These Six Well-Known Models Switched From One Vehicle Segment To Another

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Every major automaker throughout history has discontinued models that no longer fit into their lineup. But occasionally, for one reason or another, a manufacturer will revive one of those since forgotten monikers.

The models that are given a second wind typically are ones that have large cult followings that wish they never went out of production in the first place. Ford, for example, is reintroducing both the Bronco and Ranger to the U.S. market, and Toyota similarly will release a new Supra in 2018.

Sometimes, however, companies choose to put a retired model name on a new car, which is completely different from the vehicle that last wore that nameplate. In fact, many people don’t realize that’s how we got a few currently popular models.

We made a list of six fairly well-known vehicles that have been sold in different segments throughout their lifetimes:

Mitsubishi Eclipse

2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT

Photo via Mitsubishi

The original Eclipse was a rear-wheel-drive coupe that gained popularity as the car Paul Walker’s character drove in “The Fast and the Furious.” Since Mitsubishi stopped production of the Evolution last year, this could’ve been just the thing to liven up its lackluster lineup. Instead, Mitsubishi slapped the Eclipse name on a yet to be revealed crossover, meaning fans of the Eclipse won’t want it, and many people who do, won’t want it because of its name.

Chrysler Pacifica

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The new Pacifica is quite popular, partly due to Jim Gaffigan’s commercials for it, but mostly it’s because of the minivan’s excellent standard equipment. Previously, however, the Pacifica was a midsize crossover that was nearly as uninspiring as the its rival, the Toyota Venza.

Dodge Dart

2016 Dodge Dart Limited

Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA discontinued the modern Dart after a short three-year run that ended in 2016. Apart from being built on a fairly dated Fiat vehicle platform, the reason the Dart didn’t gain much popularity probably was because of the Dart’s checkered past. The original Dart that launched in 1960 was a full-size sedan. Chrysler later turned it into a midsize sedan and then a compact for the last three years of its life. Plus, when the original Dart was killed off, it was a Chevrolet Corvette rival, not a Cruze rival.

Dodge Charger

2017 Dodge Charger SRT

Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

In its previous life, the Charger was a rear-wheel-drive coupe and, for the fifth-generation, a front-wheel-drive hatch. But one thing remained constant: It had just two doors. Yet, when Dodge introduced the sixth-generation in 2006, the Charger had two more doors than that. This is one instance where we agree with the choice, however, as it wouldn’t make sense to have two V-8-powered coupes, and the Charger’s styling translates better to a sedan than the Challenger’s.

Ford Thunderbird

2010 Ford Thunderbird

Ford marketed the first-generation Thunderbird as a more-civilized alternative to the Chevrolet Corvette, as both had similar power outputs and rear-wheel drive. The 11th-generation Thunderbird, however, would be lucky if it could keep up with an Impala, let alone a Corvette. Something of a boat, the reincarnated T-bird essentially was a prettier Lincoln LS with a Jaguar engine. By giving it a retro design, Ford pretty much confirmed it was out to win sales solely with nostalgia. No wonder it only sold well for one year before the novelty wore off.

Chrysler 300

2017 Chrysler 300C

Photo via Fiat Chrylser Automobiles

Although the 300 has been a full-size sedan its entire life, the 300C that preceded the current 300M (pictured) was a very different car. The 300C was front-wheel drive and only came with a 3.5-liter V-6. The current 300M is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and has more V-8 engine options than V-6 ones. Interestingly, the 300M also is more luxurious on the inside than the 300C, which was marketed as a luxury full-size sedan.

Thumbnail photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

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