So long, farewell to two more models.
The number of car models available continues to shrink, as manufacturers prioritize other body styles. Specifically, utility vehicles and trucks. We are not all that surprised when a model goes away. Although some like the previously dropped Ford Taurus and the on-again, off-again Chevrolet Impala are worth noting.
This week we learned that the Toyota Avalon, a flagship sedan most recently overhauled in 2019, will soon be no more. Also, the Acura NSX sports car will specially celebrate its final year. These models are far different than they are alike, but their disappearance will be noticed.
Farewell Toyota Avalon
Introduced in 1995, the Avalon was Toyota’s answer to the full-size Buick models of that day. Based on an extended version of the midsize Camry platform, the first models offered room for six. That feat was accomplished by moving the transmission shifter to the dashboard. Also, by supplying first- and second-row bench seats. Yes, the quarters were tight, but they were much larger than the six-passenger Chrysler K-Cars of the 1980s.
Toyota kept building and improving the Avalon through the years, by enlarging its footprint and supplying it with more powerful engines. Through its first three generations, the Avalon and its sister Lexus ES shared a platform with the Toyota Camry. Beginning in 2013, as it launched its fourth generation, the two large sedans gained further separation from Camry. That’s when Toyota introduced a derivative of the Camry platform to underpin these two models.
For most of its history, the Avalon was front-wheel drive with a V6 gas engine. Starting in 2013, Toyota introduced a hybrid variant with a four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor. Beginning with the 2021 model year, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is slotted beneath the V6. The smaller engine brought a slight uptick in fuel economy. Further, it allowed Toyota to introduce all-wheel drive to the Avalon for the first time.
Avalon sales are trending about half of what they were in 2013 when more than 70,000 units were sold. Sales topped 100,000 units in 2000, then remained strong for most of the 2000s.
Alas, like other flagship models from competing brands, the Avalon’s future was tenuous at best. With this model going away, Toyota will still offer the midsize Camry and compact Corolla sedans. Moreover, customers will find hatchbacks, coupes, utility vehicles, and trucks for the choosing.
Farewell Acura NSX
The NSX is the ultimate halo model, offered as a Honda in most markets, but marketed by Acura in the U.S. Introduced in 1990, the original NSX had a 15-year model run before it was canceled. When it was brought back in 2016, this mid-engine sports car gained hybrid status due to its three electric motors.
The original NSX has the distinction of being the first mass-produced automobile with an all-aluminum body. It also has an all-aluminum 3.0-liter V6 engine, which was replaced by a 3.2-liter V6 in 1997. Manual and automatic transmission choices send power to the rear wheels.
Return of the NSX
After an extended hiatus, the NSX returned. This time, the new model was designed and built in the U.S. with a hybrid drivetrain standard. Two electric motors turn the front wheels; a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission works with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. Together, this system develops nearly 600 horsepower.
Like the Avalon, 2022 will be the final year for the NSX. To mark this sad occasion, Acura will offer a limited-run Type S model. In fact, every model produced in 2022 will sport this appellation. Notably, the Type S will be the most powerful NSX yet, although the specs are pending as of this writing. This model will be limited to 300 units in the U.S. market with another 50 available globally. Acura says that this is the first time a Type S model will be built outside of Japan.
Going, Going, Gone!
Besides the Toyota Avalon and Acura NSX, there are other models on the way out for 2022. These include the Volkswagen Passat, Hyundai Veloster, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. Other models coming to an end include the Mazda6, Mazda CX-3, Volvo V60, Volvo V90, and the Honda Clarity.
Some of the vehicles canceled stateside will continue in global markets. For instance, the Mazda6 will live on in markets where sedan sales remain strong. The same can be said for the Volvos, Volkswagen Passat, and the Hyundai Veloster. Thus, the ultimate farewell applies to the Avalon and NSX, because even the Land Cruiser will continue in other markets.
Toyota Avalon photo copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. Acura NSX photo courtesy of the manufacturer.