Vehicles get discontinued all the time for all sorts of reasons. It could be to consolidate manufacturing and production resources, to cull slow-selling vehicles from the model year line-up, or because a new successor has come along that does everything the retiring model used to do. Whatever the cause, some vehicles end up getting canned that maybe shouldn’t have. Their discontinuation comes at the cost of losing a cool car that some of us may still love.
On the upside, many of the cars that make this list – and yes, they are chiefly cars, not trucks or SUVs – are still available in some capacity. Many are still quite popular on dealer lots and auction sites selling used cars, so it’s not a complete loss. If you’re still inclined to buy one, you can. However, it means you won’t be getting any new model year entries for these particular vehicles unless the manufacturers decide to reboot the nameplate. So without further ado, here is the list.
2006 Toyota Celica
If you’re a performance-driven, economy-class sports car driver, then the Toyota Celica was an absolute chef’s kiss of a car. It has always been an affordable, awesome-looking, and completely well-rounded car. The Toyota Celica was a rare breed that found the end of its production run in the 2006 model year. It was just in time to make an entry at the then-nascent Forza Motorsport video game franchise for the original Xbox.
While the first generation Celica had a more muscular stance, the seventh generation was marked by a low, wider stance with excellent aerodynamics thanks to its sleek curves and liftback design. Despite being fitted with a small 1.8L I-4 engine, the Celica was fairly quick thanks to its short wheelbase and low weight, especially if you could find one with a turbocharger. It’s a shame that its run came to such an unceremonious end, but the last model year still looks modern and sporty, and with a few modifications, you can squeeze some significant power out of it.
2019 Ford Fusion
The Ford Fusion is the perfect name for what Ford attempted with this interesting midsize sedan that, sadly, didn’t last for very long. It made its debut in 2006 and was discontinued with the 2020 model year. The namesake fit well because Ford made some hybrid variations of the sedan featuring battery and plug-in hybrid options. However, the hybrid design isn’t what made the Fusion so cool.
The Fusion’s biggest appeal is its design. It looks more like a luxury sedan than an economy-class car, and that’s really where it shines the most. The front fascia is reminiscent of an Aston Martin, and sleek curves give it a rather refined look. Ford was also smart to give the Fusion very relaxed colors that were unique without being gaudy. The ultimate iteration of this car was the Fusion Sport, equipped with the optional twin-turbocharged 2.7L EcoBoost V6 also made 325 horsepower, quite a lot for a vehicle its size, while the interior offered some roomy comfort. Unfortunately, the Sport was discontinued in 2020, and the Fusion itself was phased out a year later in favor of the constantly growing crossover SUV and pickup truck markets. If you are looking for a quality used car that oozes style in a very classy way, the Fusion is a nice, modern go-to solution.
2022 Hyundai Veloster N
The Hyundai Veloster N was a hot hatch with the looks of a JDM tuner with the spirit of a European sports hatch. The Veloster N met its untimely demise with the 2022 model year, as we covered here at AutoInfluence3. Hyundai opted to replace the Veloster N in America with the Kona N4, a cool but slightly less interesting alternative.
The Veloster N, however, fits in line with Hyundai’s other motorsports entries. The exterior mixed classic hatch DNA with race-car-inspired lines and fascia, including a bold racing grille, side vents, and a rear hatch lip spoiler. The large 19-inch wheels were designed for maximum grip on the low-riding, wide-angle body, and the absolutely killer manual shifter with an available eight-speed dual-clutch transmission made it an insane performance hatch. Sadly, with the focus on crossovers and SUVs (a recurring theme for many discontinued car models), Hyundai decided to cull the performance hot hatch from the lineup. Still, as a used vehicle, this is one well worth finding and keeping if you can get your hands on one.
2019 Ford Fiesta
This is probably the dark horse of entries here, but bear with me for a little bit. The Ford Fiesta is probably one of the more underrated discontinuations out there. The reason for that is because it’s a highly affordable, modular subcompact hatchback. The Fiesta had a short stint in America during its first generation, but the more popular models from the later generations had a late arrival in the United States and an early departure. The better-selling models were only available between 2010 and 20196.
Like other vehicles on the list, the Fiesta’s time on the market came to a close due to Ford’s focus (pun intended) on the crossover, truck, and SUV markets. The Fiesta was an interesting little car, though, as it could move for what tiny powertrain it was given, particularly the sporty Fiesta ST, and it handled well on the road thanks to a diminutive profile and well-articulated suspension. It makes sense given that the Fiesta was a fiend on the track, both in touring and rally races, so it made (and continues to make) for an excellent street-tuner project for those who are into turning subcompacts into truly feisty hot hatches.
2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
The Evo, as it’s commonly known, is easily one of the very best cars ever made in any segment, period. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo has a special place in the heart of anyone who adores performance sedans, one of the best rally cars ever made, and one of the slickest touring cars that also doubled as an amazing production car. With a killer interior, an even more killer exterior, and great performance to boot, the Lancer Evolution met its untimely end with the 2015 model year7.
Probably best known for its heated rivalry with Subaru’s WRX in the rally scene during the 1990s, the Lancer Evolution was designed to be one of the very best at everything it did. It was a favorite among rally enthusiasts, hill climbing enthusiasts, and touring car enthusiasts. Thanks to its large brakes, durable suspension, wide track, and powerful power plant, the Lancer Evolution just seemed like the perfect four-door sedan8. Its viability for immense performance scaling and body kit modding also made it a highly valued used car in the tuner scene. I can’t say enough good things about this car. This legendary sedan will truly be missed.
2018 Ford Focus
Three Ford cars on a single list might seem like it breaks some kind of rule, but in a way, it speaks to how quickly Ford was evacuating its lineup of modern sedans, hatches, and subcompacts that weren’t crossovers or SUVs. The Ford Focus was one of the more popular compact hatches on the market, making waves from 1998 up until the end of its production run in America with the 2018 model year9.
The Focus wasn’t very distinctive during its early generations, though even then it was a perfectly good compact car. However, the third and fourth generations of the Focus were where the compact really shined. The sleeker and more aerodynamic design made it excellent for racing, and with the right suspension upgrades, lift kits, and powertrain tweaks, the Focus also made for an amazing off-road vehicle. Further popularized by its use in the Gymkhana series by the legendary and late Ken Block10, the Focus became the object of a lot of people’s obsessions in the tuner, modding, racing, and performance hatch scene, particularly the Focus ST and Focus RS models. While reliability and longevity may have been an issue for the Focus, it still makes an excellent pet project for those looking for a highly scalable compact.
2023 Kia Stinger
This here is the real stinger (pun intended again), as Kia’s Stinger is one of the coolest-looking performance sedans in recent times that wasn’t designed to cost you an arm and a leg. In a market where most other economy-class performance sedans have been phased out, one would think that the Stinger could have managed to hang on just a little longer. Unfortunately, the sleek design and powerful performance specs weren’t enough to keep the Stinger from being axed after just six years on the market. The short-lived presence of the Stinger was rounded out with the 2023 model year.
Despite its short stint on the market, the Stinger is still one of the cooler sedans on this list that seemed prematurely axed. An affordable midsize-performance sedan, the Stinger’s appeal comes both in its exquisite exterior appearance, its serviceable interior, and its high gains under the hood. When first introduced, Kia compared it directly to the heavyweights from BMW, Porsche, and Audi, and it legitimately held its own in the performance arena. If you were looking for a true performance sedan among used vehicles that don’t need an overhaul to be awesome, this is one way to go that won’t even require much to get a lot out of the car. The only downside is that there was never a manual transmission available. However, the looks, performance, and spacious cargo space make up for it.