Hit the Road: Cars and Trucks Going Out of Production
As 2015 winds down, it’s time to say bid adieu to cars and trucks that went out of production in 2015 and others that we know will reach the end of the line in 2016.
You’re not likely to miss many of them. Carmakers are loath to kill a model, hanging on to slow sellers for an extra year rather than risking sales loss by killing one too early. You may be surprised some stayed in production this long.
I’m amazed some of them went into production in the first place, but that’s another matter.
Don’t believe everything you read, though. Reports of the Dodge Grand Caravan’s death have been exaggerated. It will stay in production for an undetermined length of time after the replacement for the Chrysler Town & Country debuts this year.
Here’s a look at some of the recently and soon-to-be departed.
Cadillac’s midsize SUV will be replaced by a new model with a new name. The upcoming XT5 bears a vague similarity to the SRX, which was Cadillac’s first car-based SUV. The SRX was one of the best five-passenger luxury crossovers when it went on sale in as a 2010 model, but it’s overdue to be replaced
Honda Accord Crosstour
This overpriced and ungainly hatchback was the low point of Honda’s recent product-planning woes. Anybody even vaguely familiar with American automotive taste could have told Honda we didn’t want a large and expensive hatchback with a tiny cargo space as its flagship model, but Honda wasn’t listening. The Crosstour debuted to widespread dismay in 2010. Its sole redeeming characteristic is that the already-discontinued Acura ZDX crossover was more hideously overpriced and impractical.
Monthly sales to the contrary, Hyundai executives in Korea were steadfastly convinced this bland rear-wheel drive sedan was a match for leading luxury cars like the Mercedes S-Class. Reality check: Hyundai sold 198 Equuses in the United States in November, about 1/10th as many as Mercedes S-class sedans, despite the fact that Equus prices start $34,500 lower
The Equus and its horsey name ride off into the sunset this year. They’ll be replaced by a new sedan called the G90 that will be the flagship of Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury brand. Based on Hyundai’s track record, it should be a vast improvement
Infiniti kept this renamed version of its old G37 sport sedan to give its dealers a low-priced car to sell when the more advanced Q50 debuted last year. It’s outlived that purpose and shuffles off when dealers clear out the last of their stock. Based on 38 total sales in November, that shouldn’t take long.
The smaller and sportier F-type coupe and convertible put the “super” in superfluous for Jag’s grand tourers, which were always a bit too big and soft to be convincing sports cars. In addition to being better looking, more fun and more advanced, F-type prices started $19,500 lower than the XK. Case closed.
Jeep Compass and Patriot
The last remnants of DaimlerChrysler, these compact SUVs go out of production in 2016. German executives were convinced the Jeep name was magic, and that you could sell any vehicle bearing it. The Compass and Patriot proved them wrong. Perhaps the most egregious example of Daimler’s counterproductive cost cutting, they debuted with a lousy engine and transmission and interiors that looked and felt cheap.
A new compact Jeep developed by Fiat Chrysler will debut sometime in 2016.
Land Rover Defender and LR2
The retro-outdoorsy Defender is its oldest model. It’s an icon for the brand, but it can’t meet upcoming safety and emissions standards. Look for it to be replaced by a rugged new off-roader in 2018 or so.
The toy-like LR2 was Land Rover’s unsuccessful first attempt to build a small, fuel efficient and family-friendly SUV. It has already been replaced by the more capable and practical Discovery Sport.
The arrival of the exciting looking Lincoln Continental will spell the end of this big, bland sedan. The MKS looked and felt heavy and awkward, a forgettable car from a forgettable brand. Its impractical trunk was a significant weakness for a car whose greatest hope for success would have been as an airport limo. MKS production will end before the new Continental goes on sale in late 2016.
Call it the latest casualty from the Invasion of the Crossover SUVs. The sleek little Mazda 5 packed room for six passengers into a small package, but it never sold well. Mazda will concentrate on adding more SUVs like the new CX-3 and upcoming CX-9, for which it can charge higher prices than a compact minivan.
Mini roadster and coupe
These two-seat versions of the Mini Cooer were the height of impracticality. The coupe was cramped and had poor sightlines, while the convertible was simply cramped. Nearly mechanically identical to the larger and more user friendly Mini Cooper hardtop and convertible, the coupe and roadster cost more and gave the buyer less, without offering any performance increase.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo
It’s hard to believe it’s gone forever. The Evo is one of Japan’s iconic super-compacts, a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive mighty mite that helped shape Mitsubishi Motors’ image. The struggling automaker is concentrating its engineering resources on crossover SUVs. That means no more love for the Lancer Evo, which has been a lust-object for generations of compact tuners.
The Xterra is the latest casualty of the move from SUVs based on pickup chassis to models with more car-like underpinnings like the Nissan Rogue and Pathfinder. Nissan billed the Xterra as a rugged and affordable SUV for outdoorsy young buyers, but its practicality and price made it popular with drivers of all ages.
Pickup-based SUVs may be on the verge of a small comeback as Ford eyes a new version of its Bronco to challenge the Jeep Wrangler. If that happens, don’t be surprised if Nissan revives the Xterra.
Scion xB, xD, iQ.
They’re all gone, but you’re only likely to notice the absence of the boxy little xB. The xB was Scion’s first success, an odd little car that gave birth to a boomlet in squared-off small cars. The xD was a spectacularly unobtrusive subcompact hatchback while the iQ minicar was so small that it had air bags in the back of its seats to keep the rear window from smashing into the back of the driver’s head in case of a collision from behind.
In exchange, Toyota’s Scion brand added the iM and iA in 2015. If this total makeover doesn’t breathe new life into the brand, it’s worth asking if Scion itself belongs on the endangered list.
This good-looking SUV aimed to compete with the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano, but never caught on with buyers. That may be because it’s styling was essentially that of a scaled-up version of a European compact hatchback car without enough SUV looks to win American buyers. Engineered, designed and built in the U.S., the Venza was arguably the handsomest model in Toyota’s lineup.
Based on the Golf hatchback, this two-door compact had a retractable hardtop roof. The complicated roof made it more expensive and heavier than other small convertibles. Its lack of exciting looks, handling or performance also hurt its sales prospects.
This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press.