Almost every car that dealers could have in 2021 has quickly disappeared into the hands of a new owner thanks to a pandemic-related production slowdown and pent-up demand. But even in this environment, there are models who leave the showroom for good. As in 2020, all the cars on this year’s list made their debut with cheerful media launches at international auto shows, but they have come to the end of the line because they either didn’t resonate with buyers or because new products would replace them.
The cars on this list aren’t the only ones that will go far in 2022, but they are the ones that have had the biggest impact on consumers and the auto market as a whole. Other departing flights include the Hyundai Ioniq EV, Lotus Evora, Polestar 1, Rolls-Royce Dawn and Wraith, though the latter two will go on sale overseas.
These days when the inventory of cars is so tight, some of these overlooked or vintage models may also fetch deals for new car bargain hunters. Those shoppers may also want to take a look at the Ford EcoSport, Kia Stinger, Toyota Avalon and Volkswagen Passat, all of which will be introduced in 2022.
Without further ado, here are the ten cars we’ll miss next year:
Even after nearly a decade on the market, BMW’s tall, compact i3 still looks like nothing else is on the road. The German automaker’s first mass-marketed electric vehicle, the small town car was introduced in 2013 alongside the exotic i8 sports coupe. While it was initially quite successful for such an unusual and diminutive vehicle, US sales dwindled to just 1,503 cars in 2020.
The i3’s futuristic exterior is matched by a similarly sophisticated interior and rear-hinged doors that open wide for added practicality, but its style can’t completely hide the car’s basic age. The i3 offered only 153 miles of range, an outdated infotainment system and no support for Android Auto. The small range-extending gas engine was optional but defeated the purpose for some electric vehicle buyers. Although small, it didn’t come cheap, with a base price of $45,445 in 2021. BMW will introduce two new EVs in 2021, the i4 sedan and the iX SUV.
The original Honda Clarity debuted in 2008 as the automaker’s first attempt at a fuel cell electric vehicle. The peculiar nature of this powertrain meant that less than 100 were made (by hand), and in an effort to cut development costs for this technology, Honda tried again with a second-generation Clarity in 2017, this time available as a battery-electric FCEV (BEV) and hybrid Supplied with electricity.
The new Clarity has revealed its high-tech nature with an opinionated futuristic teardrop shape and very prominent aerodynamic assists including the rear fenders. Four years later, hydrogen power is still confined to California and other versions of the Clarity have struggled compared to better-performing electric vehicles and PHEVs, slowing sales. Clarity EV production ended in 2019, and Honda pulled the plug on the FCEV and PHEV versions over the summer.
With one door on the driver’s side and two for passengers exiting at the curb, the Hyundai Veloster has always been an unusual little hatchback. It also looked sporty, even if the driving experience fell short of the aesthetics. That changed with the debut of the Veloster N in 2019. The first model in Hyundai’s currently burgeoning N range, the sharp N can roar and cheer just like a Volkswagen GTI or Civic Type R and still be a nice commuter when not involved in a riot.
But the success of the N Veloster has made it difficult to sell 147 or 201 horsepower other than the relatively wet N Velosters, particularly in an age when crossovers are rapidly replacing small hatchbacks of all kinds. As a result, N will last until 2022, but other Velosters will not.
Mercedes S-Class Coupe and Convertible
The all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class arrived in 2021, and the German automaker followed suit with a similar luxury electric car for 2022, the EQS. Oddly enough, there hasn’t been any mention of a new S-Class coupe or convertible, neither of which will be showing up anytime soon. The large S-Class coupe has a tradition as the most luxurious and exclusive vehicle in the automakers’ lineup dating back to the 1950s, but more consumers are buying cars like the EQS than the two-door S-Class are these days.
That doesn’t mean the S-Class Coupe and Convertible are gone forever. There are no current plans to replace it, but in 1973 the automaker replaced the S-class coupe with an extended version of the SL Roadster just to revive the big coupe in 1981. The new 2022 SL will help fill the gap left by it. Final models are the 463-hp S560, starting at $132,450, and the 603-hp Mercedes-AMG S 63, starting at $174,150. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
The Mazda6 reinvigorated the fortunes of Japanese mid-size companies when it replaced the old (and lackluster) 626 in 2003, and it only seemed to get better over time. The current sixth generation was introduced for 2014 and despite its age it is still one of the most attractive mid-size sedans on the market. Unfortunately for the 6, the midsize sedans market is shrinking and sales are down nearly 50% since 2017.
