By on May 1, 2014

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For the past decade, midsize sedans have been the most popular segment in America. But data from Polk and IHS Automotive suggests that might be changing.

According to Polk, the first two months of 2014 saw compact crossovers take the top spot in terms of market share. As Polk’s Tom Libby notes

We may now be at an inflection point in the U.S. automotive industry – IHS Automotive data based on Polk new vehicle registrations indicate that in the first two months of 2014 U.S. drivers purchased more small crossovers than any other type of vehicle, car or light truck. Non-luxury compact crossovers’ share of the industry has jumped almost six share points in the past five years, including more than three points in the last year alone.

We’ll know more as more sales data emerges today and in subsequent months. While many observers tend to focus on individual nameplate sales races (Camry vs. Accord, Ram vs. Silverado) and brands (BMW vs. Mercedes-Benz), the moment when CUVs eclipse regular passenger cars would be a true game changer for the American auto market.

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98 Comments on “Crossovers Outsell Sedans For The First Time Ever...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It’s evident that a significant proportion of the US population are finding the versatility of the CUV over a sedan a bonus.

    A compact CUV will be more advantageous than a medium sedan, especially an AWD.

    Just have a look at Australia and the Euro region. Small CUVs are improving. It’s a global trend.

    What’s surprising is the take up of smaller vehicles in the US. One one side you have to major portion of drivers in the US opting for smaller, and smaller vehicles.

    I wonder if large aluminium vehicles (pickups) is the answer to the wants of the US driving public?

    I wonder if a small CUV FWD or AWD ute style pickup based on a CUV would sell in the US.

    Anyway, I think most compact CUVs look more stylish than a Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      In New England people seem to be unaware that a sedan w/ high tech snow tires is superior to an awd vehicle w/ compromised, i.e., all season tires.

      Sure, awd may get them going faster but vehicle dynamics are worse w/o proper tires – they can’t stop well or go around corners. Plus they suffer inferior mpg.

      That said, I know people who do put snows on their awd and they are superior in adverse conditions but such people are a distinct minority.

      Still, it seems the majority of people who buy CUVs around here do not seem to well-informed or equipped to drive competently in snow and ice. Some jurisdictions like Canada and Germany require winter tires on vehicles.

      btw. it appears that compact CUVs and mid and compact sedans are holding/increasing their share at the expense of midsize CUVs and large sedans{?}

      • 0 avatar
        crm114

        It’s the same in Minnesota. Hardly anyone has snow tires, but AWD is abundant.

        • 0 avatar
          jdspielman

          After going through the 2013/2014 Minnesota winter, it was historically bad. Snow tires may improve the winter driving experience but can’t save you from the stupidity of the other drivers. The 21 days of below zero weather coupled with the 8+ inches of snow made anything without 4WD worthless.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        We don’t get to much snow in our population centres in Australia, especially where I live.

        When I was down south in the colder climates during winter I used to go driving through some of our National Parks. You couldn’t enter a National Park when there was too much snow unless you had suitable tyres and/or chains.

        Here in Australia AWD CUVs are bought and used for grocery getters.

        There is are some who buy them for traction purposes, ie, the people who are ski freaks and go to the ski slopes and ski resorts.

        Or the weekend camper types who go camping.

        I think CUVs are an excellent vehicle for a family who want the utility of a station wagon/van with the comfort of a car.

        As for the 2WD CUV they are relatively new in Australia. Up until the last decade you could only buy an AWD CUV or even a SUV only came with 4hi and lo.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          “I think CUVs are an excellent vehicle for a family who want the utility of a station wagon/van with the comfort of a car.”

          So, tell us how wagons don’t offer the comfort of a car? Or minivans for that matter?

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Is there actually a difference between a wagon and a CUV, other than ride height?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            I think there is a difference. If I am wrong, perhaps you can help me.
            I am looking right now to replace my aging MKS. Although I have, and still do, really enjoy the pure comfort and the power of the 3.5 ecoboost…I am having trouble with cargo space.
            Even with the 19 CuFt of trunk…I seem to require more and more space with my long distant travels.
            So…I have been looking at both wagons and CUVs.
            And although the CUV seems to have far less cargo space…they DO offer a smaller, every day commuter. The limited cargo space can be handled by the Roof Carrier…and stored for the 99.9 percent of the time it is not needed.

            Perhaps I am wrong…but wagons do not come with the luggage racks. Am I wrong?

