Now that the 2016 model year is here, we had to say good-bye to more than a few cars that didn’t make it past 2015. Some were good cars, some were mediocre cars, and some were answers to questions nobody asked.
But out of all the cars that are no longer sold in 2016, these are the five that we at TFLcar will miss the most.
5 – Mazda 5 – The Mazda 5 will be missed because there was really nothing else like it, and most likely there never will be again. It was a mini-minivan, a compact-based tall hatchback with real sliding doors. Its small size made it more fun to drive than a big minivan, plus it was made by Mazda, who bake driving fun into all their vehicles. Unfortunately, the manual transmission option was dropped last year, and now the 5 is gone forever, another victim of the crossover craze.
4 – MINI Roadster – MINI has been pruning their lineup to a more manageable number of models. While the Coupe made really no sense, the Roadster was oddly interesting. As a two-seat convertible, it promised to be more sporting than the four-seat convertible, even though under the skin there was really no difference. But what the Roadster had going for it was that its convertible top can be stowed neatly away, not above the beltline as in the convertible, while still having a reasonably sized trunk. It was the only front-drive, two-seater convertible on the market, and its absence will leave a hole in the market.
3 – Jaguar XK – The XK has been around for eight years, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be missed. It’s still one of the best-looking cars on the road. The big, British grand tourer will be replaced with a new model based on the XJ sedan, and Jaguar does have a way of making striking vehicles, so there is hope on the horizon. The XK, though, is a car that Jaguar got right, and will be a tough act to follow.
2 – Nissan Xterra – The Xterra is one of the last of a dying breed of truck-based, off-road-worthy SUVs. It was also available with a six-speed manual transmission, one of the rare SUVs left with such an option. Based on the Frontier pickup truck, the Xterra was the spiritual successor of the original Pathfinder, which was based on the Hardbody pickup. The Pathfinder, like most SUV marques from the 80s, has moved on to be a car-based crossover. The age of the affordable off-road SUV is almost at an end, with only the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner left.
1 – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – It’s tough to say good-bye to a legend. The Evo, with its rallying pedigree and bonkers performance, has always been the harder-edged of the big two Japanese rally cars, with the Subaru WRX tending to be the more practical of the two. The WRX has grown up and now even comes in a slightly detuned base version with – gasp! – a CVT option. The Evo is a reminder that Mitsubishi used to be a performance company and knew how to make good cars that enthusiasts loved. Its death symbolizes what the company has become – a purveyor of bland crossovers, small electric vehicles and the cheapest car available in the U.S., the lackluster Mirage. Only 1,600 2015 Evos have been earmarked for the U.S., and they’re based on the more powerful GSR model. So if you want one, act fast.
The cars list above will surely be missed, but there are still plenty to love. Here is The Fast Lane Car’s 6th Annual Awards of the Top Ten Most Fun to Drive