It happens every year. About this time, a number of automobiles once touted as the latest and greatest pass into the history books, either fondly remembered or ridiculed and reviled.
And so, it's the season to mourn the vehicles whose time has come and gone, passing into the great beyond for the 2018 model year.
Chrysler 200. While its 2015 redesign was a huge improvement over the models that previously wore the name, this car still earned the wrath of Consumer Reports, which rated it one of the seven cars owners regret purchasing. "It would be generous to say Chrysler's 200 is mediocre," the editors wrote in April 2017. That alone is enough to seal its fate with potential buyers.
Lexus CT200h. Would you buy a five-door Lexus hatchback that uses the hybrid driveline from the Toyota Prius? Before you answer, consider the Prius is larger and has better fuel economy. OK, the Lexus does boast luxurious cabin trim, and doesn't look as dorky. But now that the Prius has been redesigned, buying the older Prius in Lexus trimmings hardly seems like smart product planning.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Though this egg-shaped car always looked delightfully odd, its memorable styling was saddled with a name that's sales-proof. (In case you're wondering, it stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle.) But it's the anemic 70-mile range that's truly sales-proof. Want to experience range anxiety? This is your ride.
Nissan Quest. You might suppose this minivan is dying due to its challenging exterior aesthetics or its unremarkable handling. But these traits aren't priorities for minivan buyers. In fact, the Quest boasts a posh interior and delivers a quiet, comfortable ride, and its seats fold flat to create a cavernous cabin for cargo.No, its Achilles heel was that it held seven, not eight, passengers.
Volkswagen Touareg. With impeccable build quality, remarkable performance, and a stiff price tag, it's hard to escape the impression that the Touareg is way too premium to be a VW. In fact, it always felt like an Audi. And its name invoked questions, not admiration for its off-road prowess. Ultimately, the arrival of two mainstream SUVs, the three-row Atlas and redesigned Tiguan, doomed the Touareg.
Chevrolet SS. It's a pity few drivers ever got to savor this aggressive Australian sedan, built by GM's Holden division. It unleashes 415 horsepower from its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 and channels it through a six-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. Few automakers build cars like this, and if they do, they come from Germany and cost twice as much.
Dodge Viper. For 25 years, the Viper was a 10-cylinder fire-breathing hellion, eschewing niceties to prove its machismo. While born with no outside door handles, no side windows, and no air bags, later models would make concessions to civilization. Unrepentant to the end, its home was the track, where its fierce abilities proved its name was no marketing exercise.
Jeep Patriot. For the last 11 years, the Patriot was the cheapest Jeep you could buy. Performance, on-road and off, was modest at best. Ultimately, the Patriot was replaced by the redesigned 2018 Compass, which inherited the Patriot's saving grace: It looks like a Jeep.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class. It entered the States as an electric vehicle, a task for which it was never designed and that explains an unimpressive 87-mile range. Performance and styling were never impressive enough to justify its price.
Mitsubishi Lancer. Outdated and outclassed by virtually every compact sedan on the market, the Lancer survived on the goodwill of its high-performance Evo model and the sales rub-off it engendered. Those who couldn't afford an Evo could buy a Lancer and tart it up. The Evo's prowess only hid the flaws that were always present and were revealed once the Evo was no longer around to hide them.