            So…you add the additional view given by the higher riding CUV along with the roof option…and I think this is why Americans are chosing the SUV/CUV. These all around vehicles are offering options that cars and wagons cannot.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Roof racks make infinitely more sense on wagons than on vehicles that are too tall to comfortably reach the roof rack on…..

            The reactive clutch pack awd systems on most CUVs may well “handle” better in a highly staged figure 8 than fwd, but there is almost no predictability in slippery turns, where you suddenly have push fro the rear, stability control interfering,…… Traditional 3 diff systems are fine, but less efficient, heavier, and too expensive for most compact CUVs.

            All the awd systems on most CUVs help with, is accelerating a bit faster, and getting up slippery grades steeper than a fwd car on equal tires. Which is rarely what most front drivers “fail” at. In fact, like others have alluded to, there may be good reasons to have a car that alerts you to low traction when you accelerate, rather than wait until you need to brake. That way, you may wise up and get more suitable tires…

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The AWD in the Encore is Borg-Warner and uses magnetic coupler that connects the rear end at a stop and slowly disengages to 0% at 37 mph. Even with the extra power output of the tuned ecu and tcu you cannot feel the coupling/decoupling regardless of speed. Even doing crazy mph readings while only moving 20 mph on a snow covered driveway I could not find any hiccups in the AWD. With only 50% of the power going to the rear could never get in trouble even while trying too. With TC and Stability off the fun stops at 30 mph when the Stability reengages. Poop!

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          @ Big Al,

          I am pretty convinced it has less to do with utility, and all about drivers height/ride height. People simply prefer sitting high up.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            This is a factor. You can see better (especially in bad weather), and quite truthfully it’s a lot easier for many people to climb up into a vehicle than down into it.

            I spent a little time with a sore back a while ago and found a big difference.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Imprezza AWD can see 32-34 mpg per tank. Not that much of a penalty of AWD compared to FWD today. Handling on the dry is better than 2012 Civic according MT’s figure-eight. Even my Encore AWD can beat the Civic on a dry surface. Throw performance snow tires on today’s AWD and it is win-win vs FWD performance snow tired car.

        http://ethancbanks.com/2012/08/11/2012-subaru-impreza-2-0i-gas-mileage-impressions-after-1500-miles/

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          The 2012 Civic is a very, very low bar to aim for, handling wise. Unlike the rather sharp FD, the ’12 Civic understeered like a boat, with the steering to match. Pretty dreadful for a new model.

          Now, if either of those cars could beat a decent FWD around the figure-eight… say… a Focus… then that would be something.

    • 0 avatar
      RetroGrouch

      Let me fix that for you with lots of retrogrouchiness. Can you tell that I own two RWD wagons?

      It’s evident that a significant proportion of the US population are finding the versatility of the station wagon or hatchback over a sedan a bonus so they buy what is available. Unfortunately, it is usually a wagon jacked up with cartoonish tires to give it an anti-soccer mom appearance.

      A compact hatch or wagon will be more advantageous than a medium sedan. Most drivers don’t need AWD but they have been brainwashed by years of Audi commercials so they pay $5000 more for the AWD in their high ground clearance wagon.

      Anyway, I think most compact CUVs look more ridiculous than a Camry. Most CUV drivers’ egos will not let them drive the station wagon (estate or touring in the rest of the world) or minivan that they really need. Now, CUVs are the overprivileged soccer mom appliance of choice.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      If only they made a more versatile sedan. With more cargo room and All Wheel Drive perhaps.

      If only we could get something European!

      Something that’s as pleasant to drive as a sedan…

      And doesn’t get worse gas mileage than a sedan.

      You, sir, have just defined the Audi A6 Avant.

      Mine has roof racks, too!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Those numbers would suggest that the compact SUVs are taking share from categories other than the four categories in the chart. (Combined market share for the five categories also increased by 5.9%.)

    The question is which categories are suffering the most as a result of this change in the market. Compact trucks are a good candidate for a chunk of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      What do you expect when when you only offer a vehicle that is on par with what I can get in China.

      Even developing nations have better midsizers than the US.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Did you read what he wrote? Mid-sized sedans are up too. We have amazing sedans here. Between the Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima, there’s something for most tastes in family sedans. As a group, they’re up in market share. CUVs are eating something else’s market share. Is it pickups in private use? Maybe.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Big Al, I looked at what midsize/D-segment cars are available in Australia and they’re mostly the same ones as in the US with a few different names, but the Australian starting prices appear to be higher. Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion/Mondeo, Optima, Mazda6, Malibu, and Sonata/K40. The Volkswagen Passat is different and Australia gets some extra European brands, station wagons, and diesel engine options.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        A lot of this has to do with automakers steering the market towards CUVs. They are more profitable than sedans and wagons so there’s an incentive to get them to the same sales numbers. Take a close look at manufacturer offerings. It’s pathetic.

