By on December 6, 2016

2017 Nissan Pathfinder blue front quarter

As we bring you one Question of the Day each weekday, we figured getting someone from TTAC’s commentariat to ask questions of the same commentariat above the fold would add a dose of flavor. That flavor comes from Ohio, and its name is CoreyDL. Welcome him to the headlines and bylines.

It’s entirely likely in 2016 that you or someone you’re very close to own one or more crossovers.  The CUV is as prevalent in the North American landscape these days as the midsize sedan was in about 1988.  But as with the body-on-frame SUV which came before, and the all-American wood-sided family wagon before that, the party can’t last forever.

Safety groups want pedestrians to giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when struck by two-ton metallic death machines, necessitating ever softer edges. Stricter fuel regulations push the roofs lower for the sake of aerodynamics, shrinking space for people and cargo. Designers who don’t shower very often show us shapes inspired by used bars of soap.

How long can this go on before the party’s over, and the CUV isn’t the cool kid any more?

When the day comes in 20## and I’m proven right, I’ll walk outside and slip into my personal pick for the Next Big Thing — an all-wheel-drive, all-weather-coupe (or AWD-AWC).

Aston Martin DBX concept

Aston Martin has shown us the slick DBX, and Nissan revealed the Gripz a while ago — hinting at a potential replacement for the perennial Z car. Even Giugiaro got in ahead of the game with the Parcour Concept in 2013.

You can come up with your own speculation and figures in the comments. Go ahead and tell me I’m wrong — that the CUV will reign supreme for the next 50 years, an icon only seen before in the likes of individual models like the Ford F-Series and the Corvette. Then let me know when you’ll be ready for your lifted AWD coupe.

How long will the crossover madness last?

[Images: © 2016 Chris Tonn/The Truth About Cars, Aston Martin]

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147 Comments on “QOTD: When Will the Crossover Call It Quits?...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    What were the approximate reigns of the Station Wagon and the Minivan respectively (meaning how many years were they significant market segments – everyone had one or in the case of the station wagon, each model was expected to have a station wagon version)?

    This would likely give some insight into things.

    Generations tend to reject many of the things that were popular with their parents. I can see my daughter thinking that the CUV is the uncoolest thing in the whole world by the time she’s grown.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      …right until she has 2.5 kids and a golden retriever. CUVs, for better or worse, strike a balance between functional and somewhat (ok, this is purely subjective) good-looking. Not sure what they’d develop any time soon that would blend those two together in anything that people would actually want to drive. And I don’t see a mass return to either traditional station wagons or minivans.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        But historically, there has always been the “next big thing”.

        Station wagon was an outgrowth of sedan and sedan deliveries and prewar v. postwar starting out as yacht planking and turning into all steel. The minivan was the idea of taking an existing platform and expanding use.

        The next big thing may or may not have been thought of as of yet.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @threeer – you mean goldendoodle or labradoodle since labs, golden retrievers, and standard poodles are no longer cool.

        I agree that station-wagon’s are pretty much dead. Mini-vans will soldier on as they are the closest modern equivalent to a wagon.

        I think that CUV’s will be around for a long time as it looks like they are replacing the car.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      @PrincipalDan

      “Generations tend to reject many of the things that were popular with their parents.”

      Exactly. The question is if, like clothing fashion, car fashion will also eventually recycle? Maybe the CUV roof-line and ride-height will just get lower and we’ll be back to station wagons?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @carguy, don’t tell the Trophy Wives in the private school drop-off lanes but the Audi Q7 (2015-present) is a step in that “starting to look like a wagon” direction.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Generations tend to reject many of the things that were popular with their parents.”

        That means the fullsized pickup truck market is gonna crash.

        Don’t tell BAFO.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Bright girl.

    • 0 avatar
      NOSLucasWiringSmoke

      I think the Wagon Age started in the early ’50s when a trifecta of circumstances occurred: affordable steel-bodied wagons, the great migration of Middle America to the suburbs, and the Baby Boom. It began drawing to a close in the late 80s when the minivan started to take off, within a few years it became obvious that mainstream manufacturers were letting their wagons die off and not replacing them when they launched or redesigned models.

      Very few “mainstream” new/redesigned wagons came out after the early 90s. After about 1995 the legacy models dropped like flies. GM let everything but the Saturns go, the few Japanese models went extinct in late ’90s revamps, only Ford hung on with the Taurus/Sable (probably the most popular midsize wagon) and Escort. After that I think we only got new models because they had been developed for global markets (Focus, Mazda6), and we had European luxury wagons which are more of a niche product. Subaru kept the Legacy Wagon relevant by turning it into the Outback.

      The Minivan Age starts at its initial mushrooming/displacement of wagons in the latter half of the 1980s, and I think it drops off between 2005-10, when enough CUV minivan-alternatives (midsize Highlander/Edge type models, and fattened-up later generations of the CR-V/RAV4/Escape) entered the market to really start eroding minivan market share in the ‘burbs. I think the Grand Caravan Canada Value Package hangs on here because of its price-to-space appeal more than anything else; if people want to spend more than that on a family vehicle a few of them go over to the Sienna/Odyssey, the rest buy CUVs now.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Are they not already kinda hitting this point?

