2015 will signal the end for several models. A few will disappear in 2016 and at least two models are poised to return after a brief hiatus.
Every year, manufacturers retire models, including some that won’t be replaced. The retro Ford Thunderbird left us in 2005 after a four-year run; the Saturn Sky also lasted for four years, then was canceled as GM killed the brand in 2010.
Over the coming year and in some cases within the coming week, a number of models will drive off into the sunset for the last time. The following is our list of models that won’t see the 2016 model year or will be canceled before the 2017 vehicles are released.
1. Hyundai Genesis and Equus — Say it ain’t so! Yes, the two largest and most luxurious models in the Hyundai product line are on the way out. The good news is that both sedans will be replaced over the next two years by a new “Genesis” line of models, known as the G80 and G90, respectively. Hyundai is now “all in” on a luxury brand as it plans to deliver new models to compete with BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz under the Genesis marque.
2. Jeep Compass and Patriot — Jeep has not one, but two compact models to draw in customers. Both models are based on the retired Dodge Caliber platform and have sold very well, especially over the past year. However, Jeep plans to drop both models when a new compact SUV arrives late in 2016. Word has it that the new model may retain the name of one of the outgoing vehicles. Jeep hasn’t said which one will survive, but we’re thinking Patriot has a better chance than Compass.
3. Lincoln MKS — Based on the same platform underpinning the Ford Taurus, the Lincoln MKS had European aspirations — especially in all-wheel drive garb — but it never measured up. The MKS has been a perennial underseller since its introduction and will be retired next year to make way for the Lincoln Continental. The Continental is based on a stretched Ford Fusion platform, but it has the style, amenities, performance and the name cache that no three-letter Lincoln nomenclature can match.
4. Mazda Mazda5 — Mazda seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to vehicle manufacturing, presenting winners with its Miata MX-5 roadster, Mazda6 midsize sports sedan, and the CX-3, a compact SUV. Like other manufacturers, minivan or small multi-purpose vehicle offerings such as the Mazda5 have struggled. That’s too bad because when it comes to SUVs, Mazda has found much success. Still, the minivan segment is barely hanging on and for those customers who want one, models such as the Kia Sedona, Chrysler Town & Country, and Toyota Sienna offer more room and better utility than does the retiring Mazda.
5. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo — Mitsubishi fans have been in an uproar ever since this manufacturer killed off its performance division in 2010. The writing was on the wall five years ago: the Lancer Evolution would eventually be retired. That retirement is here, following a 2016 refresh of the Lancer. Although the mainstream compact Lancer sedan will continue for the foreseeable future, its performance variant has been nixed.
6. Nissan Xterra — Remember the Nissan Xterra? You may have thought that this model had already disappeared, but it has been hanging around in the face of declining sales. As the last body-on-frame midsize SUV produced by this manufacturer (the Pathfinder transitioned to a crossover in 2014), it is going the way of all other models except for the Toyota 4Runner. Like the 4Runner, the Xterra is based on the brand’s midsize truck. Quite simply, Nissan didn’t want to invest additional monies propping up a model that has long lost its mass appeal.
7. Toyota Venza — Toyota, along with Honda experimented with the wagon-like crossover segment, but soon realized the market wasn’t there. Maybe both manufacturers should have considered the Chrysler Pacifica, another tall wagon that was canceled in 2008 following a five-year model run. Both the Toyota Venza and the Honda Accord Crosstour are gone after 2015.
A Look at the Rest
Other models being terminated include the Land Rover LR2, Jaguar XK, the Mini Roadster and Coupe, and the Volkswagen Eos. The Land Rover Defender is also on that list, but a new model should return after a two-year hiatus.
As far as buying a discontinued model, you have a few things to consider:
1), Such models typically are heavily discounted in a bid to clear dealer lots to make way for new vehicles; and
2) As long as the manufacturer maintains a market presence, obtaining parts is not an issue. However, keep in mind that some models may cost you more if the vehicle is imported and the discontinued model is scarce in the first place.
Lastly, if you buy a discontinued model, the new vehicle warranty is still in effect. That’s the peace of mind consumers want as the bumper-to-bumper, powertrain, and rust warranties remain in effect.