        Nissan — If I want a small performance Nissan, I have to buy a Juke Nismo. I can’t get that package in a Sentra or Versa. Why not? The Altima is lame and a 350Z impractical.

        Honda — Kudos for the Accord Sport or Civil Si. All other passenger cars are lameo. They don’t have a single wagon. Acura should just go straight to CUV/SUV and be done with it.

        Toyota — LOL!

        GM — No sedans worthwhile except the Chevy SS and Regal GS. The former’s big and thirsty and not a practical option for most. GS is ok but priced high enough so you start looking at BMW. No wagons at all.

        Ford — Focus and Fiesta get a thumbs up, particularly in ST form. Taurus SHO is huge and reportedly on the chopping block anyway. Mustang’s a great car but a niche product. Fusion is boring.

        Chrysler — If you like big V-8s the Charger and Challenger are nice but again, who can afford to drive those every day? You may as well get a Durango and have more room. Dart is a disappointment with lackluster performance.

        Subaru — Seems intent on destroying its sedan/hatchback product line. The new Impreza is ugly and no hatchback for the U.S. I foresee WRX and STi brands shifting over to the Forester before 2018.

        Mazda — The Mazda 3 is a good product, particularly in Mazdaspeed form. Beyond that, er….

        Mitsubishi — A whole lot of nothing. Look for the Outlander Evo very soon as a big middle finger to enthusiasts.

        VW — GTI, Golf R, and GLI are great cars, but notice VW’s reluctance to bring a performance or even a decent wagon to the US. An AWD Jetta wagon would sell but would take sales from the more profitable CUV line, so guess what?

        Mini/Fiat — Their cars seem to get fatter every time I turn around. Look for big CUVs with these brand names soon.

        The premium brands — Audi, Volvo, Cadillac, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus — have some good product but these are in a higher price bracket where sedans and wagons can be sold at a premium, so they can be a little more flexible.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This is a nice summary, kudos. My only thought is this:

          “If you like big V-8s the Charger and Challenger are nice but again, who can afford to drive those every day? You may as well get a Durango and have more room.”

          If your thinking is “I’m going Durango”, you can afford to drive the LX V8s every day. If you have legitimate cargo needs, the RAM truck is actually pretty awesome now. The only reason I can see to go “Durango” over say “Charger” is I like Durango/I don’t like Charger.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            I have no problem with Durango. It’s an SUV and if I needed something rugged, I’d probably look at that and the Cherokee versus some CUV poser mobile.

            I like the Charger and Challenger but they do need to be about 500 pounds lighter and smaller. Park one next to its ’60s era predecessor and the ’60s car is dwarfed!

            Something that has given CUV’s another huge advantage (or at least leveled the playing field by default) are safety standards. Pedestrian safety requirements mandate certain space between the hood and engine. You then have to raise the dash, and with it the seating position so you can see over the damn dash! Then you must raise the roof, and then the beltlne to balance it out. Classic downward spiral.

            CUVs and SUVs are already tall and boxy so you don’t notice it there as much as on cars. Cars have gotten generally so unattractive many figure why not get a CUV. If both are unattractive why not just get the most practical one? It’s not like you look at a Camry, Accord or Malibu and go “wow! I must have that!” like people did for the stylish cars of yore.

            Hopefully this is like the 5 MPH bumper requirements of the mid-1970s and stylists will eventually figure out how to work with it. If cars and wagons look better people may go back to them.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good points, and I agree a general weight reduction might be in order. My fav line is this:

            “Cars have gotten generally so unattractive many figure why not get a CUV.”

            This is the industry’s fault. I am personally not familiar with all of the regs but so many of the models today go out of their way to look cheap and obnoxious. The gunslit windows and rear windshields should be automatically curtailed as well because they pose a safety hazard to others on the road when others can’t see out of their car properly.