    I mean if I view the family sedan as “cooler” than a CUV and I grew up in the family sedan era, does that mean anything?

    Thing is I understand them. Really, they are very functional. I just prefer the drive, fuel economy, etc of a sedan. But I could very well end up in a Forester or 4runner or something someday. You haul some stuff or go camping, or the dog etc they work well.

    I’m not so sure they will follow the station wagon and minivan route though. CUVs I just don’t think scream FAMILY CAR like those did. Sure lots of families have them, but CUVs are also hip enough that urban singles drive them etc. No urban single ever bought a wagon or a minivan….those or only when the little ones show up.

    • 0 avatar

      No, your personal view doesn’t count towards their end in this case because the sales numbers don’t back it up. Sedans are dying. As more households have single vehicles, people seek out a more useful format for their vehicles. Enter the CUV, a vehicle that provides more space, similar efficiency, an only slight loss in refinement, and (for many) preferential driving characteristics (commanding view, lots of suspension travel for crap roads and steep parking lot entrances, etc.).

      Car nerds have taken an almost violent swing back into sedan-land because, ultimately, we are hipsters. We generally hate the things that the masses like as a reaction to the fact that they like them. For reasons beyond me, we are now glorifying sedans FAR more than we ever did before, despite the fact that sedans have become objectively less interesting (fewer manual options, smaller trunk openings, larger sizes, and fewer entrees) than they have been before.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        No more of these appetizers, we demand more entrees!

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I feel like Echid missed Jerome10’s bigger point, which is that CUVs are popular with single, childless people; making them unlikely to be stigmatized as parents cars by future generations. They’re just too good at being utilitarian for purposes beyond hauling growing families. Besides, modern sedans don’t have the backseat headroom to allow owners to impress friends on the way to a meal. Most CUVs still do, and impressing one’s pears is still important to plenty of people.

      • 0 avatar
        thattruthguy

        IMO sedans are much more appealing to enthusiasts than ever. The super utilitarian market is covered by minivans and utes. Bigger sedans usually have swoopy coupe like rooflines. Bucket seats are standard. Suspensions, brakes, and tires are better than ever. The issue of manual shift is across the board, so you can’t just fault sedans for being disappointing.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “IMO sedans are much more appealing to enthusiasts than ever.”

          Good points all. Where you’re gonna be able to enthuse about them is the only question.

          For everybody’s daily driving on ever cloggier roads you wouldn’t have any less fun in an IVECO cabover and you’d see way better.

    • 0 avatar
      cyk

      @Jerome10 I grossly disagree. As a single male living in San Diego, I bought a Plymouth Voyager…style be damned, it was perfect for surf boards, bikes, and road trips. A few years later, I sought a 2007 Dodge Magnum SRT8 followed up by a 2012 CTS V wagon (with a manual). If any automaker made a 500hp sporty minivan, I’d be first in line. While no longer single, all the utes out there make me ill with their false pretense of ruggedness/usefulness when in fact a wagon/minivan will almost always drive better, get better mpg, all whilst having more utility. I for one, can’t wait for the demise of the SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        How does a low-roofed wagon have more utility than a high-roofed CUV?

        Copypasted from another comment:

        Yes, minivans are superior to CUVs where AWD isn’t necessary, but only when they’re full-size CUVs. Minivans come in one size, and CUVs come in four (arguably, five).

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Just going off of his surfing comment, I’d say it’s easier to load/unload boards from the roof rack of a wagon than a CUV. Minizans are great too because the boards fit inside, but if you have one friend with a 10’+ longboard stuff is going on the roof again. Wagons are kind of the ultimate surfer vehicle.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “Stricter fuel regulations push the roofs lower for the sake of aerodynamics, shrinking space for people and cargo.”

    They’ll last until the affliction you accurately identify pushes all roof heights well below 60″.

    They may still be called CUVs but “crossover” will have been rendered meaningless as there will no longer be anything tall and utilitarian from which to overcross since SUVs won’t be immune to the same degradation.

  • avatar
    slance66

    There is a radical difference here. The trend is towards vehicles that serve multiple functions capably. Wagons led to minivans which led to SUVs which were replaced because people didn’t need body on frame trucks. So it’s simply a continuation.

    CUVs are lower, more aerodynamic and fuel efficient than SUVs. They are getting slightly lower now in each generation. But interior space efficiency isn’t going away. AWD isn’t going away. Ground clearance over 6 inches isn’t going away. They will become more of what they are, they ultimate compromise.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Ground clearance over 6 inches isn’t going away.”

      Then it will be very interesting to see who buys the pancakes resulting from the assured further lowering of roof height.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “Then it will be very interesting to see who buys the pancakes resulting from the assured further lowering of roof height.”

        @OldManPants: Check Camaro sales to see your prediction coming true. Answer: Fewer and fewer.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      …along with being easier to slide over on to the seat as the larger, older demographic evolves. It’ll be awhile unless every car has a lift chair to keep center of gravity low, lessening rollover chances

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The crossover is the default car now. It’s no longer a trend, it’s just a car.

