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Top 10 Road Trip Cars with 400 Horsepower or More and Room for Four

Top 10 Road Trip Cars with 400 Horsepower or More and Room for Four

With the holidays fast approaching and enthusiasts planning road trips to visit family and friends, we’ve put together this list of the top 10 coolest road trip cars with 400 hp or more that can accommodate at least four full-size adults. From four-wheel-drive SUVs for those who may traverse deep snow to rear-drive sedans and a wagon for those whose travels will feature sunshine and dry roads, we’ve got the field covered for drivers who demand 400 hp or more.

Click through to read our picks for the top 10 road trip cars with 400 horsepower or more and room for four.

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Audi, Crossover/SUV, Dodge, Features, Hybrid Car/EV, Hyundai, Land Rover, Luxury Car, Sedan, Tesla, Top 10 Lists

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By Jason Udy

Your Say: Top 10 Cars That Should Be Renamed

Your Say: Top 10 Cars That Should Be Renamed

There was a time when most automakers actually bothered to give their vehicles real names. Cars had elegant names like Continental and Fleetwood, while trucks had tough-sounding names like Bronco and Ram. More often than not nowadays cars get named random alphanumeric characters like FX50 and Z4 sDrive35is.

Last week we asked readers in a Thread of the Day which new cars should be renamed. Today, we’re sharing with you 10 of our favorites from your suggestions. Here are your picks:

2013 Cadillac ATS front three quarter in motion 300x187 imageOne car that showed up a few times in the comments was the Acura RLX. Readers pointed out that Acura’s nomenclature had no easily understandable logic to it, and that the luxury brand once had good names like Legend and Integra.

The 2014 BMW 4 Series was another car mentioned more than once. Though the reasoning behind changing the name of the two-door 3 Series to the 4 Series may be sound, some feel there’s too much heritage behind the 3 Series name to make the change. “Renaming the 3 Series Coupe the 4 Series was a stupid idea,” said –i4Collin-.

The Cadillac XTS and ATS also made the list. “Cadillac has a rich history of names to choose from, but they ignore it and go with alphanumeric names,” said Kavman, who also pointed out that the CTS name has become somewhat iconic within the brand.

2014 Chevrolet SS with USAF Thunderbirds F 16D 300x187 imageThe 2014 Chevrolet SS generated some comments, too. Many thought GM was cheapening the “SS” brand (traditionally a high-performance trim level) by naming a car after it. “Chevy SS is a cop-out,” wrote BlackDynamiteOnline, “There are like 30 Chevys with the SS moniker somewhere on them, past and present. The car is as generic as the name.” Suggested alternative names to the 2014 SS included the Impala SS (as a follow up to the mid-’90s version), Caprice, Biscayne, and Bel Air.

Similarly, commenters had a problem with names like Lincoln MKZ. Just like Cadillac, some felt that Lincoln had too rich of a history to rely on meaningless alphabet soup for names. “Lincoln needs real names for its cars,” said Dan Murphy, “The alphabet soup is lame – so much redundancy.” Many want Lincoln to bring back the Continental, Town Car, and Mark names.

2012 McLaren MP4 12C front on water 300x187 imageOne commenter said the McLaren 12C needed to be renamed…again, perhaps to something that isn’t reminiscent of a fax machine.

Though the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG name comes from Mercedes tradition, the general consensus was that the numbers in the automaker’s names should reflect the displacement of the engine, as they once did. Thus, the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8-powered E63 would become the E55 AMG, and the 6.2-liter V-8-powered C63 would become the C62.

The Scion FR-S appeared in the comments section as well. The most common suggestions from commenters were to rebadge it as a Toyota and name it the GT86 or the Celica.

2013 Tesla Model S front three quarter 5 300x187 imageThe Tesla Model S is one of two cars on this list that doesn’t actually have an alphanumeric naming scheme. The main complaint, from MistyJ, was that the name “doesn’t have much personality.”

