By on November 27, 2011

With the 2011 model-year ending, it’s time to eulogize the cars that have reached the end of the road and are being discontinued with the 2012 model-year. Some of them are well past their sell-by date (Hello, Lucerne, DTS!) whereas some are being euthanized in their prime due to regulatory issues (Goodbye, Elise and RX-8!). Some are slow-selling luxo-confections with nowhere to go (X6 ActiveHybrid), some are long-running workhorses which have simply run out of time (Ranger, Crown Vic),  whereas others are simply mediocrities that the market has run out of patience with (Eclipse, Tribute). The New York Times‘ Sam Smith provides our list of expiring models, so hit the jump and tell us who you’ll miss and who you won’t. After all, unlike a real funeral, we don’t mind if you speak ill of the recently deceased…

  • MAZDA RX-8
  • VOLVO S40
  • VOLVO V50
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111 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: What Expiring Model Will You Miss The Most And The Least?...”

  • avatar

    …some are being euthanized in their prime due to regulatory issues (Goodbye, Elise and RX-8!)

    Is that due to the 2012 pedestrian crash standards, or whatever the devil it’s called?

    • 0 avatar

      RX-8 has emissions/efficiency issues, although that’s mostly only a problem in Europe. It’s probably being pulled from the US due to low sales.

      Elise is a strange one. Apparently Lotus doesn’t want to certify the new engine for the US (though it would surely pass as its more efficient than the outgoing unit), but more significantly its airbag waiver is expiring. NHTSA has been cracking down on airbag waivers of late.

      • 0 avatar

        Airbag waiver? How many airbags are required by law? Every Exige or Elise I’ve driven has had both driver and passenger airbags.

      • 0 avatar

        I know, I know… I should have read the link about the advanced airbag systems. My guess is that if the Elise/Exige were really part of Dany Bahar’s plans to make Lotus a lifestyle brand we’d still have Elises and Exiges. Oh well, soon they’ll be little more than another Lotus footnote on automotive history and perhaps I’ll be able to afford one.

      • 0 avatar

        Give me a break Jimal. Danny Bahar isn’t responsible for the Elise and Exige selling like absolute crap in the US for the last few years.

        I love them. But people were not buying them. And they tried adding lightness and horsepower. The pinnacle of their achievement – the Exige Cup 260 – still hasn’t sold all 50 (that’s five zero) copies.

        I am sick of the whining about Lotus. If you can’t sell any cars, it’s not completely moronic for them to think act a bit more like the companies that are making money hand over fist (Porsche and Ferrari). You want to blame someone? Blame the people who won’t pony up for lightness.

      • 0 avatar

        The Elsie is too expensive for its intended market. Adding lightness also adds cost (Chapman apparently forgot to mention that). The Exige Cup 260 is a great car, but it is a ~$75,000 car which is too much for a go-kart with no amenities. Too expensive for a weekend track toy crowd who gravitate toward Miatas; too few luxury amenities for the MBA junior-executive crowd who choose 911s.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      I can’t imagine it’s from a pedestrian safety issue, as the rotary engine offers far more than the required crush space between engine and hood. I believe the current European standard calls for 2″ of space between the bottom of the hood and the uppermost point on the engine.

    • 0 avatar

      I won’t miss Saab.

      I will miss BMW non-turbo six cylinder engines.


      • 0 avatar

        Absolutely, without a doubt, I will miss the traditional Panther body and the Wankel.

        Brands are brands, but with the passing of the Crown Victoria/Town Car/Grand Marquis and the RX-8, we are seeing an end to a differing manufacturing process that added value and variety to our market.

        Ford was unable or unwilling to modernize the Panther body cars to keep them as a viable choice in the 21st Century. It takes a different kind of people to maintain and refresh a legacy brand, than it takes to launch a new one. Car guys and gals want to see their work in their neighbor’s garage and it is less fulfilling to see a refreshened or relaunched legacy like the Panther for these folks. It is just not exciting to redo a classic as it is to hope your new vehicle may become a classic.

        But there is ample room for a body on frame rear drive V8 engine four door large sedan in the US market. There is no reason it had to take a back seat to the latest technologies. There is no real reason why Ford had to abandon a market niche it had to itself and develop it into a profitable niche. There was still a lot of life left in that style of vehicle, but there was no more room for a car that had been ignored for 20 years to remain viable in the Market either.

        Both Ford and Mazda loose their brand value with the end of the Panther and the RX-8. Neither make was looked upon as a liability within the Market. Both makes differentiated Ford and Mazda from other brands. Being different is good. Offering something no available in the Market your competition doesn’t offer is how one makes a profit.

        Both Ford and Mazda failed to demonstrate how the Panther or Wankel engines offered exclusive benefits unavailable through other vehicles. Instead of leading and selling, Ford and Mazda followed and sold out.

  • avatar

    I’ll miss the Ranger (owned one for 13 years), and cops just don’t look right in anything other than a Crown Vic (back seats are comfortable, too).

