Here Are the Cars That Died in 2021

But will you actually miss any of them?

2022 is just around the corner and with it comes a lot of uncertainty. There’s still a pandemic, supply chain issues, shortages of everything from COVID-19 tests to chicken, and who knows what else. One thing we can pin down, however, is that some of the cars we’ve enjoyed in recent times will not follow us into the new year. Why? Because they’re dead.

Some will be missed, some won’t, and others we simply don’t want to talk about them. Whether we enjoyed our time together with them or not, here’s a list of this year’s casualties. 

Ford EcoSport

This one I’m not too broken up about. Ford’s smallest crossover never really cut it. I recall reading a MotorTrend article when this car came out claiming that despite Ford optimistically rating the 1.0-liter engine as capable of towing 1,400 pounds, one shouldn’t actually try this.

The EcoSport was not only underpowered, but because of its AWD system, it never actually got great fuel economy, either. The 1.0-liter three-cylinder model achieved 28 mpg combined, and the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder version delivered 25 mpg combined. Some enjoyed the EcoSport’s optional externally mounted full-size spare tire, but I didn’t. Goodbye, rhombus-shaped car thing.


BMW i3

If the EcoSport was a weird car that deserved to die, then the BMW i3 deserves the same fate—even if it’s still kinda cool. BMW’s first real effort at an EV was controversially styled and available with an optional range extender, basically a trunk-mounted motorcycle engine that doubled the car’s range. Along with an unusual exterior, the car featured a carbon-fiber tub to keep weight down, as well as an eye-catching interior that many said resembled an office. 

Similar to the i8, the i3 was too pure for this world, and for that reason, it’s tonight’s biggest loser. BMW’s EV strategy, after a considerable gap, is now firing on all cylinders with cars like the iX,

i4, and a slew of other incoming models. Let’s hope they enjoy longer and more joyous lives than the i3. 


Mazda 6

Yes, the Mazda6 left us a few months ago. However, it will reportedly be followed by an inline-six powered, RWD replacement. As a part of Mazda’s attempt to move upmarket, the FWD-based Mazda6 was just sort of in the wrong place at the wrong time. Typical of a Mazda, the 6 was widely renowned to be the best-driving midsize sedan out there. Sure it had its shortcomings, but it was a hit amongst enthusiasts.

The car’s replacement, which sounds very exciting indeed, will likely be released in the coming year, so keep your fingers crossed that the specs and price will be right on this new machine. If all goes well, we can remember the 6 even more fondly knowing that it enabled the existence of a fantastic successor.


Honda Clarity

The Clarity is one I probably could’ve told you wasn’t a good idea from the beginning, but nevertheless, it is an interesting vehicle that’s going away. A car designed with our planet in mind, the Clarity was available originally as a full-on EV, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered machine, or a plug-in hybrid. The FCEV and full EV versions left us in 2020, and now only the PHEV is left standing. 

Really, the Clarity is somewhat similar to a Chevy Volt, a PHEV with about 50 miles of electric range, and a small gasoline engine to get the best of both worlds. Featuring a partially covered rear wheel arch, it sort of reminds me of the first-generation Honda Insight, which always made me like it. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons that will doubtlessly be speculated on in the future, the Clarity is leaving us. Oh, and the plant where it’s built is also closing. Oh well.


Toyota Land Cruiser

This one definitely hurts. Yes, the Land Cruiser is leaving the United States. Now, to be clear not all is lost. A truck on the same platform, the Lexus LX, is remaining for sale stateside, however.

As to why it’s not staying, well, the logic basically boils down to the fact that Toyota is going to make more money selling the LX versus the Land Cruiser. SUVs are very popular in North America, and if you’re going to send one here, it might as well be the one that rakes in the dough. The fact that the LX will still be sold here doesn’t really change the fact that it’s sad to see the Land Cruiser leave after so many years in the States. Goodbye, sweet prince.


Polestar 1

Oh man, another weird hybrid is leaving us? Well, this time it’s one that sort of makes sense. The Polestar 1 was the first car ever to be released under Volvo’s standalone Polestar brand, and I specifically remember it being very heavy. Ah yes, it’s 5,165 pounds despite being a suave two-door coupe.

That’s because along with a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the car was also equipped with a 32-kWh battery pack and electric motors to drive the rear wheels. The total system output was a whopping 619 hp, and its base price of $155,000 reflects that. After three years and just 1,500 units built, the plug-in hybrid super-coupe is leaving us.


Volkswagen Golf

The VW Golf GTI and Golf R will remain in the U.S. in 2022, however, the cheaper, non-performance-oriented versions of the hatchback will no longer be sold here. Will it be missed? Well, the Golf was never really popular in the States outside of the hot versions, and with crossovers getting ever-more popular by the year, the existence of a lower-cost Golf was likely difficult to justify.  So the answer is, no.

It’s unfortunate another cheap car is leaving us, for sure, but with the best versions of it still available, it’s really nothing to be sad about.


Mazda CX-3

The CX-3, strangely, is actually based on the outgoing Mazda 2, believe it or not. The stubby little crossover will not be surviving the year because it’s been replaced by the CX-30, a slightly larger vehicle based on the Mazda3 hatchback. The CX-3’s demise is all part of Mazda’s aforementioned plan to move upmarket, and the CX-30, powered by an optional 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that’s very punchy indeed, is a definite upgrade. 

The CX-3 is simply a victim of Mazda’s leap into the world of entry-level luxury, and it even comes with a superior replacement.


Hyundai Veloster

The Veloster N is the car that kickstarted Hyundai’s venerable “N” performance division. Powered by a brilliant, boosted 2.0-liter engine, it’s a favorite of enthusiasts and a hoot to drive in stick shift or DCT form. Similar to the Golf, the lower trim versions of the car just sort of existed, though. They were ok, not great, nothing noteworthy, and that’s why the non-N Veloster is going away.

With the Veloster N doubtlessly being the bigger moneymaker and with Hyundai’s lineup getting better by the year, there’s no doubt the lower Veloster trims are going away to make room for superior products. If I had to bet, people who bought the Veloster are probably equally interested in something like the Kona, Venue, or Tucson. Overall, losing the cheap Velosters is just not a huge loss when other similar vehicles, not just crossovers, already exist in Hyundai’s lineup.


Volvo V60 and V90 Wagons

Wagons have never been a great seller in the United States, at least, not since the 20th century’s massive American-made behemoths. While many now-grown children may have fond memories of packing the family into the station wagon for a much-needed vacation, they aren’t buying them in adulthood. As several of the last remaining wagons left of the market, Volvo’s V60 and V90 were pretty much just waiting to die. The Swedish automaker is electrifying and electrifying fast, and with the future in sight, it’s no wonder that slow sellers are hitting the chopping block.

The sedan versions of these cars will live on, so if you really want a low-slung Volvo, you still have options. If you want a longroof, though, you’ll have to act fast.

Volkswagen Passat

Another year, another sedan that’s leaving us. The Passat was never a huge winner in any specific category, and to be honest, I’m not going to miss it. We still have the Jetta, the hi-po Golfs, and the very attractive Arteon. When it came down to it, the Passat was another one of those cars that just wasn’t doing great numbers, and for that reason, it won’t be joining us in 2022.

Will the Camry and Accord be the last two midsizers standing? Well, considering the other German brands, including VW’s sister brand Audi is still clinging onto them for dear life, it will probably be a while before it comes to that. With the cost of EVs also going down every year, who knows. We might see an electric equivalent to the Passat come back to the U.S. before long. 


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