Like the Tesla, the Volkswagen Tiguan doesn’t have random letters for a name, but readers still don’t like it. “Tiguan” is a made-up word (a combination of “Tiger” and “Iguana”).

What new cars need a name change? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Christian Seabaugh

Motor Trend Giveaway: “Own” a Tesla Model S in Car Town!

Motor Trend Giveaway: “Own” a Tesla Model S in Car Town!

The Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year-winning Tesla Model S may be priced out of reach for most consumers, but that’s not the case anymore. Motor Trend is partnering with the popular social game Car Town, allowing players to own the Tesla Model S by visiting our Facebook fan page and following the instructions.

“Any true automobile aficionado will want this kind of horsepower in their stable,” said Dennis Suggs, president and CEO, Cie Games, creator of Car Town. “We’re proud to be offering our first Tesla straight from the pages of Motor Trend to the virtual garages of our car-loving players.”

Car Town 2013 Scion FR S Community Design Contest prizes 300x187 imageAnd that’s not all. Aside from an in-game pop-up of the Motor Trend magazine, there are monthly Motor Trend community design contests — from designing a Motor Trend branded truck to transforming a Car Town garage into Motor Trend headquarters — with three finalists earning a Motor Trend branded Scion FR-S.

Car Town has nearly 50 million lifetime players on Facebook, and the related game Car Town Streets has proved popular on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Check out the Motor Trend Car Town Community Design contest page here, and the official Car Town Facebook page here. To see how you can get a Tesla Model S in your Car Town garage, head here.

By Motor Trend Staff

WOT Episode 4: C7 Breaks Cover, Mercedes AMGs, Tesla Model X – Motor Trend YouTube Channel

WOT Episode 4: C7 Breaks Cover, Mercedes AMGs, Tesla Model X – Motor Trend YouTube Channel

In the fourth episode of Wide Open Throttle, Jessi Lang tops off the hottest stories of the week, starting out with more than a dozen models coming from AMG in the next few years, electric-powered BMWs, and spy shots leaking out of the upcoming seventh-generation Corvette just around the corner, and Tesla’s sporty new Model X electric crossover. Finally, editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie talks with Jessi about Acura’s upcoming NSX.

We’re all fans of high-performance models, so whenever we hear more are coming, we get excited. And in the case of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance AMG division, we’re not just getting a few, but 17 new hot-rod Benzes, most of which are expected to come to the U.S. as well. Starting off, two AMG versions of the new SL roadster are coming, the V-12 SL 65 and V-8 SL 63, both twin-turbocharged. Next up is a Black Series version of the SLS gullwing with 600+ hp from the beloved naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter AMG V-8. Finally, AMG is aiming for the Porsche 911 with the new SLC model in 2014, expected to be powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 producing 550 horsepower with a rear-mounted transaxle.

BMW is hoping it can balance mean and green with its new “i” series models, retaining the brand’s reputation for superb driving dynamics, while offering a more environmentally-friendly choice for enthusiasts.

Corvette traditionalists will be relieved that the C7 Corvette will still be front-engine, rear-drive, and V-8-powered. Although many expected the iconic “split window” from the 1963 model would be applied to the new model, it looks like the C6’s conventional one-piece glass hatch will carry over. The biggest news, other than the direct-injected fifth-generation small block V-8 under the hood, is a dramatically improved interior, something that’s been a constant criticism of the car since the C4.

Testing Director Kim Reynolds takes a look at the new Model X crossover, and talks with Tesla chief designer Franz Von Holzhausen about the vehicle’s “falcon wing” doors, and their practicality as well as their dramatic looks.

Regarding the upcoming Acura NSX, Angus discusses how much further the bar has been raised in the supercar segment with the Ferrari 458 Italia, with the previous NSX coming out around the same time as the Ferrari 348, one of the low points for Maranello. Can the new NSX compete with what many consider to be the zenith of Ferrari’s development?

Stay tuned to the Motor Trend YouTube channel for a new episode of Ignition on Monday, where we take a look at the new F30 BMW 335i.