There are rumors that the 6 will return in 2023 on an all-new rear-wheel drive platform at a slightly higher price. That would be consistent with Mazda’s consistent penchant for more luxury cars and its reputation for exciting cars for people who love to drive, but all we know for sure now is that 2021 is the current swan song.
When the Mazda CX-3 debuted at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, it drew such large crowds that it overshadowed Mazda’s other new car at the event, the all-new Miata. As the automaker’s first small crossover, hopes were high that it would be a top seller with more appeal than the compact Mazda2 subcompact it was nominally replaced. But that never happened, and despite the growing market for small crossovers, sales peaked in 2016 at 18,557 vehicles.
Despite the CX-3’s elegant appearance and agile driving dynamics, it has a very small rear seat and cargo crossover. Worse, Mazda introduced a larger, sleeker CUV based on the Mazda3, the CX-30, for 2020. With more space, slightly more off-road capability and much more sales appeal, the CX-30 made its smaller sibling redundant.
The NV200 was a pickup truck few passengers would ever get into—except for a few thousand taxis that quickly disappear as they erode—most of which were sold as bargain basket goods trucks. The NV200 wasn’t fun to drive or much to look at, but its small dimensions made it a good urban work car. It was also the cheapest option in an underserved part of the market, reducing its opposition by around $2,000 to start.
Plumbers, locksmiths, electricians and other craftsmen who want a pickup truck are now limited to the Mercedes-Benz Metris, Ford Transit Connect and Ram Promaster City. The downsides to the NV200 were also related to size, as it had the lowest payload capacity and the least amount of cargo space in the class. Nissan is also dropping larger NV Cargo and Passenger trucks, which share a chassis with the Titan Pickup, and no other commercial trucks will be deployed in the US after this year.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser was one of the automaker’s original American products that first caught the attention of Americans in the early 1960s. Although North American Land Cruisers eventually grew away from the international versions and got bigger and bigger, the model remains as tough an off-road beast as it is in its Himalayan homeland as it is in suburban Houston.
As the Cruiser has grown in flair over the years, so has its price, and even some fans had trouble paying the $87,000 for a Toyota truck with a badge. Many people preferred its sister Lexus LX, which has outstripped Cruiser sales in the past 20 years. While the American Land Cruiser won’t be around anymore, international versions will continue and Americans can buy the all-new LX600 for 2022.
The new Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R models for 2022 are some of our favorite new performance cars, but their arrival is tinged with some sadness, because Volkswagen decided earlier this year that it would never sell the regular Golf in the United States again. By 2020, the old Mk7 Golf, as most fans refer to it, had been reduced to just one engine, a 147 horsepower 1.4-liter, four, one body design (a four-door hatchback) and only one basic trim, but it remained one of the most Small cars are practical and the most popular in the market.
As performance enthusiasts have kept the flame of the GTI and Golf R up, buyers have been steadily abandoning small cars over the past half-decade and regular Golf sales have slowed to a crawl. When it comes to entry-level transportation, Americans have spoken and prefer small crossovers like Volkswagen’s new 2022 Taos.
Volvo V60 and V90
Station wagons are an endangered species in 2021, and there will be two fewer options in 2022. While the raised cross-country and off-road all-wheel drive versions of the V60 and V90 will continue, versions without lift kits and plastic livery will come out of US showrooms. That leaves the Mini Clubman only as a wagon option for those who don’t want a lift and body kit and can’t drop $100,000 on a Mercedes-AMG E 63 S or Audi RS6 Avant.
Volvo first applied the raised Cross Country treatment to its cars in 1998 and is more popular than regular wagons in terms of size. Part of that is due to their added ability and partly to the fact that Americans (unlike Europeans, who continue to enjoy many buggy options) don’t seem to want wagons unless they look like SUVs. The two Volvos were some of the most elegant tall cars on the market, and wagon believers will miss them.