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Tombstone Tally: These Are The Dead Cars for 2021

The Grim Reaper ready to fill up the automotive graveyard, and this year he’s after sedans and coupes, plus a few hatchbacks. Several automakers have consolidated in their lineups considerably for the 2021 model year, while others are bulking showrooms up on the SUVs and crossovers have proven popular with shoppers.

Here’s a look at this year’s dead list — the cars you won’t be able to buy for the 2021 model year. Many of these cars may be available at steep discounts, making them excellent buys — as long as you don’t need the latest and greatest.

RIP: Acura RLX

Honda’s luxury division is finally giving up on a flagship sedan that can trace its roots back to the legendary Legend. The current RLX is a high-tech sedan almost totally devoid of personality, and it sits in showrooms across from like-priced MDX crossovers that have long proven more tempting to buyers. It’s not likely anyone will notice the RLX’s demise, though. The Grim Reaper will probably have a hard time finding an RLX since many dealers don’t have a single one in inventory, though maybe he should look on Autotrader. Find an Acura RLX for sale

RIP: Alfa Romeo 4C

After puttering out of the US market in 1995, Alfa Romeo slipped back 20 years later with its go-kart-like 4C. OK, admittedly, the ultra-limited 8C was first, but it was the 4C that really tried to pave the way for the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUVs that Alfa Romeo hoped would jumpstart its return. A 4C coupe was first, followed up by the Spider droptop that you can still buy today if you’re quick. Find an Alfa Romeo 4C for sale


If there’s one car on this list that still gets a tremendous amount of attention whenever it whirs past, it’s the BMW i8. BMW is still tweaking its i range of eco-friendly cars, which have never really caught on. The outlandish i8 plug-in hybrid looks like a show car for the road, though it’s not as thrifty as BMW would like you to believe. Its 18-mile electric-only charge makes it an acceptable commuter, but after that, even its slippery shape won’t top 30 mpg. Find a BMW i8 for sale

RIP: Buick Regal

Oh, how we barely knew the Buick Regal. Like an American who backpacked around Europe for a few weeks one summer in college, the Regal brimmed with hints of European sophistication while maintaining wholesome American sedan values. Buick’s last try with the regal resulted in an unusual lineup of performance-oriented Regal GS, surprisingly practical Regal Sportback hatchback, and Subaru-like Regal TourX. They were all remarkably good, especially the SUV-alternative TourX. Find a Buick Regal for sale

RIP: Cadillac CT6

It has been a long time since car enthusiasts associated Cadillac solely with big sedans, and it’s not likely that is going to change any time soon. That’s a real shame since the CT6 is hardly a floaty Fleetwood. This big, rear- or all-wheel-drive sedan boasts as much as 550 horsepower, sublime handling, and a high-tech interior. Plenty are still in dealers, with discounts as high as 20 percent off list price. Find a Cadillac CT6 for sale.

RIP: Chevrolet Impala

Like Cadillac, Chevy was once the brand of big sedans. The Impala was long at the top of the heap, and its nameplate was reborn in the mid-1990s with V8 power and rear-wheel drive. Subsequent Impalas weren’t as sinister, though the stylish 2020 remains a good-looking car with a comfortable interior and uncanny refinement. The Impala was an early victim of the Grim Reaper, but there are more than 1,000 new ones on Chevy lots. Find a Chevrolet Impala for sale.

RIP: Chevrolet Sonic

At the opposite end of the bowtie, Chevy has dropped its little Sonic. This pint-size city runabout is actually a hoot to drive, and it has a nice array of features for the money. Dirty secret: the Sonic was born from the underwhelming Aveo, albeit with a huge host of refinement upgrades. It also had the distinction of being the only US-built subcompact car, at least until it was dropped earlier in 2021. There are plenty of Sonics still in dealers, though, so you have time to get your city-car fix. Find a Chevrolet Sonic for sale

RIP: Dodge Grand Caravan

Chrysler turned the market upside down when its Dodge Caravan rolled into nearly every suburban driveway in the early 1980s. If you grew up in the ’80s, ’90s, or early ’00s, you certainly rode in a Grand Caravan at some point. The current van is a relic, especially compared to the far superior Chrysler Pacifica and the new budget-friendly, less-opulent Chrysler Voyager that effectively replace the Grand Caravan. Still, we can’t escape a little sad nostalgia in announcing the Grand Caravan’s demise. Find a Dodge Grand Caravan for sale

RIP: Dodge Journey

In the bleak days of Chrysler’s early revival, the Dodge Journey was one of the automaker’s de facto flagships. This early crossover boasted seating for seven (in a pinch) plus a car-like ride. That was more than a decade ago, and the Journey was quickly eclipsed by far better crossovers. For 2020, the Journey was pared down to just a front-wheel-drive version with a pokey inline-four linked to a comically-dated four-speed automatic transmission. You are likely to be offered a Journey as an “upgrade” from Avis for the next several years, though. Find a Dodge Journey for sale