By Edward A. Sanchez

Top 10 New Car Future Classics

Top 10 New Car Future Classics

We’ve all seen televised classic car auctions where a one-owner piece of vintage iron fetches six-digit sums, and we’ve all wondered the same thing, “How did that guy know his car was going to be a classic one day?” Not long after, you probably looked at what’s in your driveway, and wondered, “Will my car ever become a classic?” Being car guys (and girls), we often wonder the same thing – what modern cars might become future classics? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 new cars that we think might one day be collectible.

So what in our minds makes a car a future classic? Three things: Significance to either the automaker or industry, rarity (which very well may leave a few significant cars off this list), and styling with staying power – because who wants to own an ugly classic car? Also (with one exception) the vehicles in question have to currently be on sale. With that in mind, here are our Top 10 New Car Future Classics:

BMW M3: We believe the E90-series M3 might become a future collectible for a few reasons. For starters, this generation of M3 represents the end of an era for the storied M Car. BMW’s M cars have always been known for their high-revving naturally aspirated engines. Unfortunately, the future of the M car lies with the turbocharger, which means the M3′s rev-happy 414-hp, 295-lb-ft 4.0-liter V-8 could be the last naturally aspirated M motor to ever be built. Because of that, the M3 will likely become a prize for future BMW collectors.

2011 Cadillac CTS V in Germany side in motion 300x187 imageCadillac CTS-V Wagon: This is the car that many thought GM didn’t have the cojones to build: a Nürburgring-slaying station wagon packing a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 producing 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque, driving the rear wheels through a proper six-speed manual transmission. The CTS-V Wagon has a couple things going for it on the collectible front: it’s a niche product so not many exist (relatively speaking), it’s expensive, which keeps it out of the hands of its mostly young fans, and it’s truly stunning to look at. The CTS-V Wagon very well may be a blockbuster at Barrett-Jackson auctions in the distant future.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: Like the C4 Corvette ZR-1 before it, the C6 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is bound to become a collectible  This Corvette represents the best of the C6 ‘Vettes, and is easily among the best Corvettes ever made. The ZR1 is guaranteed collectible status thanks to the stories behind it: this is the first Corvette to crack 200 mph and the first to cost over $100,000. It’s also a world beater, having gone up against the best Europe and Asia has to offer, like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and Nissan GT-R. So why will the Corvette ZR1 be a future classic? Because America.

2012 Fisker Karma pre production front three quarter drift11 300x187 imageFisker Karma: Likely to be a controversial choice, the Fisker Karma nonetheless easily meets the criteria to be a future collectible.  The Karma is significant to Fisker and the automotive industry because the Karma is not only the first vehicle Fisker has ever built, but it’s also the first luxury extended-range electric vehicle. The Karma’s got rarity too, especially considering all of the production delays that were necessary for Fisker to recall all of its vehicles. Lastly, the Karma is a striking automobile to look at, and it’ll likely look just as good as it does today 20 or 30 years from now.

Ford Shelby GT500: What could be more significant than being both the most powerful factory Mustang ever and the first Mustang with a 200-mph top speed? Simple: Carroll Shelby. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is the last factory Shelby Mustang that the dearly departed Shelby ever worked on. Because of that connection, the car’s big 5.8-liter 662-hp supercharged V-8, and the ridiculous top speed, the Shelby GT500 is most certainly on its way to becoming a collectible.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X: Like the BMW M3, the current-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X will likely be remembered as the end of an era. While its Subaru rival will continue on into its next generation, the Evo X marks the end of the Evo as we know it. Mitsubishi reportedly wants to go in another direction with the Evo XI – a direction that ditches the all-wheel-drive rally rocket’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 in favor of a plug-in hybrid setup. Will it be able to live up to the Evo name? Only time will tell, but if Mitsubishi does go that route, the current Evo X may very well become a prized collectible.