    And I’m sure there will be some new trend in the fiture, but I think two things about crossovers are here to stay:

    1) Ride height. The market has spoken, and it has said that the view from the elevated position and the additional ground clearance are more important to the vast majority of people than driving dynamics.

    2) Big wheels and tires. This is the one constant that has applied to pretty much all concepts, new categories, and even aftermarket trends since the crossover era came into being. We aren’t going back to 16″ wheels, ever, and I think soon enough 20″ will be the default for everything midsize and bigger.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Look at that new hybrid Pacifica (if you can stand to). For the FE they’ve ridiculously lowered its ride height. The market can speak all it wants but ride height is an endangered privilege.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Good comment.

      I think crossovers will continue to dominate for as long as Boomers are buying cars and Gen Y is having kids, so we’ll probably be seeing CUVs for 20 years. The ride height also gives a little more breathing room for batteries.

      One thing you may have left off your list of “CUV characteristics that are here to stay”: liftgates. I see very few of my fellow children of the 80s choosing a three-box. Once you go hatch, you don’t go back.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        With how sloped the backs of most modern sedans are, they should all be hatchbacks anyway, and forget about the mail slot of a trunklid. The Fusion (Mondeo) has a liftback variant in EU that’s almost indistinguishable from the sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I tend to agree.

        Although I prefer the three-box for its separate trunk when I’m not carrying bulky stuff (and thus two of our three cars are sedans), my preference doesn’t reflect the mainstream. My feelings that sedans are superior because they keep cargo odors out of the cabin and don’t tell bystanders when there is cargo in the car are not widely shared.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I’ve had hatch backs SUVs and now a CUV and I still prefer a sedan as my primary driver. As Dal mentioned I like that people can’t see what I have stored in there and that I’m “safe” from it. I carry tools and other heavy things that I’d rather not have bouncing around in the passenger compartment if a crash should occur or if I have to slam on the brakes hard.

        I do have to admit that it is certainly easier to get in and out of my wife’s CUV vs the Sedan it replaced, but that CUV is not intended to be held for a long term and it will almost certainly be replaced with another sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Ugh. Tires have gotten SO. god. damn. expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’m almost convinced there’s collusion (aka price-fixing) going on amongst the major tire manufacturers, and then there are also tariffs and outright import bans in place against countries and specific tire companies, also.

        The inflation in tire prices over the last 6 years is nothing short of gasp-worthy.

        • 0 avatar

          Hmm, not sure about that.

          Buyers have demanded more and more dramatic styling and larger tires to accompany it. That has been a market-driven change.

          As far as banned companies, some of them are just genuinely unsafe. I’ve had experience alternative tires that I don’t care to repeat, so perhaps I believe this explanation too readily.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Would be interesting to see a scatterplot of tire price and size, to see how much of the inflation is driven by larger wheels.

            In my experience, the 19″ and 20″ stuff was always expensive. I’m still seeing lots of cheap tires from good brands, assuming you’re OK with squishy “touring” tires, in the smaller sizes. Although now 13″, 14″, and to a lesser extent 15″ are starting to disappear.

          • 0 avatar
            Truckducken

            That’s the thing. The tires aren’t larger, the wheels are. The tires are in fact getting smaller; we are paying more and more for less and less rubber. Soon we will be paying $1000 per wheel for what amounts to a wide rubber band to put around our 24’s. The many breakdowns of logic in this trend baffle me.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          I’m looking for next year’s summer tires, and from what I can tell, traditionally common sizes are as reasonably priced as they’ve been in recent memory.

          The pointlessly low-profile stuff on giant rims that OEMs have only recently started pumping out in large numbers probably don’t yet have the volume and commonality between makes/models to lower prices.

          If one’s concerned enough to stay on top of replacing worn tires on their new SUV but still worried about costs, I have to imagine you could amortize the purchase of some 17″ wheels pretty quickly in what you’d save over buying for the phatty dubs that came with it, provided everything fits and you’re not too vain to downsize.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          Once again I forget where I read the article: WSJ/online etc. It was a few years ago and the gist was automobile tires have had the largest price inflation of any consumer product on the market from 2005 to 201? Can’t remember the year I read the article.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            https://piie.com/publications/policy-briefs/us-tire-tariffs-saving-few-jobs-high-cost

            I missed the part where the press complained about Obama interfering in international capital markets and costing the US tire consumer $900,000 per striking Goodyear ‘worker.’

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      dal20402 – larger wheels aren’t necessarily a function of style. Bigger and better brakes mean larger wheels to clear the rotors. I don’t foresee 20 inch wheels becoming a default size. I’m thinking 16’s for most cars and mid-sized CUV’s. Trucks and larger SUV’s or CUV’s probably won’t be smaller than 17″. I suspect that 18″ rims will be the default size in bigger vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup that has driven the base wheel size on many cars up over the years. Better brakes are easier and cheaper to do overall with larger rotors and the larger wheels and tires to clear them. On the Super Duty they started out with the then common 16″ wheels as base but in 05 they put on bigger brakes that required 17″ wheels. Panthers started off on 14″ but in 03 16″ became the minimum.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The smallest wheels on all full-size pickups and SUVs are 17″, and 18″ seem to be the most common (and the best IMO, but that’s neither here nor there). 20″ wheels are only on higher trim levels, and unless I’m mistaken, only the F-150 Limited has 22″s?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Lou_BC, those sizes are already pretty much what you get. Wheels smaller than 16″ on small cars and 17″ on bigger ones are very uncommon. I think that what are options today will become more common. Eventually 20s will be standard on big cars and the most common option on midsize cars. 18s will become the choice for small cars, except for some bargain basement examples with 17s.