        • 0 avatar
          colin42

          “They are more profitable than sedans and wagons”

          I hear this a lot on these pages but have never seen any evidence that a wagon costs more to build or would sells for less than a cuv. For instance would the profit on a Mazda6 wagon be less than a CX-5?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Looking at the numbers it appears Midsize SUV/CUVs, large SUV/CUVs, and pickup trucks are probably what lost assuming the the other categories are fairly traditional (and they don’t split off hatchbacks). If anything small CUVs are about the interior size of early explorers, still smaller, but not like the first Gen RAV4 at all. We’ve come along way from the Samurai and Tracker.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Us Americans love our tall wagons/minivans without sliding doors apparently.

    Funny how we still buy plenty of sedans, but shun the more practical (than a sedan) traditional wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      If I purchased a compact like the Focus as a wagon or the Escape for a fairly similar price I’m getting as much practical space. The whole point why the Wagon went away is because the Chrysler Corp’s Caravan killed it. The practical reality of sitting upright with an upright space behind the seats just makes sense. But hey, I got a brown diesel wagon for you if you really want it…

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Brown is a horrible color. I don’t know why people love that color on cars.

        I’ve never liked crossovers; if I’m going to get a tall vehicle; I’ll get a real SUV with a low range transfer case like a Wrangler Unlimited. I put 900 miles on a rental Unlimited last week and enjoyed it. Good power from the Pentastar V6 and surprisingly refined at highway speeds.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Unibody CUVs are infinitely better for most day to day tasks, for most people, than Wranglers. Or even than Landcruisers which are slightly less extreme.

          In isolation, a good CUV, like the CX5, has reached a fairly high level of overall competence as an all around people mover. Driving one back to back with a 3 or 5 wagon is still a pretty stark reminder of their limitations, however. And the same holds for X3s as well. The lower COG of the wagons enable BMW to fit much more supple springs without turning the vehicle int a rollorama. As soon as the pace picks up, there’s really no contest.

    • 0 avatar

      Traditional wagon is far too low. Its partisans keep harping on its supposed utility, but CUV’s utility is obviously superior and people were catching up on that.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Unless you’re up in an SUV, you can’t see past the car in front of you half the time. It’s a cycle that feeds on itself…

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      There are other things a driver should be looking at other then the bumper in front of him. The driving position of CUV/SUVs also helps with viewing over bushes, fences, parked cars and if you live in the north snowbanks, all of which aren’t effected by the bigger begets bigger cycle.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      if you can only see the bumper of the car in front of you you’re following too close. Did fatass Americans forget how to drive in addition to forgetting how to eat and exercise?

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Pretty much, yeah.

        Like people where you live are any different?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Forget? Seems to me that a lot of cars, my own included, are doing most of the driving for me. Between the AWD,ABS, Traction control, rollover control, lane assist and back-up camera, not to mention power everything else, all I do is point it

  • avatar
    niky

    Would be nice to have all categories listed.

    If I had to guess, they’re stealing sales from midsized CUVs and ladder-frame SUVs. Perhaps some of the losses in midsized CUVs are hidden by people migrating down from SUVs and large CUVs…

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      My vote is for some combination of compact trucks and minivans boosting the compacts, as well as some of the minivan and full-size SUV crowd migrating to the midsize CUVs.

  • avatar
    George B

    The majority of the compact CUVs I see are driven by women. I suspect that mid-size SUVs and compact sedans have lost market share to the compact CUV. The compact CUV offers the height of an SUV, but with a car-like ride and compact car footprint in the parking lot. The compact CUV says “I have dogs” while the minivan says “I have kids”.

    • 0 avatar

      GeorgeB, except for your last sentence (which I think is something very strong in the US) I think you absolutely nailed it. Add to that the fact that young single males of the I-just-tolerate-cars crowd seem to like closely what women like and you have the perfect storm for the rise of the compact CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        In the US, no young single male who hopes to enjoy sex would show up for a date driving a Toyota RAV-4 or Honda CR-V. If they’re driving one, they’re no longer single, so overwhelmingly alpha-male that they could get the girl driving a Geek Squad Beetle, or so undesirable that they have given up all hope.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I personally agree with you, but I’ll add you’d be surprised how screwed up the 18-24 crowd really is these days. Somehow in the minds of a good chunk of women this would either be acceptable or desired. I’m not sure what the alpha male of this age group would drive, prob pickups.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Don’t you think you could be a little more shallow? If you’re only getting laid because of the car you drive there are deeper issues here that aren’t being solved by what kind of car you drive

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The car you own, drive, and pay for should have no bearing on your romantic prowess, IMO. Either you have game or you don’t and all a Ferrari will do is attract the wrong kind of attention/people. But as said owner and as a man, I want to be proud of what I have. Everyone’s idea of this might be different.