2013 Nissan GT R Black Edition front three quarter 300x187 imageNissan GT-R: What can we say about Godzilla that hasn’t already been said? Not only is the Nissan GT-R highly desirable, but it’s an incredibly important car for Nissan. The R35 GT-R is significant because it’s the first GT-R to ever be legally sold in the U.S., and it’s taken the segment by storm, frequently finishing on the podium in our Best Driver’s Car competitions. Despite its relatively low price, Godzilla remains a rarity on the streets, and though it has love-it-or-hate-it styling, the GT-R will without a doubt remain desirable in the future.

Saab 9-5: As mentioned above, the Saab 9-5 is the sole exception to the on-sale now rule, because while you can’t buy one new now, you could still buy a brand new 9-5 up until the Swedish automaker declared bankruptcy in January of this year. The 9-5 earns its spot on the future collectible list because it was the last new Saab car introduced. It may have had quite a few components from the GM parts bin, but the 9-5 was still the last true Saab. It was great to look at, full of quirky Swedish charm, and actually fun to drive. The 9-5 was the last Saab, and perhaps one of the best, which makes it a future collectible in our book.

2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition Left Front 300x187 imageSRT Viper GTS Launch Edition: The 2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition marks the return of the other American sports car icon. To celebrate the Viper’s rebirth, SRT created the limited-edition Viper GTS Launch Edition (Rarity? Check). Powered by a reworked 8.4-liter V-10 cranking out 640 hp, the Launch Edition comes wearing the stunning blue and white stripe paint job that helped make the original Viper GTS famous (Styling? Check). Finally, checking off the significance box is the fact that the new Viper is the first SRT-branded vehicle ever, giving it that special something that collectors will most certainly love decades from now.

Tesla Model S Signature Performance: The Tesla Model S is not only significant to Tesla as its first mass-market vehicle, but it’s significant to the industry as a whole as the first all-electric car that actually works for most Americans’ needs. The Model S Signature Performance is being built in a limited run of just 1000 examples. Making the Model S Signature Performance even more enticing is its world-beating performance, which allows the EV to smoke its gas-powered European rivals on the drag strip. The stunningly handsome Model S is a technological marvel that’s sure to be just as impressive sitting pretty on the auction block in the coming decades.

Do you agree with our list? Which cars would you have added and/or left off? Sound off in the comments below. 

By Christian Seabaugh

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Tesla Model S

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Tesla Model S

Tesla claims it has 250 patents covering its Model S sedan, with more pending. The electric motor sits between the rear wheels, contributing greatly to the car’s 47/53-percent front/rear weight distribution.

Tesla offers three lithium-ion battery packs for the Model S — 40-kW-hr, 60-kW-hr, and 85-kW-hr — that are claimed to provide ranges of 140, 200, and 265 miles, respectively. The base 85-kW-hr powertrain delivers a stout 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the performance version makes 416 hp and 443 lb-ft.

Read more about the Model S: 2012 Tesla Model S Test and Range Verification

Tesla Model S interior 300x187 imageGuest judge Wayne Cherry, a former GM design boss, summed up the exterior design theme of the Model S as “somewhat safe and conservative.” His only criticism? “The front end is a missed opportunity to establish brand identity.”

A number of the interior design solutions need more polish. However, all judges were impressed with the Tesla’s unique user interface, courtesy of the giant touch screen in the center of the car that controls everything from the air-conditioning to the nav system to the sound system to the car’s steering, suspension, and brake regeneration settings.

For the 313 miles of road loops during the COTY evaluation, where the car was driven at normal speeds by all the judges with the air-conditioning running, it averaged 74.5 mpg-e. Impressive numbers, especially considering the 4766-pound Tesla Model S Signature Performance version will nail 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and the quarter in 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph, with a top speed of 133 mph.

