By on July 21, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Cruze Front 3/4

Automakers are busy re-jigging their product mix to better meet the crossover hunger of an ever-shifting buying public.

Chevrolet is adding a new crossover to their lineup — according to “sources” — that shrinks the Equinox and puts a new, three-row model between it and the Traverse. Mazda has a new cute ute in the forum of a jacked-up Mazda2. Same with Honda’s HR-V which, by all accounts, is a massive hit out of the gate. Toyota has their new subcompact utility on the way. And Buick — oh, Buick — has finally rectified the Encore’s asthma with a decent puffer.

However, there was news about a new Cadillac ATS Midnight Edition yesterday and we didn’t run it. That’s because nobody, or at least nearly nobody, cares about sedans.

Timothy “Sales, Sales, Sales” Cain says it month after month using his fancy charts. Mid-size sedans are taking a beating. There are winners in the category — the Chrysler 200 and Subaru Legacy come to mind — but their successes are very situational. For the 200, for instance, it probably has more to do with the lack of a mid-size Avenger in the same dealer lot.

While analysts and journalists talk about the “crossover craze” as if it’s a passing fad — like two-tone beige/gold on forest green ’90s-esque paint schemes — I think this crossover migration is now the new normal. Chevrolet currently has five sedans if you count the soon-to-be-gone Chevrolet SS, a car that nobody buys because GM doesn’t even bother to market it beyond sticking the two letters to the front of a swarm of oval-racing silhouette cars. Take that away, Chevrolet has the Sonic sedan, Cruze, Malibu, and Impala — and guess which of those are selling like hotcakes right now? (Hint: I’ll let you use zero fingers to point to the winner.)

Just like our parents, or maybe even their parents, who transitioned away from the traditional family hauler that was the American station wagon; just like we, or maybe even our parents, adopted massive SUVs in the ’90s that drank gasoline like a local varsity cheerleading team attacking well shots after a great home game — then unceremoniously ditched them for hybrids; just like we took up the hybrid torch, ditched the engine altogether, and accepted electric vehicles into our lives … the lowly sedan, a staple of American road-going salesman and fresh-faced professionals looking to put on a good show in office park parking lots across North America, is being phased out in favor of America’s new favorite family car — the crossover.

Should we be sad? Maybe. Probably not. As long as we still have Chargers, I’m happy.

What do you think, Best and Brightest? Are the sedan’s days numbered?

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193 Comments on “QOTD: Is Death Of The Sedan Nigh?...”


  • avatar
    Onus

    I can see why. The new sub compact crossovers offer every feature today’s buyer wants all in an affordable package. Good ride quality, high h position seating, wagon style cargo area, good fuel economy, and a price the average wage worker can afford without breaking the bank. Plus if you live in the snow regions the available AWD is nice for people who refuse the buy snow tires.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “people who refuse the buy snow tires”

      …are Darwin bait. But Darwin’s dead so the OEMs get to have them.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I do question the better ride, especially with subcompact crossovers. My experience with them is limited to the Chevy Trax, but that thing rides awfully. There’s something to be said for adequate suspension travel, but then the compromise usually seems to be stiffening up the ride for the sake of control, or have something wallowy that amplifies the body movements from the higher centre of gravity.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I agree. Crossovers do a lot of things well but they tend to have compromised rides. To get a crossover to turn more or less like a sedan despite the higher weight and COG it has to be stiffer. They are often surprisingly stiff.

        • 0 avatar
          skwat

          Yes, I have the new RAV4 (ltd w/ 18″ rims) and the ride is unnervingly harsh on long trips. I love the functionality of the vehicle and it’s perfect around town, but once my job starts taking me on longer road trips I will have to trade it in.

          Are you aware of any small to mid size crossover that offers a great highway experience, even if it’s only half as good as the Impala or Avalon?

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Supposedly the midcycle refresh of the Rav4 will bring the softer suspension of the older models back except for the SE versions that will retain the current suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            @skwat – BMW X3. Get the 35i, and you can cruise comfortably at 100+ MPH for hours on end (not that I’ve ever done that…)

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Toyota had stiffened the ride across their line-up in an attempt to inject some “sportiness” – the Camry, Avalon, Corolla, etc. have all gotten criticisms for their ride (the refreshed Camry supposedly haven been softened).

          • 0 avatar
            JLGOLDEN

            Driving an average 25,000 miles per year in mixed “suburb to downtown” commute and open highway blazing, I simply HAD to choose a new Impala LTZ for my comfort and sanity. The trunk is HUGE, though not exactly a cargo-hauling facsimile of the Kia Sorento that I traded-in.

          • 0 avatar
            skwat

            Maybe CUV’s can’t yet replace a good highway cruiser. I was actually cross-shopping the Rav4 with the Avalon and Impala (wild, I know) and I went with the Rav4 since it was great on the test drive and, with the Rav’s curb weight heavier than the Avalon’s (3610 vs. 3538 lbs), I figured it would do well on the highway. I discovered I was very wrong on my first 6 hr road trip. If Toyota fixes the 2016 suspension I’ll trade in for it, otherwise I’ll have to look for a good highway cruiser.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Plus if you live in the snow regions the available AWD is nice for people who refuse the buy snow tires.”

      And even nicer for those who do buy winter tires and can really enjoy its advantages.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      They are ridiculously useful. I have a 06 Vue, and I’ll probably never go back to a sedan for a daily. I get mid 20s with the Vue, and even in FWD trim I can easily traverse 3-4 inches of snow with its junky all season tires.

      Crossovers are a better built mousetrap.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        “Crossovers are a better built mousetrap.”

        The same way stilts are a better built mousetrap than driving shoes for crossing streams and offering a “higher walking position.”

        As long as speed limits continue to be set such that UPS vans with 12 inch lifts and blown shocks suffer no meaningful dynamic deficiencies compared to a GTR, it really isn’t too surprising people figure they might as well get the added space of the stiltvan. Just another side effect of the official dumbing down of Americans to make them more pliable.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “an ever-shifting buying public.”

    Cute. As if CUVs are just another fad. You’ll get many takers in this thread.

    • 0 avatar

      The market moves like tectonic plates. There’s the slow shift, like the one we are seeing to crossovers that started some 15 years ago. Then you have earthquakes, like the sudden rush back to pickups and truly large SUVs because gas is cheap and everyone is making money again and there’s parades in the streets and streamers are being shot into the air at the end of every trade day on the floor of the NYSE.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Yeah, well you just wait till Mr. Gay-Guy-Fawkes-Avatar gets here. He sez CUVs are just the latest craze in nail polish.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        Great analogy. I am hoping that one day an “earthquake” will shake the market and make compact/subcompact sport coupes popular again like they were in the 90’s

        I can dream, can’t I?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      CUVs are the default vehicle of the next decade or two. It’s a long-term shift toward higher seating position and more hatches (provided those hatches come with a higher seating position).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I disagree, its a trend just like the personal luxury coupe and the SUV. Eventually it will subside and a new trend will begin.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          28-Cars-Later is one of the smarter posters on here and he’s right about this. These vehicles are simply not truly necessary for the majority of their buyers, and they are expensive. Gen X and younger does not have the money for such luxuries.

          Unfortunately, I think the next trend will be cost-driven, not enthusiast-driven. If I had to predict, I’d guess that CUVs will eventually come to be seen as materialistic and uncool and A and B segment cars will take their place as our country’s primary mode of transportation. These cars will not reinvent the manual or be performance orientated. They will be cheap to buy and operate, and many will be driven via car sharing programs in urban areas.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I agree that as the nation becomes more crowded and urbanized, and driving steadily (although very slowly) becomes a smaller part of more people’s lives, we will see a slow transition to cheaper, more fuel-efficient cars with smaller footprints.

            But I disagree that those cars won’t be tall. I think the shift to taller cars is permanent. The people have spoken and they like hip height at close to standing level. We’ll see more B-segment CUVs and hatches that look more like CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Gen Xers and Millennials have the cash for CUVs. They are buying them now.

