Automakers are perhaps tweaking their respective model lines with a bit more urgency these days to help keep up with changing consumer tastes, particularly the ongoing market shift away from small and midsize sedans and into SUVs of all sizes and shapes.
Among the 15 model lines being discontinued for 2018, a full dozen are passenger cars, ranging in size and price from the thrifty Smart ForTwo coupe and convertible, to the rip-roaring Dodge Viper sports car.
Here’s a quick look back at the cars and SUVs that are riding off into the sunset for the new model year:
• Buick Verano. The popular Encore compact crossover SUV has usurped the Verano, a fairly plush entry-level luxury car that was mechanically based on the Chevrolet Cruze.
• Chevrolet SS. The full-size SS sedan was imported over the last three years from General Motors’ Holden subsidiary in Australia, as Chevy’s sportier — and costlier — rear-drive alternative to the sedately cast Impala. The SS was a hoot to drive, but only sold sparingly.
• Chrysler 200. The midsize 200 sedan is discontinued for 2018, leaving Chrysler with only the larger 300 and the Pacifica minivan. With passenger-car sedan sales suffering, FCA decided to free up production for its more profitable trucks and SUVs.
• Dodge Viper. Sports car fans will mourn the passing of this riotous V10-powered sports car that helped bolster Chrysler’s fortunes a quarter century ago. Though it likely never turned a profit, it endured and will is one of the few models on this list that will be truly missed.
• Hyundai Azera. The midsize near-luxury Azera sedan was never a big seller and it became lost in the shuffle when Hyundai spun its large Genesis and Equus sedans off to launch its Genesis luxury division this year.
• Infiniti QX70. Originally sold as the FX, the midsize QX70 has been around since 2003, but it’s being dropped for 2018 in favor of a redesigned version of the QX50.
• Jeep Patriot. Lasting for a decade with only incremental changes, the compact Patriot crossover SUV may have been more military-looking than its sidekick, the Jeep Compass, but it lost the sales war and is being discharged, while the latter underwent a major redesign for 2017.
• Lexus CT 200h. The compact CT 200h hybrid hatchback is tuned sportier than most other hybrids, but Its sales have fallen precipitously along with gas prices.
• Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive. The luxury automaker’s slow-selling subcompact EV will be phased out for 2018, with no immediate replacement planned.
• Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Ditto with Mitsubishi’s tiny egg-shaped battery-powered i-MiEV. The car’s estimated range of just 59 miles on a charge is barely good enough for around-town or on-campus use.
• Mitsubishi Lancer. Typically forgotten in a crowded segment of compact cars, the Lancer is otherwise best known for its fast and furious Evolution iterations.
• Nissan Quest. Another minivan bites the dust.
• Smart ForTwo. The smallest, cheapest and oddest Mercedes-Benz-built model is dropping its gasoline-powered coupe and convertible versions in the U.S. at the end of the 2017 model year; the brand will instead concentrate on selling the Electric Drive version.
• Volkswagen CC. The stylish CC four-door coupe is VW’s lowest-volume car, and will be replaced the equally swoopy looking midsize Arteon later in 2018.
• Volkswagen Touareg. The Touareg was sportier and more luxurious than most mainstream-brand SUVs, but it was priced out of the reach of most families. It’s being replaced in the brand’s U.S. lineup by the new-for-2018 three-row Atlas crossover.