Other Car of the Year Contender WOT Posts:

Acura ILX
BMW 3 Series
Cadillac ATS
Cadillac XTS
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Spark
CODA EV Sedan
Dodge Dart
Ford C-Max
Ford Fusion
Honda Accord
Hyundai Azera
Lexus ES
Lexus GS
Lexus LS
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Sentra
Porsche 911
Porsche Boxster
Scion FR-S
Subaru BRZ
Toyota Avalon
Toyota Prius C

To compete for the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year title, contenders must be all new or significantly revised 2013-model-year cars or 2012-model-year cars that went on sale too late for 2012 COTY consideration. All eligible vehicles are invited to compete. Check back to MotorTrend.com on November 12 at 3:30 p.m. PST / 6:30 p.m. EST to discover what will become the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year!

By Motor Trend Staff

The Apoca-List: 10 Cars You Must Drive Before the End of the World

The Apoca-List: 10 Cars You Must Drive Before the End of the World

It’s nearly December 21, which means we’ll soon know whether the end of days is truly at hand. Before the world does go up in flames from an enormous solar flare or gets sucked into a black hole – as some believe will happen – we feel it’s important for you to experience some of the best automotive creations humanity has to offer. As such, we’ve assembled our top 10 vehicles you must drive before the end of the world.

Below, in no particular order, you’ll find a list of cars, trucks, and SUVs that will provide one last thrill before the Earth’s demise. Click through to read about all 10 picks!

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By Alex Nishimoto

Motor Trend’s Top 10 Most Popular Web Articles of 2012

Motor Trend’s Top 10 Most Popular Web Articles of 2012

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it’s already that time of year – the time for mistletoe and eleventh-hour overnight shipping; for social gatherings you’d rather not attend, and for family dishes you’ve waited a year to devour. For us, the end of December means reviewing all the work that we’ve produced since the beginning of 2012.

To celebrate what’s been a big year at Motor Trend, we’ve gathered our most popular online articles for 2012. The Top 10 stories don’t all feature sexy Italian supercars, nor are they all from 2012. In reality, there’s only one “exotic” on the list (and it’s not even in production yet) and two articles from last year that are still going strong.

Without further ado, here are MT’s biggest online hits for 2012. Click through to discover what was most popular on MotorTrend.com during 2012!

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By Nate Martinez

Rest in Pieces – Cars that Bit the Dust in 2011

Rest in Pieces – Cars that Bit the Dust in 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, we take a break from our New Year’s celebrations to pour a little Colt .45 (or Champagne, your call) out for our dead homies. As good of a year as 2011 was with vehicles like the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Chrysler 300 SRT8, and Ferrari FF making their debut, a lot of great cars like the Ford Crown Victoria and Ranger (and a few others we could probably live without) ended their production runs for good this year. Let’s take a moment of silence and remember our lost comrades, both loved, and unloved.

2011 buick lucerne front view 300x187 imageBuick Lucerne/Cadillac DTS – Like the Panther platform Fords, the Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS were two dinosaurs of days past. The Lucerne and DTS were both relics of the days when GM was ditching its rear-drive flagships for big front-drive sedans. While these cars will never be as iconic as other cars from the era that lasted just as long, we’d be remiss forgetting about these two luxo-barges.

Cadillac STS 300x187 imageCadillac STS – Unlike the Cadillac DTS, the STS started off on a good foot when it debuted in 2005, being a true rear-wheel drive luxury sedan. Sadly for the STS, it was neglected and by the time it went out of production this year, it had received no real significant updates, leading it to its ultimate replacement by the new, front-drive XTS.

2011 chevrolet aveo 5 rear view 300x187 imageChevrolet Aveo – There are very few cars that we wish didn’t exist and sadly, the Aveo is one of them. The definition of a penalty box on wheels, the Aveo was full of hard plastics, marginal workmanship, and a lethargic engine; the Aveo just plainly wasn’t good. While its replacement, the Sonic, is called the Aveo overseas, in the U.S. we’re much better off with the car, and the nameplate six feet under.

