The Departed: 10 Cars That Have Been Discontinued For 2018
It was a good ride for these models while it lastedby Kirby, on
2017 has been an eventful year for the auto industry. It’s also been a devastating one for some models, particularly those that were effectively told by their automakers that they’re discontinuing them. Cars come and go in this ever-evolving industry and, this year, a few notable models are, in fact, getting sent to retirement. There’s a chance that we may see them again in the future, but as far as the short-term is concerned, it’s time to say goodbye to them.
So ahead of their eventual discontinuation, we’re giving them one last moment in the spotlight. Consider it a tribute to these models, some of whom have etched an inscrutable legacy in the auto industry. They may have been popular makes at one point in the past, but with consumer tastes changing, they’ve become expendable in the eyes of their automakers. So say goodbye to these four-wheeled machines; each of them had good runs. But time is unforgiving; it marches on with no conscience of who, or what, it leaves behind. Those who can’t keep up will inevitably become remnants of a time gone by.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
There once was a time when the Hyundai Azera was regarded as Hyundai’s flagship model in the US. That status changed when the Hyundai Genesis arrived. Still, the Azera made for a decent full-sized sedan. It didn’t lack in features, had a relatively comfortable ride, and came with a price - $35,000 - that didn’t burn holes in our pockets. Still, the Azera was overshadowed by the mid-size Sonata and Hyundai’s decision to turn Genesis into its own luxury brand. Simply put, the Azera became expendable, and while it will live on in other markets as the Hyundai Grandeur, its days in the US are coming to an end.
Read our full review on the 2017 Hyundai Azera.
It is somewhat ironic to find a Jeep in this list, especially when you consider that the brand is one of FCA’s legitimate money-makers. But such is life in the auto industry as even the best automakers aren’t susceptible to making hard decisions like this one. For the record, the Jeep Patriot was actually discontinued in 2016, but since a handful of models were still sold this year, we’re including it in our list of cars that we won’t get to see once the calendar flips to 2018.
It’s hard to point to one reason why the Patriot wasn’t as good as Jeep hoped it’d be. Maybe it was because the company took shortcuts in developing it and was seemingly content with selling it because it was affordable. Maybe it even relied too much on the “Jeep” name to help mask the Patriot’s many deficiencies. Whatever it was, Jeep finally came to its senses and decided to replace it with the all-new Compass. The jury is still out on how the second-generation Compass will be received, but it speaks to how terrible the Patriot was that Jeep decided to replace it altogether with a model whose first-gen version was every bit a slog as the Patriot was. In any event, good riddance, Jeep Patriot. You won’t be missed.
Read our full review on the 2017 Jeep Patriot.
Here’s another model that’s technically been dead since 2016. The Chrysler 200 is on this list only because Chrysler had to discard however many models were left this year. That won’t be the case in 2018 because believe it or not, Chrysler will have only two models on its portfolio, one of which is the 300 sedan that’s also dying to get replaced. You have to feel bad for the Pacifica minivan. You just have to. Not only is it the only Chrysler model that’s worth spending on, but there’s literally no other model around to complement it. The 200 should’ve been that model when it was introduced in 2015. But the supposed cornerstone never got any traction in the eyes of consumers. It generated poor reviews that affected its sales volume and, to Chrysler’s credit, it was quick to throw up its hands and admit that the 200 was a monumental debacle. It definitely won’t be missed.
Read our full review on the 2017 Chrysler 200
Once upon a time, the Volkswagen Touareg was regarded as one of the first upscale SUVs to really make its mark in the SUV market. It was stylish, sporty, and proudly carried the Volkswagen badge that was a pretty big deal for American consumers. The thing is that 13 years, and hundreds of more SUV options later, the Touareg is being sent to the shed, though not really of its own doing. The model still had some loyalists, but not enough for Volkswagen to keep it in the fold. Instead, the Touareg will be replaced by the all-new Volkswagen Atlas, a model that’s not only larger than the model it’s replacing but also packs more features that play into the needs of American families. The Touareg had a good run, but its time is up.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg
Since we’re already talking about retiring Volskwagens, let’s stay here and turn our attention on the CC four-door coupe. I was actually torn about the fate of the CC when Volkswagen announced that it was discontinuing it. I liked the way it looked, and I’ve driven it enough to know that it actually had a good ride to it. But the CC suffered from the same disease that the Hyundai Azera did: it was completely overshadowed by a far more popular model. In the CC’s case, the culprit was the Volkswagen Passat, arguably one of the most popular sedans in the U.S. today. It says a lot about the CC’s struggling state of affairs that the Passat actually out-sold it by a staggering 40:1 ratio. That means that for every one CC that Volskwagen sold, it sold 40 Passat models. If that doesn’t explain why the CC is headed to retirement, I don’t know what will.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen CC.
