By on June 9, 2015

2016 Honda HR-V

They’re potent, popular and can’t be stopped. Everyone wants to buy one. Every dealer wants to sell one. Just like the crack-like epidemic of SUVs in the ’90s, the subcompact crossover is the blue meth of today.

Here’s what happened overnight.

2016 Honda HR-VBored Yet? U.S. Subcompact Crossover Sales Jumped 95% In May 2015 (Good Car Bad Car on Kinja)
May was a great month for the HR-V and many of its rivals.

1288840260658991018This Has To Be The Coolest, Weirdest Home For A Slant 6 (Jalopnik)
“The 3700 was basically just a slightly modified Spanish Dart (which sounds like a euphemism for something violent or gross).”

AR-306089974Saturn was a loser for years — but who knew? (Automotive News)
Dealer “files suit against Deloitte seeking $13.8 million in compensation for his post-2005 Saturn investments.”

driving-licence_2975873bDVLA website crashes on launch day leaving motorists facing car hire fiasco (The Telegraph)
“DVLA tells motorists to destroy the papers from June 8, as they are no longer needed,” but website crashes and leaves license holders stranded.

Costco-Car-SalesCostco Sold Nearly 400,000 Cars Last Year (AutoGuide)
“That figure is twice as high as it was back in 2008 and this performance puts them on the back bumper of AutoNation.”

car-transport-six-ring-01-660x346Car Transport Trucks are Big in China (CarNewsChina)
“The enormous vehicle measured at least 25 meters long, and transported only a wrecked Porsche Cayenne when I met it.”

73058vau-insignia_ct_0539Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer axed in the UK (Autocar)
“It has been dropped due to high re-engineering costs of fitting the new ‘Whisper’ diesel engine.”

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53 Comments on “While You Were Sleeping: Subcompact Crossover Meth, Rare Cars Are a Drug and Saturn Dealer Wants His Money Back...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    The more scorn you pour, the more cute-utes score.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This Saturn article is very interesting.

    “Saturn was structured as a wholly owned subsidiary of GM, much like a privately held company, and did not reveal its earnings or losses.

    The suit claims that the circular’s financial information focused on a legal entity within Saturn known as “Saturn Distribution Corp.,” which existed only on paper, without employees or business infrastructure.

    The distribution entity was created to act as franchiser for Saturn Corp. And although it recorded some income from financial activity, it did not reflect the true condition of Saturn Corp., Goodman alleges”

    “Similarly, Edward Toporzycki, *Saturn’s CFO from 1997 to 2002* and now GM’s executive director of finance, said in a deposition that he did not know the financial condition of Saturn as a whole [!?!] while involved with the subsidiary. [emphasis added by me]

    “Do you know if Saturn Corporation was solvent during the time period you served as a CFO/vice president of Finance for it?” Morganroth asked Toporzycki, according to a transcript of the deposition.

    “No. No. No, I can’t say,” Toporzycki answered.

    “You don’t know one way or the other?”

    “No,” he repeated.

    “Did you ever have any communications with anyone while you were serving as CFO/vice president of Finance [at] Saturn Corporation as to the solvency or insolvency of Saturn Corporation?” Morganroth asked.

    “Not that I recall,” Toporzycki said.”

    “The nub of his complaint is that the accountants should have been aware that Saturn, as a wholly owned GM subsidiary, was a perpetual money-losing venture — a revelation laid bare in late 2008 as GM faced up to its larger financial problems.”

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Suing GM is fruitless because the dealer’s claim would be against the “Old GM” (Motors Liquidation), which has no money.

      Suing the accounting firm is clever because it does have money and it presumably has an E&O (errors and omissions) insurer that also has money. That might pressure Deloitte to settle the case.

      The dealer’s argument is bogus — the alleged strength of the franchisor subsidiary is not relevant to the broader business issues that would induce the New GM to avoid keeping the brand some years after he made his investment. But that it doesn’t mean that it won’t succeed in getting to a payoff.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I took it to mean Deloitte issued an opinion on the financial health of the subsidiary which was not accurate which this man used as a basis to invest in his dealerships. Since they were the accountants in charge, they were aware of the financial picture and depending on what their opinion said, misrepresented the true facts of the matter. Maybe it is just a Hail Mary ploy to get into deep pockets though, I’m not a lawyer.