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Crown Vic’s back seats really _aren’t_ that comfortable, at least in NYC taxi configuration. I would assume that a thicker divider and less concern with the “customer’s” comfort would mean that it’s even less comfy in a police cruiser’s back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      While taking a walk downtown last week, I noticed a sidewalk’s length filled with parked Panthers, all in fleet white and recently fitted with the spotlights, cage and one piece rear bench. A faint whiff of outgassing plastics indicated the local force had made their last new purchase of BOF cruisers.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Will Miss: RX-8. It’s an interesting car, and one of few coupes that doesn’t seem like a chick-car. I don’t get tired of seeing it, while other designs get boring after just two or three years.

    Won’t Miss: Crown Victoria. Yeah, I know that hurts a lot of you. But I’m old enough that I’ve been seeing this car for years. I associate it with old people who should have given up the keys years ago but won’t or can’t. I associate this car with everything that nearly put the American auto industry in its grave. It was time for the Crown Vic to go a LONG time ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryan Paradis

      Won’t Miss: Crown Victoria. Yeah, I know that hurts a lot of you.

      Most fans of these cars are just very passionate about something that needs a lot of explaining to convey what makes it something to be passionate about.

      While the Panther platform was hardly the best iteration and standard bearer for the Way We Used to Make Them, you can just as easily associate these cars with everything that made the American automobile industry great. They were evocative of the unlimited confidence of post-war America, unencumbered by space constraints and density considerations that plagued Europe and Asia.

      Here in the rural West, they are respected as the Times article puts them, “charming workhorses”. They’re a throwback to a time when cars were expected to carry some of the load like trucks. In places where grain trucks are routinely kept around for 50 years on some home quarters, the durability of these cars is appreciated. They also take LT winter tires with aplomb.

      Ask the man who owns one.

      I do agree with you in the main, however. While the longevity of the Panther platform was impressive in and of itself, it also helped entrench uncharitable attitudes from young and old alike about the “limitations” of said cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Ryan Paradis,

        Well said.

        I could not have said it better.

        I’m not a youngin as I’ll be entering my late 40’s in January so grew up with these types of cars all my life but since the late 70’s, early 80’s, I’ve come to loath the old BOF, bench seat, column mounted automatic 4 door sedan paradigm in automotive design with a passion as I at that time saw it as becoming antiquated and many of these cars felt clumsy and clunky and dated even when new.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Kluttz

        You are saying it worked well as an appliance. As a car, though, its design was middle 20th century and needed to be deep sixed years ago. And it has always been BUTT UGLY. Long skinny hood, goofy greenhouse, long skinny trunk, and goofy taillights. Good riddance. And I also don’t understand the virtues of the Fox platform…I drove a Fairmont back in the day and was not impressed in the LEAST. It felt flimsy and really cheaped out.

      • 0 avatar

        And I also don’t understand the virtues of the Fox platform…I drove a Fairmont back in the day and was not impressed in the LEAST. It felt flimsy and really cheaped out.

        “And another thing!”

    • 0 avatar

      Most fans of these cars are just very passionate about something that needs a lot of explaining to convey what makes it something to be passionate about.

      While the platform was hardly the best iteration and standard bearer for the Way We Used to Make Them, you can just as easily associate these cars with everything that made the American automobile industry great. They were evocative of the unlimited confidence of post-war America, unencumbered by space constraints and density considerations that plagued Europe and Asia.

      Here in the rural West, they are respected as the Times article puts them, “charming workhorses”. They’re a throwback to a time when cars were expected to carry some of the load like trucks. In places where grain trucks are routinely kept around for 50 years on some home quarters, the durability of these cars is appreciated. They also take LT winter tires with aplomb.

      Ask the man who owns one.

      I do agree with you in the main, however. While the longevity of the platform was impressive in and of itself, it also helped entrench uncharitable attitudes from young and old alike about the “limitations” of said cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny this is exactly my answer as well.

  • avatar

    Almost too easy.

    Will Miss: Crown Vic. Mechanical merits aside, it’s an icon.

    Won’t Miss: Eclipse. I can’t think of another car that’s so steadily and systematically gotten less competitive, less desirable, and downright worse with each new iteration.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The Ranger and CV of course. Still (barely) competent decades after introduction.

    I found the RX8 intriquing, although not enough to buy when I was looking for a sports car a few years ago.

    The DTS & Lucerne are a constant reminder of the old, incompetent GM. Best be gone.

    Very surprised about the Altima hybrid….I wonder why?

    • 0 avatar

      Nissan is probably getting sick of buying all of their hybrid powertrain components from Toyota?

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      IIRC Altima hybrid’s skipping a year?

      It wasn’t available nationwide in the US anyway, so who cares.

    • 0 avatar

      If someone out a gun to my head to buy a hybrid, it would have been an Altima. Closest thing to a performance hybrid, just the dual exhausts alone would have sold me.

