It happens for a variety of reasons: the market changes, drivers lose interest, or a new CEO decides to take the company in “a different direction.” But whatever the cause, car companies discontinue models more often than you’d think. While that may mean a car wasn’t popular or especially successful in sales figures, the discontinued cars sometimes continue to have huge and enthusiastic fan bases. Instamotor examined the data from 30,000 searches of its service done this June, and found these to be the 10 most searched cars that have been discontinued.
10. Toyota Matrix
Built for model years 2003 through 2014, the Toyota Matrix had a fairly long run of it, but despite its ostensible success, love for the car eventually waned, and the car ceased production. Part of the reason for the Matrix’s demise was its status as a companion vehicle to the nearly identical Pontiac Vibe, which was also manufactured in the same plant. When the Pontiac brand died as part of General Motors’ reorganization in 2010, just after the arrival of the second-generation Matrix, the Toyota version of the car was left to soldier on alone. Sales declined over the next few years, and Toyota announced the Matrix would be canceled as of the 2013 model year in the U.S., and the 2014 model year in Canada, with no model to replace it.
9. Chevrolet Trailblazer
Many of us remember the Chevy Blazer from our childhoods, but the Trailblazer is the vehicle that succeeded it. First built in 2001 for the 2002 model year, the last Trailblazer left the line in 2008, as a 2009 model. Like the Blazer it succeeded, the Trailblazer was itself followed by another similar, but slightly different vehicle: the Chevrolet Equinox.
8. Mercedes-Benz R-Class
This oddball minivan-like crossover/wagon combination never attracted many eyeballs or wallets during its time in Mercedes-Benz’s dealerships, but it has definitely developed a small but avid group of fans since. Despite its nearly invisible status on American roads, the R-Class was built for 10 years, from 2005-2015, at the German company’s plant in Alabama.
7. Honda Prelude
The Prelude was introduced as a simple, but fun, front-drive sporty coupe, and eventually evolved into a high-tech display of Honda’s engineering and automotive prowess, offering all-wheel steering and high-output engines. Built from 1978 to 2001, there were five generations of the Prelude, each bring new styling, features, and capabilities to the name. The Prelude even featured as a Formula 1 safety car at the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix.
6. Toyota Celica
From the infamous Celica Supra that made cameos in the Fast & Furious series to the humdrum grocery getter (usually brown) your quiet, mousy history teacher drove, the Celica spanned an unusually broad range of capabilities and looks over its 35-year history. The last models built in 2006 barely resemble the first ones from 1971, but the spirit remained the same, whether coupe or hatchback, new or old: the Celica was an efficient, fun, compact car that could, in Supra form, venture into truly exciting territory.
5. Nissan 240SX
A decade of sales in the U.S. saw the front-engined, rear-drive sports car quickly develop a cult following that sticks with it to this day, so it’s no surprise the 240SX is halfway up our list of the most-searched discontinued cars. Simple and not especially fast, the Nissan 240SX was nevertheless an agile car, and a great platform for later modification―a fact any buyers looking for one of the cars, built from 1989-1999 will quickly find out; there are very few unmolested examples remaining.
4. Ford Ranger
Compact in a way trucks no longer seem capable of being, the Ford Ranger fit into America’s life in a way no other truck has before or since―and used Rangers continue to be sought after as a result. Built from 1983 through 2012, the Ranger’s mix of pickup bed practicality and four-cylinder fuel efficiency made for a perfect weekday commuter turned weekend warrior for many people, whether rural, suburban, or urban dwellers.
3. Acura Integra
Acura, Honda’s high-tech, luxury-oriented brand, was once known more for its sporty performance and handling more than for its navigations systems or its awkward chrome grilles. The Integra was the car that earned Acura that sporty, fun-to-drive reputation, and for very good reason. In Type R guise, the Integra continues to be one of the best-handling front-drive cars made, competing in and winning vehicle dynamics competitions to this day.
2. Acura RSX
An evolution of the Integra, the Acura RSX carried forward the Integra’s focus on handling and dynamics, but added the brand’s newfound desire to rise in the luxury ranks, meaning a fancier exterior styling job and more upscale interior. The result was a compact, handsome, fun-to-drive two-door that fans adored―but which failed to win many converts, managing only five years of production from 2001-2006.
1. Honda S2000
Apart from the NSX, the Honda S2000 is arguably the highest-performance, most fun-to-drive sports car the brand has ever made for general production. It’s snug cockpit, manual-only transmission, and razor-sharp dynamics quickly won it a place in the pantheon of performance driving enthusiasts. The S2000 continues to be a popular car with track drivers and amateur racers, despite being discontinued in 2009 after just a decade’s run and two generations.