            I also don’t like this future where I’ll be sharing an A-segment car with someone.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the complement.

            Interesting take on the future.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            The sweet spot of Gen X is in our late forties, We have money. Carry on.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            A B-Segment car is practical enough for most families, it just isn’t big and showy like a CUV. And that’s probably going to be the impetus of the CUV’s demise.

            A little Nissan Versa Note HB gives me about 40 cubic feet of cargo space and is tall and easy enough to load. A CR-V gives me about 70 SF. A nice bump but at what cost? A Note will only set me back 14k MSRP. A base CR-V with nothing on it will cost 24k. Probably more like $32-35k the way most Americans buy them now.

            Does the average Gen X couple with 1 kid Really need that extra 30 CF of space for 10-20k more? I have my doubts, especially as real wages continue to decline.

            @bball. Yeah, I hear ya. I’m no CUV lover but I doubt I’m going to like the next trend much more if my prediction comes true. At least it’ll be more efficient, as I’m sure I’ll like snow in July due to global warming even less.

            @clive – You save some of your dot.com earnings? Good for you. Unfortunately, the reality for the majority of Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials is much different, and bleaker. The last group is also showing disturbing (to the auto industry) signs of being very environmentally conscious and inclined to live in dense urban areas and not even own their own cars. They bike to work or, when a car is needed, call Uber or go to a nearby Zipcar.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            My point was that you keep stating that ‘Gen X’ can’t afford new cars.

            By saying that, you are saying that most Americans between the ages of roughly 40 and 55 can’t afford new cars and that just isn’t factually correct.

            Gen Y? They are in their thirties now. They are in the prime family starting stage and probably won’t be flocking to sedans.

            Millenials? People just starting out in life can’t afford new cars, stop the freaking presses.

            If you want to try and use generational demographics to make a point, you may want to understand them first.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In a given year, the used car market is considerably larger than the new car market. It has been that way for ages, and it is going to stay that way. Nothing to do with millennials; used cars are cheaper.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            @clive — Here:

            http://wjmc.blogspot.com/2012/07/us-real-working-wages-stagnate-since.htmlt

            http://www.thestreet.com/story/11480568/1/us-standard-of-living-has-fallen-more-than-50-opinion.html

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/07/31/wages-arent-stagnating-theyre-plummeting

            There’s of course a lot more to the bleak picture than this but this is really all I need to show you, in case you haven’t had any economics classes. Most of the hit has come from the decline in manufacturing but the service sectors are becoming increasingly crowded and also subject to outsourcing.

            Gen Xers may be buying cars now but they’re increasingly leveraged. And low interest financing and cheap leases are what’s holding it up. But student loans are expensive, new cars are expensive, housing in communities with good schools is expensive, gas is expensive, taxes to carry the increasingly reliant are expensive, everything is expensive. This all has a breaking point. The psychological breaking point will likely come soon.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Argh. Most people don’t participate in the new car market. They don’t need to in order for there to be a new car market.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          This “fad” has been going on for 20 years.

          An entire generation of kids has ridden around in elevated seats. It would seem weird to many of them to start buying vehicles that don’t have them.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            An entire generation of Boomers rode around in low cars and decided they wanted something taller. No reason it couldn’t swing the other way, especially since most trends of the past 40 or so years seems to be driven by people buying whatever their parents didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The era of low-slung cars was probably an aberration. Aircraft design from WWII and the space program influenced car design for a time, but that momentum is gone.

            Generally, people prefer to be taller than shorter. They also prefer to feel stronger than weaker. Height provides the illusion of being stronger or less vulnerable.

            Height also better serves the fattening of America. There are surely elements of the population that are buying trucks, crossovers and other taller vehicles because they don’t fit in a passenger car.

            Don’t fight the trend.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            Boomers gravitate towards taller vehicles (CUVs, not trucks) because of their bad knees, hips, and backs. That is one of the main reasons why they are so popular. Yes, getting old is no fun.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            It probably seemed weird when Boomers first started buying glorified trucks en masse. I’m not saying we’ll go back to basically sitting on the road, but it’s not odd to think the next generation of buyers will reject what their parents owned, historically speaking (so, fewer crossovers at some point?).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There is a fundamental difference between the car market of today and of yesteryear: Women are now more important.

            Women now influence about 80% of car purchases. They tend not to be into flash, but they are into security.

            Being inside of an elevated box feels safer, particularly when the road is filled with other elevated boxes. Whether it is or not is immaterial, perception matters.

            It is also wrong to presume that cars are the default purchase and there has to be some special reason to buy a taller vehicle. With today’s tastes, the checklist seems to work in the opposite direction — you need to have some special reason to go for shorter.

            These are not short-term trends, but fundamental shifts that are more entrenched. Women aren’t going to lose importance, nor will concerns for safety.

            Oh, and we aren’t getting any thinner, either. As noted, some of the market for trucks is for hauling excess freight, and I don’t mean in the bed of the truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            You mean like how a generation of women don’t want to buy the minivans their mothers owned, no matter how equally big and tall they are?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I shouldn’t have to point out that moving from one tall boxy vehicle (minivans) to another tall boxy vehicle (CUVs) is actually consistent with my point.

      • 0 avatar
        alexndr333

        CUV’s are preferred in places like the USA and China where most drivers don’t really care about the driving experience. I call it “the passenger behind the wheel” market, which is most successfully exploited here in the US by Toyota / Lexus. The big, floaty 88’s and Marquises of old are now the big, somewhat-less floaty Enclaves and Santa Fe’s of today. (Our flirtation with real drivers cars lasted about twenty years, as BMW has recognized.) Given the choice between a vehicle with a high-seating position, comfortable entry / exit, sizeable road presence and cargo space versus one lower to the ground and quicker around corners, Americans are clear. We want comfort and convenience, not sport.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The shift happened with the 1990s SUVs.

      CUVs are SUVs with the fuel economy and offroad-poseur disadvantages mitigated. A least for the way most people use their SUVs.

      After owning my first grownup-oriented hatchback (a Prius), followed by an Escape and a Sienna, I’m not likely to own a car with a trunk for family transportation.

      As for rentals, well, having a locker for you stuff can make sense there. But I don’t own rental cars.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Build a sedan that’s worth a damn and see if anybody buys it. It doesn’t have to be a V8 firebreather, heck I think Fiat/Chrysler builds a good example in the way that it sells the Charger – V6 and then V8 in several states of tune, RWD with optional AWD. Priced from less than $30,000 to over $70,000.

    • 0 avatar

      Why is it these people don’t understand that BIG CARS for not-a-lot–of-money SELL ???

      Building stupid smaller cars with crappy 4-cylinders and calling them “sedans” just because they have 4-doors. DOES NOT WORK IN MURICA.

      Chrysler will move EVERY Hellcat and probably over 90% of their SRT… And the AWD V6 models will move too.

      Crossovers are fake-SUV for people who can’t afford a real SUV or don’t want the ride height.

      Crossovers give us vertical height instead of the length we used to get from wagons when wagons were full-sized-sedans with a hatchback: ie DODGE MAGNUM.

      The 200 and Subaru do well because THEY OFFER AWD and DON’T COST A LOT OF MONEY.

      Why is this hard to understand?

      A lot of people need 4WD, need a BIG CAR, but don’t want a crossover.

      Problem is, these morons aren’t building big-enough-cars with powerful-enough-engines for not a-lot-of-money.

      Except Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        “Building stupid smaller cars with crappy 4-cylinders and calling them “sedans” just because they have 4-doors. DOES NOT WORK IN MURICA.”

        Camry says hi.

        Although I have to say that just about every sedan that ever turned me on has been discontinued. As far as new cars go, only certain hatchbacks and coupes do anything for me.

        • 0 avatar

          #1 The CAMRY is larger than ever – and gets bigger every single re-iteration.

          #2 How many sales has the Camry lost to newer cars with AWD? You’ll never know that.