        “March 2005: Deloitte, as auditor, gives an unqualified opinion on Saturn’s annual franchise offering circular, creating the impression that Saturn is financially solid, Goodman alleges.”

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Right. That’s a bad argument.

          The subsidiary itself was probably fine. While a weak subsidiary would be a reason to avoid an investment, a strong one isn’t a compelling reason to make the investment, as the strength and future prospects of the store do not come from the subsidiary. The parent company that makes the cars and owns the franchisor is what counts, and it had slim margins in 2004 and losses in 2005 when this guy was building his stores.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      …he did not know the financial condition of Saturn as a whole [!?!] while involved with the subsidiary.

      How in hell can you pass that off as plausible deniability, as CFO? I don’t think you can. And SURELY he signed something with figures on it which can come out as discovery.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Do you guys think these small utes have a future or are they a passing fad that will go away if gas stays low?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I see them as a progression of the current CUV fad. Hopefully they will just keep getting smaller until they are so small they disappear. Seriously though until the next station-wagon-repackaged-as-anything-but-a-wagon these things won’t go away.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I think the crossover is the new default car, and the small crossover is the new default small car. Styling will change over time, but I think the higher ride height and bigger wheels will stay, and will eventually be adopted by everything that’s not overtly a performance car.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Big wheels on small cars are a big problem for drivers in America’s fast decaying infrastructure. If there is one fail I just cannot tolerate, it is this one.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “I think the higher ride height and bigger wheels will stay”

        I agree, dal, the ride height should stay around simply because our roads are only going to get worse. But watch CAFE keep whittling down greenhouses until 8″ or 10″ of ground clearance coexists with a Camaro-esque roofline.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        They aren’t going away. If anything, large sedans are going away, as wagons already did. I’m (still) car shopping to replace my 3 series, and the only reason for me to even consider a sedan is price. An Accord is much cheaper than anything its size in CUV form and a Fusion more refined, especially used.

  • avatar

    There are some cars that fail for stupid reasons and some that just fail because they are ahead of their time.

    The GMC XUV is one of those cars that “should have” succeeded and “might have” if American’s could keep up their mindless-consumerism. I always saw it advertised as being able to carry a furniture-piece or big screened TV wherein everything else was too short or small.

    Women love these cars because they get a feeling of “power”, have enough space for their kids and their junk – and they can’t afford a full-sized SUV.

    Those who can afford a full-sizer go with the RX, JGC, ML, X, Edge, etc.

  • avatar
    RS

    Small CUV’s fix many issues with small sedans. They provide a little utility and versatility with better ergonomics.

    Consumers will buy hatchbacks in big numbers..as long as they aren’t made like a sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yeah, but they add one big issue: a much higher sticker price for what amounts to the same vehicle, with the same mechanicals, just puffed up a bit so soccer mommies can think themselves cooler.

      No sale.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I was quite surprised at the value of the 2016 FWD 2.0L 6-speed CX-5 my buddy bought recently. It was well-optioned with everything a person really needs for within a couple grand of the Mazda3 that I bought new eleven years ago. Of course, most buyers would add another $9000 to that for AWD, leather, automatic, bigger engine, some frivolous electronics, and 19″ wheels (like my other two buddies that bought them as wife/family vehicles last year!). But this one, along with his wife, lean much further in the conservationist/minimalist direction and preferred the economical and fuel efficient option, providing all the same utility.

        I honestly hadn’t even seriously thought about such a vehicle until right before they bought it. It seemed like too small of an engine for such a vehicle, and why would Canadian Rocky Mountain or prairie residents suffer with the slow acceleration of 2WD in winter in a vehicle that offers optional AWD. But then we noticed the price and fuel economy difference and it seemed like a bargain. On the test drive, the 2.5L’s automatic felt sluggish and dull while the 2.0L 6-speed was more engaging anyway, even to the wife. She was replacing a ’92 Camry V6 5-speed with 300k miles. Now I’m wishing I had one instead of my Mazda3 to handle our cratered roads!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Out of curiosity, I checked TrueDelta for our Rav4 that was purchased last year versus a Camry. To keep things apples to apples, I selected a FWD Rav4 for the price comparison even though we bought an AWD model. Our Rav is the Limited with blind spot, cross traffic, etc, so that is how I spec’d it out on TrueDelta. A 2.5L Camry XLE w/ Nav, BS, CT, JBL, etc runs $32k. A 2.5L Rav4 equipped the same way stickers for $30k. Feature adjusted, the Rav4 is still $1280 cheaper. Since we wanted AWD on at least one of our vehicles, the Rav4 was the obvious choice over a Camry.