RIP: Ford Fusion

2020 Ford Fusion

The demise of the American sedan is upon us. With the discontinuation of the Fusion, Ford dealers will be passenger-car free (aside from the Mustang, which we can only half-heartedly recommend as a practical family car). What a bummer. the pretty Fusion, with its Aston Martin-lite looks and its balanced platform, has fallen victim to a major consolidation at Ford. Still, a Fusion Hybrid remains a great choice for those with longer commutes. There are likely to be plenty in dealers for the foreseeable future, too. Find a Ford Fusion for sale

RIP: Honda Civic Coupe

Everyone knows that sedans are disappearing quickly, but what about coupes? Two-door versions of sedans have had a slow march toward obsolesce since the mid-1990s, and with the discontinuation of the Honda Civic coupe for the 2021 model year, the last door is closed. With the Civic Coupe goes the Civic Si, too, though a sporty Civic sedan will revive that name in early 2022. Additionally, Honda swiped the six-speed manual from the Civic lineup for 2021. Damn you, Grim Reaper! Find a Honda Civic for sale

RIP: Honda Fit

2020 Honda Fit

Arguably the most rational new car around, the small Honda Fit hatchback boasted a spacious, flexible interior paired with a frugal powertrain and sporty driving dynamics. Ah, well. After more than a decade, the Fit nameplate has been put out to pasture, taking with it the innovative rear seats that folded up to make a flat cargo area. Some of the Fit lives on in the HR-V, a slightly taller Fit with available all-wheel drive. Find a Honda Fit for sale

RIP: Hyundai Elantra GT

Compact hatchbacks have always been our jam, so it is with considerable sadness that we write the obituary for one of the most under-appreciated five-doors around. The Elantra GT added a dose of practicality to Hyundai’s versatile compact, and it could be had with as much as 201 horsepower underhood. A reworked Elantra sedan arrives for 2021, bringing with it little sign of a hatchback companion. Find a Hyundai Elantra for sale

RIP: Jaguar XE

Compact sports sedans used to be the default choice for enthusiasts who occasionally needed to haul around clients, the family, or just the groceries. The Jaguar XE jumped onto the scene in 2017 with strong turbocharged or supercharged power (and even a short-lived turbodiesel) paired with excellent handling and a great ride. Consumers didn’t notice then, and they’ve all-but-forgotten about the XE since. That’s a real shame, so you’ll want to act quickly to pick up one of the leftover XEs still around. Find a Jaguar XE for sale

RIP: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The mid-size European luxury segment was flush with wagons in 2020, but it will be down to just one for 2021. Mercedes-Benz is repositioning its venerable E-Class wagon as a quasi-off-roader, while the Jaguar XF has hit the chopping block. Bummer! The XF is a slow-seller as a sedan and even rarer as a wagon. Though stylish, the XF Sportbrake was not especially practical compared to an SUV or even other wagons. The one remaining conventional European long roof? The Volvo V90. Better get one soon. Find a Jaguar XF for sale

RIP: Lexus GS

2020 Lexus GS

Lexus rarely swings and misses, but it has repeatedly done so with its mid-size GS, at least as far as sales are concerned. What consumers have been missing ever since the originally GS (fun fact: it was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro!) went on sale in 1993 is an excellent luxury sedan with traditional rear-wheel-drive dynamics. The GS reached its zenith with the ferocious GS F, an absolute used-car bargain if you are able to find one. Find a Lexus GS for sale.

RIP: Lincoln Continental

After attempting to revive its fortunes with a stylish sedan and a vintage name, Lincoln is following parent company Ford’s footsteps in dropping sedans to focus on SUVs and crossovers instead. The Continental arrived with much fanfare a few years ago, but sales of the stylish sedan never met expectations even with plenty of twin-turbo V6 power underhood. Find a Lincoln Continental for sale

RIP: Lincoln MKZ

2020 Lincoln MKZ

The smaller of Lincoln’s two sedans boasts a stylish sloping roof and a clunky, but unique, massive glass sunroof. It’s closely related to the Ford Fusion, so it’s no huge surprise that the slow-selling MKZ is headed to the automotive graveyard in the sky. We’ll miss the Continental, but the MKZ was ripe for a replacement anyway. Find a Lincoln MKZ for sale.

RIP: Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class

Channeling the classic Mercedes SL roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s, the SLC (which was called the SLK up until a few years ago) is a gorgeous droptop with decent handling and plenty of underhood punch. It’s also quite expensive (think $50,000 or more), which has kept sales slow. Mercedes is in the midst of a moderate consolidation of its nameplates as it seeks to streamline its lineup to focus more on what sells than what doesn’t. Find a Mercedes-Benz SLC for sale

RIP: Toyota Yaris

2020 Toyota Yaris

It feels like we’ve written this obituary before, and that’s because the Toyota Yaris is really a Mazda 2 with different badges. Mazda dropped the 2 from the US market but kept building the little car first as a sedan and more recently as a hatchback under contract for Toyota, and it quickly became an under-appreciated gem of a subcompact. Toyota and Mazda have more cooperation on the way, but we don’t expect to see either brand offer a subcompact for the US market. Find a Toyota Yaris for sale

Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz
Andrew Ganz is an author specializing in helping in-market consumers get the most bang for their buck -- and the best car, while they're at it. When not virtually shopping for new and used cars, Andrew can probably be found under the hood of a vintage classic that's rapidly losing fluids.

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