        Basically, add 1 to 2 inches to what you get in today’s market and that’s where I see the market going.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    When will haters call it quits? Yes, minivans are superior to CUVs where AWD isn’t necessary, but only when they’re full-size CUVs. Minivans come in one size, and CUVs come in four (arguably, five). MPVs are more space-efficient than CUVs, but they have no ground clearance, which is a bigger issue on U.S. roads.

    Who uses bars of soap anyway? Liquid is where it’s at. Bars just dry out and collect strange hairs that surely can’t be yours, where did they come from?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Well, no, minivans come in many sizes, but the people who buy vans only care about one. If the market existed, there could be any number of vans from a Peugeot 1007 (I mean, it’s got sliding doors) to a redesigned Mazda5 (or similar) up to a return of the conversion van.

      And if ground clearance is that necessary because roads are that awful, then why the rubber band tires and massive expensive wheels?

  • avatar
    jthorner

    CUVs are really just tallish station wagons. They will be around for a long time. A better question is this: Is the four door sedan going the way of the once popular two door coupe?

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I’m pretty sure I already saw this trend starting down around Atlanta somewhere a couple of years ago: https://goo.gl/images/Gl56W2

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ll be the pessimist on this one. CUV popularity dies when fuel prices skyrocket and/or the global economy melts down and/or interest rates go way up.

    They’ll be replaced by sub-compact and compact hatches or sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      gordoncool

      Agreed. The next trend is probably going to be smaller cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Subcompact CUVs are the next big market, and compact CUVs are the hottest market right now, and they’re essentially hatchbacks with better ground clearance for crumbling roads.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      4 cylinder engines are better than ever, and 30+ MPG CUV’s aren’t that hard to find.

      The 2.4L in my fiancee’s Sorento isn’t bad. We did a 900-mile round trip, 4 people and a week’s worth of luggage, including a hitch mounted cargo carrier, with no problems. Got about 25MPG for the trip with all that extra weight. Mad passing power? Nope. But the car never struggled.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Our mid sized sedan has about the same interior space as our CUV but a bit less trunk room. The sedan has 100 more ponies and gets better highway mileage and nearly identical mixed (the CUV has a CVT). Guess which one I drive to work.

        The CUV is not the preferred ride for anything we do since we have a real SUV for hunting, towing, bad weather and the car for driving into town or what not but we still drive the CUV more because we intend to keep the other two around much longer and try to keep the miles off of them.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    AMC Eagle FTW!

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    In the spirit of “everything old is new again”, here’s a picture of a 1934 ford four door sedan: http://www.spudsgarage.com/archives/34Ford4John/

    Looks like a proto-CUV to me. Given that this shape was around until the mid to late 1940’s, and that things move faster now, I give the CUV until 2030 to start losing popularity.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    I have to say, I really like the DBX concept. Reminds me a little of a refined Rally Fighter.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Crossovers will never die. They are the nexus of a lot of things normal people care about:

    – easy to get in and out of + load kids into
    – easy to see out of
    – easy to park (compared to a sedan with equal room)
    – good ground clearance for the snow
    – “good enough” gas mileage and performance

    And that’s not even getting into the whole image/status thing. Practicality is increasing in priority for the bulk of the market over time, and crossovers are peak practicality (outside of minivans).

    Wagons will never come back… they never dominated like crossovers do and never had the kind of cul-de-sac cachet they do either. People are too image conscious to buy minivans en masse (and in any case most people don’t want or need anything that big). Sedans just aren’t as practical as crossovers.

    All the whining and crying about crossovers needs to cease. The top selling sedans are things like Civics and Camrys. Usually in rental spec (4 banger + auto transmission). There’s no driving excitement left off the table going from a Civic CVT to a CR-V. You guys need to get over it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      They will never die but certain form factors go in and out of fashion so they go from being big sellers to having a much smaller market share. Car buying may seem like a mostly practical thing to you but in fact it has a big emotional/fashion/herd mentality component and at some point, just given the nature of fashion, people will get sick of them and want something “new” and unlike the cars that their parents drove.

      In addition, form factors morph to the point where they are unrecognizable or in effect different even if called by the same name. A 1934 “sedan” resembles a modern CUV more than it resembles a modern sedan.

      To be honest, most people never take their CUV’s off road or even drive them on unplowed streets, so the whole ride height thing is mostly an affectation. The whole SUV (and later CUV) phenomenon was based on some fantasy idea that driving one made you a rugged outdoorsman – in the ads people are always driving to some lake on a dirt road instead of taking the kids to the Chuck-E-Cheese at the mall. Minivans made you feel castrated but an _UV meant that you were the Marlboro Man.