    • 0 avatar

      Wasn’t there some sort of Federal tax credit for hybrids which expired after X number of a given model had been sold? If they’ve sold X, there’s a lot less incentive for people to buy them. I always saw the Altima Hybrid as more of a temporary model to take advantage of a quirk in the market, rather than something Nissan was commited to developing.

  • avatar

    R.I.P. ELISE !

  • avatar

    The Elise, Crown Vic and Element don’t have obvious replacements. The Rx-8 was fun, but I assume the Ft-86 will be all that and more.

    The rest…..

  • avatar

    Ranger: hate to see small pickups go, but a lot of people seem to buy more truck than they need, and are willing to pay any price for it. the Ram I bought in 2001 for $27k would cost nearly 40k now. That shows the staying power of the big truck as a status symbol

    Dakota: had 2 of them in the past (1997 and 2000), hated one and loved the other… the last models just didn’t have that eye-catching look, and again, they are too small to be ego boosters

    RX8- had one, loved to drive it, hated the MPG (never broke 20, even on the highway), and hated worrying about engine failure. It wasn’t a numbers car, and in the US, it’s all about numbers. Sublime handling isn’t something easily quantified in numbers, and 0-60 and 1/4 mile times sell sports cars. Will be interesting to see how the FT86 carries the torch it is about to be handed.

    Shame about the S40.. I think the car did everything right except sell. Maybe it was too small for the price?

  • avatar

    Regarding the RX-8…

    I sure wish that Mazda would have considered some re-engineering to drop a piston engine in it.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I’ll miss the Element, if only for the fond memories I had of picking up my older brother at the OGG airport with it. He professed an irrational hatred of the microvan, which made for an amusing conversation the first time I borrowed mom’s ride and hopped down the mountain.

    “Hi Acky!”
    “AAAAHH, I’m not riding in that!”
    “Okay, I’ll see you later.”
    I put the Element into gear and began to pull away from the curb.
    “NO! WAIT! Wait wait wait: I’ll go, I’ll go, just let me get my bags.”
    My brother suddenly realized 20 minutes in an Element is preferable to paying taxi fare from Kahului to Upper Kula.

  • avatar

    Chevy HHR SS (okay, technically, the SS version was discontinued after the ’10 model year). I own a 2009.

    Fast, handles great – a total blast to drive, I look forward to leaving for work in the morning. Yet, still a practical five door mini-wagon: price in the mid-20s, average 20 mpg even with winding it out from every stoplight and on-ramp.

    Took me two years to find a dealer that had one in stock (with a stick). And of course, stupid GM stopped making it.

    • 0 avatar

      @Freddie: Me too. I drove a used one this past spring. I had been in regular ones before, and frankly it’s a Cobalt in 1949 Suburban drag. The SS version was lots of fun.

      I should have snapped it up, as it was not even a week later and sold. But we’d had a bad year last year, and I was (and still am) reluctant to pull the trigger on a car note until the economy improves.

  • avatar

    I’m sorriest to see the RX-8 and the element go. The Element is a highly practical hauler that drives nicely. I’m happy to see the pickups go. And somehow the idea of a BMW hybrid offends me, so I’m a bit happy to see that go.

  • avatar

    Miss: The Ranger for being the last little pickup, and incredibly tough to boot. The Crown Vic; despite the fact the platform is as old as I am, it was unique, with a whole host of unique virtues. The Element, for being something weird and daft. And the RX-8, I suppose. I was always kinda lukewarm on them: I didn’t like the styling, and the mileage was the pits. On the other hand, they did perform well, and like the other RX series cars was genuinely a performance car. After the nineties, where real performance cars were either super-expensive or front wheel drive econo-coupes*, it was nice to have a relatively modestly priced RWD coupe.

    All these vehicles could be remade and come back to market. As was said, the main flaw in the Ford products was that they were ancient.

    The rest can go. The Eclipse was a misbegotten thing: heavy and thirsty and not fun. I honestly have no idea what those Volvos are. And the STS I associate with FWD 90s boat cars. Is it still FWD?

    • 0 avatar

      * I guess there were pony cars, but they were fairly disappointing in the 90s. A platform as old as the Crown Vic but only slightly faster, or GM’s offering of a brilliant engine and transmission in a crushingly dull or hideously ugly wrapper. Given all that, I think I might go for a Prelude, too.

    • 0 avatar

      The last gen STS was no relation to the previous gen Seville STS. Totally different platform (Sigma) that was RWD/AWD with a V6 or V8 (blown V8 in the STS-V). To see what the STS could have been, go look up the Chinese market SLS (STS with a stretched wheelbase and a much nicer interior than the USDM STS).

      The DTS did keep the Deville/Seville FWD platform for the entirety of its run (and the platform/powertrain was in dire need of a refresh when it was introduced. GM treated that one like a cash cow.)

