The new year is time to reflect on all that has passed and all to look forward to in the coming year. There are a lot of cool things happening in the automotive world, but “in with the new” also means “out with the old.” Here are ten things that will either be going away or will be completely gone in 2014.
These will not be extinct completely by the end of 2014, but their demise is imminent. With the advent of smartphones that can hold thousands of songs, and connect either wirelessly or by USB cable, there really is no need for CDs.
Cars You Can Work on Yourself
I lifted the hood on a friend’s late model Chevy Cobalt, and what did I find? A plastic panel! This is a car as simple as a Cobalt, and it has plastic cladding that makes it difficult to access the engine. This is only going to worsen with the flock of new cars, as automakers are bent on making sure that you don’t do your own car maintenance.
Cars That Mind Their Own Business
If you are the type of person that is annoyed by cars beeping at you, prepared to be driven insane by cars that squawk at you when you are too close to the car in front of you and when you are too close to the edge of your lane of traffic. Safety features are great, but these advanced features can be a pain. At least you can turn many of them off…for now.
Manual Hand Brakes
Automakers love to complicate cars with unnecessary tech features as a “selling point.” One of those features is the electronic emergency brake. It is too early to tell what will happen with this feature in an actual emergency situation, but I’m sure many will want their hand brake back.
Manual transmissions used to be the preferred transmissions for better fuel economy, but as automakers have rolled out advanced 7-speed, 8-speed, and even 9-speed automatic gearboxes, the manual is not the guaranteed MPG winner anymore. Because it’s cheaper to tool a factory for one transmission option as well, you’re going to see a lot less cars with manuals– even in the performance realm.
Crown Victoria Police Cars
The Crown Vic was discontinued in 2012, but the car is still in use by many police departments and taxi companies around the country. The fate of many police Crown Vics is to be repurposed as taxi cabs, so no more Crown Vic means that you may see them as taxis for a while longer (they can easily travel another 500,000 miles after the initial 300,000 put on by the police), but that’s about it. The numbers of Crown Vics in use by police departments will dwindle– as they are replaced by Ford Explorers, Dodge Chargers Chevrolet Caprice PPVs, etc.
New Toyota Off-Roaders
Toyota is discontinuing the Toyota FJ Cruiser. It is the end of an era, and while the 4Runner can hang on the trail, it is only a matter of time before its replacement comes as well, devoid of the off-road grit that made us love the FJ.
Insane Muscle Car Prices
Even through the tougher times from the late 2000s, muscle car prices continued to grow at auction. It was absurd, and it’s looking like that trend is starting to slow. Muscle cars were the common man’s sportscar, and the only way to afford one now is to spend your life savings. This past year, a Plymouth Superbird sold for $330,000, which may seem like a score, but it fell $97,000 short of the estimated price. It will be good to see this trend finally correct itself.
The FAA has approved domestic drone testing for by the government. The purpose is to establish regulations for what will be an exploding industry. Amazon has shown that it is ready for delivery drones, but you can guarantee that there will be law enforcement agencies keen to use drones to catch criminals– but also catch speeders.
Support for Ethanol
The US Government is starting to change its mind about ethanol. Many have fought back against E85 fuels, saying that it could cause a food shortage. Some experts say the amount of corn used is increasing the cost of corn feed for livestock. That’s not good. Also, we’re producing a lot of our own oil, so the purpose of ethanol is now in question.
In fact, ethanol was meant to be a bridge fuel, and even if biofuels do not go away, corn-based ethanol was meant to be replaced by more advanced and complex forms of biofuels.
Image Credit: Car-direct.com, dailymail.co.uk