          #3 One of the things people don’t seem to get is that The success of the Camry in this country is partly due to the BANKS backing Toyota who’ll literally give a loan to anyone with a pulse. I’ve seen absolute credit risks get Toyota loans – only to see them get repoe’d less-than-a-year-later.

          #4 I believe there is a concerted effort to ensure Japanese motors succeeds in this country (as well as Hyundai Kia) as a way of funneling money to both countries in preparation for the war with North Korea.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            #1 as are all its competitors.

            #2 not many. Camry is still a top seller in the snow belt. The ONLY AWD offerings in the segment are the Legacy, 200 and Fusion…. which are all beaten by FWD only entrants.

            #3 Lol, as the resident MOPAR shill you have no room to talk about shady financing to help sales.

            #4 Keep your goofy conspiracy theories to yourself. Most of the “foreign brand” mainstreamers are built here in the good old US of A…. UNLIKE YOUR BELOVED HELLCATS.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “BANKS backing Toyota who’ll literally give a loan to anyone with a pulse.”

            This from a Mopar guy. Priceless.

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            #2 a lot. I like the new XSE but would never even consider one. Ford made the smart move by offering AWD on the SE Fusion, not just the Titanium.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “BIG CARS for not-a-lot–of-money SELL ???”

        If they are CUVs, yes.

        If they are sedans, no. There are tons of really good, relatively cheap large sedans out there. Chrysler 300, Genesis, LaCrosse/Impala, Avalon — all legitimately great at what they do. They sell poorly and are selling worse every year. Hellcats and SRTs are tiny niche products.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Sedans and crossovers share platforms, so they’ll keep building sedans. There will be enough demand to support some sedan sales.

    But what will probably happen is that some of the minor brands may bail out of the segment (not enough volume for them) and the US will stop getting its own unique versions of the midsize class sedans as lower volumes encourage the automakers to move to global designs for the sake of amortizing costs.

    I’m not sure how the latter would ultimately shake out, as Americans and the Chinese want versions of these that are too big for everyone else.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. The minivan isn’t dead, but only a few companies are still selling them. We’ll see the same with sedans, the marginal models will fade away.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m still wondering how they’ll address the differences between markets. GM just saw what happened when they tried to globalize the Malibu, and it wasn’t good.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Sedans have been dead to me for nearly two decades.

    The question is, rather, how long CAFE will permit CUVs to be any ergonomically different. CAFE is the American superhero dedicated to crushing greenhouses on every vehicle.

    Whichever segment sells the most gets its attention. And like America in Viet Nam, CAFE is mighty and utterly wrong.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    For most people, they just want to get to point A to B in a cost effective way. They would give you a blank stare if talked about a Hellcat. It’s all about safety, enfotaintment options, etc. The crossover meets this demographic’s needs very well.

    The dream of the 90s may still be alive in Portand, but it’s SUVs certainly are not. Today’s crossovers get decent gas mileage, drive car-like enough, and the only trade off is cost. And that’s nothing that some clever 72 month financing tricks can’t help solve (don’t think about how hose numbers too long folks, you certainly are not getting ripped off)

    One angle that hasn’t been mentioned is fleet sales. Are we seeing a similar shift to crossovers in fleet sales? I don’t know about you but last time I was at a car rental almost all their vehicles were, eh, cars. As in sedans. I wouldn’t be surprised if you looked at retail only sales the trend is even more pronounced.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I think one aspect could be that the some families only need (or can afford) one vehicle. If you can’t have a sedan + truck to cover all your transportation needs, then you’d want a single vehicle that can do it all. A sedan is too limited for single vehicle duty; yes it has four doors, but the trunk space is very cramped. Versatility is the name of the game with a single car. It has to be a crossover, a wagon or a van (or a full-sized truck for some people). I think this is in part why sedans are less popular.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The wagon market in the US had peak market share in 1959. So American interest in wagons peaked during the Eisenhower administration.

      It’s about the height.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        It is about the height. Part of the reason is that American/Japanese sedans mimicked European sedans and kept getting lower and lower. With rising door-sills, some of them are downright claustrophobic (Chrysler 200 is a cave).

        Check the seat cushion height from a 1978 Thunderbird. I guarantee that it’s probably significantly higher off the ground than most modern sedans and closer to something like a Subaru crosstrek. Yes, a Camaro sat low, but regular cars didn’t. Volvo had it right with the S60 cross country (even if it can’t sell anything it makes). If Honda or Toyota did that to the Accord/Camry it would sell like hotcakes.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          “If Honda or Toyota did that to the Accord/Camry it would sell like hotcakes.”

          Crosstour and Venza?

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          American cars started getting lower in the late 50’s, long before the Japanese were a presence here.

          On the rare occasion I see a 70’s car on the road, I’m amazed by how low they are, especially the Cadillacs.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      Crossovers having more trunk space than their sedan counterpart is the second greatest fallacy in auto marketing, right behind AWD makes you safer in snow climates.

      • 0 avatar
        Veee8

        My brother in law has the Q5 Hybrid, with the batteries under the rear load floor there is little to no storage for families, I used it once to go north and found it useless with the 4 of us in it(The Q3 even less useful). He and his wife have 3 kids and a small dog so when he has to go the cottage he takes the MDX not the Q – or both cars, he would be better served with a van (Sienna AWD would work quite well) but prefers fashion over function…I guess he could buy a Thule roof rack but I’ve done it and don’t want to load/unload a vehicle that way.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Noone really buys luxury cars like the Q5 for practicality. Doubly so for the hybrid versions.

          The MDX is an exception only as long as you accept the premise that Acura builds luxury cars, rather than cars that holier-than-thou Honda Execs have determined upmarket buyers ought to consider luxurious. The Japanese credit bubble burst 25 years ago. Once ours follows, chances are the Hondamen will return to being annoyingly correct about things. But until then, their instincts are just calibrated too far into the future.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It really depends on the crossover. Some, like the Cherokee and most luxury-brand crossovers, are a joke in terms of space. Others, like the RAV4 and Forester, are really excellent, and do have more space than sedans.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          We have a Rav4 as the family ride. It gives up a little width to a similarly priced/spec’d Camry, but the flexible cargo area is worth the tradeoff. We’ll put our daughter’s seat on the 40 side of the 60/40 split and have tons of extra space for whatever we need to haul.

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      I agree. We’re able to have two cars, so it’s a Mazda 5 and “my” TSX, but if we could only have one it would be something like a Forester or CR-V because they’re just so darned useful. And this seems to be the trend in the Philly metro area, with single-car families gravitating toward CUV’s which, unlike the big SUV’s, are actually good to drive and park in the city.

      And Reino, you’re right about the trunk space issue to some extent. A buddy of mine learned this with his wife’s Audi Q5, which has less “trunk” space than his Jaguar XJ when both are carrying four passengers. But the CUV’s come into their own when folding the seats and hauling larger stuff that will never fit in a sedan. I can haul narrow eight foot boards in my TSX, but most big and/or boxy stuff requires the Mazda.

      I’m skeptical about the death of the sedan. The configuration’s market share may decrease, but we’re a long, long way from its extinction, partly because of Americans’ disdain for hatchbacks. As a result, most small non-CUV’s will probably be available as sedans even when the hatches rule in the rest of the world.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    CUVs are mainly only bought by families and older folks. All of my single friends drive sedans, coupes and even wagons. Most of the dads at my job drive sedans (or pickup trucks). Sedans still have a huge market in men and young single people who want a cheap ride.

    CUVs are taking precedence because the developed world is either aging or transitioning from singledom to families.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “CUVs are mainly only bought by families and older folks.”

      I would suggest one other group: anyone taller than first-generation Hmong-Americans.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “CUVs are mainly only bought by families and older folks. All of my single friends …”

      This. It’s certainly easier to overlook cargo and passenger capabilities when you don’t have to carry any.

      But that being the case, where did all the coupes go?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Sedans killed the coupe. The practicality added by those rear doors is very underrated.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Unfortunately, that also goes for reg. cab pickups, the Ultimate Coupe.