        • 0 avatar

          @GeorgeB, Hah! In Brazil if said young man showed up in one of the cars you mentioned, he’s chance would likely increase. Sadly, those cars pass as luxury here, so he’d be advertising his wealth plus he’d be driving the style of car that women like. For you to have an idea, we see here a lot of men in that age group driving Honda Fits, Ford EcoSports or Hyundai i30s. Coincidentally or not, those would seem to be cars of choices of the young ladies, too. Not my choices, but I’m married, so I’m “free” to not impress anyone but myself.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    As someone who grew up in Norway in the 80’s, and have mostly had (like my parents) stationwagons and hatchback coupes, what practical use does a Sedan have besides driving people to and from places ? (over here only teenagers and senior citizens drive sedans, because they have nothing to haul)
    I have owned a couple of sedans (and just got one cheap now) and they strike me as incredibly impractical, and still not as good looking as Coupes…

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      A sedan is only marginally less practical than a wagon. The only added space in a wagon is the upper half of the trunk–a section you shouldn’t be filling anyways because it blocks rear visibility.

      Sedans, on the other hand, have a subjective advantage in appearance. A sedan looks more symmetrical than a wagon. I can fit my mountain bike in the back of my Accord, just as I could in a wagon. But I prefer the look of my sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        The space is ot the biggest problem. The access is. With a rear hatch and foldable rear seats you can fit more or less anything. I do prefer hatchback coupes to wagons though, both for looks and practicality as the hatch opens upwards not outwards, and you can fit long items in, and let the hatch ‘hold’ them in place. A sedan with a trailer hitch could work though. (hardly see one without here)

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not subjectivity. Sedan offers a meaningful cargo isolation that even tonneau cover cannot provide.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “A sedan is only marginally less practical than a wagon. ”

        This. A Charger and a Grand Cherokee have roughly the same amount of usable interior space, have similar powertrain options, but one costs comparably 10-20k more than the other and regularly sells out production capacity. The car market is a funny place.

    • 0 avatar

      zykotec, in Brazil, growing up in the 80s, we always had a large station wagon, being my dad a veritable wagon man. I think he hasn’t had a sedan since the 70s. However, I am a sedan man. Compact sedans make a lot of sense here. Compact hatches have trunks of around 280l. Midsize hatches around 380. Compact sedans developed for emerging countries have trunks of around 500l or more, larger even than what’s common for US-style compact sedans (Cívic, Corolla, Focus) and almost as large as those in cars like Accord or Camry. Station wagons have not followed the trend and in the name of style, their trunks have gotten smaller. compact CUVs can’t carry as much as compact sedans. Só the reality in much of the developing world is that sedans are a very practical and the family car of choice.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Better visibility than cars
    Higher seating position
    More room
    For the most part, around the same price

    What’s not to like? This trend will continue. Full size cars are dying and mainstream sedans are next. If someone decides to drop the price on midsize CUVs, midsize cars are in trouble. The Fusion/Camry/Accord of the CUV is coming. It’s not quite here yet, but the it’s coming.

  • avatar

    If every mid-size and big car under $40,000 offered AWD, you might see a reverse in the trend.

    The Azera, Impala, Maxima, Camry, Accord and a few others lack AWD.

    Chrysler needs to advertise more often. Many people POISONED by Camry/Accord/Altima have no idea what it feels like to drive a RWD sedan without torque steer – and Chrysler is one of the few companies to offer AWD with a V6 in their Cherokee as well as their big cars. If they advertised the Charger and 300 more as affordable, spacious AWD cars – it would help tilt the average buyer.

    I’d love to make that commercial.

    “We give you All Wheel Drive and a V6 – while all you get from Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc is torque steer.”

    Then I’d show some hot young chick unable to get out of snow easily and show how much better she enjoys driving it.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      POISONED? Really, TSS?
      Maybe a lot of Accord buyers cross-shopped the 300 and found it an old man’s car with slow reflexes and quality typical of a…Chrysler or Fiat. Maybe they didn’t want to be mistaken for a 19 y.o. with a mullet, so they passed on the Charger.

      I mean, there must be a reason Accord outsells 300, Charger and Challenger combined, no?

      The topic at hand is how Compact CUVs are selling so well. A market that until quite recently, Chrysler ignored. Unless you consider the Journey, CompASS or Patriot competitive.

