By on January 6, 2017

2015-2017 Toyota Camry SE silver

Blame the Rebels.

Nissan’s Rogue was the best-selling vehicle without a pickup bed in December of 2016, largely thanks to a massive advertising campaign that tied into one of the two recent Star Wars movies where only teenaged girls can be trusted to save the universe. Behind it, you had the usual suspects: CR-V, RAV4, Camry, Accord, Civic, Corolla. But even that state of affairs is a major change from business-as-usual a decade or two ago.

You can learn a lot about American society by looking at the best-selling car in any given year. So if we discount the Rogue’s Yavin IV-style moonshot performance, what’s changed about us since, say, 1967 — and what’s stayed the same? More importantly, who killed the Camry?

Once upon a time, the best-selling car in the America was the Ford Model T. This makes perfect sense, because the Model T was an utterly perfect device for putting a country on wheels for the first time. Simple, easy to operate, and hugely capable, the T was everybody’s first car well into the postwar period.

After that, the best-selling car in America was generally the full-sized “standard” Chevrolet. In 1965, it moved over a million units, making it nearly twice as popular as the overnight-sensation Mustang. It wasn’t until the Seventies that the Cutlass Supreme made a play for the top slot, mostly on the strength of the hugely popular coupe variant. The Chevy Citation and the Ford Escort were best-sellers after that.

By 1990, however, the holy trinity of Taurus, Accord, and Camry were in charge of affairs. The Camry eventually took the top spot and held it, on and off, for 20 years, easily fighting off a production-constrained Accord and a, um, demand-constrained Taurus. Wildly popular expansions to the lineup, like the hybrid model and the SE/XSE, should have ensured the Camry’s hegemony among actual passenger cars well into the supposedly inevitable electric-car transition phase.

Instead, the catfish-faced juggernaut finds itself scrapping with CUVs and subcompacts for a top-five slot. What’s going on? There are a few different theories that might apply.

Let’s call the first theory Lowered Expectations/Bigger Subcompacts. In this theory, Americans are short on money and optimism, so they’re making the move from the Camry to the Corolla. (The same holds true for the Accord, which is beaten in the sales charts by the Civic as often as it is not.) Surely this was why the Ford Escort took the top spot 35 years ago; a country drunk on long-hood expressions of personal-luxury power woke up the morning after the party and found a note from the President telling them to wear a sweater in the winter and choose a fuel-efficient car.

The relatively painless process of downsizing to the not-so-subcompact class has only been helping matters; a modern Corolla is really as big as an old Camry, and the new Civic is positively gargantuan. So this could be the winning theory, right off the bat.

The next explanation? How about Boomers Riding High. The Camry and Accord have long been mainstays of the Woodstock generation, but getting behind the wheel of one becomes much more difficult when you’ve got an artificial knee or a bad hip. Enter the CR-V and RAV4, which aren’t nearly as good at doing actual car things but offer the same kind of easy entry and exit the Boomers all remember from the Summer of Love. Certainly the sales leadership of what were once very niche vehicles (the RAV4 was originally marketed to ‘action sports’ types) offers support to this idea.

Last but maybe not least, we’ve got The American Snowflake. Deep inside, all of us know that we are very special people who deserve unique, curated experiences. Midsized sedans just don’t offer those curated experiences, do they? They’re the cars of our parents and our grandparents, people who were busy doing stupid, racist stuff like making America the leading economic power in the world and/or protecting it from the now-discredited Communist menace. We are too good to drive a Camry. The only way we can demonstrate our specialness is to drive something completely unique and amazing like a Prius or a RAV4, neither of which could ever be confused for regular, boring, transportation appliances like a Camry. Our active lifestyles demand ground clearance. Kaden’s soccer field has — you won’t believe it, Rechell! — unpaved parking.

Those are the theories. Which is correct? Maybe it’s all of them. But I yearn for a world where none of them would have any power whatsoever. I think about what Americans were expressing when they made the mighty V8-powered Cutlass Supreme (yes, I know not all of them were V8-powered) the nation’s leading car. I thrill to think of a country that would make a two-ton four-seater its favorite whip. We had style back then. But in a world where the automobile is increasingly seen as a problem to be solved, rather than an escape to freedom, who wants style? When our heroes are teenaged girls, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with a nice, safe, mommy’s-basement car like the RAV4?

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322 Comments on “Who Killed The Camry?...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “mighty V8-powered Cutlass Supreme” – which would now be left for dead by any current four cylinder midsize sedan.

    Also, I always thought that the later Corollas and Civics would be compacts, and the Yaris and Fit would be subcompacts. No question that the early Corollas and Civics were subcompacts, the first car I had was a ’71 Corolla, and it was pretty small. It was a good bit bigger than the Datsun 1200, those were approaching city car size.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, sure, but ostensibly, a modern version would have horsepower figures near enough to 500, and would be the perfect blend of power and demure, elegant American styling. I don’t think I’d want that to be the car of choice for Americans everywhere—because *I’d* want to use it to make my statement—but I sure wish it existed.

      Also, although I know it’s smaller, I lament the fact that GM isn’t willing to build that Buick Avista. It’s the most excited I’ve been for a potential GM car in a long time.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “a modern version would have horsepower figures near enough to 500, and would be the perfect blend of power and demure, elegant American styling.”

        2016 Mustang GT?

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I love everything about the Mustang GT and would definitely consider one now or in the future; however, it is and always has been a glorified two-seater. What I’m talking about is a big coupe. At this point, the only large American coupe that can actually seat four people is the Challenger. I do like its styling, but something a little more classy would be cool, too.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            I might well be thinking of the wrong Cutlass, but from memory the back seats in the 70s A-body and G-body Cutlasses were pretty small.

            The cars themselves were large, but the use of space was terrible.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Cutlass back seat was fine horizontally, not so much for sitting in.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            If I remember correctly one of the selling points in the Cutlass Supreme of the mid/late ’70s was that it was available with vinyl high back bucket seats swiveled to provide better access/egress.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Indeed, @ArthurDailey, the ’73-”77 Collonnaides!

          • 0 avatar
            fishfry smith

            A new version of the Lincoln Continental Mark IV coupe. Doors the size of caskets and *deep* tufted leather upholstery. Detroit’s version of the S-Class coupe.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @fishfry smith

            Yessssss.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          Unfortunately, the Mustang’s EU-compliant nose is anything but “American” styling.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      In my neighborhood, growing up in the 1970s, GM intermediates were the universal second car. They sold in huge quantities, ranging from six cylinder sedans to some very potent muscle cars. I have very vivid memories of my friend’s mother and her 455 Vista Cruiser. She could silence a car full of noisy boys by pinning them to the tailgate in a pile. There really isn’t much to compare it to today except possibly an Ecoboost Flex.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Maybe the wheezer 260’s and emission strangled 350’s but I’m sure a good earlier 70’s Rocket 350 would easily give today’s mid size 4 bangers a good run. The 403/455 equipped 442’s would easily beat one.

  • avatar
    James2

    It’s a two-front war. As Jack notes, the ‘small’ cars are getting bigger –and the Civic no longer qualifies as a small car. It’s loooong.

    Then there’s the CUV menace. Since everyone else is blocking your view of traffic with their jacked-up wagons, why not fight fire with fire.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      The CUV menace is the reason I hear most often by buyers. Goodness, in my part of TX my Silverado is too low to see past half the other vehicles at the intersection.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      And because everybody else is in a CUV/SUV/Truck, your view really isn’t *that* much better in a CUV – it just seems that it is.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I appreciate big cars and trucks as much as I do smaller ones. I feel very comfortable in my Golf SportWagen because it’s roomy and maneuverable, but I never really felt like I needed additional ground clearance or to see over everyone else. The most annoying thing is when lifted trucks with improperly-aimed headlamps pull up behind me, and shine blinding light into my wing mirrors.

        My point is that I would drive a truck or crossover, but not strictly for the virtue of being able to see over most other vehicles.

        Slightly related: a year and a half ago, I had a late-model Silverado rental (stock ride-height, although it had 4WD), and all I could see of the NA or NB Miata that was behind me was the top of the windshield frame. Now *that’s* too low to be a daily driver, for me.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “I thrill to think of a country that would make a two-ton four-seater its favorite whip.”

    Our country buys the sort-of equivalent of that in the hundreds of thousands of crew cab half ton trucks backing V8s and twin-turbo V6s that rip to 60 in a bit over 6 seconds, so there’s that.

    I see a TON of newest Chargers locally here in Indy (mostly SE/SXT V6 models, but more than enough R/Ts too), there’s definitely quite an appetite for aggressive/sporty conveyances in the Midwest. Even the Pentastar/8spd cars are properly quick these days.

    I do think that so many people that used to buy midsize sedans as default family conveyances see the increased utility and ride height and AWD of Rav4/CRV/Rogue at a minor premium over a mid-trim FWD midsize and make the jump. Like you said, they’re no longer the quirky-ish activity vehicles with impressive ground clearance (except for Forester), they are softened up and enlarged enough for mass consumption. Although Subaru has figured out the mainstream as well, their sales are exploding as a result. A ton of them out here in Indiana these days, although there are relatively few of the older (pre-09) models. Lastly, again I think you are correct in that compact cars have the refinement and rear seat space to easily accommodate the bulkiest of kids seats, chipping away at midsizers from below.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Nailed, as usual, by gtem.

      How can you possibly hope to “learn a lot about American society” anno 2017 by calling attention only to the best-selling vehicles “without a pickup bed”?

      I realize this is done only to support the forced narrative and baruthian leit motif of America’s pussyfication.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “I realize this is done only to support the forced narrative and baruthian leit motif of America’s pussyfication.”

        On the subject of “nailed it”…….

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          The “snowflake” in my personality has been melted by the red-hot, rollin’ coal redneck rage, and their CiC, Orange Julius, the Aldolf of Twitler.

          AGW as well.

          Time to retreat into streaming TV land – it’s actually pretty good these days.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Living in the Great White North means that I’m always amused by the “snowflake” as an insult meme.

            The great political divide:

            Snowflakes versus deplorables.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Snowflakes versus deplorables.”