        • 0 avatar
          hachee

          I’m not sure about this. Sedans have been around a long time…it’s not like they came after the coupe’s heyday and people thought wow, now this makes more sense. Maybe as cars got smaller, the sedans made more sense.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Coupes and sedans have both been around since open cars began getting tin roofs. My favorite pre-war body style is the ’30s “business coupe”. Car got bootay!

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            This. The popularity of coupse rose and fell with fashion. There were always sedans available in the coupe heyday of the 70’s, but the coupes or 2 door sedans were still very popular.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Sedans used to be taller. The early cars had wheels that were similar to wagon wheels, and you had to climb into them. They were kind of like fancy horse carts but without the horses.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          Fixed rear side glass is what killed the coupes. That – and the death of the pillarless hardtop.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      In most of the families I know, the dad drives a sedan, or in a few cases, a coupe, and mom drives a crossover or van. I know zero crossover only families.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        Single women drive crossovers. Depending on her income level, it is either the Mazda CX-5 or the Lexus RX350.

        Single men drive sports coupes. Once he has a family the sports sedan is the best compromise.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Wrong and wrong lol. How old are you?

          • 0 avatar
            zamoti

            I have a sedan as does my wife. There’s just something undignified about a sneaker with wheels. If you’re going to an event or someplace where someone sees what you’re driving (though admittedly, that doesn’t happen often), it is a bit embarassing (in my opinion) to drive something that is some sort of silly fake off-road oriented caruckthing.
            I had to drive the boss around the other day when he came in from out of town. After dinner we went out to the parking lot where the other fellow we were with offered to drive. He had a EX35 and I drive a BMW 545 and the boss picked my car. That’s just one instance but I am but one voice among the many.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      +1 for older folks. My parents (in their 70s) just ditched their Sonata for an Escape. Easy of entry and seat comfort where the reasons they went to a CUV as there was nothing “wrong” with the Sonata.

      I’d say most people would be fine with a sedan but marketing (and keeping up with neighbors) means a CUV is a must have these days. Everyone thinks they need a SUV (its big = its safe) but gas prices made the CUV a better deal.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        @JMII, I dunno. We have two sedans, a CUV, and a MINI. The CUV is the one that does most of the people and stuff-hauling duties. Sure, I could stuff my Home Depot bags ‘o softener salt & mulch, bikes, etc. in the trunk of one of the sedans, but why?

        If I had to only keep one, it’d be the CUV. It does everything “well enough”, from hauling dirty crap without lowering the rear seats to running a quarter mile in 14 seconds. My guess is that quite a few American singles/families have found the same.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The myriad ways in which the CUV is a better car have been done to death. But what I don’t understand is why while the Camcord segment drops off year on year on year, the Civics and Elantras of the world, which carry over all of the sedan shortcomings and suck in backseat and trunk and powertrain besides, grow.

    I can understand settling at $16 when you can’t swing the real Accord at $20 but a lot of those crapboxes come loaded! Giving up 600cc under the hood and a foot off the backseat and trunk in exchange for a sunroof and bigger wheels is a headscratcher to me. Three boxes take 190″ to work.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Compact sedans tend to skew towards young single buyers. When they trade up they’re going to cuv’s instead of sedans.

      If I was 6 inches less tall I’m sure all my needs could be met by a Civic SI. Having sat in one, I know I would always feel the walls closing in. :(

      • 0 avatar

        Well, it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy with the styling that automakers have been using lately. Virtually, all of the compact sedans on the market (Dart, Civic, 2016 Cruze, Focus, Corolla, Impreza…) have tadpole-like styling that is clearly aimed at younger, teenage and early-twenties people. And even though I’m in that demographic, I don’t want my car to scream it. That’s one reason I really like the outgoing Cruze, as well as the Jetta; they buck that trend.

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        This comment brought to you by the letters G,T, and I and the numbers 2,0,1,and 5.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      When I bought my barely used Civic LX I had a hard upper limit of $15k, owing to my employment conditions at the time and hard nosed budgeting. If I was in the same situation now, I definitely would have bought a midsizer, or even a compact crossover. I agree, the gap in comfort, performance, ride and handling between a compact and midsize sedan is definitely large enough that making the jump is worth it if you can afford it. To some people the options and niceties matter more, but I find the longer wheelbase and bigger motor to be worth more than a sunroof or leatherette seats and alloy wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Compact sedans strike the sweet spot and IMO are much better values.

      There are two things to realize. 1, “midsize” sedans are fcking huge. A Camry is really like an old Avalon size wise. Young people don’t want to deal with all that. 2, “compact” sedans are pretty much where old midsizers were, size wise. As my screen name indicates I owned a few Accords. All of the 92-93 vintage, though they were the same size as the 94-97s that followed. I have an 09 Civic sedan now, and for all intents and purposes it’s the same size. Same wheelbase, same width, same interior dimensions, and a similarly sized but much more usable trunk…. all while being nearly a foot shorter in length, and ~200lb lighter similarly equipped. Performance is about the same but gas mileage is much better too. So compact cars definitely strike that “right size” balance that midsizers used to, and they offer similar performance and refinement to those older cars while being significantly cheaper to buy and operate. If you can put up with the lower refinement and build quality it’s kind of a no brainer.

      I mean when I was shopping for my current car, I really looked into getting another Accord of the same year. Performance was not much better (if at all), fuel economy was worse, and the car was huge. Made no sense, considering 90% of my driving is to/from work by myself. The Fit would have been more practical, but it was too slow for me. Civic was just right. And I get the feeling that’s the case for a lot of people.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Attempts to fit a modern rear-facing or convertible carseat behind a 6 foot driver told me all I needed to know about why midsize sedans are so big now and why some compacts are swelling. I used to root for compacts until I needed to cart kids around in these giant contraptions, then I found the midsize sedan is the sweet spot. I like the extra power from the larger 4-pot engines, and midsizers can be had for quite cheap considering the price wars between top-sellers.

        I actually find the current Jetta 1.8 to be the best compromise. An engine with real beans, a backseat that can handle the carseats, and tidier exterior dimensions.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          As a childfree guy, I’d have never thought of the carseat factor. That’s got to be a profound reason for small sedan bloat.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Yeah, it seems frivolous to have five inches or whatever of open air between your adult rear passenger’s knees and the seatbacks until you try to fit the new Britax Gigantor back there, then you understand. Today’s carseats are absolutely enormous. If you don’t have a carseat to take with you car shopping, borrow a pro basketball player instead.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I can fit those giant car seats into a compact or subcompact sedan. I’ve done it with both a Fiesta and Fiat 500 (mostly because I wanted to see how ridiculous it was). I am just glad that I don’t have to do it. If I want filthy toddler shoes touching my ears, I’ll do it driving something I want to drive, like a Mustang or Camaro.

        • 0 avatar
          a5ehren

          Oh god, this.

          Even in my Mazda 6 (last gen), I can’t have the driver’s seat where I want with a car seat behind it. Those things are absurd.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The car seat factor is why the Corolla is selling so well. The new Corolla is essentially an old Camry, and it has an amazing, limo-like back seat given its outside dimensions. It’s really a no-compromise value if you don’t care about how a car drives, which many people don’t.

