Hooniverse Asks- What Car are You Most Surprised is Still in Production?

The other day I was leafing though the paper and came across an ad For one of the local Chevy dealers. In the corner of the ad was a listing for the HHR wagon, which was being offered at a pretty reasonable lease deal. I wasn’t so much amazed by the financial aspects of the ad as by the fact that they were still selling the HHR new. I thought that retro-wagon had followed its Cobalt platform mate to the great beyond with the introduction of Chevy’s latest small car savior, the OED-annoyingly spelled Cruze.
There’s a lot of cars that don’t really register on my radar due to their inherent lack of redeeming qualities or general craptitude. Hell, I couldn’t tell you if half a Chrysler dealer’s lot is filled with brand new cars or just ones left over from two years ago that they couldn’t sell. Still, seeing a brand new Impala with dealer plates is like coming across someone using a brick cell phone talking about how it’s ‘Hammer Time.’
And then there’s the cars that seem, zombie-like, never to roll into the light, damning them to roam the Earth forever unchanged. I’m looking at you, zombie Morgan. How about you? Is there a car that, like finding a Coelacanth in your fish pond, is remarkable in its discovery?
Image sources:[surfnlearn, thecarconnection]


  1. Did you know Kia makes a minivan? In the venn diagram of body styles I don't care about and manufacturers I don't care about, this is right in the centre of the overlapping portion.
    Also: Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator.

    1. The Kia Sedona is pretty bulletproof, but not indestructible. A friend in the Corvair club had one, until he got t-boned last fall by a teenager. IIRC, the Sedona had over 150k on it. It was replaced by a GMC Yukon.
      Also, Hyundai offered a badge-engineered version of the Sedona, the Hyundai Entourage, for just three years (2007-2009).

  2. <img src="http://www.novak-adapt.com/images/pics/engines/chevy_v6_2006.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    Not a car, but an engine. Until I bought my 2011 Silverado WT, I didn't realize that GM was still making the 4.3L V-6. The same one based off the Gen I small block V-8 architecture. The current version has 195HP and 260 lb. ft. torque. The I-5 from the Colorado has 242 HP and 242 lb. ft torque. The I-4 from the Colorado has almost as much HP, 185, but is down on torque ,190 lb. ft.
    The V-6 actually gets the same city gas mileage rating as the V-8, but 1 mpg LESS on the highway! The Gen 4 V-8s feature cylinder deactivation and a 6-speed automatic instead of a 4-speed automatic.
    The Atlas I-6 was putting out 291HP and 277 ft. lb. of torque on the latest revision. I can't understand why they didn't start putting those in Silverados when the Trailblazer died.
    Of course I kind of like the all iron engine old tech aspect of this old V-6 engine. It is dirt simple to work on and should last a long time.

  3. <img src="http://www.japanesesportcars.com/photos/d/112536-2/2011-nissan-xterra-pro4x-7.JPG&quot; width="360">
    Don't get me wrong, I really like the Xterra. It's a no-nonsense, common sense off-roader and the fact that it's still in production helps me hold out hope for Nissan's corporate soul. I just can't believe that Nissan still wants to sell them when they are otherwise so wrapped up with their current Juke/Murano orgy of strangely swoopy sheetmetal over car-duty mechanicals.

    1. Nissan still makes the Sentra too, but I can't think when the last time was I saw one from the current generation. I see the previoius generation ones all the time. I guess that Altimas are discounted to where Sentras used to sell and the Versas are practically free, so there is no room in dealer fleets for a car that isn't any better than either and isn't value priced.

    1. Well, Moroder dropped out, so they're just "Cizeta" now.
      And yes, the "Moroder" is Giorgio Moroder. The man who brought synths into EVERYTHING musical in the 70's and 80's.

  4. Sort of related. I was looking at a newspaper last week (what's that?), and the local dealer still had four 2010 Porsche 911s for sale. The base model Carrera was $15k below MSRP.

    1. There's a dealer near Toledo, OH that up until last year had new 2008 Chrysler Crossfires on the lot. They were listed weekly in the paper for 50% of MSRP.

        1. The 370Z doesn't surprise me. Cars like that all need to be sold the first day they go on the market. I am surprised about the Versa though. You'd think the dealer would have taken a loss on it by now and sold it to one of the cheapskates that make up the Versa market. They seem to sell well in most of the country, even though they're not standouts relative to competitors small cars.

  5. The Kia Rondo is one of those cars I forgot existed.
    I actually saw multiple Borregos this weekend, but that'd be on my list too.
    Also, pretty much every Mitsubishi.

    1. Can you &gt;poof&lt; someone else's comment?
      Seems like the Borrego was discontinued too. Shows me for trusting the FuelEconomy.gov list of 2011 cars!

    1. It's about time, but I'm quite fond of these. Yeah, see them everyday operated by a number of taxi companies, but they're quite nice looking. And if they weren't good enough mechanically it wouldn't be the default choice of these cab companies, right? I actually want to see this version stay as is for the fleet sector with upgrades to make it more reliable, and have a brand-new one for the public. Like the Toyota Crown Comfort overseas; there are new Crowns and there is a separate evolutionary model for taxis carrying the same name.
      You know what they say, "Drive what the cabbies and the police drive". (Or not; I could be totally making that up…)

      1. On one hand, I've seen enough of these as taxis and security cars with transmission problems (used to work at a Chev service department). On the other, they absolutely see more abuse than civilian models, and did have higher mileage.
        I really do prefer the Malibu, but I sort of get the Impala's appeal – the SS, for all its torque steering, sounds good and works well on the highway.

