Every new auto industry model year is a reminder that just because a vehicle is popular doesn’t mean it will stick around forever. The end of 2020 will see several well-known cars vanish from Canada’s marketplace, including a few mainstream favourites.
Unsurprisingly, most of the cars disappearing from showrooms this year are sedans and hatchbacks, a response to the industry’s focus on SUVs and crossovers. Let’s start with a few household names whose lineups will shrink or go away altogether after this year.
Honda Civic coupe, 1993-2020
Honda added a two-door coupe to its popular Civic model range in 1993, a year into the fifth-generation’s run, and it has been a mainstay of the lineup since. But the 2020 model year marks the end of the two-door Civic, leaving the car to carry on as a sedan and hatchback.
We don’t think the Civic nameplate is in danger of going away entirely, but we suspect Honda is making room for a new small crossover model, possibly one aimed at sporty drivers.
While the Civic’s 1.5L turbo four-cylinder is fun to drive, it has had some uncharacteristic quality issues since its arrival in 2016. The base coupe uses a 2.0L non-turbo that’s less powerful but reminds us of the free-revving engines in past Civics. It’s especially well-matched with Honda’s six-speed manual transmission.
Honda Fit, 2007-2020
The Honda Fit has a shorter history in Canada than the Civic, but it made nearly as big an impact in the marketplace. Honda introduced the third and final generation of Fit in 2015, wrapping a new look around the same clever packaging that has made every Fit feel roomier than you’d expect.
While geared toward economy instead of performance, the Fit is still a fun little car. One downside is that its tall, lightweight body gets blown around on windy highway drives, making the Fit better suited to city duty. If you buy a Fit and plan to do a lot of highway driving, the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the better choice.
From 2018, Honda made its Honda Sensing suite of driver safety assists standard in any Fit with the automatic transmission.
Dodge Journey, 2009-2020
The Journey went a dozen model years with not much more than styling updates and a more powerful Pentastar V6 in 2011. Otherwise, the 2020 Dodge Journey is not a lot different from the one that debuted in 2009.
During its time on the market, the Journey was consistently one of the least-expensive seven-seat crossovers you could buy. The Canada Value Package trim has long been a strong value, with useful niceties like dual-zone air conditioning and passive keyless entry. If you’re in the market for an inexpensive family vehicle, a used Journey would be a good one to consider.
Dodge Grand Caravan, 1987-2020
This is the longest-running design we say goodbye to this year. The current Grand Caravan model arrived in 2008 and, like the Journey, enjoyed only updates in the intervening 13 years. The Grand Caravan was nothing to write home about in terms of build quality or how it drove, but it was always a good value for a sensibly designed van.
From 2011, all Grand Caravan models used a strong 3.6L V6 that also delivered decent fuel economy. Among this minivan’s most useful features are its optional second-row stow-and-go seats, which fold away into the floor. The Grand Caravan was popular and affordable when new, so used examples are plentiful and inexpensive.
The Grand Caravan name will live on beyond 2020, but attached to a budget-priced version of the Chrysler Pacifica.
Toyota Yaris, 2006-2020
Barely a year after launching an all-new Yaris hatchback, Toyota Canada has cancelled the long-running subcompact car that traces its roots back through the Echo and the beloved Tercel.
Toyota’s smallest car goes out on a high note, thanks to a collaboration with Mazda. The Yaris sedan that company engineered arrived in 2016 and was sold alongside a Toyota-made hatchback until 2020, when it too transitioned to Mazda mechanicals. These versions of the Yaris boast an appealing upscale feel and sportier handling.
We can’t recommend against any version of the reliable and fuel-efficient Yaris, though. The 2017 hatchback added standard active safety features that are nice to have in one of the smallest cars on the road.
Hyundai Accent, 1995-2020
The Hyundai Accent subcompact is another victim of the marketplace’s move toward crossovers and SUVs aimed at entry-level buyers. Its ostensible replacement is the Venue, a little utility Hyundai added for the 2020 model year.
Hyundai rolled out the fifth and final generation Accent in 2018 as a sedan and hatchback and then dropped the sedan after 2019.
The 2018 model improved on its already well-done predecessor to provide more refinement than the Accent’s price suggested. In 2020, it got a new, more efficient engine and a smooth continuously variable transmission.
Acura RLX, 2014-2020
In 2014, the Acura RLX replaced the RL as the luxury brand’s largest sedan model. It’s a handsome car whose sales suffered because it was too similar in size to the less-expensive TLX.
The RLX started out with a 3.5L V6 (310 hp/272 lb-ft of torque) and front-wheel drive, and included four-wheel steering to improve handling.
There was the option of a neat hybrid AWD system that drove the rear wheels with electricity. The hybrid was also more powerful, with 377 hp/341 lb-ft. In 2016, Acura made the hybrid AWD system standard.
You won’t find too many used RLXs to choose from, but limited demand means affordable prices for a well-done upscale car.
BMW i8, 2014-2020
The BMW i8 was part of BMW’s initial push into plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars, boasting formidable performance to go with its exotic looks. A mid-mounted three-cylinder engine works with electric motors to generate an impressive 357 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. With a fully charged battery, the i8 promises almost 30 km of all-electric driving.
In 2019, BMW added a roadster convertible and updated the drivetrain to add 12 hp for a total of 369, making the final versions of the i8 that much more desirable. This car’s relative rarity means you won’t find many deals on used versions.
