86’d: 5 Surprising car models discontinued for 2021

As we get ready to start a new year, there are a lot of things that will be different—this year more than most. On the automotive front, there are some car models that won’t be joining us in the new year. Here are the five canceled car models that surprised and/or disappointed us the most!

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

This one kind of breaks our heart. It might be the most pure, focused sports car produced in the last decade (with BMW’s M2 a close second). The 4C spider was a small, lightweight mid-engine roadster, with a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Its carbon fiber chassis made it stiff and light, and more fun and sporty than most cars in its class.

Alfa’s re-entry into the US market doesn’t appear to be an overwhelming success so far, with numerous dealerships closing in 2020. Couple that with the 4C’s limited sales—really limited, as in, just 92 units sold in 2020—and it seems like the natural model to end up on the chopping block to cut costs.

2. Mercedes SLC

Mercedes’ smallest convertible, the SLC (the Benz droptop formerly known as the SLK, up until 2016) will drive off into the sunset for 2021. The SLC has seen declining sales in recent years, and part of the reason may be that it simply hasn’t kept up with the competition. In the two-seat convertible sports car category, the BMW Z4, the Porsche 718 Boxster, and the Mazda Miata are just a lot more sporty—which, in a practicality-eschewing two-seater, is probably the point for most people. Their base configuration handling is stiffer and more responsive, whereas with the SLC you have to upgrade to the AMG SLC 43 (at a $14k premium) to get a sport suspension.

The SLC’s infotainment system also feels fairly outdated compared to the Z4, Boxster, and Miata—it’s sluggish and the interface is not as intuitive as most recent models. This too likely contributed to the overall package just not being a worthy option amid sportier and more technologically up-to-date competitors.

3. Toyota Yaris

2020 will be the last hurrah for the long-produced Yaris. It was a sort of an under-the-radar car for much of its life, but its 2016 iteration was a vast improvement. That model marked the start of a collaboration between Toyota and Mazda, in which the Yaris was basically a rebadged Mazda 2. It was acclaimed by reviewers, but continued to be overlooked by car buyers, and its lackluster sales made it a no-go for the US market in 2021.

4. Honda Civic Coupe and Civic Si

The Honda Civic Coupe is DOA for 2021. The Civic sedan, of course, is a mainstay of Honda’s lineup, and perennially one of the most popular cars on the market. The Civic coupe… not so much. This is likely a reflection of the car US car market as a whole, in which coupes have been declining in popularity for a number of years as most buyers either go for a pure sports car (if they’re going to sacrifice practicality for two doors), or lean into the family-friendly advantages of a crossover.

In happier news, the Civic Si (a sportier variant of the Civic) is just sitting out the 2021 model year, and will be back for 2022. The Si sedan has become known for its ideal balance between comfort and performance. Such a ‘just right’ balance, in fact, that MotorTrend called it ‘the Goldilocks of sports sedans‘. It’s unknown whether the Si coupe will return along with the sedan, but it’s considered likely that it will.

5. Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R

It’s always sad to see a car we really wanted to drive discontinued before we even had the chance. The GT350 was definitely on our wish list—it made a lot of ‘best’ lists, and was praised as ‘powerful, high-strung muscle car designed to rock race tracks while still being at home on the street,’ by Car and Driver. (526 horsepower and a 5.2-liter V8 sounded good to us.)

But alas, Ford has opted to strike the 350 from its lineup in lieu of the GT500, which raises the cost of admission to $73k, about $10,000 more than the GT350. You do get more horsepower—760 in total—though the GT350’s 526 wasn’t exactly lacking. Our biggest beef is that the GT500 won’t be available in a manual transmission; that’s an option we’d really like to have in any Shelby-edition ponycar.

The good news is that you can of course still purchase all of these cars on the used market, and save some money at the same time! Check out TRED to see what’s available from our private seller car enthusiast community right now. And for some of our most highly-recommended cars, check out our list of most fun cars for any budget.

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