          For what it’s worth, I drive a Forester, and when I’m in the driver’s seat it is in contact with my kid’s infant seat (which is behind the driver because of our parking situation). Any smaller and I would have to drive in a scrunched-up position.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            We ended up buying a Santa Fe to be our family hauler specifically because of this. We sat in every mid-size SUV and CUV at the auto show last spring, and the Santa Fe had by far the most 2nd row leg room, with the added pluses of a 3rd row for future expansion or schlepping duties. I can bring the driver seat through it’s full range of motion and just barely make contact with our son’s rear-facer.

            between that and the styling (which my wife loved) it was a no brainer.My only complaint is a crappy cupholder situation in the second row, but that’s small potatoes.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Thanks sportyaccordy. I agree with your assessment, and personally feel the same. I think that despite some good arguments from the B&B (when do people fail to mention “but you coulda had a midsize for that money”) midsize sedans for people like me simply DO NOT EXIST. I constantly think what i’d drive next (former Jetta, current A4) and I never consider a midsize sedan as they are too big. Price does not matter. Fuel economy does not matter. Back seat does not matter, as the European side of my family fit in small cars while the American one has its own big cars. Coincidentally that also explains how I ended up with a Jetta. It’s a better highway car than other compacts, especially Japanese ones that appear better suited to suburban locales. I try to bike to work, so most of my driving is weekend trips and visiting family three times a year.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “Compact sedans strike the sweet spot”

        I disagree. Show me a compact sedan and I’ll show you it’s hatchback brother that is superior. Then I’ll show you it’s CUV cousin that is often better as well.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Good grief. Spare me the zealotry. My wife has a Rabbit. The hatch hole is pretty small, as is the cargo hold. It’s not much more practical than my Civic. Just last week she had to rent a U Haul to pick up some desks. So the implication that a hatch turns a sedan into a U Haul is kind of ridiculous.

          Not to mention the Golf is one of the better ones. Most of the hatches like the 3 or the Elantra are not much more cavernous than their sedan counterparts at all. Let’s get away from this contrarian self-victimization. Hatches and wagons are not that great. How many days a year are you loading up your cargo hold? Let’s not be ridiculous.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m not a hatchback fanatic. I like sedans. I do think that compact and ESPECIALLY subcompact cars are better as hatchbacks.

            I wasn’t proliferating the idea that a GTI is a substitute for a Tahoe. I just disagree that the compact sedan is the sweet spot for sedan ownership. I still think it’s midsized and above.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Subcompact cars are not very useful, aside from the Fit and Versa.

            And based on what the market says, compact sedans are indeed the sweet spot for sedan ownership. Though the point about the baby seats is legitimate (though to counter, as I said, folks buying compact sedans are not concerned with baby seats). And again according to the market the ideal midsize sedan is a crossover.

      • 0 avatar
        Sals

        Sporty~ Agree with Civic v. Accord /mid v. compact. Just traded off our ’05 Accord and bought a ’15 Civic. Parks easier, handles nicely, roomy enough, fuel economy better. Our ’12 Escape makes a comfortable enough commuter and is handy for carrying a little stuff now and then. I guess we like a bit of both worlds sedan & small utility. We did drive the ’15 Fit and it was a terrific little car but the Civic was considerably more polished.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I think we’ve come to the conclusion that for the vast majority of the companies out there, they dont need a sedan.

    They need a small hatch based CUV, a real CUV and a SUV.

    That pretty much covers all markets and all social classes and 99% of profit centers.

    I can see the traditional entry luxury BMW 3, Mercedes C, Audi A4 sedans being eat up by their respective CUV cousins.

    Unless you flat out cannot come up with the $20,000 to get into a basic small CUV then yeah, you’re gonna have to slum it in econocars.

    Even for me who likes RWD sporting sedans and coupes, the taxation benefits of using a CUV as a business expense makes financial sense.

    I’m not gonna convince the taxman I’m hauling building supplies and tools in a Chevy SS or Charger or an V8 sedan really.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, for particularly good tax benefits, you’re looking at larger and pricer SUVs…like a full-sized BOF SUV (Tahoe, Expedition), a mid-sized, semi-rugged RWD-based SUV (X5, Cayenne, Grand Cherokee), or at least a full-sized FWD crossover (GM Lambdas, Explorer)…and each of those tends to be expensive and mostly not in a price-point at which people will buy a comparably-sized sedan.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Having spent last weekend driving my SO’s mother’s 2013 Rav4, I’m constantly reminded just how darn competent the modern compact crossover is, and how little it gives up to sedans in return for the vaunted “command” seating position, the utility of a tall wagon body style, and the very real benefits of AWD. In direct comparison to the contemporary Camry SE, which I drove the same weekend, the Rav rode rougher and accelerated just a smidge slower with a bit more noise, but it also has 38cu ft of cargo space with the seats up (actually more than a Grand Cherokee) and 73+ with the seats down, again, more than the aforementioned midsize SUV. Mileage wise the Rav gets 27-28 in mixed driving, the Camry has a lifetime average of 32. We crammed in two folded dog cages sitting upright in the rear footwells and had the dogs in the rear seat in the Camry, it works but is a pain to load. The Rav4 would have been a breeze in comparison.

    Cost wise, I think the Camry SE was 20k when it was bought new, the Rav (a Limited) was more like 28. I bet an XLE AWD could be had for about $25k.

    So there you go, a very fresh real world anecdote for how a sedan and competing crossover from the same brand stack up. For an increasing amount of consumers, the added utility of the crossover and objective wants like a higher seating position outweigh the cons of slightly worse performance and fuel economy and somewhat higher price.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      It’s not “slightly” worse performance if you’re talking about a V6 equipped midsize sedan.

      I bought my 2014 Camry SE V6 for $25K, brand new.

      There is no CUV, and no small car, that does 14 second quarter miles @ 100 mph, all the while burning regular fuel, easily fitting two rear facing car seats, and capable of 30 mpg on the highway, for $25-$30K.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Hadn’t considered that. For my needs the Camry 2.5L has plenty of pep, relaxed highway cruising of 80mph at barely over 2000rpm, and darn near 40 real world mpg when kept at 70mph.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ve never gotten close to 40 MPG with a Camry 2.5, and that includes a drive from Tucson to Yuma, then Phoenix, and then back to Tucson. I thought 33.5 was fine for such a big car though.

          The V6 Camry loafs around at like 1800 RPM at 70 MPH. So does my MkT, but not with cruise set at 85.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            When driven “normally” with the A/C on blast and going 75-ish, the car gets right around that 33.5 mpg you mentioned. But like I said, dropping down to a regimented 70mph and with my very careful GF behind the wheel, we’ve driven long stretches of highway with the MPG histogram showing a consistent 40 mpg, mind you it is never an actual full tank that got 40 mpg. The most amazing thing to me is that her lifetime average for the car, which is used in a mixed commute year round, is 32mpg per the dash gauge. And again, given her driving style and just how much the car lugs the engine around if you’re light on the accelerator, I have little reason to doubt the veracity of that. Even if it IS a few MPG optimistic, a 30 mpg lifetime average for a car that solid, roomy, quiet, and ‘peppy’ is incredible.

            That port injected Toyota 2.5L with the Aisin 6A has got to be the most satisfying mainstream sedan powertrain (ie not the hi-po optional motors) out there right now, both in how it drives, the real world fuel economy it returns, and the longevity its fairly simple technical specs suggest. To be fair I’ve yet to drive an EarthDreams Accord with the CVT. But I did not think much of the Ford 1.6EB with their 6F35 automatic in a rental Fusion SE. 27 MPG at 72mph over the same route the Camry would have gotten that 33.5mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @bball, yes give me torque all day long. Heck even my “tall wagon” Highlander with V6 AWD can return a shade under 25 mpg on the interstate with cruise set at 80 mph.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            gtemnykh-

            I know you don’t like 6F35, but don’t blame it for the poor MPGs. My father in law drives a 2012 Fusion SE with the 2.5L and 6F35 and his lifetime average is 32 MPG.

            I don’t doubt the 32 MPG lifetime FE on the Camry 2.5L. I wouldn’t be able to hit that number, but my commute kills MPG for non-hybrids. Stop and go freeway, under 40 MPG speed limit roads, and some spaces of 70+ MPG freeway. I would get in the teens with a GTI or Focus ST. My C-Max is at 41 MPG instead. It still makes me bored though…

            Dan-

            I’ve been driving the MkT to Northern MI and back the last 4 weekends or so. It’s basically a 400 mile round trip. I set the cruise at 85 and get 22 MPG all day long. I’m sure the Highlander eats up highway miles in the same fashion.