2011 chevrolet HHR front three quarter 300x187 imageChevrolet HHR – With the Chevy Cruze replacing the Cobalt last year, it was only a matter of time before the Cobalt-based HHR went out of production as well. Not as derided as the Cobalt, the HHR was essentially the hatchback version of the Cobalt. With a retro design inspired by early Suburbans and an available panel wagon and hot-hatch SS version, the HHR was actually a neat little car. Will it be greatly missed? Probably not; the Cruze is twice the car the HHR ever was. Now if only Chevy would bring the Cruze hatch to our shores…

2008 Dodge Caliber SRT4 front three quarter motion 300x187 imageDodge Caliber – The Dodge Caliber is another car that couldn’t leave us soon enough. On paper, the Caliber seemed like a great idea: it was packed with unique features like its “Cool Zone” storage and its tailgate-mounted swing-down speakers, and it looked like a mini-SUV, which was great for pre-recession America. Unfortunately for Dodge, that’s not the America we live in anymore. Even more unfortunate is that the Caliber just wasn’t a good car. It was woefully slow, wildly inefficient (the 2012 Dodge Charger gets better highway mpg than the CVT-equipped Caliber, 31 mpg versus 27 mpg), and filled to the brim with cheap, hard plastics. Dodge is a different company than it was in 2007 when the Caliber arrived, and the Caliber is no longer representative of what the company can do. Goodbye Caliber, your replacement, the 2013 Dart, can’t come soon enough.

2011 dodge nitro front view 300x187 imageDodge Nitro – The Dodge Nitro left us with very little fanfare. The rebadged and less-capable Dodge version of the Jeep Liberty is probably most famously known as the vehicle Fiat head Sergio Marchionne described as “the most significant hole in our product portfolio.” With it gone, Chrysler was able to increase production of the hot-selling Wrangler. We’d say that’s a fair trade.

ferrari 612 scaglietti 300x187 imageFerrari 612 Scaglietti – Sometimes good things must come to an end, so better things can be. The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was one such car. While a fantastic sports car and an even better grand tourer, its replacement, the all-wheel drive Ferrari FF is a much better car in just about every way. While we’ll fondly remember the 612 Scaglietti, the FF will more than make up for the 612’s loss.

Ford Crown Victoria/Lincoln Town Car/Mercury Grand Marquis – The last Panther-platformFord Crown Victoria front three quarters 300x187 image Ford rolled off the line this year, leaving behind cops and cabbies who no-longer have a go-to choice for a workhorse sedan. The Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis became American icons, and we hold a special place in our hearts for these antiquated beasts of burden.

Final Ford Ranger front three quarter1 300x187 imageFord Ranger – A recent addition to this list, the very last Ford Ranger rolled off the production line just this month – a white Ranger Sport destined for bug killing duties at Orkin. The Ford Ranger was the last true compact pickup for sale in the United States, and while the nameplate may live on overseas, here the Ranger will be greatly missed.

Honda Element front three quarter 300x187 imageHonda Element – The Element was Honda’s take on rival Toyota’s Scion xB. By all accounts, the Element was a much more versatile beast, and proved popular with the outdoorsy crowd. Honda did its best to increase its appeal to all, introducing a sporty version and even a dog-friendly version, but ultimately the Element’s sales compared to Honda’s other SUVs didn’t justify its continued production.

2012 lotus elise front  300x187 imageLotus Elise/Exige – The Lotus Elise and Exige left our market not because they were bad cars, but because their federal smart airbag exemption sadly ran up this year, banishing two of the most visceral and back-to-basics driver’s cars from our shores. All’s not lost however, as the next-generation Elise and Exige will meet federal regulations, and if you can’t wait that long, there’s always the track-only Exige S to hold you over for the next couple years.

2012 maybach 57 300x187 imageMaybach 57/62 – Mercedes-Benz brought the Maybach brand back in 2002 and hoped the name would rise from the ashes and regain its pre-war prestige. While 57 and stretched 62 were essentially no more than tarted-up S-Classes, the car proved popular with the hip-hop crowd, and was arguably featured in just as many songs and music videos as the Cadillac Escalade. Sadly, poor sales didn’t justify Mercedes’ continued support of the brand, and so it quietly discontinued the luxury marquee early this month.

