The end of the year always gets us feeling a little nostalgic for the journey we've been on over the past 365 days. So much laughter! So many tears! All of it bundled in a little capsule on the space-time continuum called 2017. But even if you're ready to move on and find something to look forward to in 2018, for the below vehicles, that just ain't an option — it's the literal and figurative end of the road for all of them.
Related: Do Discontinued Cars Make Used-Car Bargains?
We took a quick look through our archives and did a little extra digging to determine which cars we already knew were headed for the afterlife and which ones got official confirmation this year. Below is the list of those that won't live to see another model year in 2018 — at least, not in their known corporeal form (we see you, first-generation Chrysler Pacifica).
The Ones We Knew About in 2016
The Ones We Found Out About in 2017
Of all the body styles to take the brunt of consumers' tastes turning toward SUVs, sedans may have it worst — and the full-size Azera lands squarely in that category, its V-6 power and aging style further handicapping it against rivals like its redesigned corporate sibling, the Kia Cadenza, as well as the Chevrolet Impala, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon. When Hyundai announced a redesigned Azera[MP13] for overseas markets in October 2016, the death watch was on; the automaker finally confirmed as much in July. With sales dwindling significantly over the course of the past year (just 2,919 Azeras were sold in 2017 through November), it's little wonder why.
Lodged between a new version of the smaller QX50 two-row SUV and the larger QX80 three-row, Infiniti's QX70 was riding on a platform that hadn't seen a revamp since 2009 — the only significant revision since its debut as a 2003 model. Infiniti confirmed the car's demise in July ahead of the new QX50's debut at the recent 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show — but if you're asking us, this won't be the last you hear of a QX70. Shoppers are hungry for SUVs, and this one has a market legacy. One for the zombie hunters.
Lexus CT 200h
This one never really caught on with American shoppers. From an underwhelming powertrain to lacking luxuriousness, sportiness and affordability — not to mention fuel economy that no longer impressed, a crucial selling point that could no longer sell — the CT 200h was able to survive as long as it did largely due to being free of natural enemies. Well, at least until speculation accompanying the obituary that Lexus would swap it out for a (surprise!) crossover possibly based on the unloved Toyota C-HR.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Do you know anyone who drives a B-Class, let alone a B-Class Electric Drive? Have you ever seen one? Did you even know this thing existed? Exactly. When a company spokesman confirmed in late July that the B-Class Electric Drive was done, all 3,500 owners over four model years of shopping collectively remembered they had one in their garages ... and that they dropped 40 large to get one.
We've been expecting the demise of this one for so long that it's difficult to remember a time when we didn't. It's hard to justify keeping a car around that not only topped our list of appalling automotive contraptions (calling it a car seems generous, frankly) but also made our list of worst buys for 2017. For a vehicle that was supposed to be sold for its green-friendly ability and quirky styling, striking out on both counts was always going to mean the i-MiEV wasn't long for this world.
"Fast and Furious" franchise enthusiasts, aging rally fans, and high schoolers with a new license and modest, functionally minded parents aside, there wasn't much love in the market for the (also aging) Lancer before it was given the ax this summer. It'll always have a reputation for performance chops honed over years of Evolution variants, but the Lancer is a sedan in a time when sedans have a tenuous outlook. Maybe Mitsubishi will return with a Lancer Cross SUV version?
This is a weird one. By almost every account — including Nissan's site, which not-so-subtly reminds you that features of "the family limo" can also be found in the Pathfinder, Armada and NV passenger van — this straggler of the minivan market was dead in 2016. And technically, you'll never find an original owner on your block who bought a 2017 Quest for themselves — but that doesn't mean one doesn't exist. Thanks to some tipsters keeping a close eye on sales sheets, Nissan let silently slip that the Quest was doing fleet sales with a 2017 Quest. But even that wasn't enough to keep it alive — there will be no 2018 Quests for anyone. Which is just as well considering how much better the alternatives are.
In a reversal of strategies to the B-Class Electric Drive (whose gas equivalents will still be produced elsewhere globally), Mercedes-Benz's gas version of the Smart ForTwo microcar was finished off after only two model years in February, leaving only the ForTwo Electric Drive in showrooms. A pivot toward "a sustainable, zero-emissions future" was the line given for the call, though it's not as if the ForTwo is a hot seller in either guise — just 130 were sold in November.
The CC was a precariously placed coupelike sedan in the VW lineup, a sporty design study that could seemingly siphon off Passat or Jetta buyers. It didn't, of course, which was one of the contributors to its demise. But there's a plot twist: The CC is being reincarnated as the Arteon for 2019. Using "death" in the context of this car is, consequently, a bit of a stretch.
... But there's no stretch regarding the death of the Touareg, VW's mid-size SUV that got the boot in favor of a focus on the brand's other two SUVs, the redesigned Tiguan and all-new Atlas. A luxury price tag with mainstream offerings was never going to fly in a class that has gotten exponentially more crowded, and with its most recent redesign only coming in 2011, the writing was on the wall.
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