            The surreal game that we’re stuck with…

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “The surreal game that we’re stuck with…”

            wut? u no like play Angry Turds?

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      This. 1/2 ton V8 crew cabs are the modern 2 ton V8 family man’s American sled.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    All people, not just boomers, riding high. End of story.

    The market overwhelmingly prefers high ride height to the marginal improvements in dynamics and fuel economy that come from lower ride height. Every single thing about the “SUV” has been steadily moved back toward mainstream cars — except for the ride height. That’s the one thing the market really, really wants. And thus the CUV keeps eating away at mainstream car sales.

    No one thinks they are a special snowflake because they drive a RAV4. There was a bit of that in the early Explorer/Grand Cherokee SUV days but it’s long gone.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      As I toggle between the two ends of the height spectrum (FR-S as the primary vehicle, 4Runner as needed), the 4Runner is certainly the easier to live with. Visibility is good, ingress/egress is easier, and the loveable, lumbering oaf makes no promises of razor sharp handling that would tempt me to push it on the street. Plus, I’m not worried about bending a rim or bottoming out any time the road is less than ideal.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      The problem with this is that… it’s not true. The fuel economy of CUVs has improved, but it’s still garbage compared to their sedan siblings. I wasn’t aware of just how bad it was until I was forced to find a replacement for the wife’s ’07 Camry. Check it:

      http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=37087&id=36795&id=36801&id=37123

      2WD Rav4 gets 23/30/26
      2.7L 2WD Highlander gets 20/25/22
      Corolla gets 29/37(!)/32 in CVT
      I4 Camry gets 25/34/28 with the same engine as the Rav4.

      That’s not a LITTLE better, that’s ludicrously better. We live in San Diego, with its glorious hills, so my wife was averaging 21 MPG combined with her ’07 Camry. Not only does the new RAV4 still have less interior space than her old Camry, it gets worse fuel economy. I… just. No. Please, no. You can get a loaded ~2013-2015 Camry for the same price as a barebones 2015 Rav4, and still be stuck with an uglier vehicle with inferior handling and 10% worse fuel economy.

      Comparing the Rav4 with the Corolla, which has only slightly less rear leg and hiproom, shows a staggering 25% hit to the fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Rav4 has 38cu ft of available cargo space with all seats in place, and 73 cu ft with rear seats folded. The added versatility makes the comparison moot for many buyers with families. The Camry’s trunk is a very decent 16cu ft (good for the class). The Corolla’s is 13 cu ft, on the small side among compacts.

        In combined MPG rating, the Rav4’s 26 is hardly “ludicrously” worse than the Camry’s 28 or the Corolla’s 32 (IMO). Over a “typical” driver’s monthly mileage of 1000 miles, assuming fuel prices of $2.50/gal, that’s a whopping $18 per month.

        Yes there is definitely the undeniable difference in purchase price, that could definitely make or break the deal for many.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Depends what your priorities are. I’ll take less passenger space for taller seating. To me, at 6’3″ 200-ish #, the RAV-4 is more comfortable to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        My sister has this very quandary.

        She owns a 1997 Camry LE with 270K miles on it now (original owner). It has lived a rather Polyanna life, garage at home, garage at work. As a pilot (first chair UAL) the vehicle has a Polyanna commute of all highway, mostly not in traffic, to then sit in the UAL garage while she is away. Minimal use of brakes, adequate warm up time, everything gets good and lubricated, optimal RPM range, minimal jiggling of the suspension and thus everything else.

        But at 270K miles her Camry is tired out. The steering feel is akin to a ’76 Buick at this point and the money in versus value out math doesn’t add up.

        She has been looking for a replacement since 2010. Every time she goes and does her research, she concludes keep the Camry. I’ve gone on trips with her and reached the same conclusion. For what she needs, her ’97 is perfect.

        My advice to her last week was to start trolling CL, Auto Trader, etc. etc. and try to find a low mile single owner ’97 cream puff with a stack of receipts, and just buy that.

        • 0 avatar
          jcisne

          If she’s a pilot, then she should buy a Honda PILOT. Easy solution to her quandary.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          APaGttH,

          Has she considered rebuilding the suspension with proper OEM parts? That should buy her another 10 years, at which point the 97 Camry will be considered a classic that can be pawned-off on mid-life crisis hipsters for megabucks.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            She doesn’t think that way. She also got a bit of a scare because she was in her first fender bender in it (not her fault) and the $1200 body damage, which is a pittance today, was almost enough to total out the car.

            I also recommended a 4-cylinder Honda Accord. Now as I type this, I should tell her to look at a Skyactive Mazda6

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This occurred to me as well but the problem is the vehicle is worth X as it sits, and a complete suspension overhaul with OEM parts plus, alignment, plus tires (probably) meets or exceeds X. APaGttH has the right idea, find the same car again with much less use on the drivetrain and invest the same money in it.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          “The money in versus value out math doesn’t add up.”

          This is an interesting statement, and I suspect that your sister does this math the way I do. “Value” in this instance is a reliable, comfortable car for commuting. A new car that accomplishes this might be available with enough cash on the hood to be had for a sale price of $15-17k. Hers is already paid for and has almost no trade-in value. You can correct much of what time and mileage has degraded in her Camry for $2k. And isn’t that a better value?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Other than canyon carving: A RAV4 or Highlander does everything a Camry does but does it better.

    (And before the B&B sharpen their knives, I’m talking about average ordinary Americans – not enthusiasts.)

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Have to agree with PrincipalDan, except that by extension the mini-van does just about everything required by a vehicle better than any other type of vehicle.

      And the Dodge Caravan was the 4th best selling vehicle in Canada in 2016.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        BUT minivans aren’t cool. (To Mr. and Mrs. America)

        Station wagons aren’t cool either but give them ground clearance and viola!

        BTW I full acknowledge that my Highlander is simply an AWD Camry wagon.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          The image argument makes no sense to me. Wagons and minivans aren’t cool but a Highlander is?

          Different strokes and all that, but I think it is ridiculous.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            It’s ridiculous to everyone but the person writing the monthly check for the loan on the Highlander.

            I’m sure someone thinks I’m stupid for driving a compact.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          ….With 3.5 badges on it. lol

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          And there you have the solution to Toyota’s problem: just rename a few models, and it’s back to the top of the charts!
          Now we’ll have the new 2018 Toyota Camry Highlander, Camry Land Cruiser, Camry Fortuner, Camry Avalon, and Camry Corona (why not?!).
          Heck it works for the Ford F-Series, why not for the Toyota Camry Series?

        • 0 avatar
          john66ny

          How does ground clearance help with mid-sized string instruments?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I will say that a Camry has a smoother ride and the 2.5L engine doesn’t have to work as hard (yielding better MPG, not that the Rav4 is a gas hog), so those are factors even “regular” buyers can recognize, that and the same $20k that can buy you a Camry SE will barely get you a bare bones Rav4 LE. But overall I agree that they are close enough in most respects that most people will see the greater utility of the crossover and pony up the extra cash for it.

      • 0 avatar

        This point was raised by another poster previously. But the basic issue with minivans is that they don’t really come in different sizes, whereas you can really pick your sizes with CUVs. Beyond that, there is the image issue.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Exactly. A minivan is a good replacement for a 3-row CUV/SUV, but it’s way more vehicle than I need or want in comparison to our sedan and 2-row SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Yup. Like the Corolla, the minivan is no longer mini. The “grand” Caravan was welcome to some, but the original Caravan was six inches shorter than a current Corolla!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Lorenzo – those six inches make a huge difference ;)

    • 0 avatar

      Add this to DAL’s comment about ride height and I think you have the best answer.

      People like:
      Easy to get in and out of
      Good visibility out of the front half of the vehicle (they don’t seem to care as much as enthusiasts about the back half)
      Room for stuff (ever tied to stuff too childs sets into the trunk of a car to take people out to lunch at work? Let me tell you it works fine in a wagon, CUV, SUV, not so much a sedan.)
      AWD
      Interior space with minimal exterior car (they like the concept of minivans just not actual minivans)
      Reasonable MPG but that’s not an end all.

      That pretty much sums it up.

      Also if you not into many of these requirements you simply buy a pickup truck or SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Can’t you just make someone else drive instead of going to all that trouble for a quick ride to lunch?

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        QUOTE>”They don’t care about visibility out the back”<

        True, because they never check to see if anyone is behind them while they're going 55 in the fast lane. But of course if you try to get around them, they'll speed up to 85 to block you, only to slow down again once you're stuck behind an 18-wheeler. The single best thing about crossing the border from California to Oregon is that the passing lane is enforced as such.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      A couple of days ago, I was on my way to work, on a stretch of road that has a couple of nice curves and is uphill, a bit on the steep side. It also has no good spots for the local police to set up a speed trap. As I head up that road, an MX-5 passes me, going about 25 mph above the limit. I figure if he’s going to shake the bushes for me, I might as well join in the party. I let him get a reasonable distance ahead, and then match his pace, him in his MX-5, and me in my PHEV Fusion, hybrid CVT drivetrain, 300 lb battery in the trunk, riding on low rolling resistance all weather tires. Once we get past the twisty bits, we both drop back to 10 over the speed limit.

      Could we have gone faster? The cars (both of them) were plenty capable of it, but it would have been crossing over into recklessness to do so. I was going uphill and using maybe a third throttle, and maybe half the available tire grip, to go as quickly as was prudent.

      Maybe that RAV4 would have been quick enough as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        On that, I used to love driving my (76hp, 3500 lbs) 300D up canyon roads.

        Because I could run literally pedal-to-the-floor 90% of the time and barely exceed the speed limit.

        (“It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.”

        I almost never use more than 50% power on my XC70 T6.)

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.”

          That might explain why so many trucks sell.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          (“It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.”)

          says anyone who gets his opinions about cars from Jeremy Clarkson. Why not actually think for yourself instead of letting some insufferable British jerk tell you what you should want?

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            He is an insufferable jerk (I made it through 2 episodes before I couldn’t take it). But he is very right in this quote.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            because we’re all supposed to like the same thing.

            right.

