Ok, ok, we know that when you turned 16 and got your license (finally!) you were hoping for a brand new set of wheels in the driveway—but—perchance you were greeted with mom’s old van or worse, and forced to face the ridicule of all the other kids who were driving their brand new Lexus around town. Despite the heartache you probably felt then, we’re here to tell you, that in fact — you were well ahead of the cool-curve.
Here’s why — a couple of years ago automakers made some very cool cars and those cars were snapped up by buyers all over the country. Then, those same automakers announced that they were going to discontinue (GASP) those cars shortly thereafter, making them incredibly rare. Just a few years on, those coveted, discontinued cars are coming off of leases and hitting the used car market. That makes them perfect for your next set of cool wheels. Who knew that mom’s wagon was so highly coveted, right?
Stick with us here. Let’s take a look at some of the awesome rides that were discontinued just two years ago. Apparently the trend amongst automakers in 2013 was to discontinue their wagony-hatched vehicles. That year we said goodbye to a number of really great hot hatches (fast, small and fun cars with 5 doors) including the BMW 1 series, the VW Golf R (the Mk VI version—there’s a new version out now with more horsepower-the Mk VII) and the Toyota Matrix. In 2013 Toyota also terminated the blocky and off-road going SUV, the FJ Cruiser. Mind you FJ vehicles still go for a pretty penny today—because they can be easily customized to become seriously fun expedition vehicles. Sadly, when Toyota introduced the SUV in 2006 it only sold about 20,000 per year—so finding one on the used car market can be a rare find. So snap them up when they appear.
If you go back just one year further to 2012, you’ll find a few (albeit few-er) cool cars that you should snap up today in their used form. Automakers were in a strange spot in 2012 with design language changing and new, more fuel efficient, and smaller vehicles hitting the market. They were pulling a lot of their bigger sedans and trucks off into the land of discontinuation. Some of the more hip cars that you should snap up include the Mercedes R-Class, the Infiniti G25, the Honda Element, the Lotus Elise and the Mazda RX-8. Think of the R-Class as a luxury van that can haul all your friends, and the Honda Element as the dog-friendly, fun beach-goer with folding seats. The Infiniti G25 has one of the best sport chassis around and the Mazda RX-8 is the last of the amazing (but not-so-fuel-efficient) rotary-engined vehicles to be sold in the U.S. The Lotus Elise is a collector car (though it can be a bit buggy) and served as the underpinning of the Tesla Roadster that stopped production in 2012, as well.
All-in-all, we’re here to tell you that whether or not you had to hide your head in shame as you puttered around the high school parking lot in your family’s wagon, now is the time to snap up some of the coolest cars around by checking out the used car market. For more, check out Instamotor and see what gems you can find on the market near you. You never know, you could find a way to regain your cool-swagger and head back to your 10 year reunion in retro-style.
Digital media content producer/consultant & former CNN senior producer, now running CN'TRL : Cars, Tech, Real Estate & Luxury.