This year, a number of compelling vehicles exited the Australian market.
You can read a full list of every vehicle discontinued during 2023 here, but there’s really not a dud among them.
From affordable hatchbacks and family crossovers through to sports sedans and even a Ferrari, a number of compelling vehicles faced the chopping block this year.
Some discontinuations were more poignant than others. These are the vehicles we’re saddest to see go.
When Alborz and I made up the entire staff at CarAdvice in 2006 (the year we kicked off), before Paul Maric joined as another stakeholder and partner, Audi was one of the first manufacturers to offer us cars to review.
I thought it was truly Christmas when the PR team handed me the keys to an orange TT 3.2L V6 Coupe. To me, at the time, it was just as good as a base model 911. And let’s not forget the design of the TT by Peter Schreyer is an auto icon.
It was also my wife’s favourite car.
Kia Stinger. Since it was first launched, it has always been my go to SS Commodore replacement. Rear-wheel drive, turbo V6. It had the right formula for being a hoot to drive and a stack of fun.
Unfortunately it wasn’t a hit with consumers, but it’ll be missed!
The Audi TT has been criticised since its conception for being a hairdresser’s car, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss it.
It’s a style icon that still looks great today, and a lot of the things we take for granted in modern interiors can be traced back to the current TT’s debut in 2013.
High-resolution digital instruments? The TT introduced the Virtual Cockpit we take for granted in 2023. It was also early to the minimalist trend spreading across new cars in 2023, but managed to cut visual clutter without sacrificing usability thanks to some very clever engineering. Look no further than the air vents, which managed to integrate a temperature display and climate control dials into one unit.
The death of the TT comes as Audi ramps up its spending on electric cars, making it even sadder that we won’t get to hear the five-cylinder TT RS sing any longer.
Unpopular opinion but I’ll miss the Volkswagen Arteon the most. This was one of the first cars I test drove and it just ticked so many boxes for me.
I understand why it left and sales were a large reason why but it’s so sad to see Volkswagen discontinue a car which was so niche and unique.
VW Australia also removed the wagon versions of the Golf and Passat which means VW’s customers need to move to Skoda or Audi if they want a Volkswagen Group wagon.
I’ve been enamoured with the Mercedes-Benz CLS ever since the first-generation model launched in 2004. I know it’s a glorified E-Class but I’ve always thought it was super cool.
I also never got to drive a brand-new one, which I’m very disappointed at. I suppose I could drive a secondhand one but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to me.
If I had to pick a CLS that I would really like to experience in particular, I’d have to go for the late model AMG CLS 53 with the 3.0-litre inline-six mild-hybrid petrol engine.
Hit me up if you’ve got one that you’d let me have a poke around in!
I love rear-wheel drive passenger cars that are practical and offer excellent performance. I’m also not a badge snob, and I love a good bargain.
The Kia Stinger, therefore, ticked so many boxes for me. It seemed like Kia had designed a vehicle just for me. And that’s why it’s so sad to see it go.
The Stinger seemed to be a vehicle aimed right at Australia, and while it never sold as well as the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore for which it was a spiritual successor of sorts, its sales continued to grow over its run here. Alas, while the US appeared to be another market that would have been receptive to it, it was never a hit there, while a vehicle like this was never going to earn anything more than niche status in markets like China, Korea and Europe.
Skip the 2.0-litre turbo – most people did. The 2.5-litre turbo that replaced it elsewhere would have been good, but it still wouldn’t have deterred most Australian Stinger buyers from ponying up for that gutsy twin-turbo 3.3-litre V6.
This car was a performance car bargain, yet it was practical too with that big hatchback body. The interior naturally wasn’t as luxurious as its Genesis G70 cousin, but it was more spacious and still attractively presented, and in GT-Line and GT guise the Stinger had an exceptionally long features list.
When I was buying my used 2015 Hyundai Genesis, what I really wanted was a Kia Stinger GT but my budget couldn’t extend that far. Now I’m dating someone who wants one, so hopefully I’ll get some regular seat time in a Stinger soon… but it’ll have to be a used one.
Why VolksWAGEN?! Why would you kill the wagons?!
The Golf and Passat Wagons were some of the last remaining affordable estates in the Australian market, offering a load-lugging alternative to the SUV pandemic but also some niche enthusiast cool factor.
As 2023 draws to a close, the wagon-bodied versions of VW’s iconic nameplates will be done, also spelling the end of the Passat in the Australian market. A crying shame.
VW Group Australia is compromising somewhat by offering the Octavia Wagon and Superb moving forward, which are great options in themselves, but they can’t fully replace the Golf and the Passat.