          • 0 avatar
            Felix Hoenikker

            I have a 2014 Accord with the CVT and 2.4 L earth dreams engine. In two recent 600 round trips across the PA turnpike, I averaged 39 and 40 mpg with the cruise set to 70. This is neither a straight or flat road.
            Similarly equipped CUVs have too high of a Cd for this kind of gas mileage.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            My average with the current gen Camry rentals I’ve gotten is around 33 as well, over about 400 miles of mixed driving. I was totally impressed with that, given our ’09 Civic averaged 32MPG.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “It’s not “slightly” worse performance if you’re talking about a V6 equipped midsize sedan.

        I bought my 2014 Camry SE V6 for $25K, brand new.”

        Obama’s CAFE killed the V6 Camry SE for 2015, the cheapest V6 trim is now the XSE starting past $32,000.

        That will get you into a V6 Cherokee, Edge, Sorento, Equinox, etc. They’re not as quick as that Camry but very little is. In the real world, for what they are, they’re quick and smooth enough.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @bball, I don’t doubt it – I’d drive faster (the engine could certainly handle it) but I’ve found if your cruising speed keeps the tach over 2500 rpm in top gear with Toyota’s 3.5 V6 mpg drops dramatically.

          @Dan, yes when the V6 sedan is dying death by a thousand paper cuts that is only going to drive people into CUVs more quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr. K

          Obama’s CAFE killed the V6 Camry SE for 2015

          CAFE started in 1975 under President Ford. Strangely, there is no evidence contradicting the fact that some say Ford was an Afrikaner Kenyan.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    No of course not. Sedans still make up a huge part of the market and will for the foreseeable future.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Truly. To ask if their death is imminent is more than a little hyperbolic.

      Autojournos are like food critics, always looking for the new and trendy. Those of us who actually buy our own cars and drive them for many years are less interested in what’s hot.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “…the lowly sedan, a staple of…fresh-faced professionals looking to put on a good show in office park parking lots across North America…”

    This mindset is, and always has been, societal cancer.

  • avatar
    BigRig

    I think one of the headwinds against sedan sales is that you need to get into the $40k+ range to get an AWD sedan. I just bought a used G37X a few months ago but probably would’ve been more than happy in higher trimmed Camry or Accord if they were available with AWD. I get that the manufacturers don’t want to cannibalize their luxury marquees but it also pushes buyers into CUVs if they want AWD, particularly here in the northeast, and they can’t/don’t want to go to one of the luxury badges.

    My last five cars have been Saab 9-3, 4th gen 4Runner, V6 Accord beater, 3rd gen 4Runner, G37X (we also have a Sienna so I don’t really NEED an SUV) – so I clearly tend to get sick of the SUV and miss the sportier dynamics of a sedan and then eventually get the craving for another 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      You can get a fairly nicely equipped Fusion SE with AWD and leather for $30K.

      • 0 avatar
        BigRig

        You’re right – I did forget about that one. I considered it but never got around to driving one. I’m a fan of the Fusion styling actually, despite not considering myself a “Ford guy” so I’m glad you brought that up.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      A coworker once told me that he is currently “between 4Runners”. He had 2 prior and had changed it up for a sport sedan but was pretty certain he’d be back in a 4Runner again.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think if I ever got rid of mine I’d be coming back for more before long. That power rear window and stout power/drivetrain…

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          My boss has a 1999 4Runner with almost 200K miles. It’s going to need a new transmission soon. Replace the trans or buy a new car?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Any rust? If so, new car.

            Most cars with 200k have a level of wear and tear on many visible items that would bother me every time I got in the car. So I wouldn’t personally drive a car that used unless it were in truly exceptional condition or I had no financial choice. But a non-rusty 4Runner with 200k should run well for awhile longer if well maintained.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well he lives in the Tampa/St Pete area. So I have no idea about the rust. The interior was okay besides the vinyl/leather on the dash being cracked. I didn’t see any rust.

            He buys his cars new and drives them forever. His wife and two daughters drive new cars and he makes enough money to have gulf front property north of Clearwater complete with a dock and 35′ boat. It isn’t a financial thing.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Aha. Tampa makes it a lot less likely that there are rust issues. I was assuming your boss was in Detroitland.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            He’d have to go to urban survival and winter survival courses before being allowed to live in the Detroit area.

          • 0 avatar
            Mr. K

            Replace the trans. Get a Jasper installed for I would guess around $3k.

            While you are doing the trans replace the radiator, the trans lines if they show wear, the cooling system hoses and the thermostat and the serp belt or drive belts if that’s what it has. A diff flush and if equipped, a xfer case flush would be a good idea too.

      • 0 avatar
        BigRig

        That’s how I see this playing out. I had an ’05 Sport that I loved and more recently an ’00 Limited that I also loved but was keeping me up at night with what appeared to be a slowly deteriorating head gasket at 156k miles. Other than that it was in pretty pristine shape, I just didn’t love it enough to put the $ into the HG I guess and I’m unfortunately not capable of doing it myself. I don’t know if I can get in a 5th gen though – I’ve sat in a couple and they feel huge compared to the 3rd/4th gens.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Small cars today are downright huge compared to their original models a couple of decades ago.They have bigger interiors than full size cars of the sixties.Crossover craze for most people is not about functionality or space,just like many urban pickup owners have nothing to haul 99% of the time.How many people buy vehicles for bragging rights and do not ever use their capabilities.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    The industry has come full circle and we’ve finally gotten back to the form factor that was dominant prior to World War II. The fad was the low slung, European influenced sedans of the Jet Age and the small, fuel efficient econoboxes from Japan.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Short term: the field will get winnowed down but not decimated, not unlike the US minivan market. Smaller volumes, fewer players, still competitive as all get-out.

    Long term: If/when fleet-owned autonomous vehicles decimate the car ownership market, what will they offer? Egg shaped Mercedes F015 look-alikes? Google Pandas? Or whatever Apple has hired former FCA/Nissan/Toyota exec Doug Betts to build?

  • avatar
    hubcap

    What’s with the hackneyed, pseudo journalism that occasionally pops up on this site?

    Does Doug have you bound in his basement forcing you to do rather unsavory acts that you’d rather not?

    In 2014, out of the top 20 vehicles sold, sedans captured spots 4,5,6,7,9,10,12,15,16,17 and 20.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/01/06/pickups-best-selling-vehicles-2014/21334373/

    The rankings are similar for sales so far in 2015. Sedans, CUVs, and pickups are popular and people care about each.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      It puts the puts the lotion on its skin!

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “the hackneyed, pseudo journalism”

      Oh, blow. This is a timely and pertinent article for a car guy site.

      Even more so for non-car guys like me.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        if this is pseudo journalism, what is jalopnik and the gawker sites?

        there’s a fair bit of umm… manifest destiny or sorts with the new editors here

        death of manuals, death of sedans, death of rwd, inline sixes etc. wither MQB?

        stuff we know is partially true but also urban legend and things we are dead against but this is the new world order

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The **trend** is against sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The trend was against sedans in the late ’70s too. They came roaring back after people got tired of the weaknesses of hatchbacks. I’m not saying that it will happen again, or that the reason it won’t happen won’t be that people don’t want them, but it could happen again. If gasoline becomes expensive, or if we’re forced to use something inferior as fuel, real efficiency could become more important than market-manipulating CAFE ‘efficiency,’ and adding frontal area is no way to increase efficiency. Crime rates are exploding now, and that will cause people to think about the security of their stuff. Sedans are the best form for hiding one’s junk, as well as one’s guns from police officers lacking search warrants.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “Crime rates are exploding now”

          Source, please.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32995911

            Here’s one. Crime rates are up for the first time in 20 years.

            http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/07/20/no-comment-nbc-covers-up-evidence-of-immigration-crime-wave/

            Here’s another. Go ahead and attack the source. 1984 turned out to be a how-to.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Exploding?” Even if your source is to be believed it’s more like “minor uptick after decades of decline.”

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            CJ puts the “high” in “hyperbole.”