          • 0 avatar
            Funky

            I think James May was the character who often alluded to this notion.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            It was James May and the others soon agree. Driving a slow car fast pushes it to its limits and tests your driving abilities. Driving a fast car slow is just noisy, wastes gas and eventually leads to frustration.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Clarkson is the one who blurts-out “powah!’ May is the one who appreciates engineering over brute force. Hammond drives an old Land Rover and loves muscle cars, basically anything that doesn’t handle.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Wow, he’s even grumpier than usual today.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        The MX-5 driver probably had more fun though.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I’m not so sure. No question I was closer to my car’s limit than he was to his, and I had to do more driving. The Fusion is surprisingly well mannered for a large hybrid sedan.

          • 0 avatar

            My compang has several fleet fusions, and they are quite smooth, capable, and agile *when moving*.

            Lower than 25mph, I feel boat like steering in them.Especially parking lots, but I’ve DD’d rwd cars for most of my life.

            Def fun on curvy roads (when you’re not footing gas or maintenance costs.)

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Good tires make all the difference! I’m currently enjoying the sticky grip of Continental Extreme Contacts. A set of very good tires instead of the cheapest stuff Sam’s Club has in stock will make your car a different animal.
        They cost a bit more, but you can make up the difference (and then some) just by getting your gas at Arco instead of Shell for a few tankfuls.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I agree completely, and as someone who likes sedans!

      (The only downside of my XC70 and the entire CUV or wagon pack is “no trunk”.

      Sometimes I wish I had secure non-glass-enclosed storage.

      No regrets.)

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’ll give you the Highlander, although it has a high price of entry and is actually considerably larger than the Camry, but the RAV4 feels so cheap and tinny inside (even with the 2016 refresh), compared to the Camry, that I wouldn’t go near it.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Other than canyon carving: A RAV4 or Highlander does everything a Camry does but does it better.”

      Exactly. IN THE DYNAMIC ENVELOPE UTILIZED BY THE AVERAGE DRIVER, a CUV is no different than a midsized sedan.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I think that sedans in general have lost favor because they cant carry enough people and stuff as CUV’s can. I own one sedan, a BMW 335d, but it is used only for road trips for my wife and myself, a task at which it excels. For daily driving short trips we have a 16 Golf Sportwagon tsi and it is perfect for that kind of work. For towing and hauling I have a 04 Nissan Titan that I bought new and have upgraded with 14″ brakes and air bags for heavy loads.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’m jealous. The E90 335d was awesome. It’s too bad they didn’t make it in a wagon form for the U.S.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        It is just amazing on road trips but not suited for short trips and/or slow speeds due to carbon build up. I recently drove it from Parker CO to my home in Thousand Oaks CA, a distance of 1200 miles in 13 1/2 hours and only stopped twice for fuel. 425 ft lbs @ 1700 is addicting…lol

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I am so sorry you had to endure not one, but two entire movies which featured women as main characters. You’ve got it rough.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I firmly believe the answer Jack, is in fact: D. All of the above.

    Not one of your points is enough to say the Camry is dead. The sum of them too are not enough to declare the Camry dead. However, we will see the in the future lesser sold models be retired. There are only so many R&D dollars to go around. Why would GM keep an Impala, Malibu, & Cruz. Pick 2; Fiesta, Focus, Fusion; Mazda 3,5,6; Versa, Sentra, Altima, Maxima so and so forth? I fully get that they are technically in different segments: large, mid-size, small. I think we will see the category of mid-sized sedan eliminated in the next model refresh cycle or two.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I think we will see the category of mid-sized sedan eliminated in the next model refresh cycle or two.

      I think that depends on how many iterations of an individual model you need to sell to be profitable. The number of platforms per-manufacturer is shrinking, there are more and more Lego/Erector set like platforms that get used for a variety of vehicles across a variety of categories.

      Example: The successor to the Epsilon II platform is E2XX but there is a long wheelbase variant P2XX, and a crossover variant C1XX. The amount of shared development costs among them means that theoretically it should be able to amortize the development costs with lower sales numbers than if each was it’s own unique platform.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Not so much “elminiated” but I think you’re going to see the traditional compact and midsize lines merge in the not too distant future. The Cruzibu, Focion, Camrolla, and Civcord will live on, however. Along with whatever it is Nissan builds, I forget just now, just like everyone else.

        Of course, there’s also FCA and Mitsubishi, which have already given up. Then again, who needs sedans when you’ve got 5 different sizes of Jeep? :)

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “I think we will see the category of mid-sized sedan eliminated in the next model refresh cycle or two.”

        Doubtful. Anyone who thinks Accords, Camrys, Altimas, Malibus, Fusions, et al are going bye bye is short-sighted, to say the least. I don’t care if sales of these vehicles are flat – it’s still a massive slice of overall sales. The only players in this segment that are walking away from it away are the marginal ones.

        And if the economy dips – which it’s bound to do – then people will not be as happy to fork over thousands of dollars more for a CUV that is, in essence, a tall midsize sedan with hatchback (and AWD optional).

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    “Simple, easy to operate”

    Are you are talking about a Ford Model T?

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    “Enter the CR-V and RAV4, which aren’t nearly as good at doing actual car things but offer the same kind of easy entry and exit the Boomers all remember from the Summer of Love.”

    Name one “actual car thing” that the Camry does better. Keep in mind that the Camry that you’re talking about is not a European Touring Sedan, it’s a pothole-blocker that’s more softly sprung than a raw marshmallow coated in soft rubber.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Cars handle better, offer a smoother ride (less weight), and are better in low traction environments (lower CoG) like ice and snow. They are also less expensive.

      • 0 avatar

        The ride thing really varies some of the CUV’s ride better then their car counter parts (CRV to me rides better then the previous gen civic at least). Handle yes a lower COG will handle better but realistically this varies, with modern electronics CUV’s handle %99 of onroad situations the same as sedans same goes with winter driving. Plus if you live in parts on the unplowed northeast the actual clearance comes in handy.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Name one “actual car thing” that the Camry does better”

      You answered that one yourself:
      ” it’s a pothole-blocker that’s more softly sprung than a raw marshmallow coated in soft rubber.”

      The Camry is softer sprung than the Rav4/CRV since it doesn’t need stiffer springs to mitigate body lean caused by a higher center of gravity. Now, they may still ride pretty well, but I will say that my fiance’s parents’ ’13 rav4 Limited is a harsh jittery mess on busted up pavement than my fiance’s “sport tuned” Camry SE glides over.

      Let me also say that if you think that a modern Camry has a soft mushy ride, you must have a very limited scope of reference points for truly pot-hole swallowing long travel suspensions.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      “it’s a pothole-blocker that’s more softly sprung than a raw marshmallow coated in soft rubber.”

      i laugh that you think this is a bad thing!

      this is why people, like me, bought a camry and not a mazda 6.

  • avatar
    ajla

    What the f*ck do so many people have to haul around? Is everyone’s lifestyle some combination of Jim Duggar and Bob Vila?

    It’s Friday and I don’t think I’ve opened my trunk once this entire week.

    • 0 avatar

      3 kids lots of stuff before 3 kids had 4 dogs same problem. Only owned 2 sedans so far, it’s nice having a separate trunk but the hatch comes in handy alot.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      no kidding. we were carted around in a Duster and a Horizon.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      2-year-old and 1-month old here.

      Diaper bag, sometimes a stroller, 3 layers of clothes for the 2-year-old because otherwise he’ll complain that he’s too hot or too cold, bag containing snacks and a bowl/utensils in case we want to grab a bite somewhere. It all has to fit in the trunk/cargo area because the modern car seats consume the entire back seat. And we travel light. Some of these parents are literally toting more stuff with them than can fit in a sedan trunk.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      So my pickup’s been used to haul the following as a snapshot of what people can and do haul around

      1) 5 adults, no cargo
      2) 2 rear facing children, 3 adults, 2 jogging strollers, 2 diaper bags, one cooler with snacks/drink for the kids. Fit that in a Camry.
      3) 1 adult, many sheets of plywood
      4) 2 adults, 1 rear facing child, 2 airline suitcases, 1 jogging stroller, 1 large cooler filled with food, another 2 boxes (think large plastic tote) filled with presents, 1 child sized suitcase, 1 bag of odds and ends (chargers, medication, etc) 1 box of children’s toys & books, 1 bag of diapers and related stuff, 4 pillows, 2 blankets, and I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff
      5) 4 adults, 1 rear facing child, 4 airline suitcases, 2 large coolers of food, 1 box of children’s toys & books, 1 bag of diapers and related stuff, two fishing poles and a tackle box, etc
      6) 1 adult, 1000# of landscaping rock
      7) 2 adults, several 8′ 2x4s, 4x4s, and other lumber

      * I’m specifiying rear-facing because a rear facing convertible carseat forces the front seats to be moved very far up and the seatback to be very upright. Midsized sedans handle this poorly especially for the tall folks out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I’m Canadian so there is hockey equipment to haul around. And in the last 20+ years I have yet to find a sedan that can fit a hockey stick in its back trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Arthur Dailey – yeah. Hockey stick won’t fit in the gun rack :)

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Unlike the purchase of lumber & landscape supplies or the care of children, playing hockey is something I did do in the past. I could fit the stick okay in my Grand Am by folding the rear seat, although that does cost me a passenger spot I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “And in the last 20+ years I have yet to find a sedan that can fit a hockey stick in its back trunk.”

        I thought that all Canadian-Market sedans made a “hockey-stick pass-thru” by folding the rear center arm rest. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          I can fit my 12 year old Granddaughter, and her Hockey equipment into my Mustang by folding the rear seat down . (describing the back section of the interior as a “rear seat” is a bit of a stretch}

          I can also transport my nearly 6 ft tall ,14 year old Grandson, and his snowboard.

          Transporting them both, at the same time ?….Not a chance.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            And there is the rub. In a sedan you need to fold down part of the back seat, meaning that you are now driving a max 3 passenger car. Which is totally useless for those long trips for out of town games and tournaments.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Not sure if serious, but I’ll bite.

    Bigger subcompacts/compacts? 100% correct. My 09 Civic is every bit as roomy (and noisy) as my 92-93 Accords were, and the current one is a half size bigger. Only bugaboo for me with that segment… no V6s, and a paltry selection of turbo 4 bangers.

