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Rust in pieces: Holden Colorado, Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Subaru Liberty and other favourite cars lost in 2020 farewelled

With Holden’s exit from Australia soon to be finalised, the Colorado ute will naturally disappear from showrooms.

It’s been a long year (and it’s not over yet), but we’ve had to say goodbye to some once-popular cars that have hit a dead-end.

It’s all part of the ebb and flow of the car industry, as some models simply fail to find a market even if they are good cars in their own right. And, of course, some go to the big car park in the sky without any fanfare because they were unpopular for a reason.

But we want to celebrate those we’ve lost that we’ll actually miss, so here (in no particular order) are five of our favourites we won’t see again in 2021.

Rust in pieces: Holden Colorado, Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Subaru Liberty and other favourite cars lost in 2020 farewelled

Holden Colorado

Its 2.8 litre Duramax engine matches the Ranger's 147kW, but trumps it on torque.

The demise of Holden meant a lot of once-popular nameplates bit the dust in 2020 (and the Commodore was axed in 2019, remember), but none more so than the Colorado. It was one of the brand’s strongest sellers in its final years, but when the entire brand was shuttered there was no escape.

It may have had an American name, but the Colorado became a staple on Australian roads, with its wide range that extended from humble workhorse to posh Z71 and even the HSV-tuned SportsCat.

It isn’t the only Holden we’ll miss either, the Acadia was arguably the right SUV at the wrong time. Better executed and presented than the smaller Equinox, it could have helped attract families back to the brand if given more time.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

The dual-cab only X-Class will launch in three grades: Pure, Progressive, and Power.

Utes have become so popular that not even Mercedes-Benz could resist the lure of entering the highly competitive dual-cab market. Arguably, the German brand made some mistakes along the way that contributed to its short lifespan, most notably teaming with Nissan to use the Navara as the base of the X-Class.

Obviously cutting development costs by platform-sharing with Nissan was a smart move, but Mercedes didn’t put enough of its own stamp on the X-Class. 

Building it in Spain (alongside the Navara) instead of the original South American location also played a role. 

While it may have had a bit too much Nissan in it to make it a true Mercedes and a sales winner, it was still a shame to see it go.

Subaru Liberty

What was the Liberty guilty of that saw its demise? Nothing more than being a sedan at a time when the family sedan is simply not in demand.

‘Changing tastes’ should be listed as the official cause of death for the Subaru, because even up to its final model it was a perfectly respectable family-sized sedan. It didn’t help that the latest model wasn’t built in right-hand drive by Subaru in Japan, and ultimately that’s what sealed the deal for Subaru Australia.

But Subaru will be fine because the Liberty’s closely related, high-riding wagon counterpart, the Outback, is set to stay and remains popular.

Ford Focus wagon

We tested the hatch in the Trend and ST-Line grades, and the new wagon, too. (ST-Line wagon variant pictured)

One of the favourite phrases of automotive executives is “the market will decide” what models and variants it brings to Australia. It’s often used to dismiss a probing question about why a model we think would be popular here is left out.

But in the case of the Ford Focus wagon, it seems the market decided it didn’t want a small load-lugger; despite positive critical reviews. It was axed as part of the Blue Oval’s June rationalisation of its small-car line-up, which also saw the Ambiente, Trend and Titanium hatchbacks all dropped as well.

The Focus range now consists of the ST-Line and ST hatches and higher-riding Active.

Ford Focus

Ford Focus
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

Chevrolet Camaro

Some stars burn bright but only briefly. That was the case for the Chevy Camaro, which arrived to take on its archrival, the Ford Mustang, thanks to a local remanufacturing program from HSV.

Initially only offered in the V8-powered 2SS form, HSV added the supercharged, track-capable ZL1 to give it a real hero model. Despite doing a nice job on the right-hand-drive switch and producing a fine sports car, HSV was simply squeezed into a corner by worsening exchange rates between the US and Australia making the Camaro financially unviable.

The brand announced the end of the 2SS in March and confirmed the demise of the ZL1 in April. All told, HSV converted approximately 1200 2SS and 350 ZL1 coupes during their short Aussie run.

But with GM Specialty Vehicles effectively replacing HSV, and therefore reducing the costs involved in importing and converting, maybe the Camaro could make a comeback...