      Maybe when most cars were sedans, a tall driving position (especially if you are a 5’2′ woman) gave you a view over the rooftops of other cars, but now that every other cars is also a tall vehicle, you get no advantage. My guess is that, driven by mileage (especially if gas gets expensive again) and safety requirements but also fashion (hemlines and lapel widths change for no practical reason), CUVs will get lower to the point where their form factor is more like station wagon than today’s CUVs. Lower is the direction that makes the most sense because there are few really compelling (as opposed to imaginary) reasons why people need vehicles that are higher than the cars of the post WWII period and lots of reasons why lower is better (which is why cars got lower in the 1st place).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Cars got lower purely because of style. Harley Earl and “lower, wider, longer.” Other than style, there are only two advantages to being low: fuel economy and driving dynamics. Around here, we tend to see driving dynamics as outweighing virtually everything else. But most people don’t feel that way.

        Meawhile, there are lots of advantages to being high. People like feeling tall. Even when other vehicles are high too, people don’t like feeling shorter than everyone else. High seating position makes entry and exit easier, especially for people with mobility issues or arthritis. Loading kids is way, way easier when you don’t have to bend over so far. Tall roofs increase cargo volume without increasing footprint. Height makes big wheels look less out of place. Ground clearance is useful not just for snow and off-road driving, but also so you don’t scrape your vehicle on parking curbs, steeply angled driveways or ramps, or even badly potholed Midwest and Northeast streets.

        Now there’s only so high you need to be to get those advantages, and that point is where CUV hip point has landed. Higher than that starts to get less practical.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Why is lower objectively better? It means no headroom and a driving position akin to sitting on a chaise longue.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Even if all cars are high, being in a high car is an advantage vs being in a low one. My motorcycle has a hip point about where CUVs are, and the visibility I get in it is way better than the visibility I get in my Civic.

        Ease of ingress/egress is pretty compelling as well, as is maximized space efficiency. A car with the cargo space of a CR-V is not going to fit in my garage, or anywhere near as many parallel parking spots.

        Like dal20402 said there is zero reason for CUVs to get any lower. They have optimized their hip point & head room, and to add to that they are incredibly space efficient. A CR-V has the footprint of my Civic, with the passenger space of an Accord and well over double the cargo space with the seats up. As I said… maximum practicality. People have come to value practicality over style, and I don’t see that changing.

    • 0 avatar
      RS

      It’s a shame you can’t fit much behind the 2nd seat of many CUV’s. 6-12″ more storage behind the rear wheels would be a good start. But that would probably kill the ‘going off road’ look that ‘never going off road’ owners love to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      “Wagons will never come back… they never dominated like crossovers do and never had the kind of cul-de-sac cachet they do either. ”

      You must not be old enough to remember when an LTD Country Squire was in fact the object of desire for middle class women living in the then-new suburbs. Once upon a time, this was the thing that showed your family had arrived! If you were upper middle class, then something like a Buick Estate or Mercury Colony was the ticket.

      http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/cc-cohort/cohort-outtake-1970-ford-ltd-country-squire-the-almost-peak-country-squire-experience/

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_Estate#/media/File:1971_Buick_Estate_wagon_front.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I’m old enough to remember the earth’s mantle cooling. The best selling year for the Ford Country Squire, the best-selling of all US wagons, was in 1973. They sold 143K of them. That was back when the best selling Detroit sedans were around seven figures. Wagons were curiosities at their peaks compared to CUVs today, which rival everything this side of F150s and Silverados in popularity.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Yea I wasn’t buying that either. Plus again crossovers didn’t even exist back then, so who’s to say what they would have bought instead?

          Wagons were in steep decline before CUVs really took hold, but once there was overlap it was really over. Nobody wants them. Even across the pond people either go hatchback or crossover. Wagons are getting squeezed out.

  • avatar
    slap

    Self driving cars.

    Take away the act of driving, and what type of vehicle would result.

    Handling and acceleration? Doesn’t matter.
    Ride? The smoother the better.
    Visibility? Not that important.

    Getting in and out, comfort, and style will be important.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Self driving cars.”

      If that is the future, that will be when I no longer give a sh!t about motor-vehicles.

      If I can’t drive it then I don’t care what it looks or feels like!

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        And that’s exactly why, as Bob Lutz said in a recent interview with Car and Driver, that the auto industry has only perhaps another 20 years to go as we know it. There may be no reason to own a car once we get to self-driving pods. People will rent, lease or subscribe. There’ll be no pride of ownership because, frankly, who’ll care about vehicles like these?

  • avatar
    TTCat

    “…into my personal pick for the Next Big Thing — an all-wheel-drive, all-weather-coupe (or AWD-AWC).”

    Well, since that is what I am driving now, and what I want to get when it’s time to freshen up my ride, bring them on as soon as possible, as there are almost no decent choices to pick from currently…

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    Most households I know have both a crossover and a sedan. Dad usually drives the sedan and mom has the CUV. Unless, of course, they decided on a minivan.