        A Corolla similarly equipped would have definitely been cheaper. It is also smaller is every interior dimension other than rear legroom versus the Rav. The Corolla also has a 1.8L instead of the 2.5L. The biggest thing is that the 13cu.ft in the trunk on the Corolla is so, so, so small versus the Rav4. Since the Rav is serving as the family vehicle, it makes sense to spend the extra money on the extra space and the 4WD. Compact CUVs are great jack-of-all-trades vehicles.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    I think all these auto makers should thank Subaru for jumping on their coattails of the small suv market.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Eh, looks like CUVs (and their mini-me variants) are the new norm. A good friend of mine’s wife flat out refuses to even consider something like a minivan over any SUV or CUV. It’s purely aesthetic. While I prefer small wagons (currently running a 2004 Lancer Sportback), I have to admit that the HR-V is at least somewhat appealing in that I could get one with a manual and (with the seats folded down) could still do doggy-rescue work. Probably more useful than a CR-Z…lol

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Pay more and get less with your stagnant wages. ‘Murica.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Mystifies me too, 28. Then again, the whole idea of a $45,000 pickup truck is also a massive head-shaker, particularly when you consider that the biggest load most ever carry is a black lab in the back.

        Like the saying goes, no one ever went broke undererestimating how intelligent American consumers are.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I don’t even know what you get with a $45k truck, especially a $45k half ton truck.

          I can option up a Ram 1500 with 4 wheel drive, a V8, and all the options I want and not even hit $35k…

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            Key phrase there is “options I want”.

            Build a 4×4 crew cab truck with leather interior, and any packages necessary to replace any cheap-ass black plastic exterior trim with chrome or body color. $45k isn’t far off from it. That said $45k for a full-size truck is a bargain when you think what else costs that much.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          As Nogo said, a fullsize truck can be had for cheaper than some of these small crossovers, with much more servicibility, and much better resale.

          I bet one could find a Ram somewhere with 95-98% of all availible features for 45k. Or that could get you into a cummins diesel 4 door with a good number of options. Really shows just how overpriced these crossovers are when you compare how far your money goes on FS trucks to how much the same gets you in the tiny crossovers.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I believe the Mazda CX3 is the nicest one, but if I know Mazda and their products, they won’t sell all that well!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Just for argument’s sake – look up the CX3 and the Mazda 3 hatchback on their website, compare them mechanically, dimensionally and otherwise, and give me one decent reason aside from AWD (which you pay a LOT for) and a slightly higher cargo capacity to buy the CX3.

      Don’t get me wrong – I actually LIKE the CX3, but this whole craze of buying what amounts to a far more expensive variant of a compact is mystifying to me.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      The Mazda is probably the worst from a practical “utility” stance, barring the Juke.

      MotorWeek, USAToday, Car just did CUVs and Mazda came in last, save the Ford Escape which Ford apparently refused to supply:
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/05/26/challenge-picks-best-compact-suv-for-28000/27806149/

      Mazda doesn’t do so well w/ utility. As for Ford, could it be they thought they wouldn’t do well either.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Interesting that their opinion of the CX-5 is the exact opposite of Car and Driver’s. These guys complained of numb steering and poor brake feel and gave it last place, while Car and Driver praised the steering and brakes as best in class in both comparos they ran, giving it first place overall in each.

        There had to have been something seriously wrong with it. I was playing around on off and on-ramps a few weeks ago with my buddy’s 2016 2.0L FWD 6-speed CX-5 that he recently purchased as his wife/family vehicle and the steering was certainly not numb. Steering force built nicely with tire load and I was able to easily find the optimal slip angle and induce hints of throttle-lift oversteer on the cloverleaf. Not quite as much feel as my old Mazda3, but better than most vehicles I’ve driven. The rack is nice and quick, too. I did no hard braking but didn’t notice any deficiencies in the brake feel.

        Jack had great respect for its steering:

        “This is one of the best-steering front-wheel-drivers I’ve ever experienced, and you can rest assured it stands head and shoulders above the rest of the class. The CX-5 can be finessed through fast roads by thumb and forefinger on the wheel and it never fails to inform and reassure.”

