The best new cars of the 2015 model year are springing to life – cars like the Subaru Legacy, the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, and the BMW i8.But what about the walking dead – the cars that are meeting their demise, timely or untimely?
Before they're forgotten, it's time to pay respects to another batch of vehicles that have stared down the grim reaper, and lost. Send your condolences:
Acura TL and Acura TSX
Acura's trading in a lot of vehicles this year: after axing the wacky ZDX coupe-ute last year, it's dumping the four-door TL sedan and the TSX sedan and wagon this year. They're both being replaced for the 2015 model year by the brand-new TLX sedan.
BMW's smallest coupe and convertible aren't dying off so much as moving to greener pastures. Under BMW's latest naming change, the 1-Series two-doors are now 2-Series two-doors, and pretty wonderful in M235i trim at that. A new 1-Series is sure to return in the future, once BMW starts building cars in its new plant in central Mexico.
Cadillac CTS-V sedan and wagon
Cadillac's brilliant CTS-V cars gave us hope that a hotted-up, humpbacked luxowagon could somehow make sense to mainstream America. It did not, so this year, the last-gen CTS-V four- and five-doors go away. The two-door lingers on for a short model run, while Cadillac preps V-Series cars based on the ATS Coupe and, fingers crossed, CTS sedan.
Chevrolet Malibu Eco and Chevrolet Impala Eco
GM thought mild hybrids were the wave of the future, so it strapped its eAssist technology to both its mainstream Chevy sedans. In the process, they proved Americans are fickle and numbers-fixated. The mild gas-mileage improvements put the Malibu and Impala Eco off the shopping lists of buyers wanting sky-high EPA ratings, so this year they're both deleted. Ironically, the last-generation Chevy Impala soldiers on still, as a fleet powerhouse.
Chrysler 200 convertible
The new Chrysler 200 is a stunner of a sedan. As a convertible, it's postmortem. The ragtop and hardtop 200s won't join the sexy party--Chrysler's dropped the convertible model, since most of them were low-margin rental specials.
Honda Fit EV
While Honda moves into a new body style with the 2015 Fit, the battery-powered version of last year's car is still available--though we wouldn't wait around too long if you're interested in one, and want to take advantage of some of the heavy EV tax credits that could be off the table next year. As for an updated Fit EV, Honda's confirmed nothing.
Like all classic Lamborghini nameplates, the Gallardo has finally aged out of the system. This year, it was replaced by the crazy-fast Huracan.
A two-door, top-end Mercedes is still with us--it just doesn't wear its own model designation anymore. For 2015, the S-Class lineup now includes a lovely two-door coupe, while the former CL badges get retired to a bin in Stuttgart, ready to be drop-shipped to hip-hopping Etsy users worldwide.
Pitched as a postmodern rolling lounge, the Nissan Cube never caught on--but why? It was festooned with details ranging from the odd to the functionally impaired, and though it was inexpensive, it wasn't particularly interesting to drive. Ponder no more its strange water-themed interior: this year, the Cube's being put on ice.
Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Rumor said Nissan would slice the top off its Murano crossover, but few believed them. Then it actually happened. The Murano CrossCabriolet was one of the strangest new vehicles in recent memory--and now it's gone, cut out of the Nissan lineup like so much essential body structure.
Scion was JDM when JDM wasn't cool--and then it progressively made it not-cooler, with cars like the second-generation xB and the xD, which replaced the xA, at which point everyone was confused. A classic middle child to the xB and the iQ city car, the xD never had much going for it, other than plenty of availability.
Toyota RAV4 EV
It was the SUV with the Tesla Model S underneath, and if you leased one in California you probably loved it. But the battery-powered RAV4 EV was a one-off project between California's newest automaker and the latest automaker to sayadios to the Golden State, and now Toyota says it's focusing on hybrids and fuel cells.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Say what you will about its mainstream cars, but Toyota can build a bad-ass SUV when it wants to. The FJ Cruiser's proof enough: it'll claw along rocks with a Wrangler or an Xterra, and its almost alien looks are an instant classic. It's served its time, surrounded by Yaris and Corolla and the like, and gets an honorable discharge this year.
The Routan was a version of the Chrysler minivans, with a slightly nicer but less functional interior--the Saab 9-2X of minivans, if you will. Last year you still could buy one as a fleet vehicle, but this year it's finally been snuffed out.
The asterisks: Cars on hold for 2015
First, Infiniti said it would replace the G37 sedan with the Q50 sedan. Then it said no, it would actually keep the G37 around for a few more years until its new compact cars were ready for sale. Now, for 2015, Infiniti says it's renaming the G37 the Infiniti Q40. So the newest vehicle in the brand lineup is actually one of its oldest. Mind blown. Golf clap. Done.
Lexus IS C and IS F
Lexus has a new IS sedan for 3-Series deniers, but the two-doors? Last year they were carryovers, and this year, they get a new RC model name. The coupe/convertible and slap-happy-strong F editions? We're not saying, and Lexus isn't saying, when or how they'll be back--but we'd suggest you watch that RC space carefully.
The perky little Mazda 2 hatchback never made much noise in the marketplace, and it's officially skipping the 2015 model year. As for the pretty little 2016 Mazda 2 just announced for Japan? Odds are we'll be seeing it in America sooner rather than later.
The Maxima's in a holding pattern from 2014. Nissan has shown a concept sedan at auto shows, but says only that it will have enough '14s on hand until it launches a new version early next year.
Volvo's been smothering the Internets with details of an all-new XC90 crossover we'll see later this year at the Paris auto show. But new cars from Sweden typically take some time to land on American shores--so the XC90 finishes off its last generation as a 2014, skips 2015, and leaps headlong into the future with the new, 2016 version.