A Guide to 1985 Cars

From the Chevy Corvette to the Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, these are the best cars from 2006.
Written by Brad Marley
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Some of the coolest sports cars of the era—cars that have wormed their way into our collective consciousness—were born in 1985, and most have remained popular to this day. They include the Chevy Corvette, Jeep Cherokee, Ford F-Series, and more.
The 1980s were a time of excess. Big hair, big pants, big cars. And the domestic OEMs led the way with a big lineup of vehicles that were starting to make their mark on the American car-buying public.
To help you find that one car, we've compiled a guide to 1985 cars. From spicy Corvettes to traditional trucks, these are our top picks.
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The best cars of 1985

Whether you were looking for a classic sports car or a truck that could haul, 1985 wasn’t a bad year for vehicles. Here are some of the best. 

The best car of 1985: Chevrolet Corvette

Fair market range:$4,700–$13,400
Powertrain: 5.7-liter V8
What makes it special: 
This car could go fast. It was hard to believe American automotive ingenuity was far enough along to build a car that could reach 150 mph, but that’s exactly what
was able to pull off when they released the 1985 version of the Corvette.
It was miles ahead of the previous year’s version and more than made up for that lackluster effort. When you got behind the wheel of this Corvette, it became apparent that you were in for a treat.

The best luxury car of 1985: Audi 5000

Fair market range: $1,750–$4,525
Powertrain: 2.2-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine with automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
, and
burst onto the luxury scene, there was
. The purpose of this car was to compete with
—and, to some extent, even
—in the luxury space.
The Audi 5000 also came with a turbo-diesel engine that was instrumental in changing how drivers viewed diesel engines. Today, this type of engine is a common fixture in Audis and Volkswagens—and it was this luxury car that was responsible for ushering in a different viewpoint.

The best SUV of 1985: Jeep Cherokee

Edmunds fair market range: $3,875–$13,200
Powertrain: 2.5-liter AMC 150, 2.8-liter V6, and 2.1-liter turbodiesel Douvrin J8S
What makes it special: 
This was
’s first all-new design since rolling out the SJ Wagoneer way back in 1963. The impetus for the vehicle went back to the 1970s when American Motors and Renault joined together to draw sketches of what would eventually become the Jeep Cherokee. It was a direct response to General Motors’ Blazer that was being built.
Early reviews praised the vehicle as an iconic 4x4 and one of the few truly great cars of the decade.

The best luxury SUV of 1985: Jeep Wagoneer

Fair market range: $16,300–$48,000
Powertrain: 5.9-liter V8 with automatic transmission
What makes it special:
It’s easy to imagine a Jeep Wagoneer pulling into a driveway in a sitcom from the 80s—this early luxury SUV has that vibe going for it.
It was one of the first vehicles marketed as a luxury SUV since it could hold an entire family and ride in style at the same time. Originally marketed as a station wagon, it changed its designation due to the fact it could drive off-road with the best of them while ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride.

The best family car of 1985: Ford Escort

Fair market range: $500–$1,325
Powertrain: 1.6-liter engine with automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
If it seems like everyone and their mother drove a
Ford Escort
in the 1980s, that’s because many families did. 
It was affordable and nifty, and got you from Point A to Point B without much trouble. The Escort was also built on the old Pinto platform—remember those?—so Ford didn’t exactly have to recreate the wheel to turn out one of the most popular cars of the decade.

The best sports car of 1985: Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

Edmunds fair market range: $7,525–$19,500
Powertrain: V-8, iron block and heads, 1x4-bbl carburetor or GM electronic engine-control system
What makes it special: 
Did you think we would put together a list of the best cars from 1985 and not include the
Chevrolet Camaro
IROC-Z? Please.
You can’t look at sports cars from this decade and not include the Camaro. While the Corvette was a superior car in terms of speed and everything else, it cost more. The IROC-Z was a suitable replacement for those who needed speed, but also needed to watch how much money they spent on their ride.

The best truck of 1985: Ford F-Series

Fair market value: $4,250–$17,100
Powertrain:4.9-liter, 5.8-liter V8 in four-wheel-drive versions
What makes it special: 
The 1985 Ford F-Series was the best-selling truck for that model year, with more than 580,000 units sold over the course of the year. 
This version removed anything from the interior suggesting design elements from the 1970s and brought the truck into the modern age—at least, as modern as everything seems four decades ago. It was the precursor to the F-Series we all know and love today, and it came with more reliable horsepower.

What cars came out in 1985? 

The cars that came out in 1985 were striving to do something different—something that would capture attention. Did they succeed? The fact that we are talking about them would suggest they did. 
Here’s an overview of some of the best cars that emerged in 1985:
Vehicle type
Fair market range
$1,025 - $1,625
2.5-liter 4-cylinder
First minivan from General Motors
First minivan produced by Ford
Compact SUV
2.5-liter & 2.8-liter V6
$3,600 - $10,850
Compact car
Named after the city of Calais, France
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How to save money on used car insurance

You will typically pay less for
car insurance
on a used car, and cars from 1985 are quite obviously going to be used. Part of the reason is the affordability of securing repair parts for older vehicles. You may not need full coverage on an older car, either, which can save you some cash.
No matter what car you opt for, you’ll need insurance—and there’s no easier way to find it than with 
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288 GTO was the fastest car of 1985. It went from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
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