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/trackday-diaries-in-which-our-author-falls-in-love-with-a-cute-ute/

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Fifteen years ago, we automotive enthusiasts hated the SUV craze because SUVs were heavy, wasteful, body-on-frame trucks that were hard to see around, and were never used for off-road driving.

    Compared with those SUVs, today’s subcompact crossovers are lighter, much more fuel-efficient, unibody-constructed non-trucks that are smaller and easier to see around.

    Remind me why I’m supposed to hate them?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      1. People like them because they think they ARE trucks like their predecessors. So in other words, buyers are fake and lack critical thinking skills. I know news flash, right?
      2. SUVs offered true 4×4, CUVs by and large simply do not.
      3. Real SUVs were actually truck capable, even if their capability was used 10% of the time, it was there.
      4. Some of the SUVs were user serviceable, try servicing a Volvo XC90 under the shade tree.
      5. Conventionally powered CUVs are not much more fuel efficient than the SUV predecessors in real world terms.

      • 0 avatar

        I would not agree with #5 in my experience. My old XJ cherokee used to average 20 mpg a rental escape got 27mpg they are about the same size. My wife has a first gen durango averages 14 mpg new rental explorer again about the same size 22 mpg.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          @28 cars
          regarding point #5, if you compare apples-to-apples, only very recently has this started to become true with 6,8,9 speed trans, CVTS, engine advancements. We owned a 2002 V6 Explorer and it got about 16-17city/22 highway and now own a GMC Acadia that gets…the same. truck vs. crossover.

          @mopar4wd I assume your XJ had the 4.0 inline six and the escape had the 2.5 4cyl, or 2.0 or 1.6T. MPG difference not surprising there, plus significantly better aerodynamics in the Escape.

          first gen Durangos are gas hogs even among peers of similar age. probably a V8? The old 3.7L wasn’t exactly efficient either… New Explorer…rental probably the 3.5L V6 or 2.0turbo. big difference in engine size and engine efficiency, rest of the vehicle notwithstanding.

          • 0 avatar

            True enough but the interior dimensions of said vehicles line up and in both cases the performance is greater. It was a 2.8 v6 XJ by the way and a 4.7 Durango. I guess the real test would be one that currently on the market what does a 4runner pull vs a highlander?

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        I’m going to disagree with #5; that’s patently false. Our Terrain gets better gas mileage in the city than an old Explorer or S10 Blazer got cruising at 60mph with a tailwind.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I don’t hate CUVs. What I can’t figure out is why consumers would choose to buy vehicles that are, in essence, puffed-out versions of far cheaper compacts or midsizes that cost a lot more money up front, and more to run. I don’t get it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Because the cheap compact conveys a cheap, bargain-bin image, while the CUV, at least for the moment, conveys success. People don’t want to be seen as poor or cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        @FreedMike I can answer that with one work: SPACE. That’s why. Both real space and perceived space. CUVs offer substantially more cargo space, legroom, headroom, etc than a compact/midsize sedan/wagon/hatch that’s dimensionally similar in size. Find me a midsize sedan/wagon/hatch with 40″ of rear leg room. Find me one that can haul home a new dishwasher. Find me one where I can throw in a child’s stroller and exersaucer with no need to disassemble. The difference in operating costs is minimal. The CUV may use somewhat more fuel; but its often cheaper to insure. Then there’s the perceived space by having relatively lower beltlines and higher rooflines than a car. High beltlines will keep me away from cars until they go away.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “People like them because they think they ARE trucks like their predecessors.”

    Hey, that’s me! I’m always referring to my CR-V as a truck.

    “Aw dang! Lef’ mah chew in th’ truck. Lemme see your Beech-nut, cousin.”

  • avatar
    Redshift

    People like them because the population as aging. My parents had to sell their Accord because my increasingly arthritic father simply can’t get in and out of a modern Sedan. I’m helping them car shop now, and the primary criteria is seat to hip height. He needs to basically be able to open the door and just sit.

  • avatar
    210delray

    My wife and I are sticking with sedans and hatchback cars. No SUVs/CUVs for us for the foreseeable future. We’re empty-nesters who don’t camp or tow. Cars get better fuel economy and handle better. We’re limber enough to get in and out, and besides, today’s cars are taller than they were in the 70s and 80s. Finally we have one of those Clinton-era vehicles — a 1998 Nissan Frontier for hauling larger loads; with only 86K miles on it and the bulletproof 2.4-liter 4 and 5-speed manual, I expect it to last for a long time.

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