Sorting through the list of cars that automakers are discontinuing is rarely a tear-jerker. There’s a reason the Chrysler 200 and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV were dropped, for instance. Many reasons, actually.
This year’s crop has a few cars that we’ll miss. In the short term, that means there’s a chance of getting a good deal on leftover models, especially as dealers seek to clear showrooms and lot space for incoming 2020 models. Here are five discontinued models available at substantial discounts that merit a look if you’re in the market.
The Chevrolet Volt arrived with considerable hoopla as Detroit’s first plug-in hybrid, a vehicle that could handle a typical commute on electric power with no tailpipe emissions while boasting cross-country range running like a hybrid. The first Volt even spawned a pretty but pricey and impractical Cadillac ELR coupe that seemed off the mark from the day it was introduced.
The original Volt was quirky and compromised inside, but its replacement was more conventional and spacious. It can squeeze out 53 miles of electric range and then earns a decent 42 miles per gallon in combined driving afterward. It also looks just like the similarly discontinued (but not nearly as interesting) Chevrolet Cruze, which means it doesn’t scream “eco car” like the Toyota Prius does. Find a Chevrolet Volt for sale
The Cadillac CTS has been through more ups and downs than Lindsay Lohan. Both arrived on the scene around the same time in the late 1990s as refreshing alternatives to staid rivals (OK, we’re stretching the Lohan reference). The second-generation CTS was a high mark, especially in CTS-V wagon form. By round three, the CTS grew up, and buyers moved on to SUVs instead.
It wasn’t necessarily the CTS’ fault, though, since German competitors have watched buyers move into GLEs instead of Es and X5s instead of 5s. The pick of the litter here is definitely the CTS-V, a still-brilliant, Autobahn-grade cruiser with a 200-miles-per-hour top speed. Some dealers have already lopped $10,000 off the price of the CTS-V, including this one in the Washington, DC, area. Find a Cadillac CTS for sale
The Beetle is dead — for the third time. There’s a chance Volkswagen’s iconic, bubble-shaped coupe will come back again, reinvented for the fourth time. The first go-around as the people’s car was an unexpected success from an unlikely source. Then, the reborn 1998 Beetle locked into the retro push at just the right time. For round three, VW channeled the Porsche 356 — a distant cousin — and tried to make the Beetle somewhat macho.
It kind of worked. The Beetle had good driving dynamics and a fun style. The convertible, admittedly the least macho of the pack, may actually have been the best. With its demise goes yet another inexpensive drop-top choice, following in the tire tracks of VW’s own Eos and the Chrysler 200. Well, we won’t miss those two. Find a Volkswagen Beetle for sale
Laugh all you want, but wait until you drive a FIAT 500 Abarth, with its rorty 160 horsepower, 4-cylinder turbo engine, snorting exhaust and bolstered seats. Even the 135-hp turbo engine that FIAT stuffed under the 500’s short hood a few years ago turned the humblest of Italian-by-way-of-Mexico hatchbacks into a hot little machine.
The 500 was a hit for about five minutes, and then it was hampered by massive oversupply that tanked resale values. Dealers are still loaded with 500s — there are more than 650 right now on Autotrader — and discounts are easy to find. If you’re budget’s not quite that high, you could always follow our Tyler Hoover and pick up the cheapest one you can find — animal-destroyed and all. Find a FIAT 500 for sale
Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen/Alltrack
Europeans love wagons, especially those with a VW badge on the front. Volkswagen has tried on and off to sell wagon versions of its compact car range here — such as with the Golf and the Jetta — but it’s never hit the mark. It seemed like VW’s product planners were onto something with the Alltrack trim that aimed for the space between the Subaru Crosstrek and Outback with its off-roady looks and standard all-wheel drive.
But the Alltrack trim never got off to a great start, and the fact that VW stuffed thousands of these on dealers last summer and then lopped nearly five figures off the price just to move them didn’t help. Next year’s Golf lineup shrinks considerably in anticipation of a redesigned model in about a year, which may herald the return of a wagon version — maybe. Another reason to grab a leftover 2019? A six-year, 72,000-mile warranty that also bites the dust for 2020. Find a Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen or Volkswagen Golf Alltrack for sale