The auto market experienced turbulent times in ’09. The national credit crunch forced cash-strapped would-be car buyers to make due with what they had, and mismanaged industry giants collapsed in record numbers.
But the news wasn’t all bad. Car shoppers who weren’t affected by the credit crunch or had a bit of money saved up were presented with lots of new car deals and incentives. While the federal government introduced the wildly successful Cash for Clunkers program, General Motors launched return policies -- something that's almost unheard of. Even better, long-term zero-percent financing became an industry norm.
However, there’s still more money to be saved. As dealers rush to sell off their 2009 inventory in order to make room for 2010 models, prices are dropping and incentives are increasing -- especially on vehicles that will no longer be produced.
While it’s true that a lot of the cars being nixed aren’t all that great, some very good models have simply fallen prey to downsizing and restructuring. Check out the following list of great cars that will be discontinued after 2009. If you act fast, you can land a really great deal on one before it’s gone forever.
2009 Honda S2000
MSRP: $34,995 - $37,995
Honda’s S2000 is everything a sports roadster should be -- a quick, light and agile drop-top with room for two. In many ways, it’s the purest sports car available at this price point. Though competitors, like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Nissan 370Z, are more practical for daily commutes, the S2000’s focus on performance over comfort makes it a force to be reckoned with. Plus it’s available in a track-tuned Club Racer trim that’ll have drivers feeling like Speed Racer. For a thrilling but affordable ride to run track laps and burn up the back roads, there’s no better choice.
After a nine-year run, Honda has decided to pull the plug on the coveted S2000. The company, however, remains in good standing and will honor all warranty and service agreements.
2009 Mercury Sable
MSRP: $25,120 - $31,230
Those in the market for a large family sedan can’t go wrong with the Mercury Sable. It provides good fuel economy (18/28 mpg city/highway) and features a comfortable five-passenger cabin, loads of practical cargo room and excellent safety scores. It can even be equipped with an all-wheel drivetrain, which makes for sure footing in the rain and snow. Although some critics complain that the Sable’s sedate performance and unexciting look can detract from its appeal, shoppers realistic about what to expect from a large car will be quite satisfied.
As a marquee of the Ford Motor Company -- America’s only “big three” automaker not to file for bankruptcy in 2009 -- Mercury is relatively secure. While the Sable will not carry into the 2010 model year, owners will still have their warranties honored at local dealerships.
2009 Pontiac G8
MSRP: $28,250 - $31,755
Unlike its retro-styled counterparts, the Pontiac G8 doesn’t possess the allure of a storied past. Fortunately, it has a lot going for it. In addition to a bold and aggressive exterior design, it handles exceptionally well for a muscle car and features three powerful engine options: the base trim’s 256-horspower V6; the GT’s 355-horspower V8; and the high-performance GXP’s 415-horspower, Corvette-sourced V8. As if that wasn’t enough, it also provides comfortable seating for five adults. Not surprisingly, many auto critics recommend that shoppers forgo the highly-popular Camaro and Mustang for a G8 -- which, given its short-run, could end up becoming a collector’s item.
After filing for bankruptcy earlier this year, General Motors is undergoing a massive restructuring effort. In doing so, it has decided to cut certain marquees -- including Pontiac. As the brand dies, so does the G8. Warranties, however, will continue to be honored by other GM-brand dealerships.
2009 Saturn Astra
MSRP: $17,045 - $19,545
In a class jam-packed with bland sedans and boxy hatchbacks, the Astra is a breath of fresh air. Based on the Opel Astra, this Saturn features the chic styling and ritzy cabin design typical of most European cars. It’s also fun to drive and nets an impressive EPA-estimated fuel economy of 24/32 mpg city/highway. Some reviewers complain about the hard-to-read instrument panel and inadequate cargo room, but most concede that its other qualities more than make up for any shortcomings.
After two years of production in the United States, General Motors has decided to discontinue the Astra, along with the entire Saturn brand. However, other GM dealerships will continue to honor its warranty.
2009 Hyundai Entourage
MSRP: $23,995 - $29,895
Families on a tight budget will appreciate the Hyundai Entourage’s satisfying combination of value, comfort and safety. In addition to its sprightly performance, it features seating for seven, loads of standard convenience features and even earns great crash test scores -- all for a relatively low sticker price. Some reviewers complain that its third-row seats are better suited for kids than adults and other minivans provide more cargo room, but these are minor grievances. Besides, the Entourage carries an impressive five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. It’s hard to argue against that.
Hyundai’s only minivan will be discontinued after 2009, but the automaker is definitely here to stay. Supplies are limited, but those that buy a new Entourage will get its long warranty.
2009 Kia Sorento
MSRP: $21,545 - $27,245
SUV shoppers in the market for a good value package will find the Kia Sorento enticing. It features powerful engine options; comfortably seats five passengers; and, like the Hyundai Entourage, carries a lengthy five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Test drivers, however, report that its ride quality leaves much to be desired and its EPA-estimated fuel economy of 15/20 mpg to 16/22 mpg is subpar for its class. And while it earns great scores in federal government crash tests, the insurance industry notes that it performs poorly in side impacts. Still, the Sorento offers a lot for the money.
The Sorento has been around for seven years, but won’t see it’s eighth -- Kia has no plans to manufacture a 2010 model. However, new Sorento owners can rest assured that its lengthy warranty will continue to be honored.