2011 mazda rx 8 grand touring left side 300x200 imageMazda RX-8 – With the death of the Mazda RX-8 comes the death of the Wankel rotary engine in Mazda’s lineup. While much loved by enthusiasts, many found the rotary-powered RX-8’s appetite for fuel and oil hard to stomach, and consequently, the four-door coupe’s sales didn’t meet Mazda’s expectations. Gone in the U.S., the RX-8 will soldier on in Japan for another year or two before being discontinued. Here’s hoping for the rotary’s return in the future.

2010 mercury mariner hybrid 300x187 imageMazda Tribute/Mercury Mariner – The Mazda Tribute and Mercury Mariner were two badge-engineered versions of the Escape that were often forgotten. The Mariner died with Mercury back in January, while the Tribute gets replaced by the (very good) Mazda-engineered CX-5.

Mercury – Mercury was the first of three brands to disappear this year, way back in January. Ford could no longer justify the brand which at that point had only three models: the Mariner (rebadged Ford Escape), the Milan (rebadged Fusion) and the Grand Marquis (a rebadged Crown Victoria).  With Mercury out of the way, Ford only has to worry about reviving Lincoln from the dead. Fittingly, the last Mercury to roll off the line was the iconic Grand Marquis back in January.

2012 mitsubishi eclipse front three quarters 300x187 imageMitsubishi Eclipse – The Eclipse that went away this year is but a shadow of its former self. The Eclipse was the equivalent of a star high school athlete who comes back for his twenty year reunion fat, balding and ugly. Early Eclipses were turbocharged all-wheel drive scamps that were true performance machines. The current Eclipse is no more than a secretary special. While there are rumors that the Eclipse may make a return in the future, unless it regains the performance pedigree of its past, we can probably live without it.

2011 mitsubishi endeavor front view 300x187 imageMitsubishi Endeavor – File this one under, “They still made this?” The Endeavor was all-new for 2003 and mostly unchanged since then. Rumor has it Mitsubishi will have a replacement for it in a few years, but by all accounts the death knell for the Endeavor sounded long ago.

2011 dodge dakota 4x4 front view 300x187 imageRam Dakota – Sadly, with the death of the Ram Dakota another small pickup leaves our marketplace, leaving just the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon to fly the American flag in the midsize pickup arena. The Ram Dakota started life as a Dodge in the late 1980s and was fairly successful up until the middle of the last decade. Since then, it languished mostly unchanged, save for it leaving the Dodge brand for Ram. Not all is loss though; Ram is reportedly readying a Fiat-based Dakota replacement in the coming years.

2012 Saab 9 4x front three quarters 300x187 imageSaab – If any brand on this list had a long, painful death it was Saab. The events leading up to Saab’s long and drawn out demise have been covered extensively on these pages, so we won’t bore you with the details. We will however, miss the plucky Swedes and the 9-3, 9-4X, and 9-5 which were great examples of Saab making do with the poor cards it was dealt.

2010 tesla roadster sport on flatbed 300x187 imageTesla Roadster – The Tesla Roadster took the world by storm when the electric car from the California-based startup first hit the scene in 2008. Here was one of the first modern electric cars that you could buy, and it happened to be a Lotus Elise-based sports car. Sadly Tesla’s federal smart airbag exemption expired at the close of 2011, leaving Tesla without a car to sell until the Model S hits in the summer of 2012.

2012 volvo S40 front three quarters 300x187 imageVolvo S40/V50 – The Volvo S40 and V50 were unceremoniously dropped from Volvo’s U.S. lineup this year due to lagging sales. The real shame is the loss of the V50, which was the last true station wagon that Volvo sold on our shores. For a brand that cut its teeth in the U.S. selling “turbo brick” wagons, the death of the V50 and its S40 sibling mark the end of an era.

By Christian Seabaugh