Here Are the Models That Won't Be Returning for 2018 (Cue Sentimental Video)

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Nothing lasts forever. Seasons change, fashions go out of style, and our fleshy bodies wither like a banana left on a radiator. It’s an inevitability. Likewise, automakers have to change their lineups to suit consumer demand — resulting in the annual discontinuation of a handful of unfortunate automobiles.

Still, for every model an automaker has birthed into existence there is someone out there who loved it, even if it it happened to be a rolling pile of garbage. There are car clubs and forums devoted entirely to historically unpopular models like the Cadillac Catera and Pontiac Aztek. Someone cared for those cars and probably hurt when they learned they wouldn’t be on the market anymore. With that in mind, we’d like to take time to honor the vehicles that won’t be returning for 2018.

Mitsubishi gave both the Lancer and i-MiEV the axe this year. While the former is most guilty of not being an Evo, the latter simply couldn’t find its footing on the domestic market. With a comically short range, the “adorable” little i-MiEV didn’t even break 100 U.S. deliveries in 2016. This year Mitsubishi only sold six.

Daimler’s Smart ForTwo is a similar story. Despite achieving substantially better sales numbers than the i-MiEV, the little car was primarily relegated to city use — which suppressed sales. Smart will continue selling the ForTwo in the United States, but only as a battery-electric vehicle.

Nissan’s long-running Quest is probably one a lot of people will miss. Debuting as a collaborative effort between the Japanese automaker and Ford in 1993, the Quest spent most of its life in the shadow of the Dodge Caravan. It came into its own as it evolved and ultimately became the plush, slightly quirky, model we know today. Unfortunately, Nissan was never able to replicate the market success of its earlier incarnations.

The Hyundai Azera managed to provide everything you’d expect from a traditional luxury car on a budget. While many found it lacking in style and fun, it was quiet and comfortable. However, with the model suffering a major sales decline after the recession and Hyundai handing its luxury duties over to Genesis, there was no room for the Azera in 2018.

Lexus’ CT 200h was one of those cars that probably should never have existed. Essentially an upscale version of Toyota’s Prius, the hatchback offered arguably superior styling and appeared to be a performance model on its surface. However, looks can be deceiving — the CT 200h was an economy car at its core.

The death of the Infiniti QX70 was a long time coming. While it made a splash as a sporting midsize luxury SUV under the FX moniker over a decade ago, the platform grew dated. Once a trend-setter, the QX70 has become a ghost. The model averaged relatively stable but lackluster sales since 2013 and, despite this year looking to be one of its best in North America, Infiniti doesn’t want to risk keeping it around.

Objectively good, Volkswagen’s CC was everything a mature sedan was supposed to be. While we’d argue it’s worth considering even now, it is not a fresh take on motoring and the market has turned its back on the “comfort coupe.” Its replacement, the Arteon, has been milling around for a while now and will go on sale next year as a 2019 model.

VW’s Touareg was a model many consumers couldn’t quite wrap their heads around, resulting in wildly inconsistent sales. With pleasant dynamics and inoffensive looks, the SUV probably should have been a bigger hit in North America. However, its astronomical price tag was a major hindrance to its success. Last year, Volkswagen only sold 4,223 examples in the U.S.

Serviceable and unrefined, the second-gen Chrysler 200 was a car the world hardly had any time to get acquainted with. While much better-selling than the compact Dodge Dart, FCA probably should have done more to distinguish the two.

If you’re looking for an affordable and efficient off-roader to hurl into gravel, the Jeep Patriot could have served you well. However, if you were looking for a pleasant commuting experience you were probably right to steer clear. Less perplexing than the Compass, the cheap-feeling Patriot still wasn’t everything we had hoped for. Likewise, optioning it out for trail duty brought it to a price point that was difficult to rationalize, especially with the Wrangler occupying the same dealer lots.

The loss of Chevrolet’s SS is particularly heartbreaking. As one of the last true muscle cars in existence, the flagship performance sedan’s 415-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 could rocket it down the quarter mile in a comfortable 13-seconds. While the sedated styling was a turnoff for some, sleeper fans praised the car endlessly. The general public was not as enthusiastic, however. Sales of the SS were weak for the entirety of its lifespan and, after GM’s Holden division dropped its Commodore donor car, the automaker was forced to discontinue it this year.

Lastly, 2017 was also the year the sun set on the Dodge Viper. As a no-nonsense performance machine, the model offered a punishing ride and unparalleled thrills. Killed by its inability to adhere to ever-evolving domestic safety standards, the last model rolled off the assembly line in August.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 43 comments
  • Thatkat09 Thatkat09 on Dec 20, 2017

    The Jeep Patriot and last gen Compass were Chrysler's modern day Omni/Horizon. Two Belvedire built hatchbacks sold way past their expiration date only being kept in production because they printed money. Still, having rented a 6 speed auto Patriot for a week, it wasn't a bad little "SUV".

  • TMA1 TMA1 on Dec 20, 2017

    To be fair, there's already a new Azera in Korea, where it will keep playing the role the LaCrosse plays in the US market. It probably just didn't fit with the new Genesis plans.

  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.
  • TheEndlessEnigma A '95 in Iowa, I'm thinking significant frame and underbody rust issues.