    Boomers riding high? Mommies riding high too. We get that you make loading a kid into the back of a 993 a point of pride, but most people don’t care, and just want something easy. And what car stuff are crossovers not good at? You acknowledge they are better at ingress/egress. Fuel economy penalty for similar passenger space (i.e. CR-V vs Accord, not Civic) is closing in on zero. Visibility is better, both due to seating height and to a higher glass to metal ratio and lower (relative) window sills. A CR-V has 2.5x the cargo capacity of an Accord with the seats up, with a much more usable cargo space and opening. Dynamically people are buying Altimas and Camrys, not Mazda 6s, so even if CR-Vs are dynamically worse to drive than Accord it’s irrelevant to 99% of the market. Added ground clearance is helpful during snow season. Am I missing anything? :)

    The RAV-4 is the new Camry. There’s nothing a Camry does well that a RAV-4 doesn’t also do well, at least that matters to 99.9999999999999999% of the car buying public. I know it’s tough, but you have to come to the understanding that people are not wrong to want different things from you.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Millennial women are now blood-offspring of Luke Skywalker and other Jedi, and can not only successfully pass not only Jedi Knight Officer Candidate School, but can successfully defeat male adversaries IRL battle.

    http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=9295

    (*Disclaimer: I agree with some, disagree with some, and am unsure as to how I view other opinions/observations of his, but he TRIGGERS my thought process on an often reflexive basis, and is one of the few bloggers who forces me to engage in sometimes uncomfortable re-examination of my previously held concepts and beliefs, which like the Socratic method, I believe is a very good thing. Warning: If you have a dogmatic, inflexible world-view, and/or are sensitive to radically different perspectives than you may possess, do not tread there.)

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Pretty interesting stuff at that URL.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Actually, I’m kinda digging this DW-on-Peyote approach.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      DW that is a great blog! Thanks for sharing it with us.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There are exceedingly few blogs that contain editorializing that cause me to deeply reflect on my own previously-held positions, left, center or right.

        That is one of the few.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      He’s pretty good at reasoning, but horrible at choosing quality premises for his reasoning. He draws appropriate conclusions from outlandish conspiracy theories and discredited information. Puzzlingly, he even states in a few places the usual Kryptonite of conspiracy theories: that incompetence is much more likely than malice. But then he’s unable to generalize from that or use it to take a second look at his factual beliefs. I suspect that’s because conspiracy-theory thinking is kind of fun and can make for entertaining writing.

      In particular his ideas of what happens in DC have more to do with a screenwriter’s fevered imagination than with the reality on the ground there.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I read his stuff more for his take on the general cultural zeitgeist than any specific, factually-focused bill of particulars.

        He really doesn’t talk/write about the types of things that can be tested in double-blind controlled studies with results published in peer-reviewed, technical white papers.

        As far as the specifics do go, and how far he occasionally treads into specifics of, say, how the power-structure of Washington D.C. may or may not actually work, you may be entirely or more correct than not.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    “We had style then.” Oh, please. 1970-1985 produced some of the ugliest sedans in the history of auto production and I thank Car Jebus that Japan pulled the big three’s heads out of their holes and forced them to start making competitive, stylish products. Some day, Subaru might even learn how to do the second part!

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah have to agree I like some of those cars but I’m not sure I could call any beautiful.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Fuji Heavy Industries is far too busy manufacturing and selling record numbers of vehicles to place the “second part” at the top of the “to-do” list at this time…

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      for example: in 1977 everyone decided stacked rectangular headlamps looked good.

      tell me with a straight face that this thing had “style”

      http://momentcar.com/images/ford-ltd-ii-1977-3.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Gotta agree with this. Very few cars from about 1972 to about 1985 were not horrendous.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Most GM cars in that range looked fine. Mercedes and Jaguar were also making some attractive vehicles at that time.

        Really, even the bad Disco Era stuff I don’t consider any worse looking than the parade floats of the late 50s – early 60s or the angry aquatic animals of today.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          yeah, no.

          http://www.oldcarsweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/77Monte-main.jpg

          almost as bad as the LTD II, slightly better because the bumper doesn’t protrude 12″.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I said “most” not “all” (I think the Roachback A-body and Slantback Seville were ugly too). However, ’76 and ’77 was also when GM was bringing out designs like the original Seville and peak Bandit F-body.

            Dal also said ’72 – ’85 and that look on the Monte Carlo only lasted two years with what came before & after being better looking.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Lol Subaru did for a brief, shining moment with the Legacy 2004-2009. Then they got all Subaru-y again…

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Having come of age at that time, I owned/leased/had company cars from all D3 manufacturers in their PLC range. Gran Torino Elite, Cordoba, Grand Prix SJ, Thunderbird, Mark IV, Eldorado.

      Back then those vehicles would be considered the equivalent to the M5’s of today. Large block V8’s, all the luxury appointments available, the ‘height’ to Disco Era styling and considered as PLC’s to be ‘drivers cars’.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    A lot of comments about how a RAV4 does everything just as well or better than the Camry, but I am surprised no one has mentioned that the Camry back seat is bigger than the RAV4s.

    That’s something that everyone will notice. Car seats fit better.

    The RAV4 is built on the same platform as a Corolla, one level down from the Camry platform which is designed for larger cars.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s much easier to get the kid in and out of the seat in the RAV 4. The previous gen also seemed to have more leg room then the Camry not sure if that’s still true.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Yeah, it’s a little easier to get them in and out of the seats, but the Camry back seat is noticeably wider than pretty much any compact CUV.

        My wife has a Forester and the dog barely fits between the car seats, but he’s got plenty of room in the Camry.

        It’s rare that we would ever run out of cargo space in the Camry for 99% of the trip we make.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ mopar4wd – Agreed, and I think this is because sedan packaging has drifted so far away from the three box paradigm. If four of me were taking a road trip, I’d take the CUV variant of a given platform over not only its sedan sibling (RAV4 over Corolla, e.g.) but also its sedan cousin from the next size up (NX over ES, e.g.). If you’re over 5’9″ and aren’t Slouchy McSlouch, today’s sedan back seats are awful in anything but a full size.

        I emphasize “four of me,” because three-abreast seating is miserable in something like the NX 200t.

        Addendum: I say that as someone who does appreciate the lower COG of a sedan. If the trip entails two of me, and we’re not going to be stuck in traffic with our view blocked by CUVs and SUVs, then give me the sedan.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    How about adding another category:

    Economy In Better Shape

    When times are good, people treat themselves. When they aren’t, they buy what they need. They perceive mid sized sedans as a need and CUVs as a luxury. When the economy tightens up again, as it inevitably will, sales of luxury items will drop.

    Therefore, more CUV sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Except the economy is only in better shape for the top ten percent. Everybody else has seen a decade of wage stagnation at best.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Most new car buyers are and always have been in about the top quartile. There’s plenty of money rattling around in the new car market.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Except the economy is only in better shape for the top ten percent. ”

        Then the mystery of who is buying more expensive cars is solved.

        (Anecdotally, I’m nowhere near the “top ten percent” and my financial life is far better now than it was eight years ago…and the same’s true of a lot of other people.)

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yes, and you openly advocated for a presidential candidate who is surrounding himself with people intent on making that worse. Go you.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          If the voters only understood the recessionary implications of the economic policies of the president-elect campaigned on, the election would have ended very differently.

          At this point, the main hope for the economy is that he’s a liar (likely) and/or incompetent (also likely) and/or the Republicans in Congress start.acting like the grownups in the room (they’ve passed on every opportunity to do this in the past 16 years). If any of those things work out, then the policies Trump campaigned on will never be implemented and the company will not have to endure a recession of choice.

          But, if our politicians can be believed, get ready for the Trump recession to begin in Q2 or Q3 2017.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            ” Republicans in Congress start.acting like the grownups in the room”

            LOL they’ve pretty much never outgrown their need for a “NO GURLZ ALOUD” treehouse.

            “But, if our politicians can be believed, get ready for the Trump recession to begin in Q2 or Q3 2017.”

            It’ll be Obama’s fault.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “LOL they’ve pretty much never outgrown their need for a “NO GURLZ ALOUD” treehouse.”

            And yet they remain staunchly anti-gay rights. o_O

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Senator Larry ‘wide stance’ Craig?

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            Well, Craig was a rancher so I guess he just got into the habit early. Don’t want to get kicked while you’re doin’ it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            T-rump isn’t draining the swamp.

            He is rotating the reptiles.

  • avatar

    Jesus, some big misses here.

    Jack, do you *honestly* think that the millennials buying a bloody RAV4 LE think they are getting the “Snowflake”/unique/curated experience? No, they’re buying the car they have use for. This is the generation that views car ownership as a costly and annoying functional necessity, not a statement.

    Here’s the biggest miss in this article:
    Ownership habits and usage habits have changed. That’s it. People no longer own two cars and, either through financial restrictions or choice, would rather just own one money-sucking set of wheels that suits as many of their needs as possible. Sedans do three things better: handling, economy, and value. Important, to be sure, but when you add in all the functionality that people expect from their single vehicle, they are willing to sacrifice (partially) on those elements. Secondly, big box stores exist. People drive to IKEA to buy their wardrobes and bedframes, they drive to Best Buy to buy TVs, they go antiquing. With the loss of wagons and vans, those needs had to be focused somewhere, and the sedan simply can’t meet them.

    The vast majority of people who have CUVs would have had *no* issue with buying a sedan (and might have preferred it), but basic practicalities made it nonsensical for them, mostly because it’s the only vehicle they own and they want to do as much as possible.

    Snowflake? Are you freaking kidding me? Did you read nothing that Brendon wrote about the millennial generation?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      “Jack, do you *honestly* think that the millennials buying a bloody RAV4 LE think they are getting the “Snowflake”/unique/curated experience?”