    We like our CUV (a Mazda CX-5) because it drives like a car and gets good fuel economy like a car, but it makes my wife feel like she is driving an SUV. I suspect many couples feel the same way.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Hopefully it will end tomorrow. However excess ownership of “things” means CUVs etc. are used to move them around.

    The next big thing will be, as The Who said, same as the last thing. Cars. People will get sick of the inferior styling, performance, handling, fuel economy, excess weight etc. and conclude that, wow, its much easier getting into and out of a car. Who knew?

    Mini foldout trailers with garage wall hanging devices will take the place of the on road box vehicles. Or maybe not. Perhaps a new industry will start. Call it UberCargo (I have patent pending ;) ). These are people who bought these boxes, have buyer remorse and can’t sell them for squat. So they are on call to move your excess stuff…..

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “People will get sick of the inferior styling…”

      Subjective.

      “…performance, handling,…”

      Your average driver doesn’t care about these things.

      “…fuel economy,…”

      The MPG penalty between sedans and CUVs is narrowing, and is even less of an issue with $2.00 gas.

      “…excess weight etc.”

      See above.

      “…and conclude that, wow, its [sic] much easier getting into and out of a car.”

      Except it’s not. Bait harder next time.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I’d say it certainly is easier to get out of most CUVs vs most mainstream sedans. I know it certainly is easier getting in the 08 Escape that replaced our 10 Fusion. That said I prefer the sedan and that is what will most likely replace the Escape. I just purchased the Escape because they were practically giving it away.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Thanks for taking the words off my fingertips. Lol @ a car being easier to get into than a crossover.

        Much of the B&B has real trouble reconciling the fact that their tastes are not universal.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Unless the trend in sedans getting lower roof lines and lower to the ground changes, crossovers will continue to gain more market share even if they get lower roof lines and less height. Most people are not buying a car to race and will take more comfort and space over a better handling car. True the coupe like styling of most of today’s sedans looks good but it sacrifices both comfort and room. Its like airline seats the smaller the seat width gets along with less legroom the harder it is to be comfortable. If you compare the head, legroom, and trunk space of most of today’s coupe like sedans to those of the past there is no comparison. Maybe we as a species need to get smaller so that we can fit into today’s airline seats and coupe like sedans.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Oh please please please bring back the PLC in lieu of the CUV!

    I miss my Chevelle at times though the 57′ 210 two door sedan is fun though!

    But, probably not gonna happen for me.

  • avatar
    gasser

    The CUV/SUV craze will die when gas crosses the five dollars a gallon barrier. In my recent experience there is little difference in city gas mileage between driving a 4100 pound sedan or 4100 pound CUV.. In city driving there is little wind resistance and most of the energy is consumed in moving the mass of the vehicle up to speed. When gas cost $5/gallon again, then the difference between 30 miles per gallon highway and 40 miles per gallon highway will become highly relevant. We will be climbing all over each other to buy cars that weigh under 3000 pounds. I doubt by then that hybrid vehicles will have their cost come down enough to be cost competitive. The next big thing will The the B or C car five door. The hatch will return with a vengeance.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The hatch will die in the US with the CUV/SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      CUVs will get slicker, lighter, and more expensive when/if gas goes to $5. Way more of them will be hybrids. They may even get a bit lower. But they’ll stay around.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      At $5 gas and 15,000 miles driven per year the monthly difference between 30mpg and 40mpg is about $50.

      This amount of money is not “highly relevant” to the demographic that will be buying new CUVs.

      Many people learned their lesson the last time gas prices spiked, and will probably hesitate to dump or avoid a car they otherwise like for what are ultimately negligible reductions in fuel cost.

  • avatar
    analoggrotto

    Maybe private vehicle ownership will end with the CUV. Perhaps local sharing pools will take off from that body style?

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I already have an AWD coupe. But why does it have to be lifted to be considered all-weather?? My very first AWD coupe was a 1990 Eagle Talon and I can assure you that it was spectacular in the harshest NY winters. It’s kinda funny that all these years later and I still love my AWD coupe enough to still have one.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      If it’s not lifted, it’s not cool and offers no adventure-time utility.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I did say “all weather” and not “off road”

        So my non-lifted AWD coupe still makes a fantastic all-weather vehicle for the roads and not the trails. See, no need to lift a street car, even in deep snow because the plows don’t allow the snow to get too high to handle.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          See my prior statement. The height is the appeal, and it creates perceived utility. it doesn’t matter whether it’s needed or not, or whether actual utility is provided. That’s why we’re seeing FWD-only “crossovers” now.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    The next big thing will be a horse, of course. Once outright bans of cars and trucks take place, horses will come back into the fold. Why not bikes you say? People are too lazy to pedal. I’ve already patented the solar saddle to charge cell phones and gps’s. Giddy up!

