With Halloween around the corner, CarGurus investigated some discontinued car models to find whether or not there were any “zombie cars” lurking around the website. Sure enough, we discovered that while most vehicles experience a drop-off in customer interest once they’ve been discontinued, some stick around, generating plenty of interest while haunting our listing pages.
Buying a discontinued car certainly involves some risks, but owning the right one can be worth the extra effort. If you’re looking at buying a car that’s not built anymore, be sure to keep a few things in mind:
- Research potential mechanical problems and the availability of spare parts. The nice part about discontinued models is that most mechanical ailments have been well documented. Make sure you’re buying a car that will spend more time in your garage than your mechanic’s.
- Keep in mind that the longer a car’s been off the shelf, the more likely it is to have a dramatically reduced re-sale value. This can result in some great deals if you’re shopping, but some serious heartburn when it comes time to sell.
- One key trick to identifying good discontinued models is to research their “sister” cars. To keep research and development costs down, many automakers establish partnerships and sell a single vehicle architecture under two brand names. The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, for example, are built side-by-side in the same factory, using the same parts. A quick Wikipedia search will let you know a particular car or truck’s related models.
Without further ado, here are the 10 most interesting zombie cars we found lurking around CarGurus:
The arrival of the Ford Focus RS has served as a timely reminder to shopping car enthusiasts: hot hatches aren’t going out of style. Mazda decided to discontinue the potent Mazdaspeed3 after the 2013 model year, but it hasn’t been forgotten. As Volkswagen GTIs and hot Focuses continue to record strong new-car sales, Mazdaspeed3s haven’t stopped delivering sales for used-car dealers.
The Mazda2 hasn’t been sold since 2014… or has it? Plenty of shoppers are still looking at the value-oriented subcompact on the used market, but it spent 2016 living a true zombie lifestyle, reincarnated as the Scion iA. Employing the same engine and drivetrain, Scion was nonetheless able to coax an additional 6 horsepower and substantially better fuel economy from its undead Mazda2. Sadly, the iA will be joining the vehicle graveyard after 2017, as Toyota hasn’t announced any plans to absorb it during Scion’s dissolution.
Like it or not, the Toyota Supra‘s success in the afterlife may have as much to do with the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise as it does the venerable 2JZ-GTE engine found under its hood. Few cars have built up to the Supra’s equivalent in enthusiast lore, and as prices for good examples continue to skyrocket, more and more fans eagerly await the new Supra, to be made this time in conjunction with BMW.
Chalk this one up to, “They don’t make them like they used to.” When we looked at a reinvigorated midsize pickup market drawing new competition, we should have realized that demand for smaller trucks hasn’t leveled off too dramatically. The Toyota Pickup is about as basic and reliable a small pickup as you can find, and it has the distinction of being Marty McFly’s dream car.
Despite its strangely simplistic yet still odd looks, the Volkswagen EuroVan is yet another deceased model enjoying an uptick in used sales. Few cars are as versatile as the Eurovan, which could be equipped with a third-row bench seat capable of folding into a bed and rearward-facing bucket seats in the second row. A fan base enamored with Euro looks and surprising handling has helped give this car life after death.
The Bugatti Veyron was practically a zombie car when it debuted in 2006. With the exception of the short-lived EB110 from the early 1990s, no cars had worn the Bugatti badge since the early 1960s. Volkswagen AG’s decision to purchase the marque in 1998 led to the Veyron, which has enjoyed a storied, if short, career highlighted by two back-to-back Guinness World Records and an Ace Hood music video.
Interest in all used Porsches, be they 911s or 356s or even 914s, has been steadily climbing for years now, but when we noticed an uptick in interest in the Porsche 968, we knew things were getting out of hand. The Porsche 968 was certainly a rare car in the U.S., but with its 944-style rear end and 928-style headlights, it always looked a bit too thrown-together to generate any feelings of want, let alone need. The 3.0-liter inline-4 cylinder made a healthy 236 horsepower, but we’re without doubt that its Porsche badge is what’s giving this discontinued model extra life.
Two hundred eighty horsepower and all-wheel drive might not sound like much compared to today’s trucks, but in 1991, they were enough to warrant a ridiculous name like “GMC Syclone.” Built only for the 1991 model year, the rarity of this car, combined with America’s love of pickups, has helped used Syclones generate more inquiries than the competition. Add some very favorable user reviews on CarGurus, and it’s no surprise the Syclone’s been given some extra life.
Speaking of America’s automotive loves, very little compares to our adoration of 4-wheel drive and a 7-slot grille. So we shouldn’t be shocked to see the late Jeep Commander generating continued interest from shoppers on CarGurus. Even though it showcased dreadful fuel economy (particularly in 4-wheel-drive V8 models), the Commander has earned some fans through its boxy design and stadium-style second- and third-row seats.
Ford Bronco II
The political excitement surrounding Ford’s small-car division moving to Mexico and opening up factory space in Michigan has everyone thinking about new Rangers and Broncos for the U.S. market. Meanwhile, the discontinued Bronco II has continued to soldier on as a popular used model. The Bronco II delivers 4-wheel drive while conjuring a sizable portion of nostalgia (not to mention memories of O.J. Simpson). It seems many shoppers aren’t content to wait for Ford to introduce a new Bronco and are happily shopping for the old one instead.
What’s your favorite discontinued car model?
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