Green-Car Death List: 2012 Models To Which We Bid Adieu

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2010 Lexus HS 250h

2010 Lexus HS 250h

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Every year, some car models pass from our midst, often dying quietly and unnoticed.

Here's our list of the green cars that are no longer with us.

There were, of course, more cars than just this handful of the greenest models that died in 2012; here's a more complete list.

Chevrolet Aveo

While the Chevy Aveo nameplate actually left the building after the 2011 model year, Chevrolet will continue to sell subcompacts.

But GM's mass brand had to acknowledge that the U.S. image of the Aveo was so underwhelming--most reviewers called it a substandard, cheap, unimpressive car that was long in the tooth from the start--that it was better to wipe the slate clean.

2009 Chevrolet Aveo

2009 Chevrolet Aveo

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The fresh new model that replaces the Aveo, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, is a remarkably good little car.

It's got spunky styling, it's fun to drive if you get the 1.4-liter turbo, and it comes with some neat interior features and a minimalist style that doesn't feel punitive.

And the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine offered in the 2012 Sonic is far more up-to-date than the larger, less-efficient lump in the Aveo.

But for the record, what we buy as the Chevy Sonic is known to the rest of the world as the ... Chevy Aveo.

Ford Escape Hybrid

We've lamented the death of the original hybrid crossover before. Among others, we have a close relative who is very cross with Ford for dropping its only all-wheel drive hybrid.

2010 Ford Escape Hybrid

2010 Ford Escape Hybrid

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The new 2013 Escape offers three different engine options, two of them direct-injected and turbocharged EcoBoost units (of 1.6 and 2.0 liters) that will deliver far better fuel economy than the boxy old 2012 model--which dates all the way back to the 2001 model year.

The Hybrid, introduced as a 2005 model, was the first U.S.-built hybrid and the first hybrid crossover. And it found a ready market in everything from green-leaning suburban enclaves to the taxi fleets of New York City and other major urban areas.

Ford built 122,850 of them, along with another 12,300 Mercury Mariner Hybrids before that brand was killed in 2009.

If you want a hybrid with mechanical all-wheel drive that's smaller than a full-size SUV, look for any last remaining Escape Hybrids on your Ford dealer's lot. There won't be any more from Ford.

Lexus HS 250h

We didn't like it much when it was introduced for 2010, and car buyers seemed to agree.

2010 Lexus HS 250h

2010 Lexus HS 250h

Enlarge Photo

The first dedicated hybrid from Toyota's luxury brand, the HS 250h was unveiled at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and sold for just three model years.

While Lexus hoped to sell 25,000 or 30,000 HS hybrids a year, it didn't come close. It sold 6,699 during 2009, hit a high of just 10,663 in 2010, and saw sales plummet to 2,864 last year.

It was far more popular in Japan, where it was sold as the Toyota Sai and logged enough advance orders that U.S. allocation for the Lexus version was reduced.

The Lexus HS 250h thus joins a growing list of defunct hybrids that now includes the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hybrid SUVs, the Nissan Altima Hybrid, and most recently, the Mercedes-Benz ML 450h and BMW ActiveHybrid X6.

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Comments (11)
  1. The Roadster is dead, long live the Roadster!

  2. The Ford C-Max and C-Max Energi will more than cover the needs of previous buers for the Escape.

  3. @Tom: Not if those previous buyers need all-wheel drive! Many of us here in the snowy Northeast do, y'know.

  4. Some of use have lived in the Northeast all their life and near have had all-wheel drive nor have any of our family members.

  5. "A crude, clumsy, and expensive two-seat sports car,"

    I was going to cite you for "unnecessary roughness" but the following paragraphs are more kind, so I'll let it slide. :)

  6. I show our Tesla Roadster at car shows all the time, even when it's just a stop at the grocery store that turns into a car show. I get plenty of reactions to the car, many with huge smiles or dropped jaws, but so far no one has ever said, "hey, that's some crude, clumsy car you've got there."

    No matter what Mr. Voelcker says, I think it's the best sports car ever made, supplying unmatched driving fun without sending a dime to OPEC.

  7. Well, the latter paragraphs make it clear that he actually has a more favorable impression than he initially lets on.

  8. When you refer to the Roadster have died, you really refer to the 2011, right?

  9. Correct. No Tesla Roadsters manufactured after Dec 31, 2011, can legally be sold in the U.S. so there is no 2012 model-year car here. Some 2012 Roadsters are still on sale in Europe, but only about 250 remain unsold worldwide, according to the company.

  10. It surprises me that the R-Class is so unloved in the US. I liked my 2008 R350 4MATIC so much that when I heard no more would be sold in the US, I went out and leased a new R350 BlueTEC. It's very comfortable, handles respectably for its size (the dead steering notwithstanding), and will carry up to seven people or a lot of cargo. It gets decent mileage. And it doesn't look like a truck, which is a big plus in my opinion -- although I seem to be in the minority there.

  11. I thought the Tesla Roadster reached it's end of production run cycle and had to make way for the Model S. The other cars listed however, I would imagine ceased production for different reasons. Interesting how most of the other cars listed in the article were not pure Electric Cars and I think one of them was a gas only car.

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