  • avatar

    Personally, I’ll miss the Ranger because I was looking forward to trading my 2000 Ranger in for the new one. No sir, I do not want an F150 as it’s too big. Now I don’t know what to trade for. I’m a Ford man but they offer me nothing as a replacement for the Ranger. I’m sure law enforcement agencies will be missing the Crown Vic.

  • avatar

    Miss: Elise

    Not Miss: Buick, Maybach Gaudy Nimitz-Class-Strapon

  • avatar

    I’ll miss the Exige/Elise the most, but if I can find a low mileage example in a few years and the depreciation is just right, I won’t be too sad.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Will miss the Ranger. Compact pickups are a disappearing breed and are all the truck most “urban cowboys” need. Plenty of full sizers in the Seattle suburbs that never tow anything or haul anything that couldn’t fit in the back of a crossover or minivan.

    Won’t miss the Crown Vic. Smaller interior than a 10 year old Camry in a much larger car.

  • avatar

    Ranger and Crown Vic. My first car was an 88 Ranger. How Ford killed that nameplate is beyond me. I miss the RX8, but not as much as the Miata Coupe Mazda never built. That car with the old Probe GT v6 would have been as close to perfect in my mind as they could engineer.

    And to all those comparing the Crown Vic to the Camry and other front drivers….Really? Different Animals. Like telling me to trade my FJ80 for a Highlander. Similar vehicles in seating configuration only. Two completely different tools for different jobs.

    I’m sure I would REALLY miss the Elise had I ever gotten to drive one. And they still make the Eclipse?! wait…they still sell Mitsubishi cars in North America?

    And lastly the Element…I always lament the loss of hose out interiors.

  • avatar

    by far the Volvo V50: good looking and competent compact station

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    Volvo V50. I can not believe we live in an America without a Volvo wagon.

    Don’t cry for the panther. It’s bullet proof drivetrain will be missed, but the rest of it is 25 years out of date.

    The LH (is that the MoPar designation for the 300/charger) is showing there is a market for good big RWD/AWD sedans. If ford developed a good RWD platform what could they do?

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. There’s something fundamentally wrong with this market if Volvo can’t sell wagons here.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, in the mid 90s Ford had a great RWD platform, the MN12 Thunderbird/cougar/mk8. Plans called for a new Crown Vic, Grand Marquis and Town car on a stretched version and a replacement for the equally antiquated Fox Mustangs. These chassis had it all, great ride, great handling, fully independant suspension, any engine short of a powerstroke can fit it. It would have given Ford an edge years later on the LX Mopars. Unfortunately, Jack Nassar was at work trying to destroy FoMoCo and killed this chassis, leaving Ford with its pants down. As for the death of the Vic, I think it is a shortsighted blunder, yes it is a dated dolt of a car, but still with zero R & D dollars needed, maybe just an upgrade to the newer three valve engine, it would stay the top selling law enforcement vehicle for years to come, and with the smaller 4.5 diesel or something similar, cab fleets would keep buying them forever. The Taurus will never fill those shoes. Guaranteed, wait 5 years and 90% of LE vehicles will be Chargers and the new Caprices. The FWD/AWD Taurus with its added complexity, lack of power unless turbocharged(great idea for something that needs to idle for hours on end) doesn’t stand a chance. It will be relegated to the same status as the current FWD Impalas…OK for certain uses, but useless for full time police duty.

  • avatar

    The only car I’ll miss is the Buick Lucerne. Why? Beacause I liked them, that’s why. Buicks should be big.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm… STS as wasted potential. Not fast enough (cept the rare V model) to fit Cadillacs new image and not luxurious enough to interest me.

  • avatar

    Dodge Dakota. No question, it was a segment creator, and will be missed. Also, Ford Ranger. These are honest trucks for people who don’t need a huge one. I had one of each, and I will miss them. Honorable mention for the Honda Element. Not quite a truck, but a good station wagon.

  • avatar

    I am sure tax payers will breath a sigh of relief when the police gas bill comes down.
    Ford will have to replace the Ranger, it would be short-sighted of them not to.

  • avatar

    “whereas others are simply mediocrities that the market has run out of patience with (Eclipse, Tribute).”

    Edward, can you explain that statement, as all the Tribute customers I deal with on a daily basis LOVES their SUVs. The Escape has always been a huge seller for Ford, is it a mediocrity as well, since these are the same basic vehicles?
    Yes–I have an ’05 Tribute(and ’99 Miata, ’07 Mazda5, ’92 MPV and about 12 other Mazdas in my family), and there ere 4(2 Tributes and 2 Escapes) others in my family–and all enjoy them.
    And that’s The Truth About THESE Cars

  • avatar

    The Elise, because it saved Lotus in at least a couple of ways. It gave the company a volume car (well, volume by Lotus standards) and it gave them expertise in aluminum architecture that has made Lotus Engineering money working for companies like Aston Martin and Jaguar. Before the Elise, only car guys knew what a Lotus was and the Elise made the brand much better known. Notwithstanding the wider acceptance, the Elise was very close to what the Lotus brand has meant over the decades. Now Bahar is killing the Elise and walking away from what the brand has meant.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Most the Crown Vic, least the Elise

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Won’t miss any of them…. I can always buy em’.

