Spoiler alert: when I asked my fellow members of the CarExpert team this month what recently discontinued car they would miss the most, the same four cars were mentioned.

    It seems nobody will miss the LDV G10 people mover or Mitsubishi Express with their disappointing safety ratings, the increasingly dated Jeep Cherokee, or the garishly styled Toyota Prius.

    The Hyundai Ioniq also appears to have died as it lived: largely forgotten, despite being a decent little hatchback.

    Instead, it was the Fiat 500C droptop and its Abarth 595C counterpart, as well as the hot Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST and the humble Suzuki Baleno that received the most plaudits from our team.

    Anthony Crawford

    Abarth 595C

    Geez, looking at this list – I’m quite pleased to the see the back of most of them.

    I know some people raved about the Ford Fiesta ST but I always thought it was too stiffly sprung and too small to be any use as a genuine daily. And besides, we’ve got the Hyundai i20 N these days, and to me, that’s a far more versatile thing as well as being tremendously capable on a race track.

    However, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Abarth 595C – so much character and such a cool car to be seen in. It sounded fantastic, went quick enough and was dead easy when stealing gaps in the traffic, not to mention tight carparks.

    Alborz Fallah

    Fiat 500C

    Definitely the Fiat 500C – I wish they would bring back the Gucci edition again.

    The convertible version of the 500 is easily my favourite and if I wasn’t so self conscious I would drive one as a daily.

    Paul Maric

    Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST

    While I’m sad to see any car get axed in Australia, this is more just a sign that Ford is becoming the ute/SUV company.

    There seems to be a stack of focus on Ranger and Everest (and the upcoming F-150), but you’d be hard pressed to get anybody to recite which other models Ford sells in Australia.

    I guess you’re better off focusing on the things that are selling well and that you’re good at, which they are definitely achieving with Ranger and Everest (and likely the upcoming F-150).

    Mike Costello

    Suzuki Baleno

    Bear with me here. The old Baleno was actually pretty average, but it was one of very few remaining genuinely cheap cars left, and it’s their slow demise that I abhor – symbolised here by the humble little Indian-built Suzuki.

    Brands around the world need to trim back R&D of petrol cars to focus on EVs, and in so doing they generally prioritise their most profitable models.

    The irony is, we’re trying to get to a lower CO2 world while losing the most efficient petrol cars because they have low margins. Spiking used car prices are just another obvious side-effect.

    Scott Collie

    Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST

    It was sad to see Ford’s pair of hot hatches, the Focus and Fiesta ST, removed from Australian showrooms in 2022.

    They were both brilliant cars to drive in that classic Ford way, with keen chassis and determined turbocharged engines, but they also added a bit of much-needed excitement to the range beyond the Ranger and Mustang.

    The Ranger is an excellent ute, the related Everest is a great family four-wheel drive, and the outgoing Mustang was a winner, but beyond that pair there’s not much to get fired up about in Ford showrooms.

    The Escape is a competent underachiever, the Puma is fun to drive but hasn’t set the sales charts alight, and… well, that’s about it. The full-sized F-150 pickup is still at least six months from our shores, and the rest of the cool stuff offered elsewhere – Bronco, Bronco Sport, Maverick, Explorer – remains out of reach for local buyers.

    Fingers crossed the Mustang Mach E gets here soon, to fill the excitement void left by the ST twins.

    James Wong

    Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST

    I know I drive a Golf, but very nearly bought a Focus ST. The current generation car is such a hoot to drive, and is criminally underappreciated in our market.

    The short-lived facelift brought meaningful revisions to the design and technology offering, and it’s just a crying shame that it’s gone. We need more choice, particularly in the ‘fun’ segments.

    Same goes for the Fiesta ST. This one cut deep.

    Having finally driven one within the last few months, I really got a clear look at why the FiST has such a cult following. Credit to Ford for making such a well-rounded, engaging performance car that’s also affordable.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on the classifieds for Mean Green examples of either in the future. RIP.

    William Stopford

    Ford Fiesta ST and Focus ST

    I had a feeling a while ago this was coming, but it was still a bit of a shock.

    The Focus range had been continually pared back in Australia, and the company was battling supply issues out of Europe. Moreover, Ford had been moving away from passenger vehicles here as it had in North America.

    Ford Australia hadn’t really been able to make a fist of selling cars like the FiST, and even some of its SUV models struggle in the sales race against the competition – just look at the Escape, which is currently being outsold by the Renault Koleos. Their sales figures continue to skew in a more lopsided fashion to the Ranger than rival brands’ sales do with their respective ute models.

    Now that global Fiesta and Focus production has been confirmed to be ending, the early withdrawal of these lower-volume models makes more sense. But that doesn’t make their discontinuation any less poignant, considering they represent the best of what Ford of Europe has proved itself capable of: engaging dynamics, punchy powertrains, subtle but handsome styling, and competitive technology.

    Jack Quick

    Suzuki Baleno

    The Suzuki Baleno mightn’t be an obvious choice as a car I’m sad to see get axed, but I had some great times in one a year or so ago.

    The reason I was driving this blue Baleno GL was because my Jimny was getting its transfer case chain replaced and it was the only loan vehicle the dealer had to offer.

    I remember getting in it and being quietly amazed at how quickly it could get from standstill to 50-60km/h, given its 1.4-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine only produces a measly 68kW of power.

    I know my partner was happy to see the Baleno go back to the dealer because he continuously commented on the rough ride, but I never felt the same from the driver’s seat.

    Regardless, it’s sad to see yet another affordable vehicle leave the Australian new car market.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers