Nine Cars Bidding Farewell: The Good, the Bad and the Confusing

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The sad reality of the auto industry is that some vehicles don’t have long lifespans. This is always a sad time of year when we begin to realize some of our favorite models will not get refreshed for the new year. Of course, automakers and industry analysts have been hinting that some of these wouldn’t see a new edition, but now the reality is sinking in.

Now, to be completely honest, we’re not completely upset to see some of these vehicles go. A lot of these cars are going away for a reason. Whether it be poor sales or an over-extended lifespan, some of these cars just didn’t ever find their place in the market. Our feelings are mixed: We’ll certainly miss some of them and certainly won’t others, but some we just aren’t sure about.

Cars we’re going to miss

2014 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

3. Sure, the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet may have looked a little odd, but it worked hard to earn a place close to our hearts. When it first launched in 2011, many criticized it as awkward, disproportionate, even ugly. We can’t argue with those assessments (they’re true), but the fact that it was awkward, disproportionate, and ugly is what made it so great. Too many crossovers these days are impossible to tell apart. With the Murano CrossCabriolet, however, there was no chance of mistaking it for something like a Lexus RX 350 or Buick Enclave. Imagine that production meeting when some Nissan engineer first proposed the car. “Hey guys! You know what would be awesome? Taking an AWD crossover, chopping off the roof and losing a few doors!” Somehow, Nissan got on board and actually brought us the Murano CrossCabriolet. It’s not every day automakers take risks like that, and it will probably be some time until we see another car as adventurous. For that, Murano CrossCabriolet, we salute you.

2014 Lamborghini Gallardo

2. Who wouldn’t miss seeing a beauty like the Lamborghini Gallardo on the road (not that you see many of them on roads anyways)? Lamborghini said farewell to its most popular model by putting the Gallardo out to pasture after an 11-year tenure. Don’t get us wrong, Lamborghini does a great job of replacing its models, and the Huracan looks absolutely fantastic. But it’s hard to say goodbye to this decade-long supercar icon. Lamborghini sent the Gallardo out with a bang with a series of limited and special editions to ensure it will not get forgotten. We are never happy to see such a gorgeous car leave the market.

2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser

1. Since launching for the 2007 model year, the Toyota FJ Cruiser was a giant amongst mere SUVs. In a world where things like fuel efficiency and massaging heated seats became desired items in cars, the FJ Cruiser stood tall, taking a stand for minimalism and sheer off-road prowess. Thanks to its body-on-frame construction, the FJ Cruiser was one of the most capable SUVs on the road. Add to that its retro good looks, and for the all-too-brief time it was around, Toyota gave us one of the quirkiest, most fun-to-drive and most rugged cars of recent memory. While initial sales were strong, high gas prices and consumer desire for luxury caused fewer and fewer FJ Cruisers to be sold, ultimately leading Toyota to discontinue the brute last year. If you’re looking to buy new, there are still a few stragglers left on dealer lots, so if you want a unique and rugged ride that holds its value well, act fast. Thankfully, the FJ Cruiser will live on for quite some time in the used car market.

Cars we’re ready to see go

2014 Honda Insight

3. The Honda Insight, the once-trailblazing, hypermiling hatchback, fizzled out over the years. It built a reputation for being a Prius clone over the last decade, though with a slightly less insufferable set of drivers. A little-known fact about the Insight: It was the first gasoline-electric hybrid in North America and paved the way for the hybrid craze of the last decade. The Insight began to blend into the rest of the hybrid pack and lost its place in the exceedingly crowded, Prius-dominated market. Although we respect the fact that the Insight was able to pave the way in some respects, we can’t say we’re mourning its loss. The Insight wasn’t about to blaze any more trails anytime soon.

2014 Dodge Avenger

2. The Dodge Avenger has a history of going away then coming back to life. In 2000, the Avenger was discontinued, only to be brought back 8 years later in the form that just left us. Unfortunately for Dodge, the Avenger didn’t quite live up to its name. Thanks to less-than-stellar sales, Dodge announced that 2014 would be the end of the line for the current Avenger. Thanks to FIAT not sharing its platforms with Dodge, it looks like there will be no successor, thus the Avenger likely won’t get a third chance to prove itself, which is probably for the better. Although the Avenger looked like a great value on paper, many drivers complained about issues like lackluster fuel economy and power. We’re not going to hold our breath waiting for its next incarnation, if it even gets one.

2014 Scion xD

1. Nobody’s favorite Scion finally took its last drive into the sunset: The Scion xD got neither refreshed nor renewed for 2015. After nearly a decade of under-performing in sales (getting outsold by a factor of 2 to 1 by all other Scion models), the xD finished its unimpressive repertoire. Having an underwhelming recent lineup and an early lineup that aged poorly finally caught up to the peppy hatchback. We don’t mean to say the xD has nothing to offer, as it will be a decently solid and inexpensive hatchback on the used market. We just aren’t sad to not see any new ones.

Cars we’re not sure about

2014 Nissan Cube

3. A lot of people don’t like the Nissan Cube, and we can understand why. It was an awkward, goofy car (well, technically it was a wagon). People really didn’t know what to think about it, including us. But that’s why we are slightly disappointed to see this box off the market. Say what you will about the Cube, but it had personality. It was one of the few cars on the U.S. market with a distinctly Japanese feel to it. With the Cube gone, there’s a definite vacuum in the market for quirky, oddly shaped, steeply angled small wagons. And we feel like that’s something the U.S. market needs.

2014 Lexus IS F

2. Since it hit the market back in 2008, the Lexus IS F and its snarling V8 served as a worthy challenger to its German adversaries. But why did Lexus discontinue a great car like the IS F? Back in 2006, Lexus announced its F line, meant to be high-performance versions of the company’s more sedate offerings. The IS F was the first car to get the F treatment, and fans lined up, looking to get a piece of the raucous sedan and its 416 ponies. While the IS F was a hit, Lexus was looking to make more of a name for itself in the performance market and announced the IS F would be discontinued, to be replaced by an awesomely more bonkers successor: the RC F. Based on the RC 350 (which is itself a coupe based on the IS 350), the RC F is poised to offer buyers a pavement-scorching 467 horses when it hits the market. While we should be sad to see the IS F go, given what a great replacement the RC F looks to be, we’re not really sure we are.

2014 Honda Ridgeline

1. The Honda Ridgeline won’t be back this year, but will return in the future. While the Ridgeline gained much praise when it first hit the market in the 2006 model year, Honda largely neglected the truck for the next few years, causing sales to plummet. As a result, Honda decided to discontinue the Ridgeline after 2014, but not before announcing a new Ridgeline, a truck that could see roads as early as 2016. While the old Ridgeline may not have been the toughest of trucks, its unibody construction made it quite comfortable on the road, and innovations like a two-way tailgate and hidden trunk under the bed made it versatile (and a great tailgater). While we’ll certainly miss this incarnation of the Ridgeline, we’re more excited to see what Honda has planned for the next one.

What cars will you miss this year?

-jharrington and zwaller

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Used Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet
Used Lamborghini Gallardo
Used Toyota FJ Cruiser
Used Honda Insight
Used Dodge Avenger
Used Scion xD
Used Nissan Cube
Used Lexus IS F
Used Honda Ridgeline

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