      Which no one who has driven them would.

      • 0 avatar

        #1 advertising. Many people I let into my car had no idea they were so big, powerful or fun.

        #2. Some people love gutless, mundane “me-too” mobiles.

        #3. The Accords and Camryy’s have a reputation for reliability when compared to troubled products from the big 3.

        But I think the success of the new Hyundai products proves that with enough advertising and the right leadership, you can sway buyers.

        Years ago, I HATED THE 300. I thought it was a poor-mans wannabe Bentley.

        Then my business partner bought one: 300c AWD and got a D.U.I. requiring me to drive his car to carpool. Once I drove it I became an instant MOPAR fanboy. I’m on my 3rd…

        Put me in charge of advertising and I’ll advertise so aggressively that you’d be fantasizing about owning a Fiatsler even if you already had one.

        As for “ignoring CUV”

        Let me THANK CHRYSLER for doing what they do best, building big, powerful, affordable cars. If I have to fault them, it’s for not continuing the Pacifica and Magnum.
        Either would be an easy sell based on today’s engines, interiors and infotainment systems.

        We don’t need a compact CUV.

        But a Magnum priced to compete with a compact CUV would SELL!!!

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          TSS,
          Drive what you like; I’m not trying to change your mind. But the endless MOPAR droning gets old.

          Telling people who drive what they like that they are poisoned, or driving mundane “me-too” mobiles is not helpful. It just makes us take you less seriously.

          PS: The market has spoken: The Pacifica and Magnum were failures.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The Journey is competitive, because it’s dirt cheap. There’s nothing else at that price. The same-size Venza is $8,000 more.

        Sure, it’s obsolete, but $8k is a big difference.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The 200 AWD will not feel anything like a RWD car. It is still a transverse mounted V6 that sends almost all the torque to the front wheels and a portion of the torque to the rear wheels when it feels like it. There is an absolute, fundamental difference in the way the Cherokee and 200 are set up versus an actual RWD car.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The AWD 200 won’t feel just like a RWD car, but it does have the capability to send the majority of the power to the rear when demands require it. So I could see how some could say that it has a RWD-like type behavior under some conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Adding AWD to an Accord or Camry destroys the nearly flat floor, adds weight, adds cost, and hurts fuel economy. Even having the floor hump for optional AWD is a negative for the big chunk of the US where most days are sunny and dry. It’s not like FWD cars are difficult to drive in rain, ice, or light snow.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    For a better understand of the popularity of CUVs, one needs to go to the mainstream auto shows. Not the car shows for enthusiasts. The dealer involved auto shows. Don’t look at the cars. Watch the people. What I’ve observed at the NYIAS includes:

    – Watching shoppers ingress/egress the Subaru Imprezza and then the XV Crosstrek. Fundamentally, they are identical, except the XV Crosstrek rides quite a bit higher. It’s a lot easier for people to ingress/egress the XV Crosstrek, especially when you consider most Americans are heavier than they should be.

    – “Shrubs up front, trees in the back.” I know a lot of women who drive CUVs and SUVs because its the one opportunity to be able to see over everything else. They can’t do that in a car. Watch the “shrubs” at the auto shows. They love being able to see.

    I believe that’s really all there is to it. Americans are large people. And the ones who aren’t, and can afford something they can see out of, well, they’re gonna buy something BIG.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Boom.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      In a strictly ergonomic sense any egress lower than your knees resting position on the ground is bad for you. You’re leveraging your weight (regardless of excess) on a bad pivot spot and puts more pressure on it than you need to. Hence the average sedan is probably still putting a person’s knees close to that point while a CUV isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I was going to mention the obesity issue. When almost half of the buying public is obese, having a high hip level for easy entry-exit can become a priority for many buyers.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not just the supposed “obesity” (which is largely made up and fake thanks to deeply flawed BMI formula that penalizes tall people; for instance, I am considered overweight despite exceeding spindly proportions). I’m much into sports cars, but getting in and out of Hachiroku or Corvette is a major excercise that dampens my enthusiasm.

        • 0 avatar
          Ubermensch

          “It’s not just the supposed “obesity” (which is largely made up and fake thanks to deeply flawed BMI formula that penalizes tall people”

          Spend some time with me in Iowa and say that.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Sugar, Pete. Sugar is toxic to the body and all fructose in sugar gets turned straight into fat. Couple this with the fact everything processed in the country has HFCS artificially added to turn you into a food addict, and you’ve got nationwide obesity.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      The XV is such a great case study. Jack it up a little, bit of cladding here and there, boom outsell the entire Impreza line.

