Another year, another decade over, a new one’s just begun. Now in the midst of New Year’s Eve champagne-fueled intellectual discussions, we could get into deep predictions about this decade as it relates to cars…. for perhaps this could be the last decade of the sedan bodystyle or even the internal combustion engine? But it’s New Years Day now so let’s stick to the present and remember some of the industry’s recently departed nameplates, and even more shockingly some of those that have survived into the 2020s.
As we bid adieu to the 2010s, among the 2019 in memoriam montage includes relatively unloved vehicles like the BMW 3 Series GT, Buick Cascada, Cadillac XTS, and Toyota Prius C, plus once more popular vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse, and Cadillac CTS, as well as vehicles with iconic histories including the Buick Regal, Ford Taurus, Jaguar XJ, and Volkswagen Beetle. Nevertheless, some have persisted, some probably much longer so than they have should have.
One such vehicle is the Dodge Journey (a.k.a. Fiat Freemont). Introduced way back in 2008 as a 2009 model, the Journey was Dodge’s first entry in the burgeoning midsize three-row CUV segment. Upon its introduction, the Journey received lukewarm reception for its lackluster styling, penalty-box interior, and overall blandness. Despite a mild facelift, back in 2011 no-less, the Journey has continued largely unchanged in one of the fiercest, most crucial markets of the industry.
Dodge does of course sell the only slightly less-elderly, yet larger and more competitive Durango, relegating the Journey to popular fleet queen status. Nonetheless, the aging Journey is entering its 12th year on the market and is way past the point of simply lacking refinement. Beyond its stale styling and interior, it lacks the availability of now commonplace features most new CUV shoppers take for granted such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.
Now of any brand available, at least in North America, Dodge’s lineup is arguably the oldest, with its last new/redesigned models that are not RAM pickups dating back to 2011. There are of course several vehicles even older than the Journey that are still on the market, including Dodge’s own Grand Caravan, but given the Journey’s competitive segment, I find its continued existence more shocking. Which aging vehicle are you most surprised to still see produced in 2020?
Great question. I’ll nominate the Acura RLX, not because it’s a bad car, but just because it seems almost completely forgotten in the marketplace.
The Nissan Frontier! I was in 8th or 9th grade when those came out and now I am 30. Also, the Ford Econoline and Chevy Express.
The Express was killed off at the end of 2019, and I believe the Econoline was killed at least 2 years ago, I sure haven’t seen any advertised on dealership websites in a while.
The Chevy Express is still being made Howard.
The Ford Econoline Cutaway is still being made.
Not only is the E-Series Cutaway still in production, it just got an interior refresh for the 2021 MY, as well as the new 7.3 gas V8 from the Super Duty. The E-Series continues for cutaway/chassis cab models as the Transit is (presumably) unsuited for high-GVWR applications.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised because every one wants more power, but the Dodge Challenger. I read somewhere they are going to throw even more hp at it.
GM full sized vans are the biggest shocker to me.
The Journey is priced well (when discounts are taken into account), the 3.6 is a great engine, it’s not physically unattractive, and it ticks the AWD and three row boxes as well as having a good warranty. Loads of buyers likely come from vehicles that don’t have those newer safety features as well so it can still compare favorably to the old car, note that the 4Runner just finally got them for 2020. Add plenty of dealers and eleven years of figuring out any issues along with a plethora of cheap junkyard parts combined with the above should put it near the top of the average CC reader dream car list. Considering Acura and Cadillac are at the bottom of the reliability ratings now it makes one wonder how big is the actual spread between good and bad anymore, I find it hard to believe that either of those two brands are actually “is it gonna start today” levels of bad so all the others must be pretty decent as well.
Yes, the GM vans. With so many vans available today, it’s nuts that they’re still on sale.
And in a conversation this week with the fleet manager at work, there is a one year waiting list for the Chevrolet Express van. A person can get a new John Deere loader in two months, but it’s a 12 month wait for a new one-ton Chevrolet van.
Perhaps with it being built in Wentzville with the Colorado could explain part of it.