As the only car on this list with Australian roots, I do believe that the Chevrolet SS never got the traction it needed to really gain a strong foothold in the US market. It only arrived in the US in 2014 after carving up a quite a career Down Under as the Holden Commodore SS. It may not have been the easiest car to look out, but the SS was every bit the performance maven that it was hyped up to be. The only problem was that the hype it generated faded about as fast as it rose and before the SS could even establish itself in American soil, sales of the model never caught on. Chevy ultimately decided to cut its losses on the model, even if it probably never even gave it a chance to grow in the first place.
Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet SS.
The fate of the Buick Verano is an interesting case on how the popularity of the SUV market has affected other segments. The Verano is, for all intents and purposes, an entry-level luxury car. It’s a decent model too, unassuming in its looks, yet had a good comfort level to it that was spoke to what Buick was all about. The thing is, the market for compact sedans has been steadily dwindling as more consumers turn towards crossovers and SUVs. A lot of models have been affected by this, including the Verano, which somehow found itself getting usurped by a model in its own family - the Encore - that also happens to be one of the most sought-after crossovers in the U.S. today.
Read our full review on the 2017 Buick Verano.
In some ways, the Jeep Patriot proved that even crossovers and SUVs aren’t immune to getting axed. The Infiniti QX70 falls along those same lines, even though the reputation for both models couldn’t have been more different. Unlike the Patriot, the QX70 was actually a popular model at one point its life. It was also a ground-breaking luxury crossover that was one of the first of its kind to highlight curvy styling in a car of its size. But like everything else that has been around for quite some time, sales of the QX70 dropped in recent years, forcing Infiniti to abandon the crossover and replace it with a redesigned QX50. It’s unclear if we’ll ever see the QX70 again, but with crossovers and SUVs still gaining in popularity, I wouldn’t close the door on this model from making a comeback. Just don’t expect it to happen anytime in the near future.
Read our full review on the 2017 Infiniti QX70
Without question the most popular Mitsubishi model in history, the Lancer has been a standard-bearer for the automaker’s compact car exploits in the US since 2002. But unlike the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic, the Lancer never quite reached the level of popularity that its two big rivals managed to achieve. It certainly didn’t help that the Lancer was in part stigmatized by a good part of the population as coming from a perceived-to-be inferior automaker. Clearly, Mitsubishi could’ve done more for the Lancer than sit on the popularity of the Evolution performance line. But it didn’t do enough and, while the Lancer did last for as long as it could, it quickly became another victim of the SUV uprising. For all of its faults, Mitsubishi is doing the right thing by focusing more on its crossovers and SUVs. I just wish that it didn’t do it at the expense of the Lancer.
Read our full review on the 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer
In case you haven’t realized yet, I saved the most devastating departure for last. What else is there to say about the cultural impact of the Dodge Viper? It’s arguably the most famous American-made sports car in history. It’s also the model that changed Chrysler’s fortune when it made its debut in 1992. Long thought of to be a purveyor of dullness, the introduction of the Viper flipped the narrative around Chrysler. It certainly put the automaker in the American performance car map opposite Ford and Chevrolet. But as iconic as the Viper was, is, and will continue to be, it never really reached the heights of popularity that the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro attained. It did have a loyal fanbase to fall back on, but over the years, that fanbase never grew to become something that Chrysler could listen to. It didn’t help that the Viper had its own tumultuous life, changing corporate ownership on two separate occasions and even getting discontinued in 2010. It did come back with a vengeance in 2012, but it seemed that its “return” was nothing more than Chrysler’s attempt to squeeze out the last drop of cache the model had.
There have been a lot of cars that have been retired in recent years and all the same; there will be more of them that will be canned in the future. But there will only be one Dodge Viper.
Read our full review on the 2017 Dodge Viper.