Yes, we can still confirm the Mitsubishi Lancer is no longer on sale (but we like to double-check every now and then).
But there are still plenty of models lingering around among all the new or relatively fresh metal in showrooms – vehicles that most people had forgotten were actually still available.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Ford Mondeo were on our initial list, though were recently put out to pasture. The former was at once both controversial and unmemorable as the company’s first ever front-wheel-drive car. The latter deserved greater popularity but seemed to reinforce Ford Australia’s perennial struggles with marketing good cars from Europe.
That still leaves us with a decent list of cars that are carrying on in defiance of their greying hair and showroom anonymity.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The Giulietta lives on, nearly a decade after it replaced the Alfa Romeo 147 as Italy’s rival for German hatchbacks – including the Golf at the lower end of the market and the likes of the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class at the higher end.
While certainly not without its merits, the Giulietta has struggled to make its mark – and has been forced to continue well beyond a car’s typical lifecycle, while Alfa’s parent company Fiat Chrysler focused on the mid-sized Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV.
No replacement is coming, though, sadly. Fiat Chrysler has confirmed production of the Giulietta will finish at the end of 2020, and its effective substitute will be the Tonale small SUV.
So, if you want to own a little slice of Alfa history, get in quick. The two options comprise the $35,950 Super TCT powered by a 125kW 1.4-litre turbo and the $42,950 Veloce TCT with a 177kW 1.7-litre turbo.
And it’s the only Chrysler model you can still buy in Australia, so without it, the US brand would not even exist here.
The second-generation 300 plods on with underpinnings that trace their roots back to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class – which wouldn’t be such bad news, except the model in question is the W210 sold between 1998 and 2003.
However, the V8-powered 300 SRT has been one of the models snapped up by the New South Wales Highway Patrol to help replace the Holden Commodore.
And for those buyers seeking a big, brand new V8-powered sedan for less than $100,000, this is your only option. The single showroom model is the 300 SRT that starts from $77,450 before on-road costs (with the cheaper V6 and SRT Core models now a “customer forward only only” proposition).
Lexus has already ditched the hybrid CT hatchback in its biggest market, the US, where it has essentially been replaced by the UX crossover. The luxury small car isn’t the Japanese brand’s finest hour – or should we say nine years, as that’s how long it has now been on sale.
For much of that time it was a niche segment with its petrol-electric drivetrain, though it remains odd that Lexus never bolstered the CT range with regular petrol models to better fight rivals.
There have been facelifts and updates, though not sufficient improvements to the drivetrain and suspension – leaving a petrol-electric version of the latest Toyota Corolla a much better choice for a refined hybrid hatch.
However, if you must have a brand new Lexus and you have only $41,000-odd to spend, the CT200h remains your only choice. (The UX starts from $45,000, though.)
From niche cars to niche brands, Lotus does only small business in Australia though it has plenty of hardcore followers thanks to sports cars such as the Elise and Exige that are built for purist drivers – including those who are partial to track days.
One of those models would likely be the first answer if you asked someone less familiar with the brand to name a Lotus, the Evora probably less so.
It came out in 2010 as a more road-focused sports car to take on the mighty Cayman from Porsche. And if build quality wasn’t comparable, the chassis certainly was.
After starting as low as $119,990, though, the Evora has become increasingly expensive – and there’s now only the single, GT410 variant, priced from $189,900.
Just one has been sold so far in 2020, though at least that buyer can claim to own a sports car with arguably better steering than a Cayman.
With the likes of the Gullwing and Pagoda models, has there ever been a more emotive badge in the history of Mercedes-Benz? For decades, the SL coupe/roadster was the epitome of luxury and performance, but sales have been dwindling globally for years.
And just three sales have been registered in Australia up to August 2020.
Sports cars typically have a limited time span when it comes to showroom appeal, of course, and it doesn’t help that the current SL has been around since 2012 – with an interior that looks outdated even next to a $44,000 A-Class.
Buyers seeking a sporty, circa $300,000-400,000 Mercedes also have more options these days – namely the sexy AMG GT coupe and roadster.
A seventh-generation SL is due to be unveiled in 2021, but there may be a relative bargain to be struck with the “very limited dealer stock available”.
The ‘baby SL’ has similarly slipped off sports-car buyers’ radars, with just 31 sales up to the end of August 2020.
The ‘latest’, third-generation version of what was better known as the SLK before a 2016 name change has been around since 2011.
In that time, we’ve had all-new versions of rival roadsters including the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mazda MX-5 and Porsche Boxster.
Mercedes’ hardtop convertible has struggled to provide the driving thrills of the MX-5 or Boxster, though it has brought interesting and clever innovations to the segment – the AirScarf neck-level heating system built into the headrests (2004) and Magic Sky Control glass sunroof that could be made transparent or tinted at the touch of a button (2011).
With sales of two-seater convertibles rapidly falling away, Mercedes has suggested it won’t replace the SLC. So, if you want a (compact sized) slice of Mercedes sports car history, the SLC is still available in three formats – from the $88,900 SLC200 base model to the $140,900 SLC43 AMG. Stock is limited, though, and it’s no longer possible to order an SLC.
Toyota Prius V
V stands for Versatile, and this is the same people-mover that came out in 2012 to help form a whole family of its famous Prius hybrid car (there was also the little Prius C city car).
And it has been genuinely useful for big families looking to move up to seven people around while keeping fuel costs down. Official fuel consumption is just 4.4L/100km, even if it’s harder to get close to that in the real world – especially with multiple seats occupied.
There was an update in 2015, though the same year a new-generation Prius emerged with a brand new platform, better interior presentation, and a raft of improvements to the hybrid system that the V missed out on.
Yet the Prius V, priced from $37,590, remains the only seven-seater hybrid you can currently buy for less than $40,000. That was a factor appreciated by 164 buyers in the first half of 2020, though Toyota may consider its job done once the next-generation Kluger arrives in 2021 complete with its first hybrid drivetrain option.