Incidentally, I heard a week or so ago that GM is planning a sizable expansion of that particular plant. Extra capacity for van production? That I don’t know.
Yes, and GM is still doing few development work on those GMT610s! I used to work on those test mules, and obviously camouflage is not needed at all
And I say, good! As long as they’re making those, LSx engines will be readily available in junkyards for a long long time 🙂
The GM vans are great sellers with a strong #2 showing for the Chevy version and the Chevy and GM selling almost as well as the Promaster, Sprinter and NV combined.
The Journey has to be the most likely to top the list. I see plenty of people who say they are pleased with theirs, but the fat lady might be tuning up.
iirc, the Journey line for 20 has been culled down to front-drive, 4 cylinder, 4 speed trans, only. The new contract FCA just signed with the union notes that the 4 speed transmission is going out of production this year.
FCA already started building the Compass for EU markets in Italy, opening 70,000 production slots/yr at Toluca, They discontinued the Fiat 500, opening 3,000 more slots in Toluca. Dropping the Journey opens another 90,000 slots at Toluca. It isn’t like FCA to leave a plant with surplus capacity. Wonder what they are working on?
I recently saw a new one advertised for $16,380. That’s dirt cheap.
Journeys are popular with Uber/Lyft drivers, for obvious reasons.
Real World Correct !
If I recall, Dodge highlighted the fact that the rear doors on these could open up to 90 degrees when the Journey was introduced.
Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Still the same site hut on wheels, although it has drifted miles away from the spartan off-road workhorse it once was.
It was just reworked after 40 or so years…and more popular than ever.
A CC #BlastFromThePast:
Happus New Decade!
I’m sorry Elon Musk has disappointed you (and a whole lot of others).
The cumulative losses of Tesla shorts (those who bet against the stock) is now approaching $10 billion! One could have started a new EV company (or two) for that kind of money. 🙂
Doesn’t automatically mean you’re rooting for failure, I didn’t think Tesla would amount to much at the start of the decade, but I was wrong and that’s ok. I didn’t expect the Challenger to last this long either, for which I’m pleasantly surprised.
In this case, it does. 🙂
That’s why I left this comment. I’m quite familiar with his sentiments on the subject.
Actually, I like the S. It is undoubtedly the most advanced car in the world in terms of technological sophistication. I honestly didn’t expect the ccmpany would last more than three or four years, given the lack of previous startup car makers. I am happy to have been wrong.
Now that Cybertruck is a whole different story…
I must have mistaken you for someone else. 🙂
You know I’m a Tesla fan and a foe of the short sellers. But I’m still a bit surprised that Tesla appears to be “achieving orbit”.
Starting a car company is insanely hard. Many tombstones in that graveyard. A modern car is so much more complex, expensive, regulated and generally fraught with peril than some music player, or an online bookstore.
Only a small fraction all new businesses make it, even the ones without short sellers. Odds are they don’t last a decade. Kudos to Tesla.
I just got back from California and on the I-5 I saw dozens of car carriers loaded with new Tesla cars, mostly the Model 3. There were also lots of them on the roads.
However, in per capita terms,there are even more Model 3’s right were I live in Vancouver, at least by my eyesight.
Chevrolet Spark. Effectively unchanged since introduction 8 years ago (in the US). A tiny car for sale in a market that doesn’t buy tiny cars, or many cars at all.
I think it only exists so that Avis can buy them and then offer you an upgrade.
… an upgrade to a Journey.
They weren’t even on my list (and I’m cheap!)
I wouldn’t say the Spark qualifies. It received a pretty major update in 2016, along with a larger engine.
Chevy Express van—tradesman’s POV
I have spoken to my plumber and a/c tech about vans recently. They are self-employed and both have quite old 20+ year Chevies.
They’ve considered moving on to the new look Euro derived vans, but are reluctant because the new vans are unproven, look strange, and cost too much. One guy said if he had to buy one of the Euro vans, he’d want to wait another 10 years till the market had tested them to show which are the duds. I found it amusing that the sales pitch about the advantages of the tall, narrow body of the Euro van makes no impression on these guys at all. For one thing, they don’t want to change the way they have been carrying tools and parts for many years.
