RIP Cars: These Are 6 Models That Have Died So Far In 2021 (And What’s Replacing Them)

It's not all bad, since we are getting some exciting new models too

The Honda Clarity is just the latest car to roll off into the history books this year. (Image: Honda)

We’ll bet you never guess what sort of cars are dying off so far in 2021.

Take a moment and pour one out (or give a salute, if that’s not your thing) to the Honda Clarity fuel cell and plug-in hybrid. Despite being one of the early developers of that technology, the Clarity never really took off either of the times it was available for mass consumption. Honda confirmed it would stop production in 2021, with hydrogen models available for lease through 2022. That said, though, this isn’t the only model to meet the ax this year.

“The entire Clarity series played a valuable role in advancing Honda’s portfolio approach to electrification, which is an important aspect of our commitment to reduce CO2 emissions,” the company said in recent statement. On the whole, automakers are shifting their focus over the coming years — toward new ideas, platforms and identities — and apparently the current iteration of Honda’s funky-but-a-bit-odd tech showcase doesn’t quite fit the bill. In the Clarity’s place, we’ll no doubt see new BEVs emerge, as well as a greater electrification program across the brand’s crossover and truck lineup.

We covered a wide range of dropped cars at the end of 2020. If you don’t see a car that springs to your mind, check out that TFLtalk video!

More cars are getting the ax, but…we’re getting some exciting replacements

Of course, sedans are getting chopped from automakers’ lineups left and right, as crossovers continue their popular march into driveways across the U.S. That said, it’s not all bad news on that front. Like with the Clarity, other models are getting the ax to make way for entirely new concepts, or just improved versions of what manufacturers are putting out to pasture this year.

Take the Mazda6 as a prime example on that last point. It’s sad that the Japanese automaker is killing off its flagship sedan. Even with a front-wheel drive layout, it’s one of the absolute best-driving sedans in its class, hands down. It’s not like any of the competition is that bad either. The Honda Accord is also a great driver, but still…there’s a sharpness to Mazda’s svelte sedan, especially with the turbocharged engine. However, again it’s not necessarily bad as we could get something even better in its place. How about a brand new, rear-wheel drive platform with an inline-six mild hybrid engine? That should be in the cards. While it will undoubtedly be more expensive — the brand continues to aim upmarket, after all — Mazda looks to be cooking up one hell of a good sports sedan in the near future.

On the subject of Mazda, the little CX-3 is also meeting its maker this year. Frankly, I’m surprised it took Mazda this long, as by their own admission the entry-level crossover occupied a tiny sliver of the possible market. In its place, though, we get the similar yet larger, more practical and more powerful CX-30.

Volkswagen killed off the standard Golf for the U.S. market back in January, and the Mk8 model will only arrive in either GTI or Golf R variants. (Image: Volkswagen)

Three other cars meet their maker

Some automakers like Hyundai and Kia are generally sticking with sedans, though Kia in particular jettisoned two of its less popular models earlier this year. Both the K900 and the Cadenza filled sort of odd niches in the lineup, and the sales numbers show most customers looked right past them. There are new versions of both these cars in the Korean market — the K9 is the new flagship while the K8 (which we knew as the Cadenza) also saw a recent update.

In their place, though — at least in terms of U.S. sales — we still get the excellent K5 sedan, not to mention the Stinger if you want a larger GT car. In place of midsize sedans, we also see crossovers like the updated Sportage and Sorento, and new EVs like the EV6 are on the way to round out the brand’s lineup. Kia’s new Carnival MPV also technically “killed off” the old Sedona, though we went from having a minivan to still having a minivan, so…take that for what you will.

There’s one more elephant in the room worth mentioning , or rather a hatchback. Volkswagen announced earlier this year it was killing off the standard Golf after more than 40 years, much to our chagrin. To be clear, we are still getting the Mk8 GTI and the Golf R, but the plain Jane, approachable Golf is not coming to our shores. Along with sedans, hatchbacks have also been in the doldrums these past few years, and VW decided to kill the Golf off in the U.S. because you all didn’t buy one when you had the chance. If you bought VW’s hatchback at all, you went for the GTI, and to be honest that’s typically what I shop when I think I want to dive into Volkswagen ownership too. Instead, we’re getting electric models like the ID.4, as well as revamped crossovers to sate our appetites.