5 cars we’ll miss in 2023—and 5 we won’t
It’s the end of the road for 2022, and the same can be said for a number of cars that won’t make it into 2023. Tears well up in our in eyes for some models, whose life expectancy we’d love to see extended, but it’s good riddance to those which outstayed their welcome. Here’s five of each and we’d love to hear which cars you think should be axed or given a stay of execution in 2023.
Ford’s second-generation GT (arguably third generation if you include the O.G. GT40) launched in 2016 and has therefore had three times the run of its predecessor, although it only achieved around a quarter of the sales. This GT was, however, a far more sophisticated machine, with a price tag to match. We’ve loved the special edition tributes to past racing prowess and have been awed by the final track-only MkIV. It’s unlikely we’ll see its like again.
After 11 years in the Lamborghini brochure, the Aventador is no longer for sale. It marks the end of the pure V-12 era for the Raging Bull. Any future double-six will be hybridized, and while that will doubtless make it even faster and more efficient, something will be irreplaceably altered in the soul of Lamborghini.
Hyundai Veloster N
The Veloster was a key step on the path to Hyundai’s total re-invention. This cool hatchback, with its weird three-door configuration, demonstrated that the South Korean company could do a fun and thrilling sports car. In ultimate N guise with 275 hp and Nürburgring-fettled handling, it was a cracking canyon carver. Sadly, customer demands and Hyundai’s pivot to electrification signed its death certificate. “The Veloster N was one of the great hot hatches of our time—indeed, of any age,” said our own Sam Smith. RIP.
As crossovers and SUVs continue to kill off the traditional sedan, VW has quietly removed the Passat from sale. It’s true that VW hasn’t completely given up on the format with the dapper Arteon and more affordable Jetta remaining, but the Passat is a victim of range rationalization as consumer choices change. It’s sad for a nameplate with a 50-year history to be dispatched without fanfare.
Inexpensive, honest transportation. That’s what the Chevy Spark has offered since the turn of the 21st century. It was yours for less than $15,000 even in its final iteration, but times have changed. These days everybody wants an SUV and the diminutive Spark was dwarfed by almost everything else on the road. The words cheap, light, and small just don’t figure in today’s buyers’ vocabulary. More’s the pity.
We won’t miss
The brief revival of one of the most memorable names in Lamborghini history turned out to be little more than a cynical design device to cash in on collectors. This was not a proper new Countach, but a re-skinned Siàn, which, in turn, was based on the Aventador. Only 82 were made and, since they’ll all probably be locked away in private collections anyway, we’re glad it’s been and gone already.
In fairness, the Acura NSX had an awful lot to live up to. The original car was light and lithe, had the input of Ayrton Senna in its chassis and is still, arguably, Japan’s greatest sports car. The hybrid replacement designed and built in the U.S.A. didn’t really stand a chance. It was hit by indecision and delay during its design process and, despite being objectively capable enough, it just couldn’t generate the kind of excitement that the nameplate deserves. If a third generation ever arrives, let’s hope lessons have been learned.
Buick Encore SUV
The badge-engineered Buick Encore always begged the question, why pay $6000 more than a Chevy Trax? Of course, there was also the question of why to buy one at all. Even Buick seemed to suggest it was a miserable experience, presenting the car on its website in a dull drizzle. That just about sums up the Encore and why we’re glad it’s now departed.
Doubling down on Honda’s missed opportunities is the most recent Insight. The turtle-like first-generation Insight was a truly innovative, weirdly sporty hybrid two-seater that sipped fuel at the rate of 70 mpg. The car that carried the name forward was essentially just a Civic Hybrid in new clothes. Poor show, Honda.
Mercedes went somewhat mad for a time, introducing so many models and body variations that cannibalization in the range was rampant. The A-Class was a perfect example, which when compared to the CLA, just wasn’t as desirable. It won’t be missed.
I would not have any of them in my driveway even if I could afford one.
Honda made some bad decisions with the Insight. The second-gen version came out as a cheaper Prius and failed miserably because it was cheap, not just inexpensive. They should have named the latest one the Civic Hybrid and offered a plug-in version. Far more stylish than a Prius with a popular and established name, it would have sold in bigger numbers.