It happens every year. Several models depart from the market and are either replaced by an all-new vehicle with a different name or discontinued with no immediate plans for a replacement. As the transition to the 2016 model year moves forward, the following vehicles won’t see the new year.
1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Ralliart
The Mitsubishi Lancer lives on for 2016, but its two most important all-wheel drive models are history. Mitsubishi gave the Lancer a facelift for 2016 and upgraded the content of its four standard trim levels, but this compact model loses its performance edge by canceling both the Lancer Evolution and Ralliart editions.
The struggling Japanese automaker is also closing its lone North American manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois, by year end. U.S. sales are up sharply this year, but a paucity of strong products does not bode well for the long term prospects of this brand.
2. Nissan Xterra
Yet another body-on-frame SUV bites the dust as the Nissan Xterra drives off into the sunset. This rugged SUV once had a strong following, but with few updates made and many other models to choose from, Nissan is giving it the axe.
This news comes as Nissan readies the next generation Frontier, from which the Xterra was derived. Reportedly, Nissan didn’t want to pay the extra money to make a new Xterra structurally compliant to meet safety regulations. If you want a midsize traditional SUV, the Toyota 4Runner is the lone holdout.
3. Jaguar XK
(Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC)
The Jaguar XK is gone, having shared the limelight briefly with the Jaguar F-Type. Quite frankly, there is no room in the Jaguar portfolio for this model as it readies its first SUV, the F-Pace and brings a compact sedan to the market in the XE.
Rumor has it that a larger replacement for the XK is planned, based on a stretched version of the F-Type, but that model may be four or five years away. In all likelihood we’ll see a second SUV join the Jaguar lineup before we see the likes of a new XK-type model anytime soon.
4. Honda Crosstour
(American Honda Motor Co., Inc.)
Like the Toyota Venza, the Honda Crosstour went against styling convention. Both models are based on each brand’s popular midsize sedans, with the Venza using the Toyota Camry as a platform and the Crosstour sharing its underpinnings with the Honda Accord. Toyota axed its Venza crossover earlier this year and now Honda will follow suit.
With so many other choices on the market, these two quirky models will not be missed. As for a third quirky crossover, the Ford Flex still has some life left in it.
5. Scion xB
(Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.)
Fresh on the heels of the discontinued Scion iQ, the Scion xB has also been whacked. This boxy people mover defined the Scion brand early on and managed to make it through two generation product changes.
Alas, Toyota has other plans for its youth-oriented brand, including the Scion iM hatchback, released along with the Scion iA sedan for 2016. Rumors are rampant that Scion will get a small crossover that’s based on the Toyota CH-R concept.
6. Infiniti Q40
Ah, naming conventions! Infiniti changed its model names for 2014, assigning a Q designation for its cars and QX for its SUVs. In 2014 it brought to the market an all-new Q50 sedan to replace the previous G37.
However, Infiniti decided to keep the previous G37 and sell it alongside the current Q50. In 2015, the G37 was renamed the Q40. After only one year with its new name, the “old” G37 will not see the 2016 model year. Are you confused yet? No worries, an all-new Q30 will soon follow, which was conceived in a partnership Infiniti has with Mercedes-Benz.
(Mazda North American Operations)
Among minivans, the Mazda5 is the best aligned of the batch. Each of the competing models are comparatively bloated and less “mini” van than the Mazda5. Mazda sells only 500 or 600 of its “5” models per month, but more than 10,000 Mazda crossover SUVs leave dealer lots month after month.
Instead of sinking more cash in a money losing segment, Mazda has wisely placed its bets on SUVs. Good-bye, Mazda 5! And is that a new RX sports car we see following?!
The Ford Flex is one of several threatened species or models, but it will survive for yet another model year. Expect the Chevrolet SS to last for about two more years as Holden production winds down. That also means the Chevrolet Caprice PPV will come to an end as well. However, General Motors may build an all-new rear-wheel drive model based on a modified version of the Cadillac CT6 platform, itself yielding a Buick variant based on the Avenir concept.