    But to be frank. the only one I can remotely see as deserving another generation is the Ranger. All the others have either ran their course, lost their brand equity, and/or too far away from the market leaders.

    In fact I’m glad that the acronymed Caddies will be axed. It means that Cadillacs turn from serving the dead and dying is finally complete.

  • avatar

    I guess I’m one of the few that will miss the V50. I don’t think we have enough options for wagons and seeing another one gone makes me a sad puppy.

    I’m in China atm, but I will be back in the USA in about 2 years and I hope then to see some good wagons on the market. But the way things are going, it looks like I’ll be buying used.

  • avatar

    SAd to see both of the old school Fords go – Ranger and Crown Vic. Rotted fruit on the corporate vine.

    • 0 avatar

      Same here. The only two that, when gone, will have no replacement. Two that should have been properly updated all along but have been neglected and hence: SEEMS like they have run their course.

  • avatar

    Well, let’s see I’d care about the Lotus Elise if I fit, which I don’t, and I think that a small pick up is still a great choice for a lot of people, so hopefully GM will fill this gap capably. I am sorry the Crown Vic is going only because I know that plant was the lifeblood of St. Thomas, otherwise I wouldn’t care…my dad’s was a shitbox. Pity too about the RX-8, I liked it because it was different and I thought it looked good.

    As for the rest…will anyone even notice? (Okay, entry level drug dealers will miss the Eclipse, but apart from that…)

  • avatar

    Wonder who will disappear the quickest/orphaned parts..?

    The most – RX8 unusual for volume brand.
    The least – Altima hybrid ubiquitous in guise.

  • avatar

    I’ll miss the RX-8. No tears for the HHR(ental).

    Despite the panther love fest around this joint, there’s definitely no love lost here for the Crown Vic. But it’s a shame that there isn’t a genuine replacement for it.

  • avatar

    Given this is TTAC, home of the Panther Love, the answer should be obvious. Me, though, thought it should have happened years ago. Good riddance! Though I agree that unlike many others in the list which have better things coming to replace the deceased, in Panther’s case there’s nothing equivalent planned for it. No true successors.

    I mean, Tauruses? As replacement for Crown Victoria? Come on! And Lincoln MKT as a replacement for Crown Victoria? WTF were they thinking… They were sold side-by-side with the panthers they’re supposed to replace. If the market wanted them as a replacement, they would’ve done so already. I’m not sure this forced replacement thing (with products thoroughly unlike what it’s replacing) will fly well with the customers…

    • 0 avatar

      My son has worn out several Crown Vic pursuit vehicles during his 20 years with the Highway Patrol. Several Crown Vics had over 300,000 miles on them, with plenty of State-funded maintenance, of course.

      In spite of all its faults and shortcomings, maintenance problems and gas-guzzling, the Crown Vic has saved his life on several occasions, such as in roll-overs, head-on collisions, stopping bullets in shoot-outs with the bad guys, and forcing stolen vehicles off the road.

      From the above list the Crown Vic with all its problems and issues would be the most missed. The others? What others? Who cares!?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure this forced replacement thing (with products thoroughly unlike what it’s replacing) will fly well with the customers

      Rental agencies will buy anything at the right price.

      As for the cops, that’s another matter. But law enforcement sales can’t be a high margin business.

      Personally, I wish that Ford could design and build a Falcon that could be sold in North America, not just Australia. But I doubt that it would be a money maker.

  • avatar

    I’ll only miss the Ranger. It’s plucky.

    The rest can go.

  • avatar

    The only vehicle on this list I have an active dislike for, and this not sorry to see go, is the HHR.

    For a couple years, I had this vehicle foisted on me as a rental and each time, I discovered something I don’t like about it.

  • avatar

    Any of the Mazdas, both Fords, and the Dakota. The Tribute may not sell but it is a Escape which is one of my favorite SUV’s.

  • avatar

    BMW ACTIVEHYBRID X6 – Won’t Miss
    BUICK LUCERNE – Won’t Miss
    CADILLAC DTS – Won’t Miss
    CADILLAC STS – Won’t Miss
    CHEVROLET HHR – Won’t Miss
    DODGE DAKOTA – Won’t Miss
    FORD RANGER – Will Miss
    HONDA ELEMENT – Will Miss
    LOTUS ELISE – Will Miss
    MAZDA RX-8 – Will Miss
    MAZDA TRIBUTE – Won’t Miss
    VOLVO S40 – Won’t Miss
    VOLVO V50 – Won’t Miss

    Strange, when you list them alphabetically, by Won’t Misses are six-line slices of bread in a five-line Miss Sandwich…

  • avatar

    I’ll miss the small pickups. Trucks have outgrown their usefulness. I’ve driven a F-150 before, and I have no intention of every buying one. A small or midsize truck would let me do just about everything I need in a far more practical & convenient package.

