By on December 20, 2017

2017-dodge-viper-hero

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]

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43 Comments on “Here Are the Models That Won’t Be Returning for 2018 (Cue Sentimental Video)...”


  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Jeep Patriot – 2014 -2017 ???? More like 2007-2017

    • 0 avatar
      jfk-usaf

      Garbage none the less… The replacement looks promising though… for someone else to buy.

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        I don’t know about that. Chrysler have been for me very reliable. I purchased a 2016 200s over a year ago. Not one issue and very reliable. My wife ’16 Patriot has been good as well. Will probably replace the ’16 Patriot lease with a Renegade or Cherokee..

        My issues have always been with FoMoCo products.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          Never understood why people use 1-2 year old vehicles as examples of reliability. That’s a pretty low bar.

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            I was simply pointing out that my 200s and Patriot have been fine. I also had a 2007 Dodge Magnum till 2016 that only stranded me once (when the starter died) with 167K on the odometer. I also have a 2006 Town & Country till 2016 that was reliable and dependable. Heck, I have a 40+ year old Mopar that will start and drive anyplace right now.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    The SS and the Viper will be missed. The rest? Meh. We’re better off without ’em.

    I did like the Patriot more than the Compass it was related to. But, that isn’t saying much.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      It’s funny, for how different the Viper and SS are, their stories have a lot of similarities:

      -Both had solid performing but slow selling previous generations go away during the financial crisis.

      -Passionate enthusiasts and fans managed to get both to come back after a couple year hiatus (with an assist from the Holden union contract and extra manufacturing capacity in Australia)

      -The new generation is faster, more refined, more complete, and well received by critics (especially the later TA and ACR Vipers).

      -Despite (or because of) being targeted directly at enthusiasts, both models have slow sales, and loud outspoken criticism from the supposed enthusiast market they are aimed at. “SS is too boring looking, buy a Charger.”, “Viper is too loud, cramped, and rides rough, buy a Corvette”. Never mind that most of these internet critics had never driven either.

      -Both companies need to resort to deep discounts to move the metal, and now both are discontinued with no replacement in sight.

      -Now both market niches that were uniquely filled by these cars (manual transmission full size sport sedan, analog supercar) are empty, probably forever.

      Disappointing.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        All very true, and its a shame.

        If I had the means, I’d take a manual trans SS, and put a last-year Viper in my collection as well. Two icons that future generations will look back on as “the good old days”.

        • 0 avatar
          scott25

          20 years from now, normal people with a vague interest in cars will only remember the original 90’s Viper, pretty sure a lot of people don’t even know they made it into the 2010’s, the new one is so forgettable looking.

          No one will remember the SS, the G8, yes, but not the SS. If they do, it’ll just be as a bizarre car that somehow got past the bean counters.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            You might be right. When the G8 ended, prices initially dropped (I was lucky got mine at the bottom roughly) but then when the Pontiac end of life was announced the prices went up.

            A cared for G8 GXP will still go for low-30s today. That is stunning residual value considering it stickered for $39.9K after gas guzzler tax in the spring of 2009.

          • 0 avatar
            Holden-SSV

            Would you mind sending me the next set of winning Powerball numbers while you’re at it? Also, what’s the next Bitcoin? I want to get in early.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    “Dodge Viper…..a no-nonsense performance machine, the model offered a punishing ride and unparalleled thrills.”

    I remember automotive journalist bitch about the Corvette (particularly the ’84 model. Just as the succeeding generations of Corvettes were achieving world class sophistication, along came the Viper, the the auto press went all ga ga for its punishing ride and unparalleled thrills.

    Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As middle aged men with some money, Viper buyers probably have probably learned one essential life lesson: it’s better to sacrifice a little hot sex for some compatibility.

      Makes sense why they’d gravitate towards Corvettes or Porsches, which are far easier to live with.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    Just had a 5-day rental experience with a 2WD Patriot.

    Pros: bigger inside than you’d think, lots of headroom. Cheap but fairly sturdy-feeling interior. Okay visibility. Nice gauges and control layout. Unoffensive, even attractive styling. Presumably pretty inexpensive.

    Cons: downshifts appear only when subpoenaed. Engine sounds like it hates its own life. Slab sides never met a cross-wind they didn’t want to make sweet sweet love to. Driver can basically watch the fuel meter drop under hard acceleration. Extremely nonlinear relationship between accelerator pedal and acceleration. Test subject for relationship between steering wheel and driver seat may have been a young giant squid.

    Dishonorable mention: fitted with Firestone Destinations… Suggested tagline, “because they’ll make you wish you were there already”. Worst wet-weather traction I’ve experienced in a modern all-season tire.

    Conclusion: better than that last-gen Liberty, so, yay. Can’t imagine there isn’t something better out there in every respect for the same money.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not sure why the 200’s on here…the model hasn’t been in production for a year now.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    How about an all-i-MiEV demolition derby series? Sounds like a good use for the unsold cars.

  • avatar
    Holden-SSV

    The SS sold as many as intended from the start.

    https://dailykanban.com/2013/11/why-gm-isnt-trying-to-sell-the-chevy-ss-and-why-it-matters/

  • avatar

    No mentioning of Ford Fusion? It increasingly looks like it will be axed too. What next – Mazda6, Buick Regal?

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, add here also Fiesta, Focus and Taurus. It looks like Ford will not a single sedan in this market!

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Not sure where any of this is coming from. We’re getting a updated Mazda6 with a turbo, and a new Regal. A new Focus from China. I doubt the Fusion is going anywhere, when it still sells in Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        It also still sells pretty well here.

        As old as the Taurus is, it continues to sell fairly well given the declination of the segment. Even when you exclude Police Interceptors, its still on par with the rest of the segment.

        I think Inside Looking Out is getting his information from EBFlex’s hopes and dreams.

      • 0 avatar

        http://www.motortrend.com/news/ford-may-simply-kill-fusion/
        http://www.autonews.com/article/20171219/BLOG06/171219738/why-ford-would-be-comfortable-killing-the-fusion

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I could only see this if it is in fact, unprofitable.

          “But thanks to EcoBoost engines, 10-speed transmissions and other technologies, Ford and others are “starting to crack that code” and close the fuel-economy gap between cars and light trucks.”

          I live in a oversize 70’s split entry. The garage can accommodate two 70s size sedans and as such I have a fair amount of extra room with the vehicles I do own. Since there is a steel beam across the center ceiling, vehicle height is really the only tangible restriction.

          I am not sure if today’s megatrucks will fit in this garage, which is a concern for me as a buyer, while the Fusion certainly would fit with ease. So Mr. Hackett if the argument is for any suburban/urban DD a “light truck” will do vs a midsize based on fuel economy and price, I think you’ll find out you are sorely mistaken. Remember, stagflation is the elephant in the room.

          • 0 avatar

            I think it is just admission that they cannot compete with Japanese Big 3 in passenger cars. I always was wondering if Ford in its typical manner will ignore Fusion until it slowly dies as it did with all cars, like Taurus, 500, Focus (in NA). Now it looks like to be a case according to CEO.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You can buy a 2018 Fusion, Focus or Taurus. This article is about cars that there are no 2018’s.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    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”.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      See, I would’ve thought the opposite, that removing the large RWD sedans from Hyundai’s line up would have left room for the Azera as their largest mainstream sedan.

      But, given the segment’s decline, and the dismal sales of the Azera in particular, I’m not surprised its gone.

      As you can see, it is by-far the worst seller in its segment:

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2017/12/large-car-sales-america-november-2017/


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