They’re often called “zombie cars” — discontinued models that still share our roads today. With automakers currently reacting hard and fast to the demand for SUVs, trucks and crossovers, and pushing for an electric future, many cars and sedans are on their way out. The same goes for diesel engines.
Is buying a discontinued model a good idea? You can certainly find deep discounts. And though some of these vehicles tend to lose their value, others become instant classics, with parts still readily available. Read on to see some discontinued cars that are very smart buys.
Last updated Sept. 30, 2020
The Ford Fiesta ended its U.S. production in 2019. This loss comes likely due to Ford’s new focus on crossovers, SUVs and electric vehicles. The Ford Fiesta has a lot of tech for the price and gets about 30 mpg. Try to find yourself an ST for a little more oomph. The latest model starts under $15,000.
The Volkswagen Beetle is dead. We probably should have told you to sit down for that huge news. “Why?” is probably all you’re asking. It’s been around since 1938 and ended production in July 2019.
In 2018, Hinrich J. Woebcken, the president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said the company wants to shift its focus to electric. Fortunately, you can own a piece of automotive history, with pricing for a new 2019 Beetle starting at $20,895. Also, find the Final Edition trim if you want a nod to the last of the last.
Hummer H2 and H3
Price: Under $15,000
The General Motors Hummer H2 and H3 were discontinued in 2010, but they’ve never really fully died. This smaller version of the Hummer has the potential to be put back into production, likely as an electric version.
Its 2010 death was a result of the recession and GM’s bankruptcy. But with the consumer call for more SUVs, a comeback has been rumored. If you’ve always wanted a GM version of the Hummer, but not electric, start shopping now just in case. H2s can cost under $15,000, and less for the H3.
If you’re craving an American-made performance machine, you might want to swoop in and snap up the discontinued Dodge Viper. The rumors of its comeback are likely always going to be just that.
It ended production in 2010 but was revived as a 2013 edition. Production ultimately ended in 2017, with reasons varying from poor sales to safety regulatory issues.
Still, how does a 645-horsepower 8.4L V-10 sound? Always tasty. It won’t be an inexpensive purchase, but it’s still going to be an “affordable” supercar. Kelley Blue Book shows the typical listing price for a 2017 model at $103,968.
Though these cars debuted in 2013, the Cadillac ATS-V coupe died in 2019, and the ATS-V and ATS sedans were laid to rest in 2018. But if you love this car and want the 464-horsepower petite V-series, buying the discontinued models will still get you Cadillac style.
You also get areas of complaint, such as a cramped backseat. But a bargain Cadillac is still a luxury Cadillac. You can find a 2019 ATS-V with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price starting at $68,790.
Price: Under $20,000
The Nissan Xterra went away after the 2015 model year due to weak sales and bad fuel economy. It was also outdated and needed safety upgrades.
But if you give up on it, you miss out on its good qualities. It’s a roomy, dependable, fun vehicle that’s capable as an off-road trail rig. It’s also big enough to be basecamp for overlanding.
Despite the negatives, pricing can be positive: under $20,000. Older used cars can be found for under $10,000. Besides, SUVs are en vogue again.
Chevy City Express
Birthed in 2014 and killed in 2018, the Bow-Tie just couldn’t unload the Chevy City Express. So if you need a no-frills van that’s fuel-efficient and nimble, look to this one — particularly the LT model, which comes with a few frills. Used, it can cost around $15,000.
As a best-seller-turned-slow-seller, Ford Focus ended its U.S. production in 2018. Ford really didn’t exaggerate when it described the car in 2017 as, “excellent balance of handsome styling, a fun driving character and high-tech features.”
From its start as a 2000 model year car until the bitter end, it held up its end of that bargain. Look for an ST or RS, the hopped-up performance models. The average price for a 2018 model is $14,871.
Chrysler Town & Country
The Chrysler Town & Country holds the glory for trailblazing the minivan segment. Buy one now and you still get a configurable cargo area, lots of standard features and a kind of lousy ride.
Still, for a minivan with a hint of luxury that debuted as a 1990 model and lasted until the 2016 model year, it’s worth investigating. There have been 2016 models for around $20,000.
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Another victim of America’s desire for trucks and SUVs, the Chevy Impala will not return in 2020. For a car that debuted with the 1958 model year, it’s easy to feel bad about its demise — again. It was killed off twice before in its history — 1985 and 1996.
It’s a sedan with serious heritage and a solid package for a reasonable price. Later models can be found under $10,000, which is kinder to the wallet than the $38,000-plus for an original 1958 model. Meanwhile, a 2019 Impala starts at $28,895.
Price: Under $10,000
A car with legacy — originally available from 1960 to 1976 — the modern Dodge Dart came in 2013 and was a blast to drive thanks to its handling. It was also stylish, affordable and roomy for its size.
But the engine didn’t live up to its aggressive-sounding name, “Tigershark.” Therefore, it couldn’t compete with the other cars in its segment and its production ended in 2016. Still affordable without looking outdated, you can find one for under $10,000.
Ford C-Max Hybrid
In the U.S. since 2012 and discontinued in 2018, the Ford C-Max Hybrid had its strengths and weaknesses. As a hybrid with lower mpg than its competition, the buying public didn’t go for it. Still, with 40 mpg and an average price of $22,805, the 2018 model might be worth a look-see.