  • avatar

    Ranger. It’s primitive, but it’s nearly indestructible.
    Still enjoy my 1997 with 160K miles on it. Still doesn’t burn or leak oil(2.3liter 4).
    Won’t miss the Panther. That thing is horribly overrated. Any full-size GM FWD has scads more rear seat room and gets better mpg.

  • avatar

    Wont miss the MITSUBISHI ENDEAVOR least because its the only one on the list I never heard of.

    Will miss the Ranger most, but not CV. No Panther love here. Most local departments already have Chargers and they look better in black and white, than civilian clothes anyway.

  • avatar

    Will miss the Ranger. Even though I drive a much larger pickup, a Ranger would handle 98% of my needs – 100% is I sold the big trailer. Very reliable.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see small trucks come back in 5 years or so.

  • avatar

    HHR – Great concept, but always living in the PT Cruiser’s shadow. Panel van and SS versions were great ideas. My neighbor almost bought one, but he went with a used minivan instead.

    Dakota – I currently own one, its the only “right sized” truck out there. Very sad to see it gone, so I’ll be keeping mine for a long time to come. However something tells me it will be back when the mega truck market finally collapses.

    Ranger – Same as the Dakota… I had one, it was just underpowered (V6) thus the reason I upgraded to the Dakota (V8).

    Element – Another unique offering, but I guess the Kia Soul / Nissan Cube will carry the torch now.

    RX-8 – sad that we live in a non-rotary world, but without a turbo (and horrible gas mileage) this car just couldn’t hang with the competition. I bought a 350Z instead.

    S40 – test drove one, but the wife got the smaller C30 instead. Volvo is just a niche player these days, so in another 5-8 years I bet they are completely gone, which will be sad since we already lost Saab.

    I guess I’ll miss the concept of the Elise (lightness = win) but it was priced in Super car dreamland anyway.

    All the others I could careless about… especially the Eclipse because they screwed it up so bad it needed to go. Glad I owned a real Eclipse (’97 turbo model). The Tribute was nothing but a badge engineering job so it will not be missed at all. Caddys? Buicks? Crown Vics? Completely off my radar.

    • 0 avatar

      “HHR – Great concept, but always living in the PT Cruiser’s shadow. Panel van and SS versions were great ideas.”

      I poked around one of those “Panel Van” versions at a car show a few years ago. Great premise, horrible execution. No outside door handles on the rear doors. And no way (for me anyway) to reach the inside door handles from the front seats. So the method for opening them was to open the hatch, crawl on your hands and knees up to the door, and then try to unlatch and elbow it open while proping yourself up on one hand. Pretty much to opposite of convienent and functional. And of course, impossible if you’re actually carrying a load.

      In addition, they replaced the rear seat with a carpeted box – presumably to provide a flat load floor. But in exchange, it threw away several cubic feet of storage space, and provided a deep narrow slot behind the front seats to collect any loose items in the cargo area in the least accessible place.

      I laughed and walked away.

  • avatar

    Will miss the RX-8 (of course); the best out-of-the-box handling car I’ve ever driven, much less owned. The 2009+ “Series II” models had many improvements toward addressing engine issues experienced by some, but sales never recovered. In an age of cookie-cutter automobiles, it remained one of the few truly unique offerings on the market.

  • avatar

    Element. Yet another quirky vehicle by Honda that they ened up not knowing what to do with, and then eventually abandoning. They missed the mark badly by believing that twenty-somethings would be the target audience and yet who really bought them were Baby Boomers who appreciated the impressive utility and rock- steady reliability. The 2007 face lift was half hearted and the “dog friendly” edition was too cute and silly. The SC version was ridiculous — questionable appearance upgrades with no corresponding performance improvements. The market is out there: witness the Cube, the Soul, and the xB. But doing virtually no advertising and not addressing the Element’s weaknesses (cabin noise, so-so fuel economy, and the lack of a fifth seat) during the run doomed what was an innovative design.

    Still Element owners are fiercely loyal and are sad to see Honda let it go so meekly.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty sure the folks who were responsible for the Elephant were smoking the same bong as the folks who were responsible for the Aztek. Even 10 years ago, the kids with money were not (at least not likely) to buy something like this. If they had a few bucks it was entry level BMWs or something with a lot more status than an Element. Nothing like a 4WD un-aerodynamic box on wheels with nothing more than a 4 banger to power it. If nothing else, the Aztek had V6 power, easily enough to keep up with traffic.

      Like the Cube, the xB, the Soul, they do appeal to baby boomers for their utility and relative low cost of entry. I’d be curious to sit in on the original marketing meetings for any of these vehicles, because the marketing brief and the sales results were in no way close to one another.