  • avatar

    4 door CUVs tend to have better proportions than four door sedans. Americans buy with their eyes and avoid products that need justification against current social ideas (ie rwd or coupes).

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    I forget the exact quote and I’m too lazy to look it up, but a few years ago Carlos Ghosn said something like: “We used to build station wagons, and we called them station wagons, and people bought them because they needed a station wagon. Now we build station wagons, but we call them crossover multi-purpose people movers. And people buy them because they need a station wagon.”

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Tall Is All.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Its no big mystery. Road conditions have gone to hell in most of the US since 2009, as governments “save your taxes” by not repaving. That goes double for Canada of course.

    Factor-in a particularly bad winter, and the fact that CUVs are almost as good as sedans on the mileage front, and there’s no reason not to get one.

    Most driveways in my suburban neighborhood have one CUV and something else (compact or sedan, mostly). It’s become the default choice.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Ive got a wife and 2 kids and drive a grand marquis as the family go everywhere car. Seating for 6 and Its trunk can swallow strollers and luggage and a basonette and daiper bag and pack and play AND return 24 mpg (look at 01 grand marquis on fully.com named grandmafor proof). If I wanted a wagon on stilts (aka crossover) to compete with that I’d have to go explorer or traverse which costs in the 30k range and uses more gas than my mgm..also uses more gas and has less room and costs more than a minivan.

    Crossovers are a stupid gimmick and awd gives drivers a false sense of security when driving in the snow. Its always the subarus I see spun out in the snow here in ma. Whenif I need a bigger vehicle I’ll get a minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I don’t spin out in our Subaru. I don’t see them “spun out” around here either, I live in MA and I have a brain with good judgement that I use to avoid a “false sense of security”. I guess I should offer my condolences on you not being able to handle AWD? I bet you are smart enough to handle it don’t be so hard on yourself! I drive right around slow moving Grand Marquis in the Outback. We probably have similar cargo space the Outback is pretty good though those panther trunks are huge! We only get like 20mpg with the turbo motor but that is all city and it is fast.

      Now do you really seat 6? Last time I rode in the front bench middle I was 9 in a ’74 DeVille and even then I barely fit it was a squeeze. Can’t imagine and adult sitting there for more than a ride around the corner. Not that those 3rd rows are great in any of the SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Don’t get me wrong, I love station wagons too; I drive one everyday. But you are being too dismissive of crossovers.

      Where crossovers become atttractive is when your two kids grow up, and you need to carry less stuff around with them. They will not be as comfortable as you and your wife in front because station wagons of that generation have no rear vents; crossovers do.

      Station wagons do not have cigarette lighter/AC plugs and drink holders for the middle seat, crossovers do. And a crossover may offer more legroom in the middle seat because of the more upright seating; not sure about the comparision to the legroom in a MGM.

      My Taurus does not even had headrests for the middle seat; your MGM is newer, so it might. Then, there is the ease of ingress/egress, and the better visibility from driving a taller vehicle.

      I love my Taurus when it is just me and one other person; it is comfortable and easy to drive in traffic, and handles well. But, when we have the two kids and luggage; it’s the Durango.

      Here in Texas, when sitting in a drive thru or looking out across a parking lot; it was not uncommon to see a pickup truck as every second or third vehicle. Nowdays they seem to be SUVs/CUVs; they seem to have replaced crew cab pickups as the family truckster.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    It makes complete sense to me and I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner. For the average consumer the compact CUV does everything better than a midsize sedan. First you get a roomier interior with FAR superior rear leg room; my wife’s Terrain has 40″ of rear leg room, that’s luxury flagship territory. They’re much easier for older folks to get in and out of as well. This doesn’t just apply to the vehicle’s direct owner(s) btw, many people drive their elderly parents/grandparents around and a compact CUV is easier for them than falling down into a Fusion or climbing up into a Silverado. The high roof and folding seats allow for some large objects to be hauled. You can haul home a new dishwasher in a Terrain, try that in a Camry. It makes for one fantastic grocery getter as the load floor is at an ideal height and has cavernous amounts of room. They’re equipped with roof racks to haul bikes, kayaks, roof carriers, etc. Some of them can even tow a decent amount of weight. Compact CUVs don’t have ridiculously high belt lines like midsized sedans nor do they have the low roof line. They’re also not nearly as large or cumbersome as a minivan or big CUV (Traverse, Explorer).