  • avatar
    Notmyname

    I think the crossover will die, when car manufacturers start making unibody pickup trucks, and I don’t mean a Honda Ridgeline. Think more like a Corolla with a 5 foot bed instead of a trunk.
    The original Rav4 was basically a lifted Corolla with all wheel drive. It wasn’t really designed to do the things all the other BOF suv’s did at the time. It had just enough capability to separate it from a car without adding too much cost by actually making it powerful or rugged
    I think eventually, somebody will make a pickup truck that isn’t trying to compete with the BOF trucks,(unlike the Ridgeline). It will simply be a lifted family sedan with a 4-5 foot bed. Giving people the gas milage and comfort of a sedan with the added convenience of a pickup bed, with a payload and towing comparable with the current compact crossovers

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      A pickup bed doesn’t add convenience for most CUV drivers, it takes it away. Suddenly your cargo area is exposed to weather and thieves, and unless you have an Avalanche-style “midgate” you can’t use your bed and back seat at the same time.

      The people who want pickup beds are already buying pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yeah I wouldn’t even consider mini pickup as a replacement for a CUV. I dislike the fact that people can look in and see what might be back there but at least it is locked to keep an honest person honest.

        What kills me is when I’m traveling and at the hotel someone drives up in their crew cab short bed pickup, everyone piles out and starts grabbing bags and things from the open bed. I’m sorry but I wouldn’t want to get to my destination and have all my clothes wet because of a freak rain storm and I guess it would be the drive thru and eating in the vehicle if I was hungry.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      This sounds like the the Subaru Baja. Neat concept, but ultimately unsuccessful.

    • 0 avatar
      Notmyname

      “The people who want pickup beds are already buying pickups.”

      But, in the nineties, the people buying BOF SUV’s were already buying BOF SUV’s. It wasn’t till the alternative of crossovers came along did things change. Pickup trucks are obviously big sellers, so I guess I’m surprised their isn’t more varieties based on that design. I mean look at all the different size sedans and crossovers every manufacturer has, yet no manufacturer makes more the two models of pickups. I think thats weird, at least for the american market that really, really likes trucks.

      And, as far as exposed cargo area, I think there’s pros and cons to both. I think it’s easier to just toss your bike in the back of a truck, instead of fitting it into most compact crossovers, for example.

      “This sounds like the the Subaru Baja”
      Yeah, that is basically what I described, although it always looked like a converted wagon, not really a sedan with a pickup bed.
      I guess in my head it looks like maybe a more compact version of this el camino photo shop picture:
      http://bestcar2016.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2016-Chevrolet-El-Camino-side.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I anticipate that we will see more FWD/AWD unibody pickups in the future, but not in every size segment, not from every manufacturer, and not based off low-slung sedans.

        FWIW, the El Camino and Ranchero originally were “converted wagons” too.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    A Fusion pickup might be a decent selling vehicle, just call it a Ranchero. It would be a perfect size for a pickup and would be a neat looking vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “A Fusion pickup might be a decent selling vehicle,”

      On what planet? This is the dumbest thing I’ve heard lately.

      • 0 avatar
        e30gator

        I don’t think I’d buy a Fusion pickup, but I wouldn’t call the idea “dumb” either. The Aussies still love their Holden El Camino monstrosities, and a Ranchero based on a midsize Ford would require very little investment for them. Once gas prices shoot back up (I’m guessing be the end of the Trump presidency–LOL–and we’ve destroyed our OPEC ties), something like a car based pickup might gain some traction (pun intended).

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I foresee CUV’s hoods shortening.

    The next cool or popular set of wheels will be a cross between a CUV and van.

    I even think pickups will lose their long hoods.

    Are big engine bays needed nowadays with little turbo engines?

    The popularity of the V6 was due to FWD vehicles.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    It’s the same story over in UK/Ireland/Western Europe – every manufacturer now pumps out CUVs, in many cases axing slow selling mid-size sedans (no more Accord!) to make room.

    Yet about 15-20 years ago there was a huge anti-SUV movement. Environmentalists stormed Land Rover and chained themselves to the production line. SUVs were seen as gas guzzling huge unsafe vehicles for the rich and ignorant.

    In many ways over there the craze started with the Volvo XC90 – the manufacturer that popularised the station wagon – which showed that an SUV didn’t need to be utilitarian nor expensive, could be ran with the same costs as a regular wagon, and appealed greatly to the middle classes. Then Nissan came along with the Qashqai – a car based on a Renault compact car platform (Megane) with small Renault diesel engines – and showed that an SUV could be small and affordable, it sold like hotcakes.

    As suggested by others, it may be because the traditional “dad cars” that people grew up with were sedans and wagons, and the next generation wants to be different, then the next generation will probably want something else (there is suggestion that with social media keeping friends in touch, environmental concerns, uber for transport etc. that the next generation has no real interest in cars anyway).

