer that same personalized feel that drivers enjoyed when they built their Cruze so many years ago? Giving drivers a chance to select exactly what they want has worked well for many Chevy models in the past, including the Silverado 1500.

Perhaps there will come a day when cars come back into fashion. When they do, there are likely plenty of drivers who would like to place their reservation for the newly redesigned Chevy Cruze.

A close up shows the headlight on a purple 1967 Chevy El Camino SS.

The Chevy El Camino: This Might Actually Happen

The rumors, speculation, and gossip that have been whispered about the El Camino in the past several years have been mind-blowing. If the Chevy El Camino was a celebrity, it would have to have been married, divorced, re-married to the same partner, divorced again, and received a heap of plastic surgery to receive this much gossip. The El Camino appeared on the US market in 1959 and retired after the 1987 model year. Somehow, the El Camino managed to capture the essence of a muscle car and the usefulness of a pickup truck. It mimicked the size and shape of sedans of the day while allowing drivers to cart around a 650–1,150 pound payload, depending on the model selected.

The El Camino underwent several makeovers over its lifetime. From the Chevelle to the Malibu, the face of this sedan/pickup hybrid changed as trends came and went in the automotive industry, but its capability and sporty performance did not. Chevy currently offers the Colorado as its small truck option, but rumors regarding an El Camino revival persist. In some El Camino SS concept renderings, it looks a lot like a street racing pickup from the 1980s, taking many of its design cues from the Silverado yet standing at SUV height. In others, it takes the form of what could pass as an electrified Monte Carlo, with sleek racing angles.

Does Chevy need another small pickup truck when the Colorado is doing quite well in sales? Probably not. But the El Camino has been lifted to cult status, with every fan having their personal favorite among its all-too-brief five generations. Plus, Chevy has plenty of SUV frames to choose from, which could lead to the brawniest, beefiest El Camino of all time.

The Chevy Corvair Monza: No, the First One

If the Chevy Monza sounds familiar, it might be due to the 2019 Chinese release by the same name. Or perhaps you’re thinking of the 1975-1980 production model of the same name. More famous, but not the Monza in question here. The original Monza, one of the Corvair’s many trims, which existed for just two generations, produced between 1960 and 1969. It’s very much gone and pretty much forgotten.

Truthfully, this is one of those instances in which a car was rightfully pulled from the market. The Corvair Monza had its engine at the rear of the vehicle, which resulted in a more-than-reasonable amount of spinouts and engine fire issues following collisions. The absence of a roll bar was a concern for rollover accidents, and the steering wheel had a nasty habit of impaling drivers in forward-moving collisions. Luckily, today’s technology is prepared to provide reasonable solutions to all of these problems. Not only have the available materials improved to provide a small, sporty car like the Monza with more protection, but a little all-wheel drive and the Chevy Safety Assist suite of driver assistance technology could surely right most of these wrongs.

Despite the serious technical issues, the Monza had the potential to be a very cool car. Its aesthetic leaned heavily towards European race cars. Drivers could choose between convertible and four-door sedan versions of the Monza, both of which looked sleek enough to star in a James Bond film.

The 1975 standalone model had a similar spirit but was offered in 2+2 with hatchback format, with two regular-sized seats for the driver and passenger and two very small seats in the back, just in case. While we certainly wouldn’t complain about a revival of the 1977 Monza, which is considered by many to be its finest year, there’s something about the Corvair Monza and the way practicality and European-influenced luxury meet. Imagine an electrified Monza, for example.

While there’s no equivalent to the Monza in today’s lineup, the Corvette is certainly holding its own as Chevy’s lone sports car, while the Camaro brings the muscle. Would the Monza be welcome? Only time will tell.

A light blue 1962 Chevy Corvair Monza is shown near a flower vendor.

Please Welcome Back the Chevy ___________

It would not be surprising for Chevy to resurrect one of its best-selling vehicles in some fashion in the coming years. However, given the current trends, it would likely not be one of its cars, at least not in the near future. Still, if Chevy were to consider bringing back one of its vehicles, there are plenty of drivers who are hoping they’ll reach way back in their files for something with a devoted cult following, like the El Camino or Corvair Monza. If sheer consumer delight is the goal, then the Cruze lends itself nicely to a reboot. Perhaps we need to resume our focus on Chevy’s many innovations within the automotive industry, with its highly successful Bolt EV and EUV, as well as impressive standard safety and technology features across its lineup. However, you can’t stop an auto enthusiast from dreaming.