It’s not easy being a car these days. No one wants to buy you. You haven’t been updated or refreshed in eons. Your manufacturer is scaling back your production. The laundry list goes on and on. But nothing, nothing is worse than getting the axe. This list is a compilation of cars that won’t be available after the 2009 production year. So get one while you can.
1. Honda S2000
After a decade of production of Honda’s virtually unchanged sports car, the high-revving, lightweight roadster is heading towards the white light. We’ll miss the spunky 2L’s 9,000 rpm redline and the car’s devotion to Colin Chapman’s ideals, or at least the Japanese interpretation of them. The S2000 will hold a special place in our hearts for being the only interesting car for gearheads that Honda has made in the last decade. Let’s hope that Honda finds a suitable replacement. CR-Z anyone?
2. Cadillac XLR
This video of a 9-year-old Mexican boy doing a burnout in an XLR brought a tear to my eye. These were the kinds of shenanigans that brought communities together. Such was the magic of the XLR. After only 5 short years on this earth, Cadillac’s retractable hard-top, SL-fighting, halo car is going the way of the dodo. We will especially miss the XLR-V and its supercharged Northstar V8. What a sound that engine made… What we won’t miss is the rubbish build quality and wallet-scorching depreciation that the XLR was so well known for.
3. Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC Envoy/4 other GMT 360′s
I really can’t think of anything that we’ll miss about this platform. The engines were unrefined and thirsty, the styling atrocious, the variants too numerous, the interior archaic, the ride quality questionable, and the price unreasonable. In its defense, it could do a bit of towing. But did I mention that there were GMC, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Isuzu, Buick, and Saab models of the same thing? This was General Motors badge-engineering at its finest. Good riddance GMT 360.
4. Chrysler PT Cruiser
This modern-day retro-wagon probably shouldn’t have been on this side of the green grass for so long. The effeminate wagon was not good enough to offer an attractive alternative to SUVs, which is a shame because we’re usually pretty big fans of wagons and hatchbacks here at CarEnvy. We’re particularly happy to see the convertible version go. Talk about poor design. For most of its buyers though, the PT represented a whole lot of nostalgia that we were too young to appreciate. Wood panelling? Please don’t.
5. Pontiac Montana SV6/Chevrolet Uplander
Long after people had traded in their minivans for SUVs here in North America, GM decided that there was still a market for vans, if only they could rebrand them as being SUV-like. The Uplander/Montana SUV-lite brothers were mingers if we ever saw one. That awful truckish nose plastered onto an amorphous blob of a body was accompanied by an even more spartan interior. This last of a dying breed was cheap in every sense of the word, and that’s not what GM needs moving forward. We look forward to more vehicles with Malibu-like, not Uplander/SV6-like quality.
6. Saturn Astra
The Opel Astra was supposed to be everything that the North American population was looking for when gas prices skyrocketed. It’s pleasant to look at, relatively good on gas, comes in a practical hatchback package, and has respectable build quality. This is the kind of car that critics (i.e. US Congress) of the Detroit 2.45 are convinced that Americans want. It’s not SUV and trucks, they claim. So why haven’t we taken to the diminutive GM car? Maybe North Americans just want Detroit to build them trucks and leave the small cars to the imports. Considering that the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado were the #1 and #2 selling vehicles in the US for 2008, I’m not sure that the Astra represents the kinds of cars that people actually want. Which is a pity because I think the Astra is a pretty decent car. Either way, there will be no 2009 model because there’s so much 2008 stock left. Saturn claims that the Astra will be back for 2010. Sure it will, we believe you.
7. Lexus SC
Now here is a $100,000 that promises very little and delivers even less. The promise? A Lexus 2+2 sports car with retractable hard top. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well it is. The rear seats have 9 mm of leg room, the front of the vehicle cannot be distinguished from the back, it has a 2L trunk, the engine is 2 generations old, it doesn’t handle well, and it’s not fast. It’s basically a $100,000 turd.