        1. It seems every single SS I see out on the road is right in front of me, driving just barely the speed limit.
          I'd like to applaud GM's notion of a factory sleeper, but it is only a notion, though aptly a 'sleeper'.

          1. You've just described the driving habit of my personal nemeses – drivers of the all-too-common Corolla "S".

          2. Good choice, I've adopted the CR-V / Rav4 as my personal nemesis. They're too similar looking to the fleeting eye to distinguish and so it seems I am screwed over equally by the two.
            Why just this morning I was cut off by a CR-V that waited just long enough to leave me at the stop light. Bastards.

  6. Mitsubishi seems to sell only two types of cars, EVOs and cars to people that would be shopping at a "buy here pay here" used car lot, but decided they MUST have anew car. Mitsu seems to have replaced Kia and Hyundai as the bottom feeders.

  7. Now normally this would be an easy choice for me. I would answer the anachronistic Bristol Blenheim and be done with it. Sadly though the company is now out of production and so I have to make another choice. So I will have to say the Suzuki Cultus, AKA 1989 Geo Metro as it is still built in Pakistan for their home market. don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing. I only wish I could buy it in this country as none of the "small" cars sold in the US are really all that small or fuel efficient.

    1. I have a '09 Grand Vitara sitting in the garage right now. Great car to be honest, but whomever is doing marketing for Suzuki USA is doing a HORRIBLE job of reminding people that they are still around.

  8. 2011 seems like the last hurrah for;
    <img src="http://static.carvenom.com/images/Land_Rover/Defender/2011_Land_Rover_Defender_X-Tech_Limited_Edition/2011_Land_Rover_Defender_X-Tech_Limited_Edition_10_1600x1200.jpg&quot; width=450>
    And as much as I admire it, love it, want one, It still amazes me that it's lasted as long as it has. I mean, I can understand its continuing popularity as a specialist vehicle with military, agricultural and government applications, it can do things that few other 4x4s can.
    But as a pretty expensive car for normal people, it's absolutely hopeless. And so's this:-

    1. <img src="http://www.lincah.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/2010-Mercedes-Benz-G-Class-UK-Version-Rear-Angle-View-588×441.jpg&quot; width="450/">
      These have just been re-introduced to the UK market, officially, through the Benz network. I drove a 2011 last week. It's bloody horrible. The 224hp 3.0 Diesel engine is state-of-the-art, but struggles to give any performance on a big jeep with a completely flat windscreen and zero aerodynamic considerations; you can virtually sense the fuel being burned in vain. It's cramped, too, there's nowhere to put your feet. Or your legs. Or shoulders. Or elbows.
      The inside is old-fashioned, with sit-up-and-beg seats and a dash-top only 6 inches from the glass; if not properly strapped in a tall chap could easily headbutt the windshield. I did. Repeatedly. And in common with the Defender, the ride quality is akin to a wheels-up landing in a Tupolev. The Germans favour a stiff ride, and so do I, but the G-Wagen feels as if they forgot to install any suspension at all.
      But here's the thing. A well equipped LR Defender Diesel costs somewhere around £30k. The G-Wagen, admittedly groaning with leather, massage seats and a totally pointless HI-FI upgrade that you can't hear due to the road noise, is the thick end of £80k.
      Next time you see one bouncing along the ploughed London streets, you have my blessing to point and laugh.

  9. There isn't some place they are still building those Gen I Falcons? Like Nigeria or Indonesia or something?

    1. I don't know if countries like Brazil should count to the original question. Heck, they were stil selling air-cooled Beetles there until late in the 1990s, or maybe even beyond.

  10. I think they were still cranking out Mercury Grand Marquis until pretty late into last year. I see them with fairly recent series plates on rental lots, so I guess Ford was milking the tooling until the very end to sell them to fleet customers.
    And the other day I saw a new Cadillac EXT with paper plates. Why they even make that, I have no idea. There can't be that many rappers who need a not-very-good pickup truck, can there?

    1. I recently got a 2011(!) Grand Marquis as a loaner while my car was in the shop and I kinda liked it. It was a guilty pleasure with a broad, cushy front bench seat, column shifter, V8 up front, and the rear wheels doing the propelling. The ride was quite nice and it actually had great brakes. Sad to see them go. It made me start looking at used Town Cars.

  11. The Dodge (sorry, Ram) Dakota – I like them, but economy's no better than the Ram 1500, and you can usually get the bigger truck for the same or cheaper.

  12. Mitsbishi Galant, for obvious reasons. But, to address Hooniverses' nomination of the HHR:
    I work as a medical courier as my second job, and I often drive the HHR's we lease from a rental company. They are crude, yes, but my biggest complaint is the fat, wretched A-pillar and dinky windshield that so horribly obstruct my vision. But that, and the craptastic retro-garbage styling aside, it isn't terrible. Here's my comparison: when we first got them, I sat inside and noticed that the steering wheel wasn't enormous, that its turning radius was less than that of my pickup truck, and that it had decent cargo capacity. Compared to the PT Cruisers we'd been driving before that, it was a luxury car (especially the interior… and engine…. and transmission, handling, braking…).
    It's still a pile of junk, but my point is, it could be worse.
    As for the Mitsu, like its godforsaken Chrysler brethren, kill it with fire.

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