Here Are the Models That Won't Be Returning for 2018 (Cue Sentimental Video)
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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- 3SpeedAutomatic And this too shall pass.....Ford went thru this when the model T was introduced. It took the moving assembly line to make real money. As time progressed, it got refined, eventually moving to the Model A. Same kind of hiccups with fuel injection, 4 speed automatic, Firestone tires, dashboards with no radio knobs, etc, etc, etc. Same thing with EVs. Yep, a fire or two in the parking lot, espresso time at the charging stations, other issues yet to be encountered, just give it time. 🚗🚗🚗
- Art Vandelay 2025 Camaro and Challenger
- Mike Beranek Any car whose engine makes less than 300 ft-lbs of torque.
- Malcolm Mini temporarily halted manual transmission production but brought it back as it was a surprisingly good seller. The downside is that they should have made awd standard with the manual instead of nixing it. Ford said recently that 4dr were 7% manual take rate and I think the two door was 15%.
- Master Baiter It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. It will be interesting to see if demand for Ford’s EVs will match the production capacity they are putting on line.
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".
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.