Are special edition packages worth it?

2016 Jeep Cherokee 75th Anniversary
2016 Jeep Cherokee 75th Anniversary

Manufacturers of any sort are always out for more sales, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to take a current product, change colors or options, put a “special edition” name on it and sell it for more money.

But are these special editions worth it?

I thought of this question when a 2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 75th Anniversary Edition was dropped off at my door (a full review is to come). Was the 75th Anniversary package worth the money? Does it really add value, or is it just a Cherokee Latitude with different paint and flashy badges?

In the case of the Cherokee, though, that paint is fantastic. It’s Recon Green, which is what Fiat-Chrysler marketing decided to call it, but I call it stunning. It’s a deep, quasi-military green that is perfectly offset by the orange outline on the “Jeep” and “Cherokee” badges. Don’t bother with any of the other colors; this is the 75th Anniversary Cherokee to get.

Looking deeper, the 75th Anniversary package does give some options that aren’t available in a standard Latitude. Paint and trim are obvious, but it also adds bronze accents and 18-inch wheels. It also bundles in the panoramic sunroof (which costs about $1,500 to add to a Latitude) and the larger 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen.

The 75th Anniversary Cherokee with all wheel drive starts at $2,580 more than a regular Latitude – $29,875 vs. $27,295 – with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Once adding the sunroof and larger Uconnect screen, the Latitude’s price increases to $28,680, and it’s not even available with the power seats and the other options that the 75th Anniversary model has.

In this case, especially with the stunning paint and trim, the 75th Anniversary package is worth it.

1980 Toyota Celica USGP Edition
1980 Toyota Celica USGP Edition

When I was in high school, I got my first car, a 1980 Toyota Celica liftback. It was a “USGP Edition” Celica, which added some stripes along the sides on top of the blue paint (they were also available in red and white), a bespoke honeycomb grille and a white vinyl interior, none of which were available on regular Celicas. While mechanically it was the same as a regular Celica, I later found out that only about 250 of each color were made, so it had some exclusivity.

Would that add value? Probably not, except maybe for the serious collector. Same thing goes for the Cherokee. A pristine 75th Anniversary Wrangler might be worth a little more money some day, but a 75th Anniversary Cherokee will probably not be worth any more than a regular one.

Which leads us back to the question, are these packages worth it? If it’s for potential investment and collectability, probably not. But before you plunk down the extra cash for a special edition, look at it carefully to make sure it’s really worth the money. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. But if you get something extra that you can’t get any other way, then you might as well go for it.

What do you think of special edition packages? Start the conversation in the comments below.

Check out this TFLcar video review of the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary in Moab, Utah: