By on July 16, 2014

BsrTeYECEAAYuq0

 

This chart, courtesy of IHS Automotive, shows that for the first time in America, crossovers have edged out sedans as the most popular body style.

While the data only shows new vehicle registrations through May, 2014, don’t expect this trend to reverse any time soon. The crossover’s rise to market dominance is an inexorable fact of our automotive landscape, both in America and around the world.

Now you see why Nissan isn’t so crazy to forgo the new IDx in favor of the Juke. Sure, nobody will ever cross-shop the two cars, but one plays in a space that is constantly growing, while the other competes in a market that has a future that’s slightly worse than the U.S. Postal Service. If you were an auto executive with a few billion to spend on a new car that must turn a profit (so, no fantasy brown wagon projects), the choice would be easy.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

234 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Do any sources break down how the SUV/CUV mix has changed over time as % SUV/CUV?

    Fortunately for the automakers CUVs generally allow them to spread out development costs of the shared sedan platform.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I, too, would like to see this breakdown. I can’t imagine the dinosaur SUVs take up too much of this, anymore.

      For the calendar year 2013, the Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia sold a combined ~246,000 vehicles.

      The 2013 Ford Escape – one of the more popular compact CUV’s but one of *many* sold nearly 296,000 vehicles, by itself.

      I literally can’t think of any other dinosaur-esque SUV’s, but I feel like if you added their numbers to the big list above, you’d still probably see the Escape out-selling all of them, combined, still. Then you’ve got the Rav4, ugly CR-V, etc.

  • avatar

    Yeah, seems like CUVs will rule the roost for a while. Wonder how long it’ll last though. Will it have the staying power of the sedan/hatch/station wagon, which are all basically variations of the same theme? The IDx should definitely come though. It could spawn a family and due to size and pricing would be a hit where “normal” cars still grow, the developing world.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Ignoring all other salient factors, CUVs will die in the next 10-20 years when the children raised in them reach car-purchasing age and refuse to be seen in the same bodystyle that their parents drove.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @319583076, TRUTH!

        What will replace them? Will the minivan (hardly “mini” anymore) or the wagon make a comeback? Some new category that hasn’t been created yet?

        (Though my CUV is very wagon like already.)

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          Slightly off-topic, but what are you driving now? I thought you had a truck, F-150? Then again, I’ve been less frequent around these parts lately.

          I have to say that the only vehicle-type that I just won’t buy based on stereotype are mini-vans, and accessories (Fiat 500/MINI). I’ve had minivan (93 Aerostar Eddie Bauer Edition), it was a pig, and I don’t want another.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Yeah you have been scarce, stop in and comment once in a while. :-)

            Here’s the run down. 1967 Mustang convertible (driver quality, slowly improving as budget allows)family heirloom mine since July 2013, 2004 F150 had since 2006 and subject of a Piston Slap on diff noise, and as of May 2014 a 2010 Toyota Highlander V6, AWD, three row seating, purchased with less than 50,000 miles. It may be an appliance but it is a 270 hp quiet and comfortable appliance.

            Why the sudden purchase of a “Camry Wagon”? Impending first child (September 2014) and the desire to grow the family quickly.

      • 0 avatar

        I would tend to agree. Seems to me that most body styles, grow, peak, plateau and then the more traditional styles make a comeback. Until the next big thing.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        This is why I want a sedan or a minivan as my first vehicle I buy on my own. All we’ve ever had (in my lifetime that I remember) are SUV/CUVs, a compact truck, and a minivan that I didn’t enjoy enough.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          If you want something that is really sporty and enjoyable to drive, you may want to look at the Mazda3, Mazda6, Hyundai Elantra and Veloster.

          We ended up buying a 2011 Elantra for my grand daughter because for the money, there was nothing that came close to it.

          She still drives it today, and it has held up very well. No problems.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Heh. In order…
            Mazda3 — Two many doors,
            Mazda6 — Two many doors,
            Hyundai Elantra — Two many doors and
            Veloster — Worth considering.

            By the way, anyone really notice that it was GRANDPA’s Veloster that the 14-year-old kid went joyriding in a few weeks ago? Obviously I’m not the only Adult that prefers a 2-door car. I’m also betting that if it had been a stick shift the kid wouldn’t have been able to drive it.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Hyundai Elantra — Two many doors”

            They make an Elantra coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        VenomV12

        Most parents drove sedans and their kids still buy them. A whole lot of parents drove big SUVs and pickup trucks and their kids still buy them and drive them now so you point is probably not correct. As far as I know crossovers have not been branded with the whole uncool moniker so they should be fine for quite some time to come.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I partly agree with venom, I have yet to see a teen swear off fullsize SUVs or pickups, more so I’m seeing a resurgence in them being embraced by the same people that used to ride in the rear.

          Crossover being uncool is gaining traction, (from what I hear from (male) owners)

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            Yeah, I really like my dad’s Rogue. Drove it around a few weeks ago, and not only did it drive nicely, but it looks nice, it was never a high school trend, and oh yeah, it’s blue. That’s pretty nifty.

            Another problem I have is that body on frame SUVs like the Wrangler and Liberty are becoming insanely popular. Everyone wants one, and they usually have at least one Vineyard Vines sticker. I bought a bunch of Aeropostale and Hollister in middle school and freshman year, thinking I’d be trendy, only to have those brands “die out”. Vineyard Vines, JR Criders, Chacos, they’ll probably go down the same road the first two brands I mentioned did.

            So, cars are like clothes. They’re trendy at a time, but lose trendiness later on. The Jeeps may die out like the Beetles (never seen one at my school), and could be replaced by who knows, Nissan Cubes?

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Exactly. What matters isn’t what people’s parents had when they were kids, but rather what labels those vehicles receive.

          If CUVs receive a strong negative “mommy-mobile” and/or “destroyer of the Earth” label, then I would expect people to eventually shun them. If emission laws clamp down hard enough, then I expect automakers to shift away from them back to cars. However, I don’t see that happening in the near future, so the CUV should reign for quite some time.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Well, we’re all discussing vehicles as fashion – the salient points being neglected include: government regulation, employment, fuel costs, taxes, access to affordable loans, etc…

            CUVs are currently a fashionable compromise of most people’s wants and needs aligned with external economic constraints. Their popularity may decline due to fashion and almost certainly will decline due to some combination of factors we aren’t explicitly discussing in this thread – including the fact that operationally, they are a poor compromise between car and SUV. They don’t represent value beyond cars or SUVs except in consumer perception.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            It is largely fashion because cost wise a new Camry costs no more than a RAV4, with a Corolla being much cheaper. Both sedans are also more fuel efficient. So why are people buying RAV4’s – fashion – not Government regulation or cost.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I’m confused as to how a CUV is a poor operational compromise between a car and an SUV.

            As far as a car goes, a CUV has
            – easier ingress/egress
            – larger, significantly more useful trunk and trunk opening
            – better feeling of security

            As far as an SUV goes, a CUV has
            – better gas mileage
            – better handling
            – cheaper cost with not much less cargo capacity or usability

            I can’t think of any advantages a car has over an CUV (is a Camry any less dull to drive than a RAV-4?), and the advantages “real” SUVs have are pretty limited (towing?).

            The only real threat cars have over SUVs is fuel economy. On average, with the same powertrain, a car will get ~5-10MPG better mileage than a CUV with the same powerplant. If gas continues on its trajectory, it’s only a matter of time where those MPGs matter, and folks potentially start demanding more hatchbacks and wagons. But for now, CUVs are king, for real and legitimate reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            I believe that the CUV body shape and relative masculinity is important its long-term popularity. Go too rounded/egg shaped like the Lexus RX 350 and its many imitators and it becomes a woman’s CUV. Make it a little more boxy/angular like the Ford Explorer and men will accept it too. Combining the actual ride of a tall car with the styling of a SUV helps avoid the “mommy-mobile” image.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @George B: You may be right, but I prefer the looks of the Flex over the looks of the Explorer if you want to go that direction. On the other hand, if the Explorer came out with a full-on pickup truck version, I’d probably be all over it even though I do hate Ford. Doesn’t look like anyone else is doing it. (Ford neither, for that matter.)

            Today its two many full-sized doors (spelling intentional) and when it comes to trucks, simply too big. In essence, of all the car models currently available for purchase in the US, I can claim interest in about five. Not five brands, five models. Tesla makes two of them (or will within 3 years) and Jeep makes another two (of which I’m currently driving one). Fiat makes the last one on my list. Within the next 2- to 3 years, I will be buying one of those five.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      CUVs are not driving until 28cars buys one.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      CUVs are not dieing until 28cars buys one.

  • avatar

    CROSSOVERS: Because cars are too small, you can’t afford a full-sized SUV and you HATE the word “wagon”.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Your Jeep is a CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Not quite.

        -Jeep Cherokees/GCs have been unibody for decades. BOF does not an SUV make.
        -JGC WK2 utilizes a traditional longitudinal drive-train layout with true 4×4 capabilities.
        -WK2 features four-wheel independent suspension.
        -WK2 can tow between 6,200 and 7,200 lbs depending on configuration.
        -WK2 is not built on a car platform.
        -WK2 is available with a V8.

        Few “CUVs” check more than one of those boxes.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Grand_Cherokee

        http://ask.cars.com/2013/06/how-much-can-the-2014-jeep-grand-cherokee-tow.html

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          So, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Mercedes GLK, etc are all SUVs? There are definitely shades of gray and the JGC is very much in the gray zone. Longitudinal drivetrain with low range is very SUV like. Unibody sitting on fully independent suspension is a detriment. Big Truck’s JGC is an SRT version. Those are not designed to go offroad and are thus not SUVs. Like I said, HIS Jeep is a CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t know enough about BTSR’s model to make a determination. If its 2WD than yes it loses its offroad capability but still fulfills the rest of the criteria. Regarding the rest the models you cited, some of those might fit into the JGC criteria. Where you definitely lose your SUV criteria and drift into CUV is in: transverse drivetrains/lack of true 4WD, lack of towing, lack of true offroad capability. Some might argue live axle is necessary but I’m not going to make that determination as I am not an off road expert.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            My A6 Avant is a wagon.

            A Q7 is not a wagon. It’s an overweight CUV thingy.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          “Your Jeep is a CUV.”

          This, having a full length frame attached to the body with hardware is detriment to what draws the line between crossover and SUV. Having the ability to go offroad, tow, or having a traditional drivetrain layout means nothing to what it is, a Cherokee is supposed to be an “offroad” vehicle, which is in no way an SUV. Having IRS is a very big minus, however the last gen explorer unfortunately was burdened with it, but the frame made up for it.

          VW offered a V10 and V12 in one of their crossovers, that definately didn’t make it a truck, not sure what engine size has to do with vehicle classification.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        This is getting awfully close to a distinction without a difference. Lemme try: Mine’s an SUV, yours is in the grey zone, theirs are CUV’s. Sound about right?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          No, no, no, no, no.

          I drive an SUV, because I am a man, and I am desperate to prove to everyone else that I am a man, even though they can’t actually see me because my windows are tinted and I am up so high in all of my manly glory.

          She drives a CUV, because she is a soccer mom, and she doesn’t care about driving dynamics, only about what the valet at Neiman Marcus thinks of her.

          They over there are in the grey zone, because their vehicle has a unibody-on-frame construction powered by a hexagonal I7 which can go off-road with its tri-symetrical 4WD, but is not Rubicon trail rated, at least not that I know of.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sarc?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thx. Tough to tell on a message board. I will comment though I really think this mentality is far more prevalent in US society than usually believed: “I am desperate to prove to everyone else I [insert attribute], therefore I [buy a product or perform some action]“.

            The only person you should attempt to prove anything to is yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I’m with you on this one, 28,

            I think the favorite car I’ve owned was my first: a stripper ’86 Integra. No A/C, No fancy entertainment, and certainly no automatic transmission. I don’t think I ever impressed anyone with it, but I do have fond memories of running through the gears and testing where the tires started to slip.

            Do they sell cars like that anymore? Would I still buy one if they did?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No I don’t believe they are, but yes I think you would buy it and I probably would too. I like having a small FWD car in the fleet.

            The two I had I think I miss the most are the MY86 Toyota Cressida and MY90 Audi 100.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            What does a secure man drive, he asks really not caring what the answer is, because the answer is, anything he wants/needs/can afford?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “CROSSOVERS: Because cars with that much useable space occupy a stupid-large footprint, you don’t want to pay for the gas to feed a full-sized SUV, and you like their higher sitting position compared to a wagon.”

      FTFY.

      • 0 avatar
        Wraith

        I made a reply similar to this, but it got eaten by the spam blocker on edit.

        Anyway, in short: Crossovers offer cargo space / ground clearance / AWD that you can’t usually get in a sedan. Not everyone wants a mini-monster truck that can tow a planet. And there aren’t many wagons on the market here (Jetta, TSX, Soul?, what else under $40k?).

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      The chart is actually lumping SUVs and CUVs into one basket since the major volume SUVs have all been switching to unibody (explorer, Cherokee, GC, etc.) though it does make bts’ comment particularly ironic since one could argue that the true SUV equivalent of his JGC that can outdo it off-road is the far more expensive Land Cruiser.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Cars are too small, butI can’t understand why anyone living close to civilization would actually ‘want’ a SUV( I can understand that some people ‘need’ one though) I bought a lowering kit for my first CRV…
      I prefer liftback cars, but classic wagons are awesome too :)

    • 0 avatar
      Avatar77

      Huh? People buy crossovers because they need space for their families, they don’t care about off-road capabilities that almost nobody uses, and they don’t want a 4 ton dinosaur that gets 12 mpg and is impossible for Mrs. Mom to maneuver around the local shopping center.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I do wish they weren’t able to classify CUVs as trucks. These are going to litter the roads just like Aztecs in 10 years – poorly maintained and falling apart. With no value to any group of people that traditional keep value of old vehicles up, and thereby roadworthy – (Offroaders, cheap horsepower, mpg savers).

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Maintenance, resale value, etc., has nothing to do with legal classification. And why would the road being “littered” with these be any worse than the road being littered with similarly decrepit sedans or minivans?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Vehicles that hold value best tend to be kept by people that can afford a premium price in a used vehicle, the average C5 vette is probably in better shape then the average cavalier.
        Classification has a lot to so with it, classifying crossovers as trucks is no different a game on CAFE as what made trucks so big. Unlike them however, your average crossover owner sees the vehicle as a disposable appliance to be trashed in less than 20 years. And even if they didnt, the average person buying the average vehicle is clueless on maintence. If it doesn’t have a unboltable frame it should be classified as a car and be regulated as such.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          You’ve got your cause & effect swapped. Vehicles that tend to be owned by people who take care of them maintain their value.

          No one outside of car websites even know that CUVs are classified as trucks, so that whole argument is pointless.

        • 0 avatar
          ...m...

          …so does that make my flyweight lotus a truck?..no, of course not, but it illustrates that body-on-frame is a poor determinant for defining light trucks…

          …i concur that most CUVs shouldn’t be classified as light trucks, but do we best categorise light trucks by something else: cargo capacity, tow rating, open bed, number of passengers?..i’d posit that the light truck CAFE exemption might have been misguided from its outset; that lumping some consumer passenger vehicles under a separate regulatory regime from others only served to distort the market and long-term repercussions of said regukatory intent…

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Plenty of 2000 – 2003 RX300’s in amazingly good shape where I live. I’m pretty sure anyone who isn’t driving one admits they’re CUV’s.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I prefer sedans, almost always buy them over other types of vehicles, but to be honest crossovers really are a better choice. Often you find yourself trying to buy a large item or transport it and you really can’t do that with a sedan and that becomes annoying sometimes. That what makes the Lexus RX/NX very appealing, even the new Porsche Macan. A nice little added benefit of crossovers if that often you can get reclining rear seats without having to spend 6 figures.

    I sat in a barebones, base Jeep Cherokee the other day and I was shocked, it had some of the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in, I really did not expect that. Even the new 200 was pretty good.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yesterday, while eating lunch in my CUV in front of a toy store I watched a woman with two small children struggle with getting those kids strapped in to her Kia Optima then try to figure out how to get her large purchases into this sedan. It was comical watching her load and unload these toys while other mommies came and went with similar loads strapping in their kids and tossing their purchases in the backs of their CUVs and off they would go. It took this woman at least 15 minutes to figure it all out.

      If I were her we would be CUV shopping today

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    i usually drive the A4 when I can and leave the Tahoe parked but I have to admit that thing is an absolute pain in the ass to get in and out of compared to my trucks. I’m 49, but can still do a deep water start on a slalom water ski so I’m not exactly old, fat and completely out of shape just yet. So I can see why CUVs are becoming popular with their higher step in height and much more versatile wagon back end.

    I rather liked the Terrain we rented in Florida a couple years back. 3 kids in car seats and boosters fit across the back seat nicely. The rear easily swallowed all the suitcases for a family of 5, and we don’t travel light. Despite it’s truck styling, it’s chassis and drive train were all car.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      But even if a person is not old and fat, egress into and out of vehicles can become a problem with age, or if that person has a hip-reoplacement, knee replacement or uses prosthetic limbs.

      My 86 yo father-in-law who is not fat, just old, has to use the running board to get into and out of his 2013 Suburban. But getting his wife in and out of that same Suburban is quite a production, since she has had both hips replaced.

      For my wife and I, the CUV remains the best overall vehicle, at this time. We currently own a 2008 Highlander 4X4 which my 17yo grand daughter uses as her daily driver, a 2012 Grand Cherokee 4X4 which is my wife’s daily ride, and my 2011 Tundra 5.7 DC.

      But what will we buy when it becomes too difficult to get in and out of a CUV as we age?

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        An XV Crosstrek or Outback. Height wise, do they not bridge the gap between a CUV and a 2WD Sedan?

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          So that’s TWO cars, one of which has about the same power as a sleeping dog and the other is basically a CUV anyways. What if someone simply doesn’t want a car designed for lesbians and named after a 5th-rate steak house?

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Yeah, the XV is gutless and yeah, the Outback is a Legacy with a lift kit and fender flares. I’m strictly looking at ride height to address HDC’s ingress/egress concerns.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          That’s an excellent point. I live in the mountains and we see a lot (a lot!) of Subies in this area, mostly owned by Ski-resorts and people who appreciate the versatility of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD.

          But speaking for myself here, I don’t know if I can downsize from a Grand Cherokee, Highlander, or Tundra truck. I like my comfort zone. I like my space.

          We’ll be trading our 2012 Grand Cherokee at the end of this year for a 2015 Sequoia 4X4, with running boards, and it will most likely be the last SUV/CUV we’ll buy in our lifetime. It will be my wife’s daily driver for as long as she will still be able to drive. We’re both getting pretty old.

          I’m still planning on trading my 2011 Tundra 5.7 DC LB for a 2015 or 2016 Tundra 4-dr 4X4 5.7 Limited (with running boards) at the end of next year, as my last truck of my lifetime.

          But if either or both of these vehicles prove to be to difficult to get in or out of, as we age, we may not have a choice but to downsize to a Subie.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        “But what will we buy when it becomes too difficult to get in and out of a CUV as we age?”

        When you lose the flexibility to get into or out of any/every vehicle it is probably time to stop driving: at that point you are no longer a safe driver in terms of being able to physically operate a car or react to external events. When that point comes you are a menace to other drivers.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Errr, no. Moving arms and feet inches is vastly different than moving your entire body from standing to sitting.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            Err, yes. When you are too feeble to get into or out of any vehicle you are too feeble to react to events on the road.

            Take a ride with an old person who can barely get in and out of a car; in my limited experience their driving ability usually directly corresponds to their overall mobility. Loss of mobility, peripheral vision loss, and the decline of some cognitive ability all generally march down the same path at the same time. It is often accompanied by heated denial of all of the above.

            It can be very scary to ride with the elderly.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Toad is way off-base.

            My sister injured her back many years ago, and the single action of stepping down into a car is painful for her, but her driving abilities are not diminished once sitting down. She therefore only shops for vehicles with higher seating positions like CUVs. She is far from unique in the marketplace.

            That isn’t to say that people who need a walker and a seeing eye dog shouldn’t drive. However, it’s ridiculous to assume that if someone experiences discomfort/pain performing an awkward motion need a walker and/or a seeing eye dog.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Toad IS way off base, but my guess is that it’s an age thing that will change as time marches forward,
            he said with a wry knowing smile

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Toad, were you aware that there are all sorts of devices that can be adapted to cars to allow the truly handicapped to drive?

          Having difficulty getting in and out of a vehicle does NOT mean that a person is no longer a safe driver.

          You must be a city dweller, because if you lived out in the ‘burbs or boonies, you would be aware of the need for mobility, even in Retirement Communities. That’s why Golf carts are so widely seen scurrying around places where old people live.

          But Golf carts can’t go out on the roads, so most people look for something that they can easily get into and out of. In the mountains where I live, it also includes 4WD, especially in winter.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            I’m not talking about the handicapped, I’m talking about the elderly. Different problems, different solutions.

            FWIW, I’m not a city dweller; I’m in the burbs (not that it makes a difference in this case) and I know how car dependent that this choice makes people. But the need and desire for a car in the burbs or rural areas should not cancel out the need to keep drivers with limited capacity off the road.

            When you can’t safely drive you need to make other living arrangements, not stubbornly continue to endanger other motorists.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Toad, I agree that if people who can no longer operate a motor vehicle safely should not be allowed to drive. But who makes that determination?

            My father-in-law is 86 and still runs his own real-estate business, is cognizant of money-making opportunities, and plays with all his faculties. But he is beginning to show extreme wear due to age.

            His wife has difficulty getting in and out of vehicles, but still manages to pas her written and eye tests every time she needs to renew her drivers license.

            Whether or not they are safely operating the motor vehicle they drive can be open to discussion, depending on a person’s beliefs re old people driving in general.

            How about drunks and druggies? They’re impaired. But the law doesn’t do anything to remove them from the roads or prevent them from driving.

            I don’t know which is worse, impaired old people driving, or drunks and druggies driving.

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            That’s an easy one — the drunk can sober up, the druggie can get clean, but the impaired elderly person is always driving impaired.

            The trouble is that the testing that’s really needed falls afoul of the overpowered old person lobbies.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Toad – ingress/egress is also important for your passengers. These elderly you want off the road still have to get to doctor’s appointments and such…. usually driven by their children. So, even if they don’t drive the car, they still get in and out. The death of the coupe is largely because it is a pain to get in and out of the rear seats.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Since I have no children to take me …”to doctor’s appointments and such…”, I don’t have that advantage AND as such have no need for a back door in my vehicle. I’m still wanting a proper coupe.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I shoehorn my 2 year old into the back of a 2 door MINI Cooper S. Most people don’t see that as a worthwhile compromise, though. My parents are also under 60, so they don’t need to catch a ride. We’d take the Rav in that case, anyway.

            I do feel like I look quite awkward climbing up out of the MINI, though. Long doors, low seats, and narrow parking spots will do that. I’m thin and not particularly tall, but I still don’t feel very graceful climbing out.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Everybody uses the running board(s) to get in and out of a GMT-900 SUV due to the step-in height. The fact that he is 86 is neither here nor there. That’s why the only way GM builds them is with running boards.

        Remember the Burb is a BOF solid rear axle truck built to tow. It was never designed to be a comfortable daily driver for an 86 year old person.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I prefer sedans (we have two of them), but with two small kids, an SUV or Minivan makes sense. I still want to have some amount of sport potential for the rare occasion that the vehicle isn’t fully occupied or towing a trailer, so I have an Infiniti FX45 as the third vehicle which has more miles put on it per year than the two other cars combined (we didn’t see that coming). The seats are higher, which makes it much easier to get the kids and gear in and out, and it can tow a trailer. It doesn’t have the room of a minivan or the interior space of a large sedan, but it is a good compromise for now.

    If someone made a rear wheel drive, or rear biased AWD, 300+ horsepower (V8 preferably) minivan that cornered and braked well and cost less than $55K, I would buy one. The only thing I can think of that is even close is the AMG Mercedes R series, which I don’t particularly like.

    The CTS-V wagon is interesting, but the gas mileage and space are a little too far off what I need.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Tesla Model X meets all of your criteria except that it is likely to be in the $90k range.

      We have similar tastes however, I was pretty set on getting an FX until I reflected upon the fact that the wife already has an SUV and that the M has a better interior layout for me and slightly better handling/mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Tell me about your FX45…would you recommend it?

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        I typed a huge response, but it didn’t post. I’ll try again.

        The FX45 is great. I spent months driving everything from 4Runners to Tahoes to Land Cruisers to Escapes, etc. I had an early Porsche Cayenne S that was awesome to drive but spent a lot of time in the shop. The FX45 was the closest vehicle to the Cayenne that I thought would not require cash infusions once it was out of warranty. The FX is not quite as solid of stable as the Cayenne, but it is slightly more powerful and has been extremely reliable.

        When we first bought it, we thought it looked pretty strange, but it drove well enough to overlook that – we spend more time driving it than looking at it. That was 110K miles ago. Now I think it looks great. My only complaints are that there isn’t much cargo space. I have two kids in car seats, when we go on halfway cross country trips we have to bring two pack and plays, doorway gates, a stroller and all our luggage/gear for a week or two. That is a challenge compared to a minivan or big SUV.

        Again, this was supposed to be a third vehicle that would only get used occasionally. At the time we had an Audi A4 and an Infiniti G35. The Audi grew up into a (much more reliable) BMW 5 Series, but the FX is what we choose to drive anytime there is one or more kids in the car. If I am alone, I drive the G35 – the rest of the time the FX is the vehicle of choice for both my wife and I.

        I have sticky tires on the FX, it will corner quite impressively as long as you are smooth.

        I have been looking for something to replace it with for about a year, but cannot find anything suitable. My best options are the FX50, which, optioned the way I want it is almost $70K, or the M56 which just doesn’t drive as well as I would like it to (compared to my wife’s ’08 BMW E60 5 series). The M56 also feels a little pretentious to me. I would like to have an M56 with the older M45 interior. If I were to sell my sedan and trade in the FX45 towards an FX50 (or Q whatever), I would probably have to lay down $40K out of pocket. That is too much for a little bit better brakes and a little more power and about 2mpg better gas mileage.

        $40K will buy a lot of gas and replacement parts should the need arise.

        Unfortunately with Infiniti dropping the V8 in next years FX50, that will no longer be an option for me. The new V6 is as fast as my old V8, but it isn’t smooth and relaxed feeling when driving spiritedly. And the gas mileage driving the way I drive is not significantly better.

        I really don’t have a problem with minivans, but we put so many miles on the FX and enjoy driving it so much – I don’t feel the same way driving a minivan. I travel a lot for work and frequently rent Town and Country Chryslers, and do not enjoy it. They do what I need them to do when I need a mobile office with workspace in the back, but otherwise, they are not for me. I also rent Durango’s quite frequently and they are not fun. The Escape is actually the more enjoyable of the little SUV/CUVs – but I always appreciate getting back to my old FX.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          @cbrworm

          The 3.7 may not be the smoothest engine, but it has one hell of a sound to it. I test drive an FX37 last year and that was hands down one of the nicest and more aurally pleasing vehicles I’ve driven in recent memory. Definitely the most fun crossover you could buy this side of a Cayenne.

          You can probably find a great CPO FX50 if you’re willing to travel. There unfortunately aren’t any within 500 miles of here (Green Bay), but looking on Cars.com I’m finding a 2011 CPO for just under $40k, and a 2013 for under $51k.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          cbrworm, thanks for this review the FX/Q is a vehicle I’ve always lusted after for the reasons you state. They are fantastic

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Have you thought about a Durango? It’s a CUV, but it meets all of your criteria if equipped with the Hemi and few other options.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ok, so I want the efficiency of a sedan the utility of a wagon, AWD with the upright commanding view of an SUV. What do I want, yeah that’s right and until someone comes up with a better idea that’s what I’ll buy

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Hmmmm, have you considered a Venza V6 AWD?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yes, why?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Well, did it not meet all of your stated criteria? What did you think? What did you like? Dislike?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yes, but I thought it a bit pricey, which is generally my problem with Toyota

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            lie2Me, yes, there’s that. But if taken in context, price is relative.

            Allow me to explain why I say that. Buying a car, any car, usually is a person’s second biggest expense, next to buying a home. For those who choose to rent, buying a car is easily the biggest expense.

            So, if reliable transportation is a must-have, a buyer always has the option to buy what is in their affordability-range.

            But with money-to-lend cheaper than dirt these days, many buyers choose to go for the gusto and upscale, splurge on their dream-ride. Many of them plan to keep that ride, come hell or high water. IOW, until the wheels fall off.

            I don’t like to buy anything unless I have the money for it. It must be the frugality influence of my European parents. But if I didn’t have the money, and I needed to buy wheels, I’d go for the best I could get, especially at this time in buyer-friendly America where you can get money for nuttin’ and chicks for free.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I appreciate your input, but I pay cash for my cars so upfront costs are sometimes very important to me

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Me too. I haven’t had to finance anything since my 1988 Silverado. And at one time, I did keep my vehicles until the wheels fell off.

            But now I’m too old to tool and wrench on them, like I did for the first 47 years of my driving life.

            Now I trade them before the factory warranty runs out.

            Except that 2008 Highlander! That sure has been a good vehicle. No problems whatsoever since the day we drove it off the lot. Goes to show that Made in Japan meant something back in 2008.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        @HDC

        I *love* the exterior of the Venza. Most seem to be equipped with larger rims (19″+) which just adds to the awesome, large wagon look IMO.

        What I hate is the horrible, horrible cheap interior. I literally would buy a Venza were it not for that interior. I’ve read the first few years suffered from some pretty awful build quality concerns which have since been ironed out but I sat in a 2014 maybe 6 months ago and it still feels super cheap. I’m hoping to the high heavens that they fix this with a refresh, because this really is one of my favorite vehicles that Toyota makes.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          tuffjuff, someone in my extended family bought a Venza V6 AWD not too long ago, and when I looked at it I saw a purposeful vehicle that was well designed and functional.

          Granted, as an owner of Oldsmobile stationwagons of old, I saw a small stationwagon on steroids, with huge wheels, but I found it quite accommodating. Someone put a lot of thought into designing that vehicle. And the engine! You could not even hear it running after it started!

          I agree about the interior! A leather interior should look like it has a little class but I may be biased since my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee Overland Summit has two-tone leather and it is gorgeous.

          My apologies about the delayed response. I have a real life and had been pulled away to deal with it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I will never understand this desire to sit in such an unnatural seating position and view over the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Why is sitting upright unnatural?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          When you sit in anything else, do you have a desire to be several more feet off the ground than you are as if you were in a lifeguard chair? I certainly do not. When I drive, I just want to be whatever the standard distance is (a foot maybe?) on normal size tires/wheels and be able to see to the end of my hood.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Several feet, really? 28, you don’t normally use exaggerated stats to make a point

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I was imagining a lifeguard chair :)

            Let’s go to the tape:

            I assume “body height” is the vertical roof dimensions.

            MY13 CR-V

            Body height
            64.7 ”

            Ground clearance
            6.3 ”

            http://autos.aol.com/cars-Honda-CR_V-2013/specs/

            Body height
            57.7 ”

            Ground clearance
            5.8 ”

            http://autos.aol.com/cars-Honda-Accord-2013/specs/

            So seven inches taller and point five inches more ground clearance, so its just over half a foot taller.

            Interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            “When you sit in anything else, do you have a desire to be several more feet off the ground than you are as if you were in a lifeguard chair?”

            When you sit in a car, you a basically sitting just a few inches above the (lower) floor; in a CUV you are sitting a foot or more off the (higher) floor. That is a big difference. Compare that to sitting on a footstool at your work desk vs. sitting upright on an office chair. The higher seating position at a desk makes obvious sense; why is the same position in a CUV or truck somehow irrational?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            So what, I find the driving position and height of a CUV more to my liking then a traditional sedan. If you don’t, please don’t buy one, I don’t want you to be unhappy with your car purchase. Happy sedaning!

            If you can find one, lol

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Toad

            I didn’t have data on the interior cabin to compare seating heights. I imagine its a few inches higher to correlate with the increase roof height.

            @Lie2Me

            Happy motoring indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            I would interject and say that as somebody with a bum knee, I simply can’t easily get in and out of most non-CUV/SUV’s, and I’m only 28. I recently test drove the excellent new Impala after having convinced myself that I could handle a sedan if it were super-big. Still, no dice. Getting in and out is not that easy for me and I imagine as the years go by it will get even worse. I would also argue that it’s probably detrimental to my bum knee to be subjecting myself to such an act several times per day.

            I’ve searched far and wide for a suitable alternative. The closest I’ve come is probably the Infiniti FX, which is literally a G on stilts. I don’t know that I want a vehicle that with a 3.7 liter V6 eats 19 MPG combined premium, though. At least not without owning something much larger. We’ve looked at the new Outback – excellent vehicle with a much-improved interior, BTW – but that’s likely too low, as well.

            In closing, I envy the hell out of any of you (probably most of you) that can/do own cars, because you have a ridiculously good selection available to you.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Seriously Tuffjuff, look into Boron supplements for your “bum knee” (as in Boron the element).

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        To maintain eye level parity with all of the other pickups, CUVs, and SUVs out on the road these days?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Also, to view over bushes, fences, snowbanks and other visual obstacles that would normally be a hindrance to lower sedans

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            This is the point that actually matters–not the ‘being at the same height as other cars’ one.

            There are so many signs, bushes, etc., that are at corners of roads & driveways that do block views from lower cars that a simple 8″ of increased seating height really is quite valuable.

            Also, for the record, most people do prefer the upright, chair-like seating position of a truck/SUV/CUV to the legs-out position of a car. There’s a reason the chairs we use in the rest of our lives are shaped the way they are.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I know, right, it’s not always about the car in front of you which blasts holes in the “escalating height war argument” that if the car in front is the same height there’s no advantage to ever increasing ride height.

            There are the constant visual barriers that don’t change that the advantage of a higher seating position clearly help

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            On the other hand, I could argue that overhanging trees block the view of traffic signs even more effectively than bushes, making the higher seating a disadvantage. It’s all a matter of perspective where the real issue is more a lack of infrastructure maintenance than of any disability in either vehicle height.

            Personally, I find that a position somewhere between the two is far more comfortable and yes, a CUV can offer that–but at the same time such a vehicle is not what I want and as such I am less likely to buy one. Even my Saturn Vue was classed as a “truck” when I purchased it, though about 5 years later my insurance company reclassified it as an SUW–Sport Utility Wagon. It also had far more cargo capacity than any CUV I’ve looked at (admittedly few because I hate their looks in general) and every seat actually managed to fold FLAT, not “almost flat”. I was able to make several IKEA runs and buy 8′ tall bookcases and carry them completely inside the vehicle–something only a very, very few CUVs can do without leaving the tailgate open. The only vehicle I have that can do that today is a 25-year-old pickup truck.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I find this particular logic to be simply ridiculous.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Why, good vision is critical in safe driving?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            More so, if everybody jumps off a bridge, then we should too. Also, there are at least fifteen years worth of cars still on the road not in this category, so are the rest of us just uncool and deserve to be blinded by the xenon or ultra bright headlights of the “cool” kids?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            ” if everybody jumps off a bridge, then we should too”

            Ok, mom…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The bus will be here any minute, you kids get your lunches!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Just stay off my lawn…

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I never understand the crossover hatred from car enthusiasts. Back when people were buying Suburbans and Tahoes and Expeditions in droves, sure, they were big, ungainly, wasteful, and unnecessary. But now that most people are buying Traverses and Highlanders and Pilots and Muranos, I mean, who cares? Yeah, I don’t want one, but I certainly get why someone might want a little extra room, AWD, and a higher seating position (plus a usable back seat) for minimal mileage and $$ penalty over a similar sedan. Other than the fact that people aren’t buying wagons (the darling of car-guy neckbeards everywhere) who cares if someone buys a Highlander or Murano instead of a Camry or Altima?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      My point exactly

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Car enthusiasts want a low center of gravity, but nobody wants their forward view of the road blocked by a taller vehicle. Therefore car enthusiasts want everyone else to buy low, easy to see through cars too.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Usually enthusiasts grumble “if you want a big vehicle just get a minivan” which, with the always-present tinted windows, is no harder or easier to see around than a CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I would say that one of my main complaints about OTHER PEOPLE driving tall and long vehicles has been solved by my new car’s frankly excellent rear cross traffic alert system.

      My other main complaint is people forgoing proper winter rubber citing 4/AWD, but with more and more cars coming so equipped, it is harder to blame that on the CUV.

      Other than that, drive what you want, so long as some decent car options remain available for those of us less CUV inclined.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Now this makes sense. More of this, please, and less of the gratuitous stupidity you’ve been posting in many recent threads.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I think it’s a case similar to political arguments. Enthusiasts want everyone else to think like them and want what they want.

      Want a practical, comfortable vehicle and drive it at a reasonable speed? How dare you not value handling and power (so you can drive fast) above all else? You’re wrong and a disease that needs to be eliminated.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Perhaps the take rate on station wagons is so low because there are so few of them on offer?

    Really, the best vehicle I’ve ever owned is a Volvo 245 wagon. Great space efficiency, solid quality, decent mileage. Too bad nobody makes a modern version of that.

    A decent wagon should have a (close to) vertical hatch/tailgate. The few models available today that call themselves “wagon” have so much slant to their rear gate that they’re really nothing but 5-door hatchbacks.

    The most recent true “wagon” was the Hyundai Elantra Touring. I guess nobody bought them, because it was replaced with the GT, a 5-door hatch :(

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I think the take rate is low on wagons because most people aren’t that concerned with carrying more STUFF, they want to carry more PEOPLE, or at least people more comfortably.

      For example, I DD a TSX. It’s a nice sedan, but it’s solidly midsized and there isn’t a ton of room to sit behind me at 6′ tall. Okay for a run to lunch, but anything longer than that, no thanks. So if I want more room, my two most obvious choices are basically a TSX wagon, which makes basically zero changes to the back seat, but adds more space to carry stuff (99.9% of the time there’s nothing in my trunk but a set of golf clubs) OR I could have an RDX with more usable rear seat room, where real adults can sit behind me comfortably for more than 20 minutes.

      If I want to carry more STUFF, yeah, the wagon makes sense, but since most people aren’t moving an apartment worth of IKEA or an 80″ flat screen every week, the CUV makes more sense.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The simple solution is to offer sedans with rear seat room, which I believe is deliberately not done in order to up-sell you on a product you do not need, the CUV. Acura TSX is not a particular large auto and since its the Euro/JDM Accord it was not designed for American passengers. Americans tend to be physically larger, so the TL might come to mind for your personal needs. However even I don’t believe it’s a very large sedan, maybe just adequate for your people hauling needs. If you ever get a chance to sit in a Pontiac G8/Chevy SS I strongly suggest you do so, the Australians understood the concept of rear passenger room. The Commodore’s interior dimensions should be the gold standard all normal size sedans strive toward.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “The simple solution is to offer sedans with rear seat room, which I believe is deliberately not done in order to up-sell you on a product you do not need, the CUV.”

          Yes and no. Sedans are not well-packaged, and haven’t been for some time. Blame stylists.

          The problem is roof height and slope: you can make a sedan that has room for humans; I can think of two examples: the Toyota Echo and Ford Five Hundred. Both sold like chocolate-covered anthrax, and the shape is largely why.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            “Both sold like chocolate-covered anthrax, and the shape is largely why.”

            This is why I only use “I can’t believe its not anthrax!”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good points.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            Psar, the Toyota Camry also has the more formal sedan roof height and efficient packaging for adults. It seems to sell considerably better than chocolate-covered anthrax. It probably helps that, unlike the Echo, it’s long and wide enough to have reasonably good proportions even with a tall roof. For sedans with a coupe roof shape like the Kia Optima, avoiding the sunroof helps a lot.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            To expand on psar’s point:

            Why do cars even exist given the advantages of CUVs? (Remember, we’re talking about for normal people, not the 1% that care about COG & handling.) I think the most important answer is their mpg.

            To improve efficiency, they need lower weight and better aerodynamics. That’s where the low roof line comes from. The low roof forces designers to package people differently. They can’t sit upright like a chair, but must be lowered, angled/reclined with their legs & feet extended. (Side note: I’m shocked so few cars have space under the front seats to fit your feet. That single feature dramatically improves comfort and apparent spaciousness of the rear seat.)

            CUVs have the height to put people in proper chairs. People’s legs don’t stick out as much, which permits more efficient packaging length-wise yielding more comfort in less footprint while also sparing more room for cargo. Hence, a CUV can have the same wheelbase as a compact but offer the space & cargo of a midsize while feeling even larger & more comfortable.

            Going back to wagons–like nature, the market is pretty good about balancing itself. If there are too many wagons on the market for too few buyers, they starve like too many wolves with too few deer to eat. Right now, there’s enough demand for the supply, but I’m not convinced there’s much excess demand.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @redav:
            “Why do cars even exist given the advantages of CUVs?” — While your answer to that is logical, it’s not the ONLY reason. Some people simply don’t need the bulk and the capacity of a CUV and a sedan fits their wants and desires much more closely. The simple fact that sedans are still a popular vehicle across all brands shows that. Sure, some need more people space–especially families with children considering how big and clumsy car safety seats have become. To be quite honest, if you’re going that way why not go ahead and build the safety seats into the vehicle’s design; carryall seats are getting prohibitively difficult to install in even the largest cars and trucks.

            And that is one of the problems; our American society has become so litigious that nobody is willing to take blame for their own mistakes and will almost always put the onus of any personal disaster on somebody else. While I agree that safety is important, when safety, economy and affordability are all in conflict, something’s got to give and it’s going to end up being the consumer that gets hurt the most. It’s one reason cars and trucks have become so expensive now.

            For those who simply don’t have the NEED for big, they may not WANT the big–so they buy cars. Me, I would be quite happy with a truly compact pickup truck; I don’t have the NEED for big, I don’t WANT the big, so why should I be forced to accept the BIG? The same holds true for my choice of cars. I’m currently driving a Jeep Wrangler because I have a NEED for a high stance with 4×4 capability, but I don’t have a NEED for a full-sized truck which includes those abilities. Yes, I do have a full-sized truck–a 25-year-old F-150–but it doesn’t have 4×4 AND it’s simply too big. I have it because it was cheap when I needed to carry a load nothing short of a pickup truck could carry. Even if an S-10 or a Ranger had been available when I needed it, I couldn’t have bought one for the price I paid for this full sized truck. That said, if FCA does bring a Strada-sized truck to the US with less than four full doors, I’m trading that F-150 in a heartbeat. If that Strada also includes AWD, as soon as it’s paid off, I’m trading the Wrangler on a Renegade or a Tesla–probably the Tesla.

            So, just because one type of vehicle can DO almost anything anyone may need doesn’t mean that everyone NEEDs that capability or wants it. It may be too much vehicle for some and too little vehicle for others. What the automakers need to understand is that not everyone WANTS what they make simply because they don’t MAKE what those people want.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          But here we go. Why do you tell me I need to buy a larger CAR, when I could instead buy a small CUV? What difference does it make? Maybe I don’t want to drive (and park and store) something that’s as physically BIG as a G8 (TSX is 186″, RDX is 184″, G8 is 196″).

          What difference in your world does it make whether I buy a TSX, and RDX, or a G8? In reality, shouldn’t you be urging I drive something with a smaller footprint, thus NOT a large sedan?

          Is it tiring knowing better what everyone needs and wants than they themselves do?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            G8 is evidently only ten inches longer than your TSX. I would say out of your TSX you’re getting robbed of space utilization, which evidently the RDX does better (of course you’d have to compare rear interior dimensions of all three models to establish this for certain). I like TSX, several of my co-workers have them, but its not large enough for American passengers. Sedans should be able to accommodate rear passengers in comfort otherwise they should be coupes or hatchbacks, that’s kind of the point of the rear doors. So instead you get coupe size sedans, and another product altogether which is better suited for rear passenger hauling.

            “In reality, shouldn’t you be urging I drive something with a smaller footprint, thus NOT a large sedan?”

            Why?

            “Is it tiring knowing better what everyone needs and wants than they themselves do?”

            I have exactly what I need, my issue here is with the non-sensical product lineups. If your vehicle is under certain dimensions, then it cannot be used for effective passenger transport on average in the US. So they deliberately build vehicles which do not meet or barely meet those dimensions (primary because they are designed for foreign markets), and then modify the platform to produce something slightly more adequate as an up-sell. If this product were produced alongside something like a sensibly sized sedan, so be it to the victor go the spoils. But this hasn’t been the case.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            28, I own a G8, and I used to own a TSX. 10 inches is a HUGE difference. The G8 feels like a BIG CAR. The TSX was small and nimble. The size of the G8 is the #1 thing I don’t like about it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I haven’t driven a TSX in eight years so I cannot recall how it felt, but I could imagine it feeling tighter than something like a G8. I did get the chance to drive a co-worker’s G8 in the parking lot. While I didn’t practice parallel parking I did notice how much “longer” the car felt, reminded me a little of the B-bodies. If you’re a person who didn’t care for the old American barges I would imagine the size of the G8 may not be optimal for your preferences (I happen to like ‘em though, although parking was more of a challenge).

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “The simple solution is to offer sedans with rear seat room, which I believe is deliberately not done in order to up-sell you on a product you do not need”

          Sedan back seats in the US are larger than they are abroad.

          There is no conspiracy. Some people want to have a higher seating position. It’s as simple as that; your tastes don’t match the growth segment of the market.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            In the case of the TSX, it is a model design and produced abroad.

            “The TSX is badge engineered from the CL-series Accord (also known as the European Accord or JDM Accord) sold in Europe, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura_TSX

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            US-spec Accords are larger than the foreign equivalents. Ditto the Camry versus the Avensis, or the old Fusion versus the Mondeo. Compared to the rest of the world, we get larger midsize sedans to suit our tastes.

            This love of height has been developing over decades. As Psar pointed out, it’s something of a return to the pre-war days, when height was the norm.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “I like TSX, several of my co-workers have them, but its not large enough for American passengers.”

            WHICH IS THE POINT. It’s a midsized sedan, and not really great for passengers. But CUVs IN THE SAME SIZE FOOTPRINT ARE great for passengers, because people sit more upright, so they take up less horizontal space.

            WHICH IS WHY PEOPLE LIKE THEM. And since wagons offer basically no increased rear seat space over sedans, they don’t have what people want.

            And a note, my TSX was just an example, it’s perfectly fine for my needs of carrying 2 adults and a toddler. It just is a convenient example since there is a similar sedan, wagon, and CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Pch101, is right, if you don’t like CUVs you are in the minority and are not the target market of auto manufacturers

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Pch101

            Agreed, there are several models being sold which are larger than their international counterparts.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @S2k Chris

            Midsize sedans should be able to comfortably carry adult rear passengers, failing that they cease to be midsize sedans. I’m sure you could cram a child into the jump seat of a roadster too, but that doesn’t mean it can comfortably carry rear passengers. Speaking of children they illustrate my entire point.

            WIFE: Honey, junior is growing and his new toddler car seat won’t fit in my TSX.
            HUSBAND: We’ll just have to trade it on an RDX/MDX/XXX.
            HONDA: $40K Cha-ching.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Yes, I suppose I’m in the minority because I like STUFF a whole lot more than I like PEOPLE.

        The back seat in my wagons (and my current DD, an ’05 Scion xB is a sort-of-a-wagon) are rarely erected in the seating position.

        I used to substitute a standard-cab Ranger with a shell for a wagon, because, yeah, it accomplishes almost the same thing for me, but compact, standard-cab pickups no longer exist, either.

        So, as much as I don’t want a CUV, it’s quite likely that my next car purchase will be a Mazda CX-5 – in which the rear seats will be continuously folded down.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “Yes, I suppose I’m in the minority because I like STUFF a whole lot more than I like PEOPLE.”

          Stuff is generally more reliable and easier to fix, but stuff sucks at keeping you warm at night

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            “but stuff sucks at keeping you warm at night”

            Unless that stuff happens to include a heated blanket, then you are set.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I suppose I am lucky. My lifestyle allows me to get by with a smaller sedan. And I like sedans. I have enough room to transport tall/wide friends in a pinch (doesn’t happen often, we all drive and only carpool occasionally), and enough room for a long weekend of camping with the lady, (tent, coolers, stove, fuel, clothes, etc). Outdoor gear (bikes, skis) is easily accommodated with roofrack/hitch receiver carriers. The only thing I can’t do is transport large objects, so I either rent a truck, or beg a hand from a friend.

          I fully admit that if family became a consideration, I would have to re-evaluate and might consider a more spacious/space efficient vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            It’s less about luck, I think, than priorities. You prioritize having a smaller car. Many people, seeing little to no penalty to having a CUV over a sedan, buy the CUV for the extra space which they may only need occasionally, but costs them little or nothing incrementally.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Yes, I guess I could say conveniently, my life situation agrees with my automotive priorities, currently.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          eggsalad, If you’re in the minority, then I must be there with you. Worst thing on the planet is people.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s because all your people need fixin’

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            True. The group of people I trust with my life, other than my immediate family, is miniscule.

            When I had my heart attack years ago and was in the ICU for 7 days, I was dependent on the kindness of strangers to pull me through. I made it alright, but this was the job of these people, to pull people through.

            When it comes to other strangers, there are very, very few, who turned out to be real friends. I give everyone a fair chance when first I meet them. But more often than not, they disappoint.

            In my life I have to deal with a lot of people (A LOT!), and more often than not, they have their own agenda, which usually comes at my expense, if I let them.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “Midsize sedans should be able to comfortably carry adult rear passengers, failing that they cease to be midsize sedans.”

          But they generally can’t, or at least not as comfortably as CUVs. There’s no grand conspiracy here.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Exactly, by design. From an engineering standpoint if you can build a CUV and car on the same platform and one has inferior interior dimensions then its done on purpose (I realize TSX and RDX are not platform mates, its a general observation).

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            No, 28, it is not “on purpose.” It is the result of constraints and trade-offs from different priorities/requirements. They do as much as they can with what they are given.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “From an engineering standpoint if you can build a CUV and car on the same platform and one has inferior interior dimensions then its done on purpose”

            Not sure if stupid….if you have a given floorpan size, and the passengers in the floorpan sit lower to the ground with legs outstretched in one version, and higher up (chair-height seat) with shins more vertical in the other version, which one will give more room front to back?

            Said another way, get 2 4×8 sheets of plywood and put two beach chairs in tandem on one, and two barstools on the other. See how that works?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @S2k Chris:

            Said yet another way, which is more important to you, comfort or utility? If comfort is more important, then the sedan/coupe is the way you want to go.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I just had back to back rentals of an SUV, followed by a CUV, both midsize, both very comparable pricewise.

    the 2014 4Runner SR5 that I drove I ended up liking MUCH more than the Explorer Limited I was given. 4Runner had better visibility, better ergonomics, easier HVAC control, and I liked the taut ‘trucky’ suspension to the soggy Taurus bones of the Explorer. Leg/hip room was similar front and rear in both vehicles, trunk space was about the same as well, slight edge to the Explorer. Explorer had more vertical passenger space, particularly head room. It also had a third row, which I imagine is much more livable than the 4Runner’s optional third row. Fuel economy on an identical round trip was very similar: 20.5 4runner, 22.3 Explorer.

    Overall, the 4Runner felt “special” when I was driving it, the Explorer was just completely anodyne, another crossover in a sea of crossovers. That along would make it worth it for me.

    So besides some (not a lot) extra passenger space and a more carlike ride, the CUV had no advantages and several distinct disadvantages (lack of durability, inferior for towing, zero ground clearance or off road capability).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “So besides some (not a lot) extra passenger space and a more carlike ride, the CUV had no advantages and several distinct disadvantages (lack of durability, inferior for towing, zero ground clearance or off road capability).”

      This really depends on the CUV in question; the Explorer is a worse CUV then the Flex, which does all the same car-ish things, only much better. I’ve been in the Flex, Explorer and 4Runner and I’d take the Flex.*

      But the market wanted butch, which is why the Explorer sells and the Flex does not. It’s also why the new Taurus somehow lost the spaciousness of the Five Hundred, despite getting bigger on the outside.

      I’m rather vexed as to why CUVs sell, but MPVs (same thing, lower floor; think Rondo and Orlando) and minivans do not. Actually, no, I’m not: people prefer something a little more butch. Que sera, sera.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “Crossovers Are King”, because what these buyers really want isn’t being manufactured any more.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yes it is, it’s a CUV. Before CUVs I drove SUVs, but wanted a CUV, but didn’t know it because it didn’t exist. Then they came out with CUVs and I said, “Yeah, that’s what I want” and it was.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      What do buyers really want?

      I’d hazard that they really want minivans with a butch nose and swing-open doors. What they actually get are….minivans with a butch nose, swing open doors and a couple extra inches of ground clearance.

      If buyers really wanted to be those extra couple of inches closer to the road, Kia wouldn’t have cancelled the Rondo and Chevy would be selling the Orlando in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Sliding doors on those would really be something.

        • 0 avatar
          raincoaster

          Look up a Mitsubishi Delica. We have a ’96, basically a minivan with true 4×4 and locking diff low range. 2.8L tarbodiesel got 24 mpg on the highway fully loaded for a week drive thru the Yukon.

          • 0 avatar
            Signal11

            @raincoaster – In all my time in Africa, the Delica was also the vehicle that was most l most often saw the undersides of, primarily when it was on the side of the road on its side.

            The Toyota HiAce is generally the superior vehicle and was available through the 2000s with LandCruiser drivetrains.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        @psarhjinian – Cancel the Rondo? Seems to me they sell pretty well in Korea (and Asia and Europe) for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      “Crossovers Are King” because what people really want, a SUV, is too expensive to feed.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I continue to be amused at the number of people who want to make sure that personal choice remains king, but then get annoyed when somebody makes a choice that is opposed to theirs – the person who wants personal choice to remain king.

    It’s a case of “you’re free to make your own choice as long as it’s the same choice that I would make in the same situation.”

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Especially, as I noted above, when the choice is of no consequence to an outsider. You want to complain that soccer moms with 1-2 kids shouldn’t be driving 14mpg Suburbans and Expeditions, I get it (don’t agree, necessarily, but I get it). But stomping your feet when someone buys a Highlander but you think they’d be better off in a Sienna? Why do you care?

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Because when the time comes that I can justify a new car, I’d rather have the choice of a Sienna over a Highlander, and if people keep picking Highlanders over Siennas (to use your example), I’m screwed.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @Maymar, the minivan will survive. Even Kia invested in a revised platform, the new Chrysler vans will be out soon enough, and Toyota would not want to be seen retreating from a market segment. Sure GM dropped minivans because they couldn’t make profit, but GM couldn’t make profit on selling ice in Phoenix in August.

          Personally I’m looking forward to the new Chrysler vans to see if we really get the Pentstar V6, 9 speed auto, AWD combo that has been talked about. That’s the sort of minivan I’d lean on my minivan hating wife about at least test driving.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Maymar,
          Tomorrow is your lucky day: Toyota is announcing the 2015 mid-cycle refresh of the Sienna.

          “Let the countdown to the unexpected begin.”

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Hey, I don’t care what other people buy if that’s what they really want; just don’t insist that I have to buy it too. What I want is what I want, nobody else. But to give me what I want, SOMEBODY has to make it, and that’s where my gripe stands.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “What I want is what I want, nobody else.”

        I want a car that has an iron head and iron block pushrod engine with over 3.5L of displacement, a formal roofline, 16-inch wheels, and 5-speed conventional OD automatic.

        But I know it ain’t happening.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          ajla, If you can forgo one of the gears in the transmission that almost sounds like a 2011 Impala LTZ, 3.9 V6, 4-speed – swap some cheap 16 in aluminum wheels from an LS or LT.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Look, these are the facts from my front window as I look down my middle America street, I see 5 Ford Escapes, 3 Hyundai Santa Fes, 2 Cadillac SRXs, 1 Chevy Traverse and 1 Tesla (he’s kind of weird).

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Down my street I see… 1 Avalanche, 4 full-size pickup trucks (including my own), 1 minivan, 2 CUVs, 2 SUVs and about 2 dozen sedans. If I stick my head out the window I can add to each item (including a second Avalanche) but sedans outnumber any one of the other types and hold a slightly larger margin than all other types combined. No, the CUV may be the most popular selling type of vehicle right now, but again it’s simply because what many of those buyers REALLY want isn’t available.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Being the second time in this article you have mentioned it, What do many of those buyers really want that isn’t available?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          A) A true COMPACT pickup truck (not a so-called mid-size that’s almost as large as an older full-size) or…
          B) A proper 2-door coupe version of their favorite sedan.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I can’t see anyone that really wanted a coupe getting a crossover instead, you may find someone that wanted a compact pickup who might buy a crossover. As has been said many times before when those vehicles were available not enough people bought them to be profitable for the mfg.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with Scoutdude I would think most coupe buyers simply default to a sedan, I did.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I gather you just don’t WANT to see it, Scout. American roads were FULL of compact pickup trucks when they were available and they were still quite popular when they grew only slightly and drove most of the Japanese models out of the market. However, by Y2K the Dakota had almost grown as large as the previous-generation full-size and by ’10 the S-10/Colorado had as well. Meanwhile, Ford simply stopped updating the Ranger and let it die. What few old-style compacts are left demand a disproportionate premium especially if it’s in decent condition.

            As for the sedans, I explained that one before. I’m obviously not the only one here that prefers 2 doors over 4 and they’re just not available in comfortably-sized, affordable models.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Vulpine you really need to look at the sales figures. Yes in the 70’s and 80’s mini trucks were everywhere but in the 90’s before they started to grow sales started dropping and dropping. So some of the mfgs did start selling mid-size trucks which didn’t do all that well either.

            You are right that Ford didn’t update the Ranger for a long time and that was because it wouldn’t have been a profitable thing to do. Look at who was buying compact pickups by the year 2000, it was either fleets or those that also wanted a stripped down truck that didn’t leave much in the way of profit or incentive to update.

            I wish you could still buy a large coupe or convertible with RWD, however unlike you I’m realistic and realize that there aren’t enough people out there like me that wanted them and were willing to buy them NEW for the mfgs to keep making them. Heck there aren’t enough people who buy 2dr compacts and subcompacts for many mfgs to bother with them.

            As I’ve said before which you just don’t seem to get is what is on sale now reflects what new car buyers bought in recent years. If not enough people purchased a particular style or model then the mfg didn’t replace it when the time came.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Scoutdude, maybe YOU need to look at the timeline again; the mid-size upsizing of compact trucks began with the first Dakota and the S-10 and Ford Ranger followed that upsize about 2 years later. That was still in the late ’80s. That’s also when the Japanese models effectively left because pickup trucks–even smaller pickup trucks–were faced with the first-gen CAFE rules that gave the gas-mileage advantage to the larger trucks. You see, I acknowledge that there was more than one reason why the compacts disappeared, unlike so many others who insist there was only one reason.

            That’s also why the rest of your argument is off-base; it makes too many assumptions that put the onus specifically on the “market” and not on the factors that were driving that “market”.

            Meanwhile, I am driving a large convertible with RWD–when I don’t have it locked into 4Hi or 4Lo. And the model I’m driving is quite popular–in fact, more popular than any previous generation of that model.

            But that’s the point; the manufacturers decided to cut costs by cutting any model that sold less than 50K units per year (or their year-adjusted equivalent). Sure, sedan versions of any model was always more popular, but coupe and hatch versions DID sell enough to prove there was a demand. If they converted even ONE sedan model into a coupe-only model, they would probably see the number of sales they want from a coupe, even if it isn’t, say, an Impala. With the Impala, Malibu and Cruze all being almost identical in appearance, any one of them (and I’d suggest the Cruze) could be a successful coupe for the brand. The advantage? By not being listed as a “Sport Coupe”, it would avoid the higher insurance costs seen with the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger. It might also help reduce the insurance costs now placed on favorite sedans BECAUSE they are so frequently turned into street racers.

            And no. What’s on sale now is what the OEMs THINK buyers want because what some of them want hasn’t been available for ten years or longer. I’m not a sheep, willing to take whatever they want to give. I haven’t bought a car off the lot in 15 years; I custom-ordered both my latest new car purchases and I expect I will do so with all the rest until I die.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Here is a chart of less than full size truck sales 1995-2010 http://blogs.cars.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e2017c36f38164970b-pi As we discussed before Ford never made the Ranger a Midsize truck, yes it gained a little width in 1993 and then a little length in 1998 when they finally put a regular cab on the truck that a 6′ person could fit in comfortably.

            Now look at the numbers in that chart for the Ranger. It peaked just after the most significant redesign in 1998 and then it went down hill from there. Most of the other brands also peaked in that time frame.

            Take a look at the S10/15 it peaked in 1999 too well before it was replaced with a midsize.

            In the 90’s compact pickups accounted for ~8% of the total market by 2010 or so it was down to less than 2% of the total market. Yes there are some buyers still out there who want one but not enough for every mfg to offer one and make a profit doing so.

            Yes mfgs cut off vehicles that don’t sell that well. Why do they do that? Because they are in business to try and make money and there comes a point where the number sold will not amortize the cost of development and tooling and have enough left over to provide a return on investment.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re about to get a 2,000 word response that explains why market share doesn’t matter, or some other such nonsense. Don’t expect any comprehension of what should be a very basic point, namely that Americans lost interest in these things a long time ago.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That was A peak in ’99 or so, not necessarily THE peak. I’m willing to bet you’d find much higher sales back when they were smaller, like in 1985.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            If you go back to the mid 80’s you’ll also find the Escort was one of the best selling cars, in fact the best selling car until the Taurus came along. Go back to the mid 70’s or 60’s and You’ll find the full size Chevy was the best selling car for many of those years. Which of course is not relevant in the 10’s.

            Fact is times and tastes change and since the mid 00’s less than full size trucks haven’t sold that well, which as many have told you, is why many manufacturers either discontinued them or just let the old version soldier on as long as they could.

            The question I have for you is how many compact pickups have you purchased new? If you and others who lament the passing of a true compact pickup had actually bought them new and continued to do so they would still be on the market.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Yet, Scoutdude, you refuse to acknowledge that those numbers are valid ONLY because nothing smaller is available. If something truly smaller had been available during those years, the numbers themselves MIGHT be totally different. Until someone actually tries (as FCA seems to be planning) we won’t really know–we can only guess.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          This is the sad part of the thread, when car enthusiasm devolves into some bizarro form of vehicular fetishism.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “what many of those buyers REALLY want isn’t available.”

        Which is what?

      • 0 avatar

        Depends on where you live my street does not have many CUVs because we tend to have older cars in this working classs neighborhood. Go over to the local mall thou and here in CT and you will see nothing but 1000’s of CUV’s and 3 series Beemers.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    ~72% of buys buy SUV’s or sedans. And here I am merrily driving along a proud member of the 3.4% of coupe buyers. Or am I with my RSX-S one of the 5.5% of hatchback buyers? 2 door liftback, it does straddle the line doesn’t it?

    All I know is if it has 4 side doors then no sale.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Heh. Hey Devil! People are going to start accusing you of being me, or vice versa. I’ve been VERY vocal about being anti-4-door.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        You’ve been vocal and that’s great to share your opinion. No one is arguing that you have an opinion, people are arguing with the point that you think the rest of consumers think like you when in fact, they don’t.

        But I will say this, there are 3 larger coupes on my street: 2 Accord coupes and 1 GTO (an Accord and 67 GTO share a garage). Otherwise 4 SUVs and 6 sedans (1 is my wife’s Accord).

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      You are a hatchback buyer. If it has a hatch then it is not a coupe.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Since they group CUVs and SUVs together it would be more informative if there was info going back another 5 years or so to include the time when the SUV was king and gas was $1.xx per gallon. I suspect that the SUV/CUV take rate was higher in say 2005 than it was in 2009 despite that there weren’t as many different CUV models to choose from. Remember at one point the Explorer was the best selling passenger vehicle in the land outselling the Camry, Accord and Taurus.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My wife and I are very happy with our 2013 CRV and have no desire for a coupe or a real SUV. The CRV is just the right size and it has all wheel drive for the snow. I would like better mpgs but otherwise it is perfect.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Re: “Sure, nobody will ever cross-shop the two cars”

    1. I really like the IDx concept. It could be a hit in a way the boy-racer FRS/BRZ isn’t. I would definitely consider one if it came to market.

    2. I wouldn’t even consider a Juke because it’s ultra-ugly, and ultra small inside. My Leaf is much larger inside, and not so hideous.

    3. BUT, I recently cross-shopped a Kia Sportage with the Optima (hybrid). I took the salesman’s bait by taking the Sportage home for a weekend (it was used, 2 yrs old). I really liked the Sportage’s command of the road and its roominess. But even at its young age, it had not worn well. This sentiment was borne out by driving a couple other used Sportages – all were beat. I’m still a fan of that vehicle, but I was concerned about its poor fuel economy and seeming lack of ruggedness. So I drove home in a new Optima Hybrid instead, for which they made me a great deal.

    • 0 avatar

      agreed point 1 so very much. Unfortunately the Toyobaru is a throwback to earlier times (90s) when all makers offered similar cars. But an IDx has everything to be a hit in unaltered form for the developed world and as a design language for future Nissan cars.

      Point 2, the Juke doesn’t offend me that much. I’d rather have the IDx though.

      Point 3, a sedan is always better than a CUV/SUV, so yes, agreed.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      How sad is it when a Leaf owner calls another car ugly? Sometimes I feel sorry for the Nissan Frog.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    One reason CUVs are taking off is the irrational and often incorrect belief that they offer more safety. Our obsession with safety has been eloquently expressed by “319583076” here in the past.

    If you crossed safety (or the perception of safety) with price, you’d get the chart shown above. Trucks rank third partly because they’re so expensive to buy and operate.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    CUVs sit a little higher and they are easier to get in and out of. If you want to carry something you can fold the rear seat down and have plenty of room. Sedans are fine but I prefer the comfort and versatility of the crossover. Since wagons are all but extinct at least the crossover is available. The crossover is a good compromise between a wagon and a sedan. I could really care less if it is the must have vehicle, it meets my wife’s and my needs and that is what counts.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    It’s not a fact that CUVs are operationally poor compromises between cars and SUVs. That’s an opinion. Did you miss that day in second grade?

    For the majority of car buyers, CUVs are perfect compromises between cars and SUVs.

    Higher eyeline height at the cost of performance at the edge is something that people want. The cargo capacity and utilitarian space of a wagon/SUV body is something that many people want. CUVs are popular and gaining in popularity because they’re actually what people want out of a car, in practicality and in style.

    It’s always amusing to me to read the commentaries here, many of whom otherwise have a decidedly libertarian bent. Except when the market moves in a direction they don’t like, that upsets their perceptions and predefined categories. Then the narrative changes. Then it’s about fashion, about media influences, about soccer moms, etc.

    CUVs are ultimately jack of all trade vehicles, which is what the average family needs. Average folks can’t afford multiple vehicles that are good and excel at just one or two purposes. They’re perfectly fine with a vehicle that does most of the things they want to do just well enough.

    And here’s a hint, handling at the limits is not one of those things.

    Remove the old guy blinders. CUVs are quite rational and logical vehicle choices. If you don’t understand this thought process, it’s probably you who is not being rational.

    • 0 avatar

      “CUVs are ultimately jack of all trade vehicles, which is what the average family needs”

      This line caught my eye and is true. However none of what it describes cannot be provided better by a minivan. In the US maybe as there are smaller CUVs, but in other markets, where minivans come in all sizes, this argument can be argued against.

      In my opinion, when discussing CUVs there is a very definite element of fashion involved.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        I will definitely grant you that there is a stigma associated with minivans in many countries.

        That said, for small families with just one child (only child or before their second child), is a minivan truly the most practical vehicle? A standard, full-sized is actually quite a large vehicle. Whenever I drive my sister’s Sienna around the city, I’m quite aware of how large it is versus the small CUV and the 2 door coupe I usually drive. I’d much rather drive my nephews and niece around my car than the large minivan simply because they’re easier to drive.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s why I said in the US, the fact that there are CUVs of various sizes, it actually can make more sense than a US-sized minivan, specially in the scenario mentioned by you. In other markets, where both minivans and CUVs come from subcompact sizes to humongous, the reasoning for a CUV is even more challenging. In the US though, sadly there are no small minivans, so CUVs have taken over that role. In other words, I’m agreeing with you. A modern minivan sold in the US is just too big for smaller families.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The Mazda 5 and Ford Transit Connect Wagon would disagree that there are not mini minivans in the US. I believe that the Nissan NV2000 is going to offer a passenger version other than the NYC taxi spec versions too.

          • 0 avatar

            Agreed, the choice is starting (in a way, xb20, Soul, Cube, too), but I’d argue most don’t even know about such cars yet (also the upcoming Fiat Doblo, err Ram whatever), specially the ones you mention. Most of these have definite advantages over the CUVs (in my opinion), but people prefer the CUVs. Design is often cited, but design is closely related to fashion. So again, in my estimation, fashion cannot be discounted as a driving force behind the rise of the CUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Signal11

            Well, where do you draw the line between a small minivan and a CUV?

            Is the Transit Connect a van or CUV? What about the Kia Carens/Rondo? Is the Soul a CUV or a hatchback?

            Here in Korea, the Soul, Carens/Rondo and Carnival/Sedona are sold in the category of RV/utility vehicles. (Along with the Ray, Santa Fe and Mohave).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Minivans have sliding doors.

            Vans are primarily designed to carry cargo.

            CUVs are based upon car platforms.

          • 0 avatar

            I guess it goes into the personal choice category. Here a Citroen C3 Aircross is officially rated as a utility vehicle, while the same car, but called Picasso (with less plastic cladding and “decoratve” doo-dads), is a hatch. In my mind, the closer it looks to a car, it’s a minivan or van, while if it looks more SUV-y, it’s a CUV.

            Here in Brazil, the Soul is sold as a car, Carens and Carnivals are minivans and the others are sold as SUV. Actually, anything that looks like what we call “jipe” (anything that even vaguely reminds you of a WWII Willys Jeep) is sold as an SUV (the term CUV has not caught on here). Then we have the minivans, passenger vans derived from car-derived vans (sometimes called “monovolumes”, things like Fiat Doblò or Renault Kangoo), vans (Ducato, Sprinter). Hatches are sometimes also confused. The Fit looks to me more minivan than hatch and I’ve seen it classified as both. The Citroëns mentioned above are another example. A car like the Fiat Idea has always been sold as a minivan while the old Class A was always referred to as a hatch, though their general shape and proportions are very similar.

            Guess it is what the makers chooses to call them, and if the market accepts ot not that classification.

          • 0 avatar

            Pch, don’t really agree. Plenty of passenger Ducatos, Sprinters and EuroFord vans here. Not to mention the Ford Transit Connect and Fiat Doblò (Ram something or other), which are vans derived from cars that serve as commercial and passenger vehicles. Like people, there are always those vehicles that will defy any and every hard and fast classification.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The issue isn’t whether the van can carry passengers, but whether the design is primarily intended to carry people or goods.

            Vans are cargo vehicles that may or may not have seats bolted in them. If the seats are easily removed and the interior isn’t that fancy, then it’s probably a van.

            (This is actually similar to what the US does to determine whether the car or truck/cargo tariff applies on imports.)

          • 0 avatar

            That I can agree with, especially as to the primary design intention. Also, RWD for vans seems to be defining factor, while FWD is the norm for minivans and car-derived vans like the Ford and Ram.

            Everything else though is pretty much in the air, at least to me. Sliding doors, interiors, removable seats, cargo or passenger, all of that depends on the moment.

            Government regulations may or may not take all of that into account, but makers and the market sometimes classify things differently.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I would have to say that there are a couple of things Minivans aren’t better than CUV’s, but it’s a bit of a narrower perspective as we don’t have the same selection of large vans here, and I have only tried my own CRV’s when it comes to CUV’s.
        First of all, my 2nd gen CRV could seat three grown ups in the rear seat (my current 3rd gen. is a bit narrower at shoulder width). This means it can actually seat 5 people, even if a couple of them need babyseats, and still carry luggage, unlike most of the minivans or so called 7 seaters we get here in Europe), unless I get the (statistically) maintenance nightmare that is a Voyager/Caravan (and from here, most parts for them have to be ordered from the US) or go all the way and buy a VolksWagen Caravelle Van, which offers none of the comfort or handling the little Honda has (and that says a lot)
        There are very few proper ‘Japanese’ (the American ones, like the Odyssey) minivans to choose from, and tbh, the CRv’s 150 hp 2 liter can outrun most of the european diesel vans, so I’ll just have to live with the horrible seats and awful fuel economy, until the smaller kids can sit in a normal backseat. Then it’s back to hatchbacks for me (lift-back sedan preferably, but the new Civic tourer looks awesome)
        PS, I really hate daily-driving huge cars, having a classic chromed up US car for sundays and summers would be fun, but driving a B-body Caprice every day over here would just be a chore.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Irrespective of whether CUVs are brilliant or awful, and practical or useless, it should be obvious from the sales volumes and trends that people actually like them enough to buy them instead of something else.

      And it is that demand that ultimately drives the automakers to produce them. It is not the job of profit-seeking companies to preach the gospel of diesel stickshift station wagons or coupes or compact pickup trucks or whatever wacko fetish that is demanded by some internet neurotic. Rather, their job is to sell stuff that the market demands and to turn a profit while doing it. And right now, CUVs are a pretty good way to make sales and make money.

      • 0 avatar

        But those sales come out from a couple of things. The high seating position is appreciated by women, not only, but women (rightly or wrongly) associated that with greater safety. Add easier ingress and egress for older folk and those with kids, you start getting there. The fact that they ape more the styling of SUVs is another more difficult thing to pin down, but does seem to exist. Then this cultural ethos of being against anything “mommy” (more prevalent in the US and Europe, but has somehow percolated, albeit changed, to the rest of the world). So 2 or 3 “real” reasons, plus 2 or 3 “cultural” attitudes, and voilà, a beginning of an explanation is born.

        And yes, it is the mission of makers to capitalize on this as best they can, while planning for a rainy day, as another economic crisis, or petroleum shock, could send people scurrying back to sedans and hatches for economic reasons as well as station wagons and minivans for “cultural reasons” (if CUVs, for whatever reason, become unfashionable, families will still need family friendly cars and those who can will pay more for those vehicles perceived as such).

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          SUVs were enormously popular here until fuel prices became too high to justify them. Many of the factors that supported the SUV market are still in play, but for the excessive operating costs.

          Automakers are driven by two major factors: consumer demand and cost amortization. The CUVs support both: people want them, and they allow the automakers to squeeze more value out of their passenger car platforms.

          Similarly, the decline in demand for compact pickups supports the demise of the compact body-on-frame SUV. Without a truck platform to share the cost burden, the SUV becomes pointless. Much better to build a CUV that can milk the car platform than to bother with the smaller truck that no longer needs to exist.

          • 0 avatar

            Agreed, plus the fact they sell for a bit more than their car brethren means makers don’t mind making and pushing them more. I’d add that from my perspective the SUV, though never as hugely popular in other places, had just a positive an image. When CUVs came, reminiscent of the SUVs, but at a price people could actually pay, well that was the icing on the cake.

        • 0 avatar
          Signal11

          I disagree that it’s a safety thing. I think it’s more of a visibility and perception of control thing.

          You see more of your surroundings the higher you are off the ground and considering the rising beltlines of sedans, resulting in a situation where more and more sedan drivers not quite knowing where the corners of their vehicle are, higher seating position sells itself more because it gives people the sense that they are in more command of their vehicle and surroundings.

          Maybe that’s related to perceived safety but for me, driving a Mustang or Genesis Coupe in the hills and alleyways of Seoul is a markedly more stressful experience than driving a Mini Countryman or a Jeep Compass. I am much more confident that I won’t nudge things in the latter two than the former and that’s primarily due to the raised, upright seating position. Or for that matter, the Sienna – I will go down alleys in the Sienna that I will go out of my way to avoid in the Mustang or Gen Coupe.

          • 0 avatar

            Again, I think we are saying the same thing in different words. The rising beltlines of cars add to that safety argument. They rise partly due to the fact people feel safer in them, though we may have reached a point where there is a backlash against that. Safety, or the perception of, and commanding view, is a definite selling point for CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s about perceived safety. Whether that translates into actual safety isn’t relevant.

            In practice, SUVs were more dangerous than passenger cars until the feds instituted stability control. Now, the elevated vehicles are safer because their higher bumper heights make them more lethal to passenger cars, and they are no longer tipping over as they used to.

          • 0 avatar
            Signal11

            I don’t know, Marcelo. From what I understand, rising beltlines have less to do with perceived driver/passenger safety and more to do with pedestrian crash safety regulation mandating more crush space between the hood/bonnet and the engine.

            PCH101, as I said, in my case, it has nothing to do with perceived safety and everything to do with confidence in knowing where my corners are in tight maneuvering. In a head-on collision, I’m better off in either coupe. They’re just a pain in the ass to drive in urban areas due to seating position.

            Personally, the two vehicles I prefer to drive in African cities are the HiAce and the 70 series LandCruiser. They are both terrible vehicles for passenger safety. I am well aware every time I drive the HiAce that I am kissing my knees goodbye in a high speed, head on collision. Still, both are much easier to maneuver in tight, moving traffic third world traffic than Subaru and Mitsu Evo sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I think you need to look up the definition of “Neurotic”; it almost specifically defines your responses as evidenced by your own words here: “… preach the gospel of diesel stickshift station wagons or coupes or compact pickup trucks or whatever wacko fetish …”. Statements like these display an obvious unrealistic sensitivity to other people’s opinions; a very UNBALANCED sensitivity to them. Cool down, man, and let the waves just flow around you. Other people’s opinions have no impact on your own desires unless you want them to.

        On the other hand, when other people’s opinions directly impact you by preventing you from purchasing/owning the item you specifically want, that is NOT neurosis.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    What people on the internet frequently fail to take into consideration is that YOUR needs in YOUR life may be totally different from the next guy/girl.

    If you live in New York City, your needs are going to be much different than if you live in South Dakota. If you live in Miami, your needs will be much different from someone in Louisiana. If you live in California, well, there is no easy solution for that.

    If you are in North Carolina, the truck and SUV are king. That’s what makes sense. If you are in Germany, a small wagon or hot hatch is the way to go.

    In Miami, if you are driving a car that cost less than $80K (even if it was a few years ago), you can’t get a date. Much like if you are in Pittsburgh driving a car that cost $80K people will throw rocks at you (ask me how I know).

    No matter what common sense or logic is applied, it doesn’t fit every situation. Cars are one of the most subjective subjects as one size does not fit all.

    One guy wants a HEMI in everything, another guy wants a turbo 3 cylinder in everything. Each of them wants what is right for themselves, but that doesn’t make everyone else want it. Personally I lean more towards the Hemi than the 3Cylinder MDS turbo google car.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This is why they make so many different vehicles, because of so many different needs. I try not to judge another’s driving choice because I don’t know why they chose what they did. A big SUV at the mall? Maybe they have a weekend cabin in the woods or tow a boat. I don’t know, but their money, their choice

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The problem is, the OEMs don’t make ENOUGH different cars; they’re ignoring the needs and wants of many people who now refuse to buy anything new simply because nothing new meets their needs AND wants.

        Ford used to say, “We build for the 20% and the rest can take what’s left.” The problem is, they’re no longer doing that. They’re building for the lowest common denominator and ignoring those who are willing to pay for something different.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I think BMW builds just about everything that ‘people who are willing to pay for something different’ could possibly dream of…For those with really specific, weird needs there is always Nissan/Infiniti.
          Except maybe a simple, practical, economical and reliable large car, but who wants to pay extra for that?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Ford used to say, “We build for the 20% and the rest can take what’s left.”

          That is exactly what they are doing, you are just interpreting it wrong. They build for the 20% that can make them profit. The “rest” they are talking about is GM, Toyota, ect. The reality is that there are segments of the market that are too small for every mfg to offer a product and make a profit doing so.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Ok, I’ll accept that Scoutdude. However, that also points out that NOBODY is addressing a potentially profitable market simply because they are so closed-minded and regulation-limited to recognize it.

            Now, what if one company–just one–addressed the desire for true small trucks and 2-door cars?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Car manufacturers build cars/trucks to turn a profit for their stockholders period. As much as we’d like a custom built vehicle that suits our needs no one could afford such a thing so car companies try to build enough variety to sell more vehicles then the next guy. It’s not rocket science, it’s pretty much basic economics

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Who said anything about “custom built”? There are people all over this country who will “custom build” anything you want. On the other hand, there is a viable market segment that simply is not being addressed because of closed minds who refuse to believe anyone WANTS a vehicle in that segment.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            If you’re still beating the small truck drum there is no “viable market” There’s an article on this very subject up front. If somebody thought they could turn a profit by building them for the NA market, they would and if this is about the C-tax then talk to your congressmen

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            So YOU say. Then again, Fiat appears to be testing the waters right now.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “they’re ignoring the needs and wants of many people who now refuse to buy anything new simply because nothing new meets their needs AND wants.”

          If a person can’t find a new vehicle that ticks off their needs and wants, it’s probably only because they can’t afford it. Never has there been so many choices and options. Never.

          It’s also possible their wants aren’t actually within the realm of reality. I would love a vehicle that carries 6 people with room for their cargo, that has more than 400hp, gets 50mpg, can pull 1g on the skid pad, comes with a warranty, looks awesome, and costs less than 20k, but my experience on this planet tells me it’s not very reasonable to expect someone to actually build it for me.

          “They’re building for the lowest common denominator and ignoring those who are willing to pay for something different.”

          Why do you suppose that is? Out of spite?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yes, they hate us, they make us drive 4-cylinder Camrys and wear sensible shoes then laugh at us over cocktails, it’s a conspiracy

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’m kinda surprised at how many are bent out of shape about crossovers. I thought we were supposed to yearn for station wagons, which CUVs quite literally are.

    Then again, the subset who yearn for station wagons probably aren’t the same people who vocally hate crossovers. You know, the body on frame or nothin’ crowd. All but the purest of wagon lovers are probably rejoicing at the sea of ambiguous longroofs like it’s 1971.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States