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Larry Printz: Cars that are not long for this world

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Lexus CT200h: Would you buy a five-door Lexus hatchback that uses the hybrid driveline from the Toyota Prius? Before you answer, consider that the Prius is larger and returns better fuel economy. OK, the Lexus does boast very luxurious cabin trim, and it doesn't look as dorky. But now that the Prius has been redesigned, buying the older Prius wrapped in Lexus trimmings hardly seems like smart product planning.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class: Designed as Mercedes-Benz's subcompact in the rest of the world, the B-Class entered the states as an electric vehicle, a task for which it was never designed. This explains its unimpressive 87-mile range. The B-Class's performance and styling were never impressive enough to justify its price, let alone the three-pointed star on its grille.

Mitsubishi Lancer: Outdated and outclassed by virtually every compact sedan on the market, the Lancer survived based on the goodwill of its high-performance Evo model and the sales rub-off it engendered. Those who couldn't afford an Evo could by a Lancer and tart it up. The Evo's prowess only hid the flaws that were always present, and were revealed once the Evo were no longer there to hide them.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV: While this egg-shaped car has always looked delightfully odd, its memorable styling was saddled with a name that's sales-proof. (In case you're wondering, it stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle.) But it's the i-MiEV's anemic 70-mile range that's truly sales-proof. Want to experience range anxiety? This is your ride.

Nissan Quest: You might suppose that Nissan's minivan is dying due to its challenging exterior aesthetics or its unremarkable handling. Maybe. But these traits aren't high priorities for minivan buyers. In fact, the Quest boasts an impressively posh interior and delivers a quiet, comfortable ride. And its seats fold flat to create a cavernous cabin for cargo. No, its Achilles heel was that it held seven, not eight, passengers.

Volkswagen Touareg: With impeccable build quality, remarkable performance and a stiff price tag, it's hard to escape the impression the Touareg is way too premium to be a Volkswagen. In fact, it always felt like an Audi. And its name invoked questions, not admiration for its off-road prowess. Ultimately, the arrival of two mainstream SUVs, the three-row Atlas and redesigned Tiguan, doomed the Touareg.

About The Writer

Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. Readers may send him email at

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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