    Approaching middle age and starting a family, I can kinda see the appeal – big hatchback style trunks allow for getting prams and luggage out and groceries in, big doors for putting child seats in, Tonka truck styling to make the occupants feel cocooned.
    I don’t feel ‘ready’ for one though, and have been eyeing up fastback-style midsize hatchbacks such as the local Buick Regal (Insignia as a sedan-like 5 door) and Skoda’s (VW group, popular with taxi drivers) models.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Crossovers will “call it quits” when consumer preferences change. No sooner. The whining of irrelevant car snobs will have nothing to do with it.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    CUVs are basically minivans disguised as SUVs because vans aren’t cool. Vans were cool until the late ’70s when they became played out. In the late ’80s minivans became all the rage. Fifteen years and they were played out. I give CUVs five to ten more years and they’ll be played out. Then mini-CUVs will be the rage. Think CR-V.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      They already are. Every major automaker has at least one “cute-ute” in their lineup (Ford Escape, Chevy Trax, RAV4, Fiat 500L, etc). This is the fastest growing segment.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Safety is a big part of why families choose large vehicles, be it a CUV, minivan, or wagon. BUT…

    If the autonomous vehicle thing really takes off, will the size and girth of a vehicle matter as much? I think not since the likelihood of an idiot plowing into the family truckster would be greatly diminished. Once strollers and car seats are no longer needed by a family, most can get by with something like a midsize sedan. My guess is that we’ll have a lot of Tesla-like autonomous cars cruising about on major thoroughfares.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Just a thought about a Fusion pickup, it would be a nice size for those who want something smaller than the current trucks. I doubt Ford will want to do any truck smaller than an F150 but then again Ford is saying it plans on bringing back the Ranger and Bronco. A pickup truck based on a Transit Connect might be a concept worth exploring. Most people do not need a full size pickup.

    As for the size of engine bays, I agree with Big Al in that those vehicles going from a V8 to a V6 and from a V6 to an I4 or I3 could easily go to a hood that is shorter thus a shorter vehicle.

    As for crossovers there will always be some form of a crossover, station wagon, and van whether the height or dimensions are changed. The replacements might be called something besides a cuv, crossover, or suv since a new generation will be buying them and as many have said they don’t want their parents vehicles. Change the vehicle a little, change the name, and market it as something else. A lot of success in selling a product is in the marketing of that product..

    If automakers want to make sedans more popular then they need to design one with better ergonomics. Not necessarily a larger vehicle but one that utilizes interior space better, easier ingress and egress, easier to load packages and bulky things in the trunk, and better visibility. A coupe or sports car can get by with less efficient use of space but if you are going to sell sedans to families then you need to make them more functional or you will continue to lose market share. It is not much more to buy a compact crossover versus a midsize sedan and the ergonomics, visibility, and space utilization are much better in the compact crossover. Design a more functional sedan and the manufacturers will see a resurgence in sales especially if fuel prices go up.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Regardign your 3rd paragraph- they do make such vehicles. They are called crossovers :)

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        That is kind of the point, most who want more room will buy a crossover versus a sedan. You would have to go back to the late 40’s to the mid 50’s to find a sedan with comparable utilization of space. If you go to Jay Leno’s site he has some older cars such as a 50 Nash Ambassador that has a large interior and sizable trunk. Sedans over the years have lost more of their functionality but even those up until the recent coupe craze have had decent interior space. Slopping roof lines while looking cool do not lend themselves to comfortable family vehicles especially if you are one of the adults who has to sit in the back seat with your head hitting the rear glass and your knees jabbed up against the back of the seat. Even my wife’s former 2000 Taurus was fairly comfortable in the rear seat and it had a generous trunk.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Of course the crossover isn’t going anywhere its a fantastic vehicle for most of the buying public. For us it checked more boxes than any sedan

    Our priorities when shopping were:
    – Plentiful rear leg room
    – Cargo space and flexibility
    – Soft ride (crappy Midwestern roads demand this)
    – More upright/boxy styling; no “wedge of cheese” styling
    – Lower beltline; higher roof

    Driving dynamics didn’t matter because my spouse doesn’t care. In a midsized sedan’s footprint we have a full size sedan’s rear leg room, more cargo room than either, a roomy airy greenhouse, and a decently plush ride.

    Modern sedans fail miserably at satisfying that list.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    I think the clear distinction between types of cars will continue to fade. Example: why is that new Alfa that I keep forgetting the name of a crossover, yet the Audi A4 allroad is a wagon? (Or is it, even?) Just because the Audi has a sedan cousin it shares sheetmetal with?

    The only trend I really see is how the notchback (as opposed to hatchback) keeps losing market share, what with all those SUVs, CUVs, four-door coupés, and, yes, here in Europe even hatchback sedans and wagons competing.

    I think that it will all sort of blend into a much more general image of “car”, without the clear distinctions we still think of now.

    And by the way, what is it that makes your AWD-AWC anything other than a two-door CUV coupé?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      “And by the way, what is it that makes your AWD-AWC anything other than a two-door CUV coupé?”

      Yeah, they’re gonna put that term in marketing materials. Also, who makes a CUV coupe right now?

      Coupe /= hatch.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    “QOTD: When Will the Crossover Call It Quits?”

    When people stop buying them, which is not likely..(^_^)..

    =================

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    The station wagon has always reigned supreme. It just gets plastic surgery every few years. Sometimes it wears heels. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it has a truck bed.

    I assume the AWD coupe was a joke.

  • avatar

    I often think about this.

    As a two-CUV owner (RAV and CRV), I think that it would have to do all of the things that a CUV does now, but much better…and cooler.

    I don’t know what that looks like, so automakers will continue to CUV all the things in the meantime.

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