They don’t want to wait in line for new Chevy Express vans (the only old-look van still made AFAIK) and they say the transaction price for them has gone up both new and used, due to the demand. They don’t want to buy used because they already own a used truck and don’t want to have to fix up another one. Cutaways are still available on the old chassis from Chevy, but for these guys they would be too big, use too much gas, and cost way too much with the body added.
So one guy found a shop where they quite thoroughly refurbed his 3 vans mechanically and then down to the seat cushions and dash covers, you name it, for a fraction of the cost of new vehicles. He could not be happier. The other guy is just repairing endlessly as needed but figures it’s under control. I should mention that both these people are not too young, and also have people working for them, for a total of 12-15 trucks. They hope to use these tactics to ride it out with their current vans till retirement in 10-15 years, at least that’s the plan.
You are correct the prices of the used GM vans and Econolines have gone up as people look to stick with a proven entity and one that will accept all their old equipment negating that additional expense.
Amongst the bigger fleet, we have 25 Chevrolet Express vans doing some really nasty yet essential duties. Some of them are having 40k per year put on them, hauling people and pulling a trailer. They are used in towns and on the highways.
Given the lead times for new ones, we’ve decided to run them until at least 300k; there are a few 2013 models with nearly 250k already. One or two have needed a transmission but we’ve bought used ones for cheap and the rest of the mechanicals just keep going.
Upon my request a comparable new Transit was spec’d out. It was $5,000 more. It wasn’t ordered.
While I’m not opposed to the new Ford vans by any measure, there is a benefit to going with something that has proven to be highly durable in harsh settings.
Many commercial van fleets spend many thousands of dollars to upfit G Vans and Econolines… for higher roofs and/or “shuttle-like” seating. For those fleets, the Ford Transit is a bargain as such unfitting costs are often no required. The two other benefits of the Transit (and other Euro van) are lower fuel costs and less crew fatigue (lower load floor).
There is a plumbing company in Maryland that is using restored early 1990’s GM G vans for their fleet. I saw one in the Home Depot parking lot and got a good look at it, these look like they were full on restored as they look great.
I’m not surprised some people value the G vans, its reflected in current values. I’ve owned 3 G-vans, (’79, 80, ’82) over the past 33 years. I bought them absurdly cheap, years ago, for $75 – 350. But the era of cheap vans is over. Dreadful rust buckets fetch $2000+ these days. Nice old G van runners can be over $10k asking, around here.
The Nissan NV2500/3500 is the only other V8-powered full-size body-on-frame van still in production.
Nissan 370z. Looks and drives barely removed from the 350z that debuted when I was in 8th grade
Dodge Grand Caravn. In current form it started production in 07 as an 08 model and whats even more suprising is its still the #1 selling minivan in the US and Canada! It only got 1 update way back in 2011! And it was also replaced in the FCA lineup with the pacifica in 2016! Kinda easy to see why. If you want tons of room and seating for 7 nothing can touch it for $/cuft
Right now I’m watching the 1973 film “Soylent Green” about a dystopian future of overpopulation (NYC has 40m people), greenhouse gases, rich people’s 12” helmet head TV screens among other mod decor, and pollution set in the year 2022, hope the next two years will work out OK – lol.
It’s always a surprise that the Dodge Journey is still around. I didn’t even know the GM & Chevy Express Van are still in production. The Dodge Charger, which dates from 2011 needs a major update. It’s also sad that cars like the Ford Fusion & Taurus are no longer around.
I’m surprised the Grand Caravan is still around. Nobody’s favorite minivan (including me and I own one) it’s still the best value for getting that particular job done.
I’d figured that a year or two after introducing the Pacifica FCA would have buried the GC, but it’s still outselling the new model with virtually no promotion. Price sells, and those who want a premium minivan go Toyota or Honda.
I originally wanted a GC back in 2016 but because we had 3 small kids who couldnt buckle themselves and didnt want to crawl to row 3 and back to do so every time we had to enter/exit the vehicle we got an Odyssey.