      Yes. Because I…

      …TRIGGER WARNING for our incel superstars on here…

      …talk to Millennial women all the time. They genuinely see RAV4s and CR-Vs as being unique, special, sporty conveyances. It’s not logical, but neither is making a TV show about a fat girl getting boned on screen and yet HBO is on Season 7 of “Girls”

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I will second Jack’s anecdote. And as popular of a line as it is to claim that millennials merely “tolerate” cars, badge snobbery is still in full effect. Basic lease-grade 3 series, CLAs, A3/A4s, IS250s, Tiguans, all very popular with the “college grad with a decent paying job and living in an overpriced downtown loft/apt” set. Jeep Renegades and Cherokees, Fiat’s abominations, Escapes, all popular. Some outdoors-on-the-weekends bros with Wranglers and FJ Cruisers share these overpriced parking garages with aforementioned entry level Germans. The newest Civic is well liked from what I’ve observed.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes brand snobbery is alive and well and fashion is alive and well, so as such the CUV is currently trendy, but really the trend has lasted to long to be a fad. Millenial girls may love them, and I agree they do based on what I see them driving, but that’s not the big driver, the average new car buyer is over 50 years old, practicality and features are driving the sales.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Few Jeep Wrangler Unlimited I see are in the hands of hardcore offroader/outdoorsman type. My 20 ft long pickup has seen more offroad use than the one’s my neighbours owned.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Millenial women don’t buy new cars, their moms do and hand them down. Average age of a new car buyer is 51 yrs old and it doesn’t get more average than a CR-V.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Millennial women don’t buy new cars, their moms do and hand them down.”

          That generally might be true but I think Jack and I are speaking of that upper 5-10% crust that can actually has a job/career that allows them to comfortably afford the monthly payments. See my “expensive downtown apt” demographic comment.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I am going to throw this out there, and let the slings, arrows and whatever fly:

            I’ve personally never seen more incredibly cheap lease deals, with credit standards deteriorating (there are more buyers than needed for every auto-backed, securitized loan, at almost any credit-risk, apparently), than right now.

            I am not sure if it’s a unique-to-Metro-Detroit thing or not, but I’m speaking of lease prices on vehicles that are cheaper now in NOMINAL TERMS in some cases, than I recalled back in the mid and late 1990s.

            And I’m not speaking of advertised bait-and-switch deals, either. I’m speaking about many, many people I know of (directly or through people I know who work in the auto industry) who are leasing 28k to 38k vehicles for $250 to $350 per month with nothing down (and a whole bunch of high volume dealers are blowing out the closer to base level CamCordimaUsions for less than $200 per month AND 35kish Silverado/F-150/RAM pickups for not much more than $270 per month).

            I didn’t see lease prices like these in 1995, not even adjusting for inflation. Adjusting for inflation makes it even crazier.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            I talked to the general manager of a Chevy dealership in Macomb County. Cruze LT leases are $59/mo with $1000 down. The Equinox LS is $69/mo with $1000 down. They have employee pricing for everyone right now too.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            My fiance’s college drop-out cousin who works at a Verizon store recently leased a new BMW 320i, switched out of a Civic lease. His family was furious at the move, but I’d say it backs up your observations DW.

            I’m definitely not a leasing kind of guy, but if I could get something nice-ish and new for $250/mo with nothing down, I’d probably strongly consider it.

          • 0 avatar

            That demo buys 3 series beemers and CRV’s around here, well or a Subaru of some type.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            yeah, but those are “low mileage” leases, around 10k/yr. I (and most people I know, which as we know counts as a citation on the Internet) would blow through that in no time.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        I mean, Boomers loved a Falcon dressed up as a sporty car (even with a wheezing straight six), couldn’t get enough of pedestrian coupes masquerading as Lincolns masquerading as Rolls Royces, and cheap small pickups with wagon backs and advertising featuring lots of rocks and mud (just the thing for an adventurous life of taking the kids to soccer practice). We Millennials were taught our Special Snowflakiness by the greatest generation of Special Snowflakes.

        • 0 avatar
          adamjf

          THIS! Exactly what deadweight said. I have to strongly disagree with the poster who said that the average age of people buying cars is 51. Here in Southern Calif, with the easy money dealerships are offering the average age is probably 30. Around my area dealerships are almost giving cars away compared to years in the past. Not sure if the finance companies are just so flush with money that they don’t mind taking losses or figure that everything is going to pot and so lets have fun while we can…

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Is the government still inadvertently promoting “light truck” vehicles by having tougher restrictions on cars?

  • avatar
    gkhize

    Back when they were selling all of those Cutlass Supremes, the assumption was you’d have to replace it in 3-4 years before it went over 100,000 miles because the vinyl top was peeling, the rear quarters were rusting and that 350 with a Quadrajunk had an annoying knock in it somewhere. Point being, our cars turned over a lot more often as a rule so you’d drive that Collonade knowing you’ll move up to the Custom Cruiser wagon in a couple of years when the kids got bigger. Now we drive our cars a lot longer and having 200K or even 300K miles isn’t that unusual. Thus, when we do finally buy a new car, we buy it for our projected needs for the next decade or more and lean towards CUVs and SUVs that are at least perceived to have more room and functionality. Adding to the Camry’s tarnished crown, I’d speculate that a lot more of the people buying CUV/SUVs over a sedan are from the Taurus/Accord/Camry camp than Civic/Corolla/Focus. There will always be people that want a ‘small’ car for economy or as a second car, but for people in that mid-size demographic, you can get a lot more features in a CUV for about the same amount of money and size. On the other hand, it’s probably nothing more than people getting tired of driving the automotive equivalent of a Kenmore every day.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @gkhize
      Pretty similar to what is happening here, SUV’s are outselling sedans. Camry never had the sales presence in Australia as it does in the US

      • 0 avatar
        WallMeerkat

        Same in the UK. The strange thing is about 15 years ago there was a real backlash against SUVs, they were seen as gas guzzlers and dangerously big on UK roads. Possibly a class element to it too, as Range Rovers in urban areas were seen as “Chelsea tractors” (Chelsea being an affluent area of London).

        Something changed, the Volvo XC90 showed that SUVs could be nice middle class transport. Many eyebrows were raised when Nissan announced they would stop making “traditional” cars such as the compact Almera and midsize sedan Primera, and instead build small SUVs – it paid off, the Renault Megane platformed Nissan Qashqai sold like hotcakes (now on sale in the US as the Rogue Sport).

        Soon every manufacturer was in on the act, the UK couldn’t get enough SUV action. All at the expense of midsize sedans, just as Nissan did with the Primera, soon these were being quietly axed as they weren’t selling as well as the equivalent SUV.

        Toyota axed the Camry in the UK in 2004 – big thirsty sedans don’t sell. The mid-size Avensis is on life support, seemingly kept on a drip by taxi drivers who appreciate a quality, reliable, reasonably priced big sedan with a diesel engine.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Your comments are always interesting. Please keep it up.

          As Anglophiles my wife and I watch much Brit TV and have noticed a heavy promotional presence of Volvos in popular shows for a couple decades now.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I don’t think you should discount the age of some of these platforms.

    Camry is old. About to be replaced. Same with Accord. Fusion has been around for awhile too. Mazda, Legacy, Altima, what else have been around years. Biggest new player is what, the Malibu?

    Lets see what these numbers look like when the all-new Camry has been released.

    I don’t think your observations are necessarily wrong, I just think you can’t overlook the fact the Camry is simply old old at this point.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    I consistently enjoy Jack’s material on this site.

    I think part of it might be that features no longer roughly follow size. For a long time, they sorta did.

    When I was a kid, small cars were almost automatically basic cars. Power windows, locks, heck–even A/C, were relatively uncommon on small cars. Larger cars were seen as “fancier” and had options a lot more commonly. One of my first car dealership memories is my parents dragging me along to a VW dealership to buy a shiny new 1978 Champagne Edition VW Rabbit. Despite this car being the “fancy” Rabbit, it had crank windows, no A/C, and a mere am/fm radio with no cassette. 4 speed manual IIRC. It did feature velour seats in an exclusive shade of pale green.

    Fast forward to today. My wife has a ’16 Civic EX-T. This is not a fancy car, an expensive car, or a car that is going to impress anyone. But from the perspective of someone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, this car has a ridiculous level of equipment, and it only cost us a bit over twenty grand. Dual zone climate, remote start, multi level heated seats, touchscreen…stuff that would have been beyond imagination in a Civic of the eighties. Not to mention a turbo engine that provides nearly 40mpg average and can do 0-60 in somewhere around 7 seconds and change if pushed.

    So why move to a Camry or Accord? Not to get “stuff”. You can get all the toys on a Civic, and a Civic of today is plenty spacious compared to my ’82 hatch.

    Now, there would be one thing that might prompt me into going Camry or Accord. If you could get a V6 in a lower trim level. Personally, I don’t care about leather or a moonroof. I would pay for the big engine alone. But you can’t spec a base Camry or Accord with the hot motor…you have to get a high trim with a bunch of other stuff I couldn’t care less about. So there’s no compelling reason for me to go Camry-class over Corolla or Civic class. LE V6 Camry, or LX V6 Accord, I’d be interested. I fully realize nobody else thinks this way.

    Obviously, the whole CUV/SUV thing doesn’t help midsize sedan sales, either. Hip point, image, utility of hatch, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Totally agree. I would love to see something like an Accord Sport with a V6 but both Honda and Toyota don`t want to make their V6’s available for less than around $30K for some reason.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Honda and Toyota don`t want to make their V6’s available for less than around $30K for some reason.”

        I’d be willing to bet that you could negotiate down a Camry XLE V6 to the $25k ballpark at the end of the month. If you’re willing to chance an FCA product, lower trim Pentastar Chargers and 300s abound for very reasonable money. Same applies to Tauri. Silly cheap used, with strong 3.5L Duratec motors.

    • 0 avatar

      Heck, I recently bought a used cargo van – a Ram C/V (Caravan without windows or seats). It’s got keyless entry, a stereo with an aux jack, power locks and windows, traction control,and a shiftable automatic. It even has a camera with a screen in the rearview mirror to compensate for it’s lack of a back window. In a vehicle which is mostly bought by fleet managers who want the cheapest possible thing, because they aren’t driving it.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Other biggie for making the leap is if you need a rear facing infant seat. Wifey and I are trying, and wifey is 5′ 11 with a 33″ inseam I think. I’m in the market for used Camry V6s and am seeing a few LE V6s.