            Not exactly a whiz at stats, either.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          *Reporting* of crime is exploding with the ever present 24hr (bad)news cycle. Actual crime is lower than ever.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          “If gasoline becomes expensive”

          Already is. Gas in LA is $4.25/gallon for regular unleaded.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you are taking this for much more than it’s truly meant to be: a public pondering by someone who is intrigued by the direction of the industry, the product it produces, and a market that buys it.

      If it was meant to be more than that, I would spend more than 30 minutes bashing it together, trust me.

  • avatar
    northshorerealtr

    I’m a fan of sedans vs. crossovers (despite the fact I drive a minivan). But I’ve got a theory on crossovers’ popularity: Drivers are trading going UP for better visibility since many cars are now designed so you can’t readily see OUT. They’ll convince themselves of the virtures of a crossover to cover feeling trapped in the bunkers cars have become.
    Think about the light/airy interiors of many smaller cars even just a few years back. Few cars offer that open, airy feeling like, say, the Honda Civic used to offer. Or compare the open feel of Chrsler’s LH cars up until 2005 when the design switched to the current high-bodied/chopped roof style.
    That may change if/when bunker mentality hits trucks/crossovers/SUV’s. One article I’d read mentioned that the new Suburban’s back window is only 12 inches high. (I’ve not confirmed this personally, but it does look pretty small.) If that trend continues, there may be plenty of folks looking for something else that has “visual” room.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Why don’t we just make driving a spec series?

  • avatar
    BDT

    The sedan will never die out entirely. I’m just glad wagons are coming back. I mean…uh…crossovers. Yeah. Crossovers.

  • avatar
    deanst

    CUV sales are up 13% YTD, while mid-size cars are down 2% – so the trend continues. I’ve been of the opinion that CUVs are the new sedans and sedans are the new coupes. Take a look at the shape of most rear doors on sedans and they are usually small and sloping towards the back, making ingress/egress a bit challenging for some. As long as Americans continue to get fatter and in poorer shape, the trend to CUVs will continue.

    From my point of view its an ideal time to get a great deal on a mid-sized sedan. I usually like smaller cars but the fuel economy is now about the same and the price differential is minimal.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Driving a CUV is like wearing sweatpants out in public: it shows you’ve given up.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      And, driving a sedan shows that you never really wanted to try…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      On what? Trying to impress random strangers with a depreciating asset? How is that a bad thing?

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Actually, over here , most of the sedans are either premium cars, so they would be the ones trying to impress (3 and 5 series, A4/A6, C-class E-class), and most have a second car (wagon or CUV)
        Or they are people ‘without a life’ as in doesn’t have to carry anything anywhere, mosty male senior citizens. Females seem to prefer good looking cars, and do not like to seem their age, so they usually choose something more stylish.
        These sedans (as with older premium cars) also often end up as ‘hooner’ cars, lowered with huge wheels and stereos, again signifying that you are single and have no responibilities (or interest in having responsibilities.)
        Again, with younger people there is often an exception for late-model premium cars, and females, as they even at younger age, prefer something more stylish than an ‘old mans car’.
        Offcourse, this is Europe, where ‘all’ the hatchbacks (and wagons)are built and sold…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I must be bipolar because I drive a RWD, 6MT coupe when I have no cargo and I pull the CUV out of the garage when I’m hauling the family around or getting to and from the trailheads with my mountain bikes.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    To answer the question in the headline, No, the sedan will never die, it will just continue to decline in popularity for the time being.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I do not like sitting up high at all so no CUVs, trucks, SUVs, or AMC Eagles for me.

    I’m also not into sports cars and don’t like the cargo noise in wagons/hatches so that basically leaves me grand-touring style 2-doors and sedans.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    All I want is a hatchback sedan (or combi-coupe as they’re called over here)
    I owned a ton of them back when you could still get fairly large used 80’s cars for cheap (manual and RWD, Ford Sierras FTW)
    I don’t really see any good reason to buy a wagon instead, and the few sedans I have owned have been useless at anything but saving fuel and ‘looking reasonably good when lowered with huge wheels’. Only retired people and 18 year olds drive sedans over here. (except for premium cars, as practicality is not much of an issue when you can afford two cars)
    So, I have tried CUV’s, Specifically a 2nd and 3rd gen CRV, and the 2nd gen was maybe the most practical car I’ve owned, ever. Taking kids in and out of their car seats was no problem at all, my 5ft9 teenager could sit in the middle, as the floor is flat, and after it was lowered on H&R’s and Konis, it even drove quite well. And the opening rear window made it possible to load long stuff in it too ,which is often a problem with CUV’s as they tend to be shorter than wagons (as in quite nimble and easier to park) .As for power, here in Norway 150 hp still gets you around quite efficiently.
    The 3rd Gen CRV was just a hatch on stilts. Like most other modern cars it feels very roomy since the windshield goes to the front bumper, but the rounded roof and pillars made it cramped in the rear, and back seat. It also had huge wheels that made it feel slow and heavy, but I guess I’m the only one who didn’t like that. I sold it at a loss after only 14 months.
    Now I actually own a sedan fr the first time in 10 years, and I don’t really hate it. But the weird square rear looks odd, and the trunk opening is too small, and you can’t fit that much in it unless you leave everyone else at home.
    So, I’m looking to buy another 2ng gen CR-V. I have considered the 1st gen too, but I would end up doing so many upgrades to it that the 2nd gen is just a better starting point.
    (and yeah, I will lower that one too)
    Good riddance to the sedan, if we can finally manage to kill it…
    (the ones with huge v8’s can stay as a cool novelty thing though)

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’ve said it here many times – I don’t get the appeal of sedans much smaller than an S-class. Wagons are practical, coupes are stylish, the sedan is neither. CUVs are just wagons on stilts – which is a wagon ruined, but better than the alternative. I’m no fan of CUVs, but I would buy a Q5 or X1/X3 before an A4 or 3-series sedan any day. But given the choice, a proper wagon or combi-coupe before either of them. The smaller the sedan, the more useless they become.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Sedans, as a rule, have far more style than CUVs. Sometimes that’s to their detriment (headroom in Sonatas, for instance). But which equivalently priced car would you rather pull up to your expensive dinner reservation in: a GS 350 or an RX 350?

        Of course this rule goes out the window for truly high-end luxury *S*UVs, but that’s a different price world. At any price point short of $75,000 the most stylish four-door vehicle is a sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I think you could look stylish in an XC90, but mostly, that is getting close to being just a 1%er problem. And if I could afford a new Lexus, or could be bothered to reserve a table at some place that steals my money and still didn’t give me proper food, I would be pulling up in a model-A, chopped and channelled over 32 frame, with a supercharged Desoto Hemi in it. There have never, and probably will never, exist a (factory stock) Lexus that I would be the least interested in buying…
          OK, I admit I once looked a bit at old RX’s, until I realized there was nothing they could do that my CR-V didn’t already do, while still getting better mileage.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I’m still shopping, since January. The real challenge, coming from my 328xi, is that I simply don’t want to crouch down to get in and out anymore, and I don’t want the low to the ground visibility issues. I’d also like more cargo room.

    The problem is that CUVs come at a premium. A used X3 costs the same as a 5 series. So I’m torn between a sedan I really like at a good used price (Lexus GS350) and the fact that that I don’t really want a sedan anymore. The Lexus new equivalent to a GS 350 is a GX 460, and used it’s roughly 10k more than the sedan at the same mileage. So those CUV/SUV buyers are also getting much lower depreciation rates plus the added utility.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Lexus doesn’t have a CUV equivalent to the GS. If it did, it would be the perfect car for you. But unfortunately their CUV lineup stops at the ES equivalent. The dealers had customers like you in mind when they revolted against the idea of the RC convertible and forced Lexus to start developing a larger CUV instead.

      The GX is a truck, looks and drives like a truck, and has the compromised interior room of a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      Any thought on the S60 Cross Country or is that not even here yet? Or is Volvo a bad word?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The first car I ever bought with my own money was a station wagon – a 1972 Ford Gran Torino. Why? Space utilization. Wagons take up no more footprint than sedans, but have tons more useful room.