      That said, I didn’t know they were still making new Elements. I seriously thought the model had died a couple of years ago. My mistake.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve B

        I had an Element for several years. My biggest qualm was that I missed sitting low and stretching out my legs. It was kinda limited in the legroom department (at least in the front… the rear had unbelievable legroom), and the gas mileage was crummy (18-20 most of the time). It had enough power to get around competently, if not quickly, but I didn’t have the old 4-speed automatic.

        Another big issue was the handling – short wheelbase, tall body, high center of gravity, and no ESC. Think Jeep Wrangler, but more softly sprung. I’ve swerved in emergencies and swore that one of the wheels lost contact with the ground. Not confidence inspiring.

        It was great for hauling stuff, but in the end, it’s easier to use a case of beer to haul bulky objects than to drive around in a gas-sucking tall-boy. I live in Texas… I can find a faux-cowboy with a truck who is delighted that it’s proving its usefulness! I bought it when I lived in Nebraska, and it was great for winter weather, but here? Nah. Give me a low, legs stretched coupe instead.

  • avatar

    Will miss?
    Ranger, not so much for me but for my brother. He bought a 1978 Toyota 3/4 ton long bed brand new, it’s >450K on the odo and still returns 24MPG. What’s he going to replace it with if/when it dies? At least it still passes smog checks as long as it’s good and hot before the test.

    Won’t miss? Panther, because I owned / endured one. Weak brakes, indifferent seat comfort on long trips, went thru 2 heater cores and needed stop leak for the 3rd one (yes, you pull the dash, only one of those bolts holding it to the body was cross threaded and sheared off at the factory), a water leak that flooded the carpet ( rain water followed the parking brake release cable thru a defective grommet in the firewall right into the carpet padding), blown intake manifold….that the recall didn’t cover.
    I might have had more respect for the car and its designers if in later years they freshened up the interior, but they kept soldiering on with the same one since ’95 except for minor trim changes..and they also decontented it as time went on. With all that sales volume $ you’d think they would have done something to at least make the last ones a little more updated.
    C4C was the best thing that happened to that car, because in ’09 there was NO way anyone would have paid 3500 for it.

  • avatar

    The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse lives! I believe this is its last year, which could be abbreviated. Not that anyone cares.

  • avatar

    Element, poor Element killed by dimwitted marketers. They market to dog-owners while the car is capable of being the perfect truck for which construction guys usually buy used minivans. You know, the one you can load up with crap including sheets of plywood and 10 foot lengths of lumber, leave in the parking lot or city block locked up, then rinse it all off and go camping. I kept on waiting for the new generation with sturdier drivetrain to support 2000-2500 lbs tow capacity. Oh well, that’s one less Honda for me to consider. Hello Kia!

    Eclipse – good riddance. That thing was a POS.

  • avatar

    I’ll miss these the most:

    – RX-8
    – Elise
    – V50

    The RX-8 and Elise were unlike anything else on the road, and the V50 was the end of an era for Volvo wagons in the US.

    I’ll miss these the least:

    – Eclipse
    – Endeavor
    – STS

    Good-bye dinosaurs!

  • avatar

    Wow, I didn’t realize Lucernes were still being made. Drove one in 2006, which had, if I’m not mistaken, a Northstar engine. I felt 85 years old inside that car.

  • avatar

    Was the Lincoln Town Car not on this list because it will live on as a trim level on the MKT?

  • avatar

    Will miss:
    CHEVROLET HHR –- Say what you will… I think it’s a neat-looking practical/functional vehicle.
    FORD RANGER –- It has a purpose in the market.
    HONDA ELEMENT — I’m still dumbfounded as to why this is on the chopping block. I see these vehicles everywhere… is it just a NorCal thing? I like that its functionality/versatility isn’t hampered by its quirks. I’m thinking of getting a used one as a Tahoe-cruiser.
    MAZDA RX-8 -– Yeah, it’s getting long in the tooth. I don’t care. I still think it looks great. Wanted one of these for a while, but doesn’t check enough of the boxes for me anymore.
    MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE — See above about the RX-8… Its current incarnation was a stunner when it came to market, but now it’s a neglected, forgotten model.

    Won’t miss:
    FORD CROWN VICTORIA — Sorry boys and girls, it’s just not as good as you’re making it out to be. And an 80’s Dodge Diplomat has more visual character than a 2011 Crown Vic. Cushy ride though.
    MAZDA TRIBUTE — I’ve been waiting for the Escape to die for over 10 years now. Hideous, inside and out. (I know I know… “and he’ll miss the Ranger?!?”)

  • avatar

    I found one that Sam Smith missed — there is no Dodge Nitro for 2012! I guess this shows how forgettable this one was.

  • avatar

    Ranked by order of 1-17 with 1 being most missed and 17 least here goes

    MAZDA RX-8- 10
    VOLVO S40- 12
    VOLVO V50-11

  • avatar

    I didn’t know they still made the STS, I thought they had stopped a year or two ago.