    So what are the advantages for a midsized sedan? Handling that nobody cares about. Slightly better fuel efficiency and an xbox or so cheaper? Those reasons aren’t enough for people to give up the massive list of advantages for the compact CUV. Even as an enthusiast its not really worth it. Our Terrain makes a better family and utility car than ANY sedan. When people ask me for car advice my top recommendation is almost always a compact CUV, usually an Equinox for its cavernous back seat and superior ride quality to the competition.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Makes perfect sense, more “car” for the money, more usable space, convenience, etc. the modern day wagon

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I wouldn’t mind CUVs so much if so many of them weren’t SO. DAMNED. UGLY!

    Explorer, Edge, Cherokee, Venza, current CR-V with the comically huge grille, Juke…I think all of these vehicles are hideous!

    But clearly my opinion matters about as much as a hardcore liberal at the RNC, because people buy these damned bloated monstrosities in droves.

    • 0 avatar
      lando

      Add the new Escape to that list. Hate it. I don’t understand how lack of visibility and huge C-pillars became popular. And all of the auto manufactures have done it. We have the last model Escape, and it has been great, but it is coming time to replace it and there is literally nothing out there similar.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        The GMC Terrain is pretty similar to the previous gen escape. It has the same boxy upright manly styling.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Did they change it? The ones with the narrow and understated Focus/Fiesta grille look just fine to me…

        Nope, the 2015 is the same as the 2014. That’s one of the few CUVs I can tolerate, along with the Outlander and Forester.

        As for the Terrain, its big goofy grille hurts it a little bit. Especially in Denali trim.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          The fake fender vent and fake air openings around the foglights and under the headlights ruin the look for me. Once I noticed them, I couldn’t unsee them. In general, the more I look at the Escape, the more it looks like a stretched and pinched Focus rather than the design elements of a Focus applied to a taller, longer shape. The hatch door looks out of proportion with the body. The nose and rear bumper look Focus sized but they had to pull and stretch the doors and pillars to connect everything. The Focus wears the look a lot better and that makes the Escape look worse somehow.

        • 0 avatar
          lando

          I am talking about third generation versus second. The turnover was in 2012/13. And you are in the majority, the third generation Escape was been very popular. I just don’t like the restricted visibility and overall look.

  • avatar
    Tt3Sheppard

    I guess this explains the amount of SUVs/CUVs on the highway now a days. All I can see is other vehicles around me when driving my low sports car, what happened to the good old days of sedans/wagons.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I think its down to the perverse consumer behaviors encouraged by manufacturers in the sedan segments.

    The high-level trim options on sedans, like 17-18″ alloy wheels, low profile tires, and firm sport suspension are not compatible with US roads. The top CUV trims usually retain tire sidewall and suspension travel, while adding 4wd as well.

    CAFE 2025 is not kind to CUVs so manufacturers will have to make some changes in vehicle sales mix…..or hybridize the entire CUV lineup.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    I’m one of the people who traded my car for a CUV April 2014 (an ’07 Accord for an ’11 CR-V)

    I loved my 2007 Accord and didn’t plan on buying a CUV, but with the horrible Minnesota winter we’ve had this year, it made sense. Surprisingly, the driving experience of the ’11 CR-V compared to the ’07 Accord isn’t much different. The CR-V rides and handles pretty well, and the steering offers similar feel and response. It’s also a foot shorter, so it’s fairly maneuverable. The only thing I had to adjust to was the somewhat sluggish acceleration.

    It’s not to say I won’t go back to a car- I took a long look at the new Accord- but after driving the CR-V for about a month, I can see why CUVs are so popular.

    • 0 avatar
      jdspielman

      I too own a 07 Accord SE and a 08 CRV EX. The 2013/14 Minnesota winter was the worst I have ever seen in my life. The 21 plus days below zero was awful when the ice on the roads would not melt. I have thought about getting a second CRV or maybe buying a Pilot.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My wife bought a new CRV last year. We had a 2000 Taurus loaded which was a great car but having a wagon like vehicle has more utility and the AWD is better in the snow. Yes I would like something like a tradition wagon, but they don’t make very many of them anymore and at least the CRV is close. I like sedans, but I like the utility of a crossover much better.

    Big Al was not referring to the lack of choice in midsize cars or crossovers (plenty of choice in the USA of both) but to the lack of choice in the midsize pickup market.


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