Five cars that need to retire
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Thursday Five: manufacturers please, have mercy for your beloved
As one of those pesky ‘young people’, I wonder what the attraction is to buying cars from new. It’s something my parents helped instill in me growing up, buying everything second hand — later on importing their cars independently from Japan.
But weirder than those who simply by a new car are those who buy a new car that’s on the very last of its legs. Models that have been on the markets seemingly since that three-toothed bloke in the grass skirt discovered fire.
So for today's Thursday Five, here are a selection of cars that should be on the chopping block — overdue for a revamp, or potentially a complete beheading.
2007–’16 Mitsubishi Lancer
As I touched on in a previous Thursday Five, the story of the current generation of Mitsubishi Evolution is a sad one.
But things aren’t a heck of a lot better for the Lancer upon which the Evo is based. It too started life in 2007, and it too is still being sold as a ‘new’ car in 2016 — even as its aging design and aging tech fall further and further behind the competition.
Some of this lack of change from Mitsubishi can probably be linked back to their current financial woes, but that doesn’t make it any less painful to see the Lancer nameplate flounder on the rocks as one of the oldest and least loved cars in its class.
2010–’16 Suzuki Swift
I love my MY12 Swift Sport. I love its simplicity, I love its cute little face, and I love the way it makes the corners of my mouth taper upwards when it hurls me around a corner.
Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with the current Swift (apart from average boot space, a narrow fifth seat, and lackluster fuel economy).
But the hatchback game is a damn competitive one. And in 2016, what sells one hatch over another appears to be electro gizmo playthings. The new Barina Spark, for example, anchors the majority of its current marketing around the fact it's got integrated Spotify (a mobile music streaming thingy used by youngsters and people with hipster beards).
In this regard, the Swift and its spartan interior can't keep up. If it wants to retain its spot as a perceived market leader, that needs to change. Thankfully, a new Swift isn't far away.
2008–’16 Dodge Journey
It's not a particularly nice time to be a Dodge Journey, what with the valid lingering fear of being mounted and pancaked by a tank as real as ever.
Along with the fresh murmurings around reliability, the Journey is getting long in the tooth. Just about the only things it has going for it are its chiseled 'look at me I'm totally a muscle car' looks and its price — starting some 20k less than the Toyota Previa and 10k less than Kia's Carnival. Though it only shifts seven people while most others can shift eight.
The current Journey isn't so much a car that needs to be retired as much as a car that needs to be completely reborn from the ground up.
2011–’16 Volkswagen Beetle
Want to feel old? Know that in two-years time, Volkswagen's 'New Beetle' will be 20 years old.
Though the new Beetle was largely awarded positive reviews upon launch, it has never really been able to fully shake off the idea that it's just a hollow cash in on the original Beetle's huge success and following.
2011 saw the largest changes to the new Beetle take place, though the everyday person on the street would still struggle to notice. It moved to the newer A5 platform, and sharpened some of its soft edges to give it a more purposeful look.
But nothing Volkswagen can do will ever recreate either the joy of the original, or the novelty of the 1998 re-release with the Beetle. Everything from here on in is just another marketing exercise to further sell out the Beetle nameplate.
It's believed that production of the Beetle will halt for good in 2018. In some ways, I think it would've been better if it had happened sooner.
2001–’16 SsangYong Rexton
Ahh, the Rexton.
I considered the Rexton to be something of a game changer when it came out in 2001. It had a cool-sounding name, it boasted a heap of links to Mercedes-Benz technology (though in 2001 this wasn't as good as it sounded), and above all else it was a very handsome thing. In some ways, it was the first car to emerge from Korea that gave me feelings of awe, rather than feelings of eww. It turned the tide.
It's been 15 years since, and it's sadly just about unchanged. Two facelifts have happened since then, but the interior has remained almost exactly the same. And now the Rexton projects images of complacency.
Hopefully the next Rexton will be something completely new from the ground up, and not just another 20-year old M-Class covered in Kimchi.