    I’ll miss the Elise, Crown Vic, RX8, and V50.

  • avatar

    Me: Ranger, can’t we have a basic truck, please?

    Wife: Crown Vic, she LOVES the Panther cars.


  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Least – Lotus Elise….was this car ever practical or desirable in any way, shape or form? Snobby junk for idiots with trust fund money.
    Most – Caddy DTS – last of the Great American Luxo-barges…..a way of life has passed us by.

  • avatar

    No Chevy Aveo for 2012 either — big loss!

  • avatar

    SAAB, any SAAB. God help us, kill the SAAB

  • avatar

    So Ford stops making the Crown Vic. They shut down the plant in St Thomas and lay off everybody.
    Meanwhile cops, cabbies, and limo owners are crying out for a big RWD vehicle.
    Isn’t there some economic model that works for somebody buying up the plant and making 20XX Crown Vics forever, a la Checker Cabs? It works the same way all the British sports cars work these days. Buy a power train from whoever, stuff it in to a frozen body design.
    Hell, it should only cost 2 or 3 hundred million dollars to set up. Who’s with me?

    • 0 avatar

      There was a run of 2012 Crown Vics, but for Saudi Arabia only, since they did not meet some US regulations, don’t remember safety or emissions. So, you can thank regulators for the demise of CV.

    • 0 avatar

      They shut down the plant in St Thomas and lay off everybody.

      I know that some were able to get transfers to Oakville but I’m uncertain as to how many.

      Apparently they stripped out what was useful to the Oakville plant (like the gym equipment).

  • avatar
    George B

    I’ll miss the Ford Ranger and the Honda Element. Wish both models were being replaced instead of eliminated. Not many cheap not huge easy to clean vehicles out there.

    Will not miss most of the other cars and trucks on the list.

  • avatar

    Saddened to see the Ranger and the Dakota go as is the Element too.

    While I’ve not had the Dakota nor the Element, I see their potential markets though.

    The Ranger? I own a ’92 with the Cologne 4.0 V6 and 5spd manny tranny and it just turned 236K miles as of today.

    It still runs decently enough despite oil leaks, perhaps a coolant leak somewhere (not now that the cooler weather is upon us, but it IS in dire need of a flush though). That said, having owned mine for almost 6 years and roughly 46K miles since 2006 when I bought it, it’s been very reliable despite the master and slave cylinders for the clutch needing to be replaced and the usual expendable suspects like tires, oil etc too.

    It’s sad that many people feel the need to go to huge vehicles such as the current F-150 for their truck “needs” or is that to inflate their “lack of confidence” in themselves or whatever is the reason when I’ve almost never see them being used used for their intended purposes unless it’s obviously a work truck. My best friend has a 2001 F-150 crew cab Lareat with 4×4 and V8 that he bought used and yes, he actually uses it as intended as it even has a towing package and hauls stuff in his dual axle trailer to places like the dump and to their family cabin he helps maintain and rents out.

    The Element, a good idea, but sadly, it seems it the sum of its parts just didn’t add up and the target market didn’t jibe with who ended up buying them. I see them ALL OVER the Seattle/Tacoma area so they did sell, at least out here but like the Ranger and Dakota, wasn’t freshened/updated enough to keep relevant and thus it languished and simply didn’t work out a replacement.

    Ford, on the other hand, needed to rethink their strategy and bring over the Euro Ranger instead and my guess they will when us Americans suddenly clamor for it when gas gets to high for our big trucks.

    I agree that eventually the huge gas guzzling truck we have now as the must have vehicle will be replaced by more modest sized units in a few years by sheer dint of the CAFE requirements alone if not by the eventual rising of gas prices in the years to come.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I bought a ’94 Ranger this summer to use as 3rd vehicle /beach buggy. My expectations were low. My dream truck was a Tacoma. So far the Ranger has been a help around the house and grounds despite a fried clutch. I understand the Ranger will continue to be built abroad, but wont be imported. I see Rangers everywhere. Used,they go for a lot less than a conquerable Tacoma. I’ll miss the Ranger and the Panther. If BMW retires the un-turboed I 6, that will be missed too.

  • avatar

    I will miss the Elise, the RX-8, and the Element. Each one served a niche.

  • avatar
    Steve B

    Miss the most: Ranger. I never owned one… I had a GMC Sonoma that was a POS, but these are really practical little haulers, and are agreeable enough. Every time I have the ‘luck’ of driving a full size pickup, I’m left scratching my head why anyone would actually want to drive one for pleasure, let alone be willing to be stuck driving one as a daily driver.

    Miss the least: Buick Lucerne. I had to do a google image search to remember what they even look like (Camry with those tacky gangsta port-holes already on from the factory – I guess Buick is serious about shaking its old-man-car image… they’re going for the sub-prime credit ghetto market)

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