With the CUV fad, the perennial view that hatches are cheap and VWs continuing troubles, I’m surprised the Golf is still here
The Golf Mark 7 was introduced to the US in 2014…hardly old. It’s MQB chassis is heralded as one of the best FWD platforms in the industry and is also the chassis for the awesome GTI….BTW.. What “continuing VW troubles”?
For the time being. VW’s planning to only bring in the GTI and R of the next generation. (Whether there’ll be a new decontented GTI slotting in below the current “base” GTI, a non-GTI Golf in all but name, is another matter…)
It’s only offered in cutaway form now, but IMO the title would have to go to the Ford Econoline. This is by far Ford’s oldest existing platform–and possibly the oldest of ANY vehicle platform still in production, 2nd to possibly only the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon–and it’s just now getting some engine & interior updates it needed a decade earlier. The outside still looks the same as it did in 2008, and the basic structure goes all the way back to 1992 (and the frame is from 1975!). Unless someone at Ford can think of a way to improve the Transit’s payload & towing limits for the US the old but long-proven E-Series may live on indefinitely. As long as it still sells while complying with applicable safety standards, Ford will keep making it. Look how long the C-Series cabover truck lasted. GM’s Express & Savana aren’t far behind.
Ford didn’t intend to keep it around this long either, that is why they hadn’t updated it. However it kept selling well enough that they have given it a reprieve and some updates.
The Journey is getting dated looking, but it has always been a good-looking vehicle and is still better looking than almost any other CUV I can think of.
That’s why I’m starting to really like them.
At night a candle’s brighter than the sun.
The Journey is still popular and while sales are a bit down from the peak of over 106,000 in 2016, the vehicle still sells well
They are well priced and though it lacks the blind spot detection that is not a deal breaker since this is a feature that a lot of cars still only offer as an option. If I was looking at a car, the lack of blind spot detection is not a problem for me.
If you adjust your side mirrors so that you cannot see the side of your car when you are in a normal driving position, you eliminate the blind spots on most vehicles.
If you are not needing the latest and greatest tech in a vehicle, then the Dodge Journey is a good vehicle and (despite the car magazine pundits say) would be perfect for most folks
I am going to go out on a limb and state that the Dodge Journey is this generation’s A-Body Buick Century/Cutlass Ciera as they are outdated but still sell well. are popular and are everywhere
The Elio 3-wheeler. OK, so it’s not in production – it never was – but you have to be impressed that Elio Motors has managed to stay around as a startup in a notoriously startup-unfriendly industry, *without delivering a single unit to a customer*, for over a decade.
I drove from San Diego to the Bay Area today, almost 500 miles (800 km) of fairly busy freeways, and saw thousands of cars. A lot Journeys, a surprising number of the current small Mitsubishi Mirages, one or two Smart Cars. Of those, I guess the Smart is gone from our market for 2020, but I’m most surprised that the Mirage is still around. Though not as surprised as seeing one in the fast lane of Interstate 5. By the way in 8+ hours of driving, the only CC-worthy cars I saw were a Unimog and a Datsun 520 pickup. Oh, and a Honda Del Sol with a rear wing that looked like something of a Cessna. Happy New Year to all!
Wow, I didn’t know the Journey was still in production.
I had one as a rental when I was single and traveling every week. Now I have 4 kids, the oldest is almost 11.
I believe I’ve read that for the 2020 Journey the 3.6 is done, 4 banger only, which makes this a lot less interesting.
As of this writing, the FCA website does not acknowledge a 2020 Journey, although I understand from multliple sources there will be a 4 banger fleet car.
Fiat 500. Wrong company selling the wrong class of car in the wrong type of economy. Looks like 2020 is it’s last year, but I’m quite surprised it made it for 9 years.
I’m not surprised about the Journey surviving this long. 3-row CUV for cheap. That works in this environment regardless of the actual product.
We’ll be having it for 13 years here in Europe, and it still sells.
It’s the kind of car people buy for the aesthetics, not the technology.