      You don’t even need to go back that far for today’s cars to be impressive though… my 09 Civic EX is about as well equipped as a 1999 Civic EX (i.e. not at all)…. I am impressed if a car has a big infotainment screen and Bluetooth. A mid grade Mazda 3 or Golf feels like a luxury car to me. The compact car market is pretty grim on the manufacturer’s side… a Civic has to be as well equipped as an Accord of the same trim at a 25-30% discount. Stuff like heated seats and Honda Sense don’t scale in cost with the size of a car……

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “In this theory, Americans are short on money and optimism, so they’re making the move from the Camry to the Corolla.”

    That wouldn’t be me. I know budgets are smaller these days, but…ick. I just do not like the current Corolla as a compact car, or at all. I think there are lots of other compact cars I’d consider (Civic, Golf, Cruze, Jetta, Focus, etc…), but if I were committed to the Toyota brand and budget-constrained, I’d find a way to jump up to a Camry. It’s worth the premium. There’s nothing more costly than buying a new car you hate.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Well you have said that you are not suffering financially (not many sub 30 year olds have had an X5) so you were not the target for that statement – doesn’t make the statement less true in aggregate.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I mean, even if I were struggling like that, I would figure out how to move up to a Camry, even if it meant waiting a little while to save up more money. Or buying a used one; they depreciate reasonably quickly, especially the LE versions. I just really dislike the Corolla that much, while the Camry is a darling in my eyes because it is inextricably woven into American motoring, and it continues to excel at being comfortable, trouble-free and spacious transportation, even after all these years.

        Although my pick is the Avalon, which I prefer even to its Lexus sister, the ES, and which is now dropping into sub-$20K territory for early ’13s.

        And thank goodness I had a warranty for that X5, because I just went through the paperwork, and in the short four months that I owned it, it underwent close to $5,000 worth of work at the dealer.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I am sure plenty of people on here told you that you were likely to have an expensive time with your X5. Must be good to have money to burn, and to think you give out lots of opinions on cars – seemingly with less credibility now.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Well, the X5 wasn’t expensive for me and it didn’t burn much of my money (it was for the warranty company). I was expecting *some* trouble, but you have to admit that 23 dealer-related issues in 4 months is well outside the norms of even BMW (otherwise no one would buy them). So there was definitely something wrong with that car. I personally think the wiring harness was bad.

            Also, I think the opinions I give on cars are reasonable. Just because I bought an unreliable luxury car does not mean that I would recommend that same choice to someone looking for an A to B car or reliable family transport.

            But thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Kyree, based on my own indirect (and limited) experience with an E70 body X5, yours sounds par for the course. 50 separate DTC codes on a full scan. A mix of fancy optional electronics glitching out as well as drivability issues (cat codes, VANOS codes). My brother wanted it out of his garage ASAP before some new issue reared its head that the owner might blame on him.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “There’s nothing more costly than buying a new car you hate.”

      And there’s plenty to hate in a Corolla. Damn, is that thing cruddy. I wonder if anyone who’s bought one has bothered to drive anything else (probably not).

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Right? I just think you can do better. On the mid-sized front, there are more-exciting options than the Camry, but it still has its virtues, and makes for a fine car. However, other than the rock-solid reliability, I have nothing nice to say about the Corolla. It’s ungainly (especially with the all-new refresh), drives poorly, and feels cheap inside. It truly does transact solely on the Toyota badge.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Right? I just think you can do better.”

          Yep, right across the Toyota showroom floor…Yaris iA. Came close to buying one.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I do like the iA. It feels a world apart, being a Mazda and all. Even Toyota’s own Corolla iM (previously the Scion iM) is far better; I don’t know why the Corolla itself is so bad.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The current Corolla redefined the amount of back-seat space you can get in the compact segment.

          The Civic has sort of followed suit, but it’s bigger outside. The Corolla is as well-packaged as it is cheaply made.

          I keep repeating it, but this board has a hard time getting it: good packaging REALLY sells. It’s why a good compact CUV of today has more room inside than a midsize SUV of 15 years ago that got half the fuel economy.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    “one of the two recent Star Wars movies where only teenaged girls can be trusted to save the universe”

    Daisy Ridley was 23 when Force Awakens came out, pretty much in the same ballpark as Mark Hamill and Hayden Christensen when they debuted to “save the universe” in their movies.

    But we don’t care, because they’re men, right? Or something like that.

    Even better, Felicity Jones is 33. Can you tell the difference between a teenager and a grown woman?

    Besides, if you’re going to complain about unlikely/underage heroes in Star Wars that argument begins and ends with 10 year old Jake Lloyd in the Phantom Menace.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Can you tell the difference between a teenager and a grown woman?

      Everyone, please put your best and most obvious jokes in reply below here. Bikegoesbaa has obviously set up the B&B to knock one out of the park.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Felicity Jones may be 33, but the character she is playing is, unless I’ve misread the plot summaries, nineteen. That’s some ageist shit right there, brah.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Good strategy. When confronted with your misogyny, fire back with counter accusations. Never admit a flaw, even to yourself. Especially to yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Who’s a misogynist? I love women. You would not believe how much time I’ve wasted listening to women talking just so I could have sex with them. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t put the value of women right up there with PRS Private Stock guitars and the Kawasaki ZX-10RR Winter Livery Edition.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          “Never admit a flaw, even to yourself. Especially to yourself.” I have never seen you admit you were wrong either.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I am frequently wrong to think that by writing comments I can magically inflate the IQs of the people I respond to, making them sufficiently intelligent to understand my words and be illuminated and convinced.

            Are you happy now?

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            VoGo – I agree with some of what you comment on but then you go and be so superior and pompous as to lose any attempt at convincing people. You would find being less snarky might get you a warmer response.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Mike,
            I was wrong to assume my humor would come through on the previous comment.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Vogo, I wasn’t sure if it was humour. Dadpan can be hard to discern in the written word. I apologise.

          • 0 avatar
            mtmmo

            He’s very angry. You’d be too if you were his age working a cube job going home to a wife with a pouch. Toss in an aging unreliable German car and there you have it. Misery to the nth degree. What he said about DR was classless and everyone who read it knows it.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            When Trump called out the 400 lb. guy on a couch doing all the hacking, did you feel special because you thought he was thinking of you?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            it didn’t come across as humor, because you do actually refuse to admit you’re wrong or accept correction.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Fair enough, let’s go with that.

        A few minutes of internet research says that the Luke Skywalker character was 19 in the first Star Wars movie, and Hayden Christensen’s character was also 19 in Episode 2.

        It appears that there is a well-established history in Star Wars movies of both male and female teenagers “saving the universe”. Oh, and 10 year olds.

        So what are you complaining about?

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          Star Wars is a pretty stupid reason to buy a particular CUV?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My Scion-FRS-owning-about-to-get-married employee went out and bought one because of the movie. Seriously. He also thinks VII was epic and thinks the prequels were “pretty good”… he gives me much facepalm. He’s also looking to offload the F-RS if anyone is interested.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Star Wars is a pretty stupid reason to buy a particular CUV?”

            Actually, I wouldn’t buy a CUV if you paid me, but then again, I’m a Star Wars fan, so I suppose you could find a worse reason.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            I grew up a Star Wars fanatic, but through a combination of age and prequels I see it for what it is. I would also never buy a brand new vehicle (or really any product) because of a movie tie in on general principle. Maybe the product used in said movie at a collectibles auction, but not something being pimped to me by MSM.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Oh, I know, 28, and I’d never buy a car because of a movie tie-in.

            Unless, of course, someone makes a replica of a Starfleet shuttlecraft on wheels. I do believe I’d be in on that one.

            Come to think of it, maybe they already have made one…so, on second thought, I’ll pass. Unless they install an LCARS driver interface.

            http://www.partsdirectforyou.com/img/img-medium/chocolate-colour-brown-pontiac-trans-sport-exterior-front-left-side-view-393257.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I dunno, I was pretty close to getting a CLS after binge watching Ray Donovan.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          How old was Alexander The Great?

          How female was he?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Well, he was Greek (kind of).

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            Joan of Arc was 19; Agustina of Aragon was 22.

            Catherine the Great was 33 when she became Empress of Russia.

            So what’s your point?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Whether Alexander was Greek is debatable.

            But he sure liked Greek.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Actually, AFAIK, it still is unsettled question, HISTORICALLY & LEGITIMATELY speaking, as to what ethnicity Alexander was.

            Some claim Greek (Greeks do), others claim Macedonian (Macedonians do), while others claim Turkish (what?) , while still others claim Bulgarian (what what what!!), and still others Carpathian (what?), Serbian (WHAAAAT!?) or Albanian (WHHAAAAT – this one is interesting and opens up a rabbit hole) OR other types of Slavic-mix.

            The most credible (not necessarily completely guaranteed) answer I’ve read/heard is that he was of what would be considered Macedonian ancestry who considered himself as a Greek (spoken word, culture, food, etc.) in the same way that Elagabalus was a “Roman Emperor” who was Syrian (and born in Syria) or Roman Emperor Commodus was actually Gaulish and Spanish (even though born in Rome).

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      To be fair, they *were* portraying teenagers, and moreover, it’s very common in acting for adults to portray characters that are as many as 15 years younger. A lot of Disney Channel stars concluded their tenures as teenage characters in their mid to late twenties, not to mention the Big Bang Theory, whose characters seem to be several years younger than the actual actors, some of whom are past forty.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Came this close to buying a v6 Passat but as a home owner one really does need the utility that crossovers provide,not so much the ease of entry. No worries though I still own my Camaro SS and Lotus Esprit for my commute. Getting into a Lotus is no big deal at my age: I just fall into it:-).Its the getting out that keeps my chiropractor gainfully employed.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Hayden Christensen is a terrible actor and I don’t think people would praise Mark Hamill for much of anything had 1977’s A New Hope and 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back been such international successes (in a world of fewer moviegoers and fewer theatres no less). Neither has appeared in a real movie after their Star Wars careers, although to Hamill’s credit he appeared on stage and was a successful voice actor in the 90s.

