Eight Vehicles You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Still Buy New

With car sales still slow in recovering from their historic lows, it’s no surprise that automakers are having more trouble than usual moving their more stale products off dealer lots. For some of these cars, Intellichoice is likely a better price guide than the Monroney sticker, and yet, they all come with that new-car smell and, presumably, a full warranty. We perused through Automotive News sales reports for the first two months of 2010 and found eight examples of vehicles you probably never thought you could still buy new.

2009 Mercury Sable
Last produced: May 2009
Total sold in 2010: 9

Ford stylists have, thankfully, recovered from the coma they were apparently in when they penned the Ford Five Hundred and the Mercury Montego (later rechristened Taurus and Sable), but a few examples of this “We’re really just a truck company” design philosophy can still be found on dealer lots. The irony — and the reason one of these might not be a terrible buy — is that under its brown-paper-bag exterior, the Sable, discontinued for 2010, is essentially the same safe, functional, efficient full-size car that’s now celebrated as the reborn Taurus. It’s worth noting that are also forty copies of the old Taurus out there, but since any sales would be rolled into the new car’s total, it’s hard to tell whether they’re selling.

2008 Pontiac Grand Prix
Last produced: November 2007
Total sold in 2010: 1

The Grand Prix’s death preceded that of the Pontiac brand by a full year, its five-decade run ended by the introduction of the G8. And yet, like a body-cladded, buck-toothed ghost, the last-generation car continue to haunt dealer lots into 2010, with a grand total of one reportedly finding a happy(?) home in January. By their last year in service, most Grand Prixs were rather homely fleet specials equipped with the reliable but old-as-Methuselah 3.8-liter OHV V-6. However, we’ll choose to imagine that the final sale will be a GXP equipped with a 303-hp V-8. At least that would be a dignified way to finally, at long last, drive off into the sunset.

2009 Dodge Durango/Chrysler Aspen
Last produced: September 2008
Total sold in 2010: 57

Although most of the cars on this list are surprising for the fact that they still exist in some form, we’re honestly more shocked that Chrysler’s full-size SUVs were canceled in the first place. Granted, they were both a bit long-in-the-tooth and weren’t selling well, but that could be said for several vehicles in the Mopar fleet. In fact, their cancellation came mere months after the launch of new hybrid variants that used the same Two-Mode system used in General Motors trucks. Now Chrysler is alone among major American manufacturers in not offering a full-size, body-on-frame SUV. None of the hybrids remain, but as of press time, there are exactly six of the trucks still up for the taking nationwide.

2009 Mazda B-series
Last produced: Fall 2009
Total sold in 2010: 4

You might be wondering why we didn’t include the Ford Ranger here, but with a reasonably healthy 7849 sold so far this year (more than the Flex!), the little truck that could is clearly still on someone’s mind. Mazda’s rebadge, however, doesn’t have quite as much perseverance. Its thirty-seven-year run in the United States officially ended last year, and only four units have sold through February 28, 2010. Since the Ranger will stay around for at least another year, there’s no need for you to overwhelm Mazda dealers by searching for the last few B-series, but we do mourn the passing of one of the last true compact pickups.

Cadillac XLR
Last produced: May 2009
Total sold in 2010: 62

Probably the only vehicle of this bunch we’d actually recommend you go out and look for, the XLR is more a victim of changing priorities at Cadillac than anything else. As the brand looks to boost volume and fill important holes in its lineup, replacing its costly hardtop convertible simply isn’t high on the list. And although the XLR never quite achieved its mission as a Mercedes-Benz SL and Lexus SC beater, the Corvette-based droptop still looks great and goes like stink, especially in 443-hp XLR-V guise. Production ended last May and, by that point, was limited mostly to V-series models. The $100,000+ price tag strikes us as a bit rich (and indeed, that was one of the reasons the XLR failed), but we’d bet dealers will be flexible as they try to clear out their last ’09 cars.

Chevrolet TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy/Saab 9-7X
Last produced: December 2009
Total sold in 2010: 146

We had nice things to say about the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the GMC Envoy, and all the other variants of the GMT360 platform when they debuted, praising their stout construction, real-truck utility, and “smooth and powerful” in-line six-cylinder. Of course, that was in our March 2001 issue. We still had cigarette ads back then. Nine years and several more rebadges later, the trucks seem to be blazing their last few trails into new owners’ driveways, having well overstayed their welcome. The Saab 9-7x, which debuted for 2006, seems to illustrate the worst of old-GM think, whitewashing a dated, wholly inappropriate product with a coat of Saab brand cues. Not surprising that few luxury buyers ever coughed up $40,000+ for a vehicle that featured the same radio head unit as a ’99 Cavalier. Having said all that, the 390-hp TrailBlazer SS and 9-7X Aero variants — a handful of which remain on dealer lots — still strike us as perhaps the perfect stoplight sleepers.

2009 Mitsubishi Raider
Last produced: Fall 2009
Total sold in 2010: 4

The Raider is on this list less for how long it’s hung around — production ended only last fall — but for how few people probably knew it ever existed. Even though the Raider is a competent mid-size truck and arguably looks better than the Dodge Dakota on which it’s based, it’s never been more than a bit player. With the Mitsubishi/Chrysler marriage on the rocks and the Dakota’s own fate uncertain, it’s safe to say that 2009 will be the last year for the Raider.

2009 Chevrolet Uplander
Last produced: September 2008
Total sold in 2010: 33

You probably think we’re picking on the poor ol’ General, but the fact that so many regrettable past products are still struggling to make their final exit is perfect evidence of why this company desperately needed a fresh start. Case in point: the Chevy Uplander. GM effectively replaced both its mid-size SUVs and its minivans three years ago, when it introduced the excellent Lambda crossovers. But the Uplander, which, we’d remind you, is little more than a warmed-over Chevy Venture, lived on for another two years as a fleet special. That kept the lights on at the Doraville, Georgia, plant until September 2008, but at what cost to Chevy’s brand perception? The thirty-three Uplanders sold so far in 2010, along with the thousands you’ll likely encounter in Avis lots, serve as an ignoble reminder of what GM is trying to run away from.

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