Cadillac CT6, 2016-2020
The good-looking Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan was a victim of bad timing. It came along just as sedans – especially big, expensive ones – began losing ground to luxury SUVs. Cadillac promised a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version that never materialized. In 2019, they added a speedy CT6-V powered by a wild turbo V8 with 550 hp, but sold only a handful before cancelling the car altogether.
You’ll have to look pretty hard to find a CT6-V – new or used – but a 404-hp turbo V6 is more common and offers its own impressive performance.
Lincoln Continental, 2017-2020
Lincoln attempted to capitalize on the Continental’s decades of brand recognition with a revival of this full-size sedan in 2017. It didn’t work, but not for a lack of trying. This handsome car has a lovely interior and could be optioned with a 400-hp turbo V6 for effortless performance.
But like the Cadillac CT6, the Continental came along just as upscale SUVs were stealing buyers away from traditional luxury sedans. That includes Lincoln’s own Aviator, a mid-size SUV introduced in 2020 that came standard with the same 400-hp engine and a hybrid option with nearly 500 hp.
As tempting as 400 hp sounds, the Continental performs just fine with its standard 335-hp mill. Expect good deals on used examples with either engine, as the Continental has not held its value well.
Hyundai Veloster, 2012-2020
A spin-off of the Accent, the Veloster arrived in 2012 with sports-car styling on an economy-car chassis. It wasn’t fast and its handling was only so-so, but the Veloster was a neat car for its $19,000 starting price. Hyundai fixed the not-fast part with a 201-hp Turbo variant in 2013 that was too much for the car’s Accent-based suspension.
There was no 2018 Veloster, but a new version arrived in 2019 with updated styling, a stronger base engine and a better suspension. For the car’s final year, Hyundai added the Veloster N, which brought a 275-hp engine and a fantastic chassis tuned on Germany’s Nurburgring racetrack (hence the N suffix).
If you’re after a neat-looking sporty car for daily driving, a 2019 or 2020 model with the turbo motor is a great alternative to the pricier Mini Cooper S.
Mitsubishi Mirage G4, 2017-2020
The Mirage G4 is an awkward-looking sedan version of Mitsubishi’s subcompact car model. Like the cuter hatchback (which lives on into 2021), it uses a three-cylinder engine with modest performance. The Mirage G4 is well-equipped and spacious for its size and price, but it’s noisy and doesn’t handle all that well.
Still, all Mirage G4 trims came standard with air conditioning, and top-end models added heated seats, automatic climate control, and smartphone integration. And all versions got Mitsu’s generous 10-year warranty, which means most used examples will be covered for several years to come.
Ford Fusion, 2006-2020
The Fusion was Ford’s family car replacement for the Contour and Taurus in 2006. Ford refreshed this sedan in 2010, and the 2013 model was all-new and a lot more stylish.
Ford initially announced the Fusion’s demise after 2019, but ended up keeping it around for one more year. The Fusion is one of the best-driving cars in its class, but is smaller inside than some of its competitors. The most interesting versions are the Energi plug-in hybrid and the Fusion Sport, which combined AWD with sport-sedan handling and a turbo V6 engine. Most of the used examples you’ll find will have 1.5L, 1.6L or 2.0L turbo four-cylinders.
Lincoln MKZ, 2007-2020
Technically, this upscale version of the Ford Fusion arrived in 2006 as the Zephyr, and Lincoln renamed it MKZ the following year. The second-generation model debuted in 2013 and was refreshed in 2017 with a better-looking front end and an optional 400-hp turbo V6 shared with the Continental. There was also a hybrid version that sipped fuel but was a dull performer.
The MKZ was a good car made better by the 2017 update, but like the Continental, it was overshadowed by the brand’s higher-profile SUV models.
An MKZ with its common 2.0L turbo four-cylinder is the one to look for. The 2017 update had little effect on the car’s performance.
Lexus GS, 1994-2000
On paper, Lexus’s mid-size GS always had what it needed to compete with the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It looks good, it’s luxurious, and it came with a variety of powertrains, including a V8 and a hybrid. In practice, mid-size buyers preferred the more laid-back Lexus ES, which better fit the brand’s reputation for serene luxury sedans.
Now that the luxury segment’s focus has switched to SUVs, the GS is no more. In the latter half of the 2010s, Lexus began offering a GS F performance version, and most variants got a neat digital gauge cluster. By the end, V6 versions all came with AWD, but the GS F and the hybrid GS 450h were rear-wheel drive. If you can live with that, the hybrid promises small-car fuel economy in a luxurious sedan.
Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class/SLC, 1996-2000
At its mid-1990s introduction, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class roadster was notable for its tidy appearance and a retractable hardtop. Subsequent generations were only nominally larger but looked richer and more substantial. Benz changed the car’s name to SLC in 2017.
The SLC and later versions of the SLK sold poorly compared with competitors like the BMW Z4, Audi TT and Porsche Boxster. Part of the problem could have been that the SLC was one of six convertibles Mercedes offered, including the larger – but similarly priced – C-Class drop-top.
If you’re keen on the SLK/SLC mainly for its looks, the 2016 base model got an upgraded four-cylinder engine. For more speed, we like the 2017 AMG SLC 43 with its turbo V6.