    Daisy Ridley’s performance was equally as terrible as Christensen’s and at least on par with the horrible casting choice as the villain (Kylo? maybe). Felicity Jones on the other hand put out a solid performance in what was easily the best Star Wars film since Jedi despite the awful intentions of the writers. I don’t know why casting is such a challenge for the Star Wars franchise, but I do know in the original film casting decisions were predicated by the lack of budget. Since about 1980 there is zero reason to cheap out on casting, Star Wars is not SNL, its should not be viewed a platform for launching careers.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I think this Harrison Ford guy is going to be a star.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That scruffy looking nerfherder? No way.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Ford to be will always be Bob Falfa, rolling his car while racing John Milner.

        But the I was around in ’62. Grew up when putting a few dollars worth of gas into the car and cruising Yonge Street was considered a good way to spend a Friday night.

        And was old enough when Star Wars came out to see it for what it is, a badly written/scripted story, with some abominable acting but a decent plot and great special effects for the time. In other words nothing particularly special. Much preferred Taxi Driver and other classics of that era.

        I even prefer the Mel Brooks version.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Hamil > Ridley >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Christensen

      He’s especially bad in AotC. Which we probably should just consider never existed.

      Also: in films I-III, Ewan McGregor seems to be the only actor that isn’t completely ruined by Lucas.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is sound logic but I’d have to watch VII again to 100% agree (maybe if it gets a fan edit?).

        EDIT: What about Sam Jackson?

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          II was SO BAD. And Christensen was so bad in II. Take out the “I hate sand” thing, and you are still left with a dumpster fire.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Sam Jackson did fine in those movies, but he’s not really SAM JACKSON. He’s yoda’s sidekick. He also doesn’t really get any significant air time. If some random guy was Mace Windu, no one would care. Mace Windu is cool because Sam Jackson is cool. And Sam Jackson is cooler in other films than he was in Star Wars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            All good points.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “And Sam Jackson is cooler in other films than he was in Star Wars.”

            None moreso than “Django Unchained.” The scene were he explained to hanging-upside-down Django where he was being sold off scared the absolute snot out of me. I actually felt like running.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “Also: in films I-III, Ewan McGregor seems to be the only actor that isn’t completely ruined by Lucas.”

        I thought Kenny Baker did a good job.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Don’t tell that to Anthony Daniels (C3PO). He basically said that a monkey in a trashcan could have been R2D2. Well, until Kenny died. Then everyone had to be nice.

          • 0 avatar
            bikegoesbaa

            “e basically said that a monkey in a trashcan could have been R2D2.”

            That’s almost certainly true.

            But most actors couldn’t, although I’d love to see Marlon Brando try.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I’d love to see Marlon Brando try.”

            Assuming he didn’t show up to shooting weighing 300 pounds, and mumbling, like he did in “Apocalypse Now.” Might have been hard to shoehorn him into the R2 “can”.

            That story, along with others, was part of the documentary about the making of “Apocalypse Now,” called “Hearts of Darkness.” If you find it, watch it. It’s priceless…almost as good as the movie itself. The production of “Apocalypse” was a complete psycho circus. I do believe it kind of ended Coppola as a filmmaker.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Clones” had some good stuff in it, though. Just watching Yoda get his Jedi on was worth the price of admission.

        And that last “Begun, the Clone Wars have” scene is 100%, prime time awesome for showing off that new 4K TV and 7.1 surround system.

        (Nerd fact: Jackson had “Bad Motherf**ker” imprinted on Windu’s lightsaber.)

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          I don’t know what your talking about because that movie never happened.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Necessary, it was, as Yoda would say.

            If “Clones” proved anything, it was that Lucas can direct the living hell out of an action sequence. But the script was pretty much unforgivable.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            It was necessary because of all the Star Wars movies, it explains the most. It has a lot of content. If you take all the content ideas and actual scenes in the film and wrote them down on a piece of paper, I would say, “that is going to be a great f@cking movie”. But then….then I watch it.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Christensen can actually act. Watch “Shattered Glass” sometime. He’s no Daniel Day-Lewis, but he’s not bad.

      The Star Wars prequels made any number of Oscar-worthy actors (Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Liam Neeson, and Ewan McGregor to an extent) look like hacks. Bad scripts that delve into the romantic disadvantages of sand and how it gets everwhere will do that.

      Lucas’ big mistake was assuming he can write. He can’t. Even the original “Star Wars” was chock full of amazingly bad, stilted dialogue. Episodes V and VII were both written by Lawrence Kasdan, who is an excellent screenwriter (and a pretty fair director in his own right).

      (And Mark Hamill did the Best. Joker. Voice. Ever.)

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        McGregor was the only “good guy” that was mostly unscathed. Ian McDiarmid and Christopher Lee relied on monologues or being cool bad guys. They are both too awesome to be bothered by George Lucas’ terrible script.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Scary fact about the prequels: apparently the scripts were actually doctored prior to production by Tom Stoppard, the playwright. Rumor has Episode III was the one he worked on the most…and not coincidentally, it was by far the best of the bunch.

          It could have been far, far worse, believe it or not.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          Were. Christopher Lee is dead.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            One of the few actors in history whose real life was more interesting than any of his movie roles. Although Scaramonga was pretty bada$$.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Pouring out my 40 for Mr. Lee.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Scaramanga…YESSSSSSS!!!!!

            “Man With The Golden Gun” is such underappreciated trash.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Now Tattoo could have played R2D2. With style.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            “Man With The Golden Gun”

            Pool scene, Japanese Girl, Bond wearing prosthetic nipple. That was the lighting bolt that gave me a thing for ladies of Asian extraction.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You are not alone, Principal Dan.

            Although if you ask me in front of my wife, I’ll tell you it was the moment I laid eyes on her.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            “One of the few actors in history whose real life was more interesting than any of his movie roles.”

            That reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s appearance in The World at War, where he’s identified only as “James Stewart, Squadron Commander.”

            http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/10/25/article-2476037-18F679A400000578-264_634x335.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @VoGo
            Christopher Lee’s real wartime experience was amazing.. He was far from being an actor who had to pretend what it was like to kill people.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “They are both too awesome to be bothered by George Lucas’ terrible script.”

          If only other cast members had similar levels of awesome.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “If only other cast members had similar levels of awesome.”

            Yep. Even an actress of Natalie Portman’s caliber can only do so much with a character who is mind-bendingly stupid.

            To wit:
            1) You’re a political bigwig from a royal family who can have any man you want.
            2) So you choose a whiny twit with mommy issues.
            3) The whiny twit informs you that said mommy got killed by a sandperson, so he mass-murdered their whole damn village.
            4) Therefore, stay with the whiny, now mass-murdering twit and his robotic hand (well, maybe he had some special skills with that robotic hand…)
            5) And have his baby.
            6) In secret.
            7) And then, after he tried to Force-choke you to death, declare your love and belief in him…while you’re dying in childbirth.

            S**t, Jar Jar was smarter. He (assuming he WAS a “he”) would have been out at 1).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            8) All while uttering the worst dialogue in an A movie since Hudson Hawk.

            “maybe he had some special skills with that robotic hand”

            Oh I imagine he needed them.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Maybe not. The Force has a strong effect on the weak minded.

            Anakin (waving hand): you admire my manhood, Padme.

            Cue ’70s porno music…

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I think its more that:
            a) George Lucas really never understood women
            b) he was trying to shoehorn a credible story between #2 and #4, which forced some really odd storytelling.

            Oddly enough, Rogue 1 functions perfectly as #3.5. There was always that line in #4 when Leia talks wistfully about the sacrifices made to get those plans, and Rogue 1 tells that story.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            R1 has the luxury of, story-wise, not needing to be directly tied to the prequels. It just needed to make sense one way.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            A movie which just needed to make sense?

            A refreshing concept.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, we DID find out that ol’ Darth apparently has a special connection with the lava planet where he was “made” in Ep III.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Yes, but it doesn’t have to connect the plots.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So lets make films which connect other films in a certain sequence which is the opposite of the sequence they were actually written in.

      • 0 avatar

        Shattered glass is a fucking abortion.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Thanks guyz. I enjoyed this Star Wars thread more than the original post. For me, the first 3 episodes *never happened*.

      But to tie things back to cars:

      1. Episode IV – Camry: A New Hope
      2. Episode V – The CUV/SUV Strikes Back
      3. Episode VI – Return of the Camry?

    • 0 avatar
      macmcmacmac

      What, no love for Corvette Summer???

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W9pmT6JTO4

      It’s a fiberglass romance!

  • avatar
    Paragon

    Trust me, Jack, it wasn’t me. I’ve never had the keys to a Camry. Never even been in a Camry. But I still see a lot of them on the road. Even in the rust belt you see plenty of them from the last 20+ years still on the road. So, you understand, I’m pleading the 5th!

  • avatar
    Chan

    When I buy another 4-door sedan again, it will be for style. RWD, preferably V8-powered, and looooong. I also have a mid-engine sports car not because I want to use that last bit of performance envelope a WRX can’t provide, but because I like the style and sound.

    In other words, I’m a poseur.

    For everyday family duty, tall hatchbacks and small CUVs have the short length and easy entry-exit that are my wife’s favourite characteristics. That latter point is really the killer app–my wife and I don’t really care about the view so much as how unnecessarily difficult a normal sedan is to duck into when hassling with kids and gear. Plus the small footprint makes it easy to park.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Here’s another theory (forgive me if it already appears in the comments; I’ve not read them all):

    Since everyone now drives an SUV or truck, you need an SUV or truck to see the traffic in front of them. We engineers call that positive feedback…
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I’m going to guess it’s a blend off all the suspects. I don’t think many peopel ‘want’ a Camry. Even you Jack chose the better thing by getting a coupe over a boring sedan. I don’t agree that a sedan can do anything better than any other car can. Especially not a mid-size sedan. I can understand how some people can live with one, especially people who don’t care much about looks, and who just want something basic that looks like an unmarked police car or a taxi.
    We are not exactly talking about an M5, or a 56 Chevy sport sedan here. The camry is not even a bluesmobile (but I guess it could be one with some mods)
    As for constantly blaming CUV’s, I guess most people who buy them actually think they are good looking or fashionable. I bought mine because it was literally the smallest and lighest car I could get that would fit 3 adults and 2 car seats.
    According to one writer here, I should get a frikkin van already when I had one child, but back then I was driving coupes.