    Well, excepting the Jetta (and some high-priced Europeans) the station wagon is dead. It makes me sad.

    I desperately wish that Toyota/Scion had chosen to import the Auris Sports/Corolla wagon as the new Scion, instead of the hatchback.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The better-packaged crossovers (RAV4, CR-V, Forester) really aren’t giving up any room to wagons these days. There are lots of poorly packaged ones out there, but the good ones have gotten really space-efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The 1972 Torino Wagon was 4 inches longer than the 4-door sedan. The Honda CR-V is 179.4 inches long, the exact same length as a new 4-door Civic, and the CR-V has far more room than the Civic it is based on.

  • avatar
    TorontoSkeptic

    It would be interesting to see the proportion of all available models that are sedans. For example Nissan makes the Sentra, Altima and Maxima sedans… and they also make the Juke, Rogue, Murano, Pathfinder, Armada, Versa (almost always a hatch and not a sedan), Leaf, Quest, Xterra.

    I assume 20 years ago most of these crossover/hatch models didn’t exist, so it’s only natural that sedans are a smaller proportion of sales.

    Future Tim Cain post perhaps?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “Death” is useless hyperbole.

    “Slow decline”: yes. We are headed toward a world in which the sedan is a niche product. There will be compact sedans for cheapness, luxury sedans for the old-fashioned money buyers who find luxury SUVs too blingy, midsize sedans for contrarians, and a tiny niche of sport sedans for enthusiasts. But instead of the 4-sedan 2-CUV lineup a maker might have had last decade, it will have a 4-CUV 2-sedan lineup.

  • avatar
    clivesl

    Which style is cheaper to make? Two box or three box?

    Seems private industry is going to want you in the style that makes them more money on per unit.

    It would explain why you haven’t really seen jacked up sedans yet.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It’s less about what’s cheaper to make as much as it is what’s more profitable.

      But even more than that, it’s about what customers want. Bottom line, CUVs are better values for the people buying them than sedans. There’s no rational reason for a small family or old person to get something like an Accord over a CR-V, nor is there much rationale for a young person to get an Accord over something like a Civic/HR-V/Fit.

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        Sure it’s about what the customer wants, but given that the industry sold customers on large, thirsty badly handling, and in some cases downright dangerous SUV’s to go and get groceries, I think we can assume that the industry has some small say in what the customer wants.

        I don’t know if the two box design is inherently easier to produce more profitably than a sedan style, but it would make sense.

        Also I am in the give it a hatch and I want it camp, so this isn’t a personal opinion, just a wild haired conspiracy theory.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The domestics were highly motivated to expand their truck sales once the Japanese gained brand equity in the passenger car market.

          Automakers spent decades trying and failing to figure out what women wanted. The Explorer was an act of genius — build something “tough” and tall, but with a better interior, accompanied by a marketing program that made it obvious that this thing was made for the ‘burbs, not for camping.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The Explorer didn’t come out of nowhere. The first make to go down that path was Jeep, all the way back in 1986. They suburbanized the Cherokee with the Limited trim level for the ’87 model year, and that slowly but steadily gained traction among suburban women. By 1990 when the Explorer came out, the Cherokee Limited was already highly coveted by upscale moms, and was a status symbol.

            The Explorer just made the idea cheaper, gave it a bit more interior room, and put more marketing muscle than Jeep could possibly muster behind it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Jeeps were being marketed as outdoor vehicles. The Explorer ads put women in the spotlight and made it clear that they were for regular driving, while emphasizing the interior appointments.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          CUVs today are hardly large, thirsty, bad handling or dangerous. A CR-V is shorter than a Honda Civic and gets the same gas mileage as a 2.4L Accord.

          Plus I can’t really recall a period where there were so many hatchbacks available. Chevy has 2. Ford has 2. Honda has 2 (3 if you count the Crosstour). Mazda has 1. Nissan has 2. Etc. etc. Back before the CUV craze (mid 90s) the only hatchbacks were impractical 2 doors.

          You are not being rational. Your real gripe is the fact that your preferences aren’t popular, and need to create conspiracies and the like to avoid accepting that. Let it go man….

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            My original thought experiment was this, do the manufacturers have an inherent interest in promoting two box designs over three box?

            The SUV craze was a very cheap way for manufacturers to capture the suburban mom market. The margins were nuts, so are the margins just as nuts for CUV’s over sedans?

            If their profit margins are similar to SUV’s or at least significantly better than sedans. then that is one more reason for manufacturers to favor them. It’s just another data point that I am curious about.

            And once again, I like anything with a hatch, including CUV’s, so I’m cool with sedans disappearing entirely.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            They have an interest in platform and drivetrain sharing. That’s where the big R&D money gets spent, and they want to amortize those costs as much as possible.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Scion doesn’t think so.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Death of the sedan? If you take pick-ups out of the equation, aren’t all the top-selling vehicles in this country sedans?

  • avatar
    phaedrus528

    Single guy here, drive a 2010 Mazda3 Sedan. Just wondering, what is everyone carrying around? I understand the needs of families, but singles and couples? What doesn’t fit in a compact sedan? Are you all skiing and biking? Buying large loads of lumber?

    Taller vehicles also feel “tippy.” I’ve spent many hours driving a late model Equinox and an XV Crosstrek. Any sedan feels more planted–even my bro’s ’06 Corolla!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Drugs and hookers

      Seriously though, you are right that a compact car can fill the needs of most people. Those who bike or kayak can get a roof rack or hitch mounted carrier. If you need more storage space for trips, there is always a roof box.

      People that tow small sailboats, boats, or jetskis may need a CUV that is rated to tow though. My parents used to tow a Hobie 16 with a Renault Alliance, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      Ha, I’d have the opposite question – how on earth do you get by with just a compact sedan, single or not? Or is a Mazda3 fun enough to offset the impracticality?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I recently went from a 350Z to a Civic EX. I had the two together for a few months, and pretty much stopped driving the Z. Why? The moment I’d start to push the Z I’d be breaking the law, and cops were all too eager to remind me of that. Also, the impracticality became more and more annoying. I can beat on the Civic all day and not raise an eyebrow, and I make use of the back seat regularly when I go grocery shopping or throw in my gym bag.

        Admittedly I wouldn’t mind more power, more grip, better suspension etc… but I wouldn’t trade the practicality I get for it.

      • 0 avatar
        phaedrus528

        Hi There Sloomis,

        Funny, I don’t find it impractical at all. I can fit everything I buy at the grocery store. Four people are no problem–and my friend who is 6’3″ fits well in the front, granted only someone 5’0″ or shorter will fit in the back seat behind him, but I rarely see the tall guy. My parents (Dad 5’10” Mom 5’5″) came here to CA from MA with two gigantic suitcases (29″) that fit in the trunk with room for my garment bag + a duffle (granted, crushable!) when we went to Palm Springs from LA for the weekend. A 6′ ladder fits in through the passenger door, recline the passenger seat completely, it’s in–feet in the footwell and top of the ladder resting on the back seat. File boxes fit in the trunk or back seat.

        Can’t carry a 4×8, or a sofa. but neither can the vast majority of CUVs! I’ve moved two large book cases in the Mazda–one in the back seat, and one was sticking out of the trunk by about a foot.

        Can’t conceive of how it is at all impractical. . .and it’s WAY fun.
        Try it!

        Ciao,
        Jon (aka Phaedrus528)

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I can’t speak for others, but a fair deal of late 90’s-00’s sedans always felt poorily designed in some areas.

    Enter the ’03 Grand Prix, its “sport coupe styling” causing me to bonk my head and create terrible blindspots in the back.

    Enter the 2006-11 Camry, with its awkward triangular doors pierced specifically to dent whatever you park next to.

    CUVs (or at least the semi-decent ones) are much easier to get in and out of, and don’t have sloopy roofs (again, at least the decent ones dont).

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    “CUVs..don’t have sloopy roofs (again, at least the decent ones dont).

    Well the HR-V is certainly “decent” by any measure… except that one.
    For it’s roof doth sloopeth.

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