The Mazda 6. Just largely ignored in the market.
“commonplace features most new CUV shoppers take for granted” I’m suspicious of that claim.
Journey has replaced the basic Saturn car as the “Rodney Dangerfield” of vehicles. They don’t get no respect, but they do the job every day. As long as they keep selling them, FCA will be happy to keep the plant in Mexico running. Not everyone needs to have the latest and greatest technology at ever increasing prices and the Journey is a prime example of that.
The GM vans keep selling because they’re a good deal and the right size. Not everyone needs the larger Sprinter/Transit vehicles. They are just like the old Astro, which I still see quite a few in commercial use many years after they were made.
Mitsubishi is still here?
Mitsubishi have been doing nothing but growing for years now.
Lifted from a late 2019 press release (and I don’t think many makers can make the same claims):
– MMNA remains on pace for its seventh consecutive year of annual sales growth.
– 2019 remains Mitsubishi’s best calendar year-to-date sales since 2007.
– November 2019 sales of the Mitsubishi Mirage, the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle sold in America2, were up 24.9% year-over-year as it continues to defy the industry trend away from cars to CUVs.
– The Outlander Sport, entirely redesigned for 2020, posted November 2019 sales up 8.4% year-over-year.
– The boldly styled Eclipse Cross was up 14.3% year-over-year.
I’m not surprised that the GM commercial vans are still around. For whatever reason, the FWD minivans never caught on with HVAC guys/Plumbers/etc. They aren’t towing heavy loads and the minivans are just as spacious, but no sale. Work vehicles need to be cheap to purchase and operate and I don’t think the Eurostyle vans are going to be cheap to purchase and operate. Plus, these guys think, if it isn’t broken, why fix it? They don’t need the latest and greatest.
I wrote a long review of a rental Journey recently and anyone who bashes it isn’t writing a check to pay for it. As Paul pointed out, he saw one online for 16,800. Tell me what’s a better new car for 16,800. Heck, you’d have to go pretty used to beat that; I found a 2016 (three-four year old) CR V with 30,000 miles for 18,100 on Carvana and a 2014 CR V for 16,600 with 67,000 miles. A CR-V starts at 25,050. That’s a nearly 10K savings. Is a CR-V THAT much better for the majority of drivers? Yes, it’s better, but I have a lot of uses for 10K.
Y’all talk like not having blind spot collision or automatic emergency braking is a BAD thing. I DO NOT want blind spot collision in my car. I find it distracting. The fewer flashing lights and beeps my car makes, the better. What if that automatic emergency braking malfunctions (as it frequently does, there was a review of some sort of Volvo which found it wanting) and just slams on the brakes for no reason? I don’t WANT my car to beep and flash and stop suddenly for no reason.
The Journey may be older by modern standards, but cars haven’t evolved the way they used to so a 10 year old design now isn’t hopelessly antique like a 1980 design would have been in 1990 or a 1990 would have been in 2000.
I’m surprised the Mirage is still around, I’m surprised the Spark is still around, I’m surprised the 370z is still around . . . but what about the Audi TT? did y’all know that was still being made and sold?
The Toyota Tundra and Nissan Frontier are as old as dirt. Yes they have received basic changes in grilles and tailgates and had some basic interior updates but are simply the same basic trucks as they were in 2007 (Tundra) and 2005 for the Nissan even using the same drivetrains. The Caravan from 2008 is really old too along with the featured car.
Got to be the Fiat 500. 2007 and practically unchanged in 2020
Mitsubishi ASX (Outlander Sport). Ten years old, four facelifts, but the same rather cheap interior and the same underpinnings that were nothing special on its release in 2010. Oddly enough, still sells very well in this country.
But that’s comprehensively outdone by the Pajero (Montero/Shogun). It came out in 2006, but in truth (and appearance) that was little more than a mild re-panelling of the 1999 model – and you can still buy a new one here!
If you should fancy a very old dame wearing some gaudy modern bits of makeup in a vain attempt to hide her great antiquity, it’s a mere $70,000 AUD or so.