  • avatar
    duncanator

    Last month, my baby boomer mother (64) got rid of her older car and bought a Nissan Rogue, Rogue One edition. She bought it because it had better visibility and she liked the black wheels with the black paint. As you mentioned, it was easier for her to get in an out of compared to her car.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Jack, if you’re still here, make me feel beter by telling me a movie with a strong female lead, or even main character that you like. I even recomend the entire Alien series if you’re fishing. Star Wars never was any good, but some are a lot worse than not good. I was a 13 yr old boy when the first SW came out, but had read enough SciFi to hate it as crap. Blade Runner saved mr Ford from being known for Han. I ramble.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do believe people are looking at what is causing the change in vehicle tastes in a subjective fashion and focusing to narrowly. Vehicle style changes are caused a broad set of circumstances and variables.

    1. Technology,

    2. pricing vs income (economics),

    3. regulations/protection/handouts/subsidies (government meddling) and

    4. infrastructure.

    These are the main players that determine vehicle culture.

    The Camry was a more refined vehicle than competing compacts. As technology and design improved the smaller vehicles became more popular with highly refined ans capable CUVs & SUVs.

    Pickups don’t sell like they used to as the CUV/SUV can do what 75% of what pickup owners expect from their vehicles and CUVs & SUVs are cheaper to own than a pickup, handle well and have a better ride.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    The Camry isn’t nice looking, and that’s its biggest problem.

    I almost traded the family’s Mazda5 for a used Camry recently. My wife, the primary driver of the car, preferred the Camry’s numb but serene driving experience. We ended up keeping the 5 because my wife couldn’t get over the Camry’s ugly looks both inside and out.

    A ’10-’11 Camry might be the perfect used family car for cheapskates like me who’d rather blow their money on another motorcycle. Resale isn’t as high as with an Accord, and you don’t get much more reliable than the Camry. Sure some of the I4s have oil consumption issues due to low-tension rings, but Toyota has extended its engine warranty to like 175,000 miles for that issue, and it is fully transferable.

  • avatar
    Chan

    There is no reason to buy a 4-door sedan-style car for space efficiency. Due to the lack of D-pillar space, a sedan is indisputably less spacious than a wagon/hatchback/CUV assuming the same car length.

    People still buy Camrys because they identify with the nameplate and its reputation for usability and reliability, not just because it is a sedan and has X litres of boot space.

    Also, nobody buys a Camry because it looks “better” than another car.

    The rise of CUVs and their more friendly ergonomics will remain gradual until they start outselling the once-traditional sedan equivalents.

  • avatar
    maranello

    I’m always perplexed at the rampant disdain for wagons exhibited by the car buying public who readily embrace CUV’s/SUV’s Essentially the same vehicle minus a couple of inches ride height and about 500 lbs of ballast.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’m always perplexed about people who think everyone else should value what they do.

      • 0 avatar
        maranello

        Is that what you got from that? No one is under any obligation to hold what I value in any regard whatsoever. It was just an opinion on the rationale of the choice being made. Critique it, if you like, on that basis.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          yes, that’s what I got from it and you’ve only re-inforced that. snobbery gets you nowhere.

          • 0 avatar
            maranello

            Since this is a site for car guys, the question still stands. What is it about a higher centre of gravity and that extra road hugging weight that holds sway over superior vehicle dynamics. Soccer moms in their wannabe Land Rovers get a pass.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            More sidewall and suspension travel is superior vehicle dynamics on the terrible roads in my region!

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “More sidewall and suspension travel is superior vehicle dynamics on the terrible roads in my region!”

            Yea verily.

            His ideal ground huggers would just break their little ankles and skin their chins around here.

            Their only hope would be getting stuck in 6″ of snow before they could hurt themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Paragon

            In response to maranello, yes, I fully agree. My reason for choosing ONLY a low center of gravity vehicle is for those times that I have to make rapid evasive maneuvers for the fools that are out there “drivin’ like they stole it.” It’s not just the interstates and highways. It’s even on city streets. Many people drive way above the speed limit, and instead of just using the brakes to slow down, weave in and out, passing on the right as well as the left. If you’re like me, it’s not unusual to see people pass on the shoulder. And, in the city, I’m constantly amazed at the number of people whose intent is clearly to blow through red lights and stop signs, and only slow down when at the last minute realize they can’t blow through as they planned. It’s like every day no matter whether it’s the highway or city streets, it’s like for some people it’s simply some kind of a race! Driving like that, I’ll bet some people need new brakes in 20K miles or less. I keep wanting to ask somebody what’s really going on, because clearly I never got the memo when things changed.

            So, back to the OP, the lower center of gravity vehicle seems to work best for me, thus my preference. YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “Critique it, if you like, on that basis.”

          I say, isn’t that rather too forgiving of your man’s effrontery?

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Can we expect your input the next time the B&B decide small cars are absurd and anyone who buys one is a fool, JimZ?

  • avatar
    daviel

    Terrific essay. I see all three theories in play.

  • avatar
    fozone

    I suspect all the aforementioned factors are playing into it. Particularly one-car ownership — you want to maximize utility. For a 2-car family like ours, we can do the traditional American/Simpsons approach to car ownership — one sedan, one wagon-esque vehicle to get destroyed/haul trash/kids/ikea.

    This wasn’t just theoretical for me, Mrs. fozone needed a new car last month, and chose a loaded Camry XLE Hybrid.

    For the money, it was much more car than the RAV4. Quieter, smoother, almost Lexus-like. 40+ MPG. And totally, totally numb. But she doesn’t care — “it feels like driving a cloud”. To the majority of non-enthusiasts, that’s a good thing.

    When I let her know it was at the end of its model cycle, she took it as a plus — because it meant we could get a deal, and that all the bugs have been knocked out of it over the past 4 years. A totally practical approach, I guess similar to buying a refrigerator on closeout at Home Depot.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    It’s not because of Boomers riding high, it’s because of Boomers taking their last ride.

    People who saw sedans as the default automotive choice aren’t gonna be around forever. No use crying or complaining about it. No use blaming younger generations who replaced them.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The Rogue sales numbers depress me, the marketers and manufacturers were rewarded for bad behavior.

    I’m left to guess regarding the three theories. CUVs provide a lot of what people liked about By-God SUVs in the 1990s but they do it with a lower sticker price and far less fuel consumption. I don’t know if it goes beyond that.

    I’d rather equip myself with a sedan/hatchback and body-on-frame SUV or truck and just skip the CUV middle ground.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    Why are we already writing the obituary of a car that, despite being in it’s sixth model year and being the frumpiest, chintziest, worst driving car in its segment, still retained the sales crown to the tune of almost 400k units in 2016?

    If the continued growth of CUVs means the manufacturers can no longer phone it in a shrinking midsize segment with milquetoast products like the Camry, I call that a victory. Most of the current midsizers are depression on four wheels, with garbage interiors in the volume trims. More pressure on the segment means maybe the volume players (i.e. Honda, Toyota, Nissan and maybe Ford and the Koreans) will have to make their sedans not suck so hard.

    And can we please stop this myth that there’s anything dynamically interesting about any of the mass market sedans? I’ve had three Accords and while they’ve always been good cars, excitement was never a part of the ownership experience. If you think an Accord is “fun” to drive, you’d probably think an ’85 Caravan is fun to drive, too. Midsize cars are a “compromise” segment. Cars for people that can’t get away with something smaller/sportier/impractical any longer, but can’t (or won’t) make the plunge on a more utilitarian and/or more luxurious ride that fulfills all their possible needs/wants. This probably explains all the ridiculous rationalization from people like Jack (and me in the past, if I’m honest) post purchase about these ho-hum cars that, deep-down, they never really wanted.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Maybe I will change my opinion once I have bad knees and hips, but I don’t see most CUVs as all that easy to get in and out of. The seats are a bit too high and the door sills are too wide. In some cases there is also an aggressive seat bolster to climb over. I find it easier to fold myself down and into my relatively low, small sedan.

    To me, a Kia Soul is the sweet spot for ease of entry/exit.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Definitely the packaging. Compacts are now big enough to serve the same role that midsize sedans used to, while “midsize” sedans can feel uncomfortably large with the added size and high beltline. It doesn’t help that many also have a sloping roofline, which leaves you with a large vehicle that can’t comfortably fit people over 5’9″ in the backseat. To be fair, the Accord and Camry don’t make that mistake.

    It’s also impossible to overstate how little most people care about what they drive. While Jack obsesses over what a car says about your testosterone level, the vast majority are shopping for a tool to get people and stuff from A to B. They don’t notice increased road noise until it reaches Honda Fit levels, or a harsher ride until it is on par with an unloaded HD pickup.

    CUVs aren’t my pick, but I find it increasingly hard to judge people who do buy them.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    TIL Jack doesn’t know the difference between a compact and a subcompact.

  • avatar

    The Camry can’t be killed. It has been the best selling car in the country for 12 years. Who killed the 200 would be a better article.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    “When our heroes are teenaged girls, why wouldn’t we be satisfied with a nice, safe, mommy’s-basement car like the RAV4?”

    Heh. Because some of us still have functioning gonads and a sense of both pride and purpose.

    Besides, the last thing the Mary Sue fandom snowflake neuter contingent needs is a car.
    No, what those people need, is helicopter rides…..

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Rey is 19, played by 23-year-old Daisy Ridley. Jyn Erso is 22, played by 32-year-old Felicity Jones. It’s never a bad thing to fact-check the lede. What did they have to with cars, again?

  • avatar
    Tomas De Torquematic

    This is a late comment but I’ll weigh in by saying Australian fleet buyers are Camry’s prison bitch. A casual observer will see that this wide, brown land won’t let the sun set until everything you reverse into or trip over is a Camry Cop car.

  • avatar
    lostjr

    I don’t think the fad toward steeply raked A pillars and low roofs is a good thing. I drove a Matrix for 12 years and love the ease of entry/exit, and the practicality. I can’t get in and out of an iM. The topic is Camry, but I think the principle applies.


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