Chevy Equinox/GMC Terrain Diesel
Price: $30,795 and $32,995
The Chevy Equinox and counterpart GMC Terrain will live on, but not their diesel versions come 2020. A diesel-powered vehicle is only going to become harder to find as time goes on, so if you’re looking for an oil-burner-equipped crossover from GM, look here.
There was low demand for the diesel engine, but you can get one packaged within a comfortable, capable ride. A 2019 Equinox diesel starts at $30,795. Since GMCs are considered the fancier version of a Chevy, the 2019 Terrain starts at $32,995.
The sporty, bite-size Audi TT will likely be replaced by something electric and similarly priced. Happy 20th anniversary, TT?
Audi calls the car a “design icon” and gave it a facelift for 2019, proving that getting one won’t extend your life span. Currently in its third generation, and now available with a seven-speed transmission for 2019, the car will likely stick around until 2022. Pricing for the 2019 model starts at $44,900.
Toyota Prius V
Price: Around $20,000
This larger, longer version of the Toyota Prius kicked off in 2011 and kicked the bucket in the U.S. in 2017. Blame the RAV4 Hybrid’s appeal. There’s supposed to be a replacement coming, but if you can’t wait or don’t feel like shopping for one in another market, you can buy a newer used for around $20,000.
The last Volt rolled off the assembly line in March 2019. Considered the poor man’s Tesla since its 2010 arrival, fans love its practical looks and 53-mile range in all-electric mode.
This innovative car cost more to produce than what returned in sales. But with a possible government tax credit, you can probably get a pretty solid deal on one today. A 2019 model starts at $33,520.
When Nissan debuted the Juke in the U.S. as a 2011 model, it touted the vehicle’s “striking design, agile handling and driving pleasure and user-friendly technology.” It definitely was sporty. It definitely was interesting-looking. It definitely was without storage space.
Low sales led to its final model in 2017. Look for a NISMO, which is peppier to drive, and can be had for around $15,000.
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The Jeep Patriot’s final model year was 2017. The Jeep brand is hot right now, so owning a piece of history could be appealing.
Technology seems to be the vehicle’s weakness. But don’t forget it’s a solid performer in the departments of value, fuel efficiency and fun off-road. You can find 2017 Patriots typically listed for an average of $14,282, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Ford has made no secret of its plans to end production of nearly all its cars, save for the Mustang. It’s not the first time the Taurus has had things come to an end since its debut in 1985 — it was discontinued in 2006 — but it’s still a famous member of the Ford family.
Since crossovers and SUVs rule these days, this award-winning car saw a sag in sales as a result. Production ended for the sixth generation of the car in March 2019. Find one now starting at $27,800.
The Lincoln MKX ended production in 2018 and was replaced by the Nautilus. There are some minor differences between the models, with a revised appearance and engine. But the two vehicles also have a lot in common.
So why get the MKX instead of the more up-to-date Nautilus? Lincoln spells luxury, and finding luxury on a budget is hard. Yet you can find a 2018 top-of-the-line MKX Black Label trim for around $31,000. A loaded Nautilus Black Label Series starts around $57,890.
Don’t panic — the Chevy Corvette isn’t dead. The brand-new C8 coming in 2020 is proof of that. But a new Corvette with a manual transmission is dead. Therefore, if you’re looking to row your own gears, you’d better snag the outgoing C7.
It’s also the last time the Corvette will have the engine in front, as the C8 gets a mid-engine design. Opting for the basic 2019 Stingray with manual trans starts at around $48,000.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
The Toyota FJ is an oldie but still a goodie. It was killed off in the U.S. market in 2014, leaving a long legacy. The FJ started in the early 1960s and ceased production in 1983. Then it started up again in 2007 for a final seven-year run.
Used FJs in good condition command top dollar, even between $50,000 and $75,000, according to Hagerty.com. However, used ones have been spotted for around $13,000. The FJ may be dead but it’s clearly not forgotten.
The Chevy Cruze — once the subject of a President Donald Trump tweet — competed with the Ford Focus before it became part of GM’s plan to wipe the car slate almost clean to focus on electric and crossover/SUV vehicles. But it was a good run for the compact car — 2011 to 2019.
Look for the 2019 — it’s new and improved, with a tweak to its appearance. Consider the diesel option for its high mpg, but be aware of the higher price. New, the car starts at around $18,000.
Nissan Titan XD Diesel
If electric vehicles are “the next big thing,” that makes diesel “the next dead thing.” Automakers are dropping the diesel engine option like crazy, and the workhorse Nissan Titan XD is no exception.
The Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 wasn’t necessarily at fault — it was a potent engine with 310 horsepower and 555 foot-pounds of torque that customers wanted. Rather, it seems the Titan as a whole may be to blame.
Pickups are hot, but this one was barely lukewarm in sales. Despite being a full-size pickup, it offered slightly less in all aspects of what its competitors offered. If you’re into diesel-equipped trucks, now’s your chance since it’s gone for the 2020 model year. Pricing for a 2019 model starts at $40,015.
Wait — if SUVs are all the rage, how did the Volkswagen Touareg end up on the death list for the 2018 model year? Blame its high price and low sales, coupled with a name no one could pronounce.
It came to the U.S. in 2002 and is on its third generation overseas. It’s survived here by the Atlas and Tiguan. Special editions are still a bit pricey, but you can find a regular 2017 model starting around $30,000.
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Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the photos might not reflect the trims listed in this article.
Last updated August 26, 2019.