Let’s play a game, shall we? Try to recall as many extinct vehicles as you can in 20 seconds: The faux wood-panel encrusted Chevy Caprice wagon is a great place to begin, followed by the AMC Gremlin, Acura’s oddball five-cylinder Vigor, Ford’s Probe, the Subaru SVX, Honda’s Passport, the Volkswagen Thing, and an endless stream of other retired automotive nameplates.
The road to longstanding success is not an easy one, especially if you are an automobile. For as dependent as we are on cars, especially here in America, the market can quickly become oversaturated with unnecessary duplicates of a chassis, and too often you will see one version of a vehicle outsell another, cannibalizing any hope the second offering ever had of scoring a hit with consumers. Hell, even quirky companies like Saturn, Saab, and Scion have disappeared completely, leaving us with memories that seem all too real, as we sit staring at the discontinued xB, Vue, or 9-2X in front of us at the traffic light.
So let’s turn from the extinct to the soon to be retired because it’s looking like 2017 is already sharpening its sickle. For fans of the following seven cars, the truth may be a bit difficult to stomach because regardless of how stylish or well-made a vehicle may be, if it doesn’t strike a chord with the public, it’s going to get cut.
There are a multitude of other reasons for an automaker to retire a vehicle though. While sagging sales numbers certainly are a major part of the equation, things like drivetrain inefficiency issues, rising fuel costs, fresh corporate prerogatives, or a tighter budget can also cause a chassis to go extinct. Here are seven cars that will disappear sometime in 2017, along with a little backstory on why they are getting the chop.
1. Dodge Viper
When FCA brought back this 645 horsepower, V10 badass three years ago, we went nuts over the redesign and the fact that it wasn’t gone for good. When it was retired in 2010 due to bankruptcy woes, everyone thought the Viper would be done after a surprisingly lengthy run that began in 1992 and spanned almost two decades. But the iconic American supercar was back after just a three-year hiatus, and everyone cheered all the way up until Fiat-Chrysler saw it had shot itself in the foot.
Hellcat Challengers and Chargers were gobbling up Viper sales due to being far more practical, affordable, and even more powerful. Were they as drool-worthy to look upon as the Viper? Hell no. But with top trim models tipping the scales at $118,795, and entry-level SRT models coming in at around $87,000, this 8.4-liter reptile proved to be a touch stale, even though it offered a ton of performance in return. On the bright side, FCA plans on releasing a range of special-edition versions before the toothy Viper bites the bullet once more, all of which we can easily see becoming collector cars down the line.
2. Cadillac SRX
The SUV-like SRX has been around since 2010, but now it’s time to pass the torch, and we don’t foresee it ever coming back. Where the SRX was more of a car than a truck, the all-new XT5 will replace the nameplate with a globally recognized Cadillac platform. While the new model will cost a few more grand than the doomed 2016 SRX, we can foresee luxury buyers being OK with this since the XT5 features a roomier interior, an updated infotainment system, and a more efficient drivetrain.
3. Dodge Dart
After just a four-year model run, FCA has given up on the Dodge Dart. While industry experts attribute this move to the automaker’s renewed interest in manufacturing trucks and SUVs, it’s not hard to see that the reason the Dart never took off was because it didn’t live up to the Mopar standards set way back in the 1970s. Poor build quality, lackluster drivetrains, and negligible interior room didn’t help. If FCA had taken the same retro styling cues and Mopar performance approaches to the Dart as it had with the Challenger, we feel it wouldn’t have put it out to pasture so soon.
4. Volvo S80
First birthed back in 1999, the S80 has had a distinguished 17-year run as Volvo’s bellwether sedan. But even though consumer-focused companies like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds speak highly of the luxury staple, critics have ripped the S80 for its bland styling, boring driving characteristics, and under-powered 240 horsepower engine. In response, Volvo has announced that it will retire the S80 sedan come 2017, and will resurrect the S90 in its stead.
5. Jeep Compass/Patriot
Both the Jeep Patriot and Compass are ready for the guillotine, and for good reason. Since both models share the same platform, the added expense of having duplicates of almost the exact same car has been a thorn in FCA’s side for years now. On top of that, both Jeeps have horrid buyer and critic reviews, which has hurt sales to the point where a final production run in December seems the only option. Our take on what Jeep owners should buy instead is simple: Either opt for the slightly larger Cherokee, or go small and efficient, and buy the Renegade Sport with a few package options.
6. Chevrolet SS
According to a report by Carfax, while the SS is still being made as we speak, “production will end once GM’s Australian operations wind down by the end of 2017.” Spewing over 400 horsepower from its 6.2-liter V8, this unassuming sport sedan has seen sleepy sales figures, despite the fact that it typically receives favorable reviews from critics and can be had with a manual gearbox.
7. Chrysler 200
Our final doomed car of 2017 is a stylish machine that failed miserably in both the performance and interior amenities department. First made available in 2015, the updated successor of the Sebring captured our interest for a moment, but after two years of poor sales numbers and endless recalls, Chrysler has thrown in the towel. While the 200 will reportedly continue to be built until late December, we wonder how long it will take Chrysler to move its gratuitous inventory off dealer lots.