We tend to think of discontinued cars as ones that no one wanted. While that is typically true, there are some instances where a cool car gets the ax because it just didn’t sell enough to make the effort and production time worth it. These discontinued Chevrolets might teach us something about the future of the segment.
The Alfa Romeo 4C and Ford Focus RS are great examples of very cool performance cars that buyers love. The problem was they were too aggressive and not fancy enough to warrant the cost for many people. However, these discontinued Chevrolet models are a bit more pedestrian and simply didn’t sell enough bulk to keep alive.
There is a pile of discontinued Chevrolet cars
Chevrolet has discontinued six vehicles recently. And, while they aren’t the most performance-oriented models, some of these are fairly prolific models. Five of the six discontinued models are sedans. While the SUV/ crossover market has dominated, the sedans and hatchbacks have really taken a back seat in customers’ hearts.
Sedans and hatchbacks were once the more civilized choice over the rugged, loud, and inefficient SUVs. Over the past decade or so, the SUV/crossover has changed so much that many of them are just as, if not more, comfortable, fuel-efficient, and overall more useful. This has put the sedan in real dire straits, hence the five models getting chopped.
The Chevy Sonic
The 2020 Chevy Sonic is a very basic economy-grade compact hatchback that really doubled down on the basic part. The 2020 model has a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The standard and only engine option makes 138 hp going to the front wheels only. Like the lack of engine, options establish a theme across the rest of the car of very few options. Seeing as the Sonic isn’t meant to be a thrilling ride, its 34 mpg on the highway is its only real positive attribute. It’s not overly surprising that the Chevy Sonic sold poorly enough to get the can.
The Chevy Impala
Unlike the Sonic, the Chevy Impala name has been around for many decades and sold millions of units. Seeing the Impala get the ax is probably a better indication of the sedan struggle than any other on this list.
The Impala is a midsize sedan powered by a surprisingly beefy 305-hp V6 paired with a six-speed automatic. That big V6 doesn’t really do much other than suck up more gas than is necessary. The Impala only gets 22 mpg with no performance or utility to show for it.
Unfortunately, the overall package is little more than a styleless, inefficient, and relatively expensive sedan that fell from grace many, many years ago.
The Chevy Cruze
The discontinued Chevy Cruze was killed in 2019 and fell in a similar category as the Sonic. In fairness, the Cruze gets a bit more pep from its 153-hp turbo four paired with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Car and Driver reviewed the Cruze in 2019 and heavily criticized the manual transmission, handling, and diesel engine option.
The Cruze didn’t seem to be a bad car per se, but like many of the others on this list, it just wasn’t enough of anything to drive sales enough to stay above water.
The Chevy SS
Let’s call a spade a spade; the now-discontinued Chevy SS muscle sedan is ugly. Dodge has proven many times over that if you slap a massive V8 in something and make it look sporty in some way, people will buy it. The Chevy SS has a 6.2-liter V8 making a massive 415 hp. The problem is, nothing about it looks cool.
The death of the Chevy SS is the perfect example of poor decision-making on Chevy’s part. Instead of building a performance-focused muscle car, Chevy built a gas-guzzling grandma car that was always doomed to fail.
The Chevy Volt
The decision to discontinue the Chevy Volt is the only one of these discontinued Chevys that feels a little more surprising. As the EV market continues to pick up steam, many people are interested but can’t swing the cost. The plug-in hybrids have been a big hit as a cheaper alternative.
The Chevy Volt was also a good example of the segment. It has a 53-mile range of pure electric power which really sends its efficiency into the stratosphere. The Volt is also well equipped. The now-discontinued Volt has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, and a mobile hotspot, proximity entry with push-button start, and single-zone automatic climate control, all as standard features.