By on February 19, 2017

2015 Honda CR-V

Sport utility and crossover vehicles have gradually become hotter than the surface of the sun as the public has come to treat sedans with the sort of disdain usually reserved for an old high school flame. It was decent while it lasted, but now you don’t even really want to acknowledge that it was ever a part of your life.

Sales have reflected this and automakers have hurried to supply an eager market with utility vehicles. While some did not quite meet demand, and have suffered for it, others are seeing rising incentives to meet the growing inventory surplus — giving us our first indications that interest in SUVs and crossovers has its limits. 

Incentives on sport utility vehicles increased $704 from a year prior to $3,663 last month, according to J.D. Power dealer data shared by Bloomberg. It’s a swell of 24 percent against the 13 percent rise for the total market average, according to publicly unavailable data from the Power Information Network.

The current model year Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Equinox are both offering four figures of incentives and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Jeep retailers are offering $4,500 in rebates on the current model Cherokees and the Compass can be leased for under $200 a month with $2,999 due at signing. Ford offered a $199 per month lease with no money down on Escapes in several western U.S. markets. As expected, deals on outgoing 2016 model year vehicles are even better.

The Toyota RAV4 picked up almost $1,000 in additional discounts while Honda’s 2016 CR-V saw about $700 with 0.9% financing for up to 60 months or 1.9% financing for 61-72 months in some states. Meanwhile, Chevrolet has outgoing Tahoe and Suburban SUVs leaving dealer lots with no-interest loans for 72 months and thousands in potential cash returns.

After years of growth for the segment, vast discounting on favored models could be an indication that carmakers have overestimated demand as new models pour into the market and current production lines increase their output.

“There was an overbuild of SUVs,” Jeff Schuster, an analyst with researcher LMC Automotive, told Bloomberg. “The manufacturers wanted to make sure they’re not caught without SUVs to sell.”

LMC projects sport utility vehicles to grow to 43 percent of the U.S. market by 2024, that’s up from 30.7 percent when the crossover boom began in 2012.

“It’s certainly plausible to look at SUVs as 50 percent of the market,” Schuster said. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

Although he doesn’t believe the current pace of growth to be sustainable. The segment grew so quickly and automakers have responded so aggressively, that the market might quickly become over-saturated.

“The competition in the SUV segment is fierce and is going to heat up even further as you have more new entries and redesigns,” he explained. “That competitive pressure will intensify as the year progresses. There’s more price pressure ahead.”

[Image: Honda]

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162 Comments on “Are Sport Utility Vehicles About to Become Passé or Simply More Affordable?...”


  • avatar
    SD 328I

    I don’t think so, SUVs aren’t going to lose their popularity anytime soon, especially not to sedans.

    The decrease in SUV sales is small in comparison to sedans, it’s just the whole industry slowing down.

    • 0 avatar
      John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

      It sounds like to me its just some low hanging fruit being cleared out. Escape is hardly brand new, the Cherokee and Compass the same or worse, and its normal for incentives (and sales to rental companies) to increase as the shiny wears off new metal and it slowly becomes old hat.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @SD 328I
      No decrease in this part of the world, sales are on fire

  • avatar
    TW5

    I think it’s safe to say regulators badly underestimated the consequences of applying stringent new fuel economy mandates to CUVs/SUVs. Consumers have the ability to replace their 7-10 year old sedans with CUVs that make nearly the same fuel economy, while offering superior ergonomics and utility. Maybe the EPA should impose maximum fuel economy of 10mpg on all light-duty trucks?

    The manufacturers correctly predicted the sales realignment, but they were ensnared by their own form of groupthink. Despite rising automobile prices, which the manufacturers disguise by failing to cite data about average transaction price, the manufacturers thought they could push perpetually higher numbers of vehicles into America’s garages. Based upon the underlying microeconomics (35-and-under Americans saddled with more debt than ever, lower-marriage rates thus higher taxes for most 35-and-under Americans), their ploy was desperate from the outset, but they had apparently exhausted all other options. Stuffing the retail channels with excess CUVs was the default vain effort to drive sales and profitability.

    The next phase of CAFE presents uncertainty for the industry. If consumers reject hybrid and diesel offerings, CUVs may suffer a crushing defeat.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The manufacturers still win, because the transaction prices on crossovers is so much higher than on the cars on which they are based.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        True. They are probably still making good money compared to what they make on small/midsize sedans. However, CAFE is going to deteriorate their margins rapidly, and unless we have an economic boom for the under-35 crowd, the manufacturers are living on borrowed time.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “CAFE is going to deteriorate their margins rapidly”

          As it is already busily deteriorating their dimensions, especially behind the driver’s seat.

          Car guys really should embrace and cheer CAFE as it is a dedicated destroyer of CUV dimensional superiority.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        However, the majority of buyers switching from sedans to crossovers tend to go down a size segment (i.e. – Accord to CR-V).

        But nevertheless, the margins are greater on the crossover.

        • 0 avatar
          fishiftstick

          This won’t last forever. Where there is excess margin there will be competitive pressure on prices, which eventually will drive margins down.

          Conversely, as sedan sales wane and competitors drop out, margins in that segment will likely increase.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      TW5,

      If your proof that CAFE isn’t working is the fact that crossovers get the same fuel economy as sedans did 7-10 years ago, then perhaps you need to think harder.

      The reason why crossovers are more popular now is because families can afford to run them. That wasn’t the case back in the day when they got 15 mpg. Now you can get 30 mpg and the added practicality of a crossover (and better safety too), thanks to CAFE.

      Obviously, that’s not the only reason why high hatchbacks are popular, but it’s a major one. I would also add the fact that roads have gone to hell in most of the US, mostly due to state-level austerity. Extra ground clearance is welcome when potholes are bigger than a breadbox.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “Now you can get 30 mpg and the added practicality of a crossover”

        Don’t you mean, the added practicality of a station wagon.

        Let’s call a spade a spade here, people. Breathlessly talking about this “all new!” vehicle space as if it is “finally!” the be-all and end-all of the perfect vehicle, is ludicrous.

        And let’s face it: standard, lower, lighter sedans can also be the answer to the question. Children fit just fine, and no, you don’t need to haul your whole house with you whenever Junior goes to grandma’s house six blocks away.

        And frankly, if it’s family hauling you want, four swinging doors and a jacked up vehicle is FAR inferior to the modern minivan. Don’t tell me in one breath that you “need maximum utility to haul lots of family as well as stuff to remodel the house” and then in the next breath say “therefore of course we bought an SUV”. That’s crap right there. SUV people like that define what the car salesman says in the bullpen: buyers are liars.

        Frankly, the whole “we don’t know what to call it but as long as we put ‘utility’ in the name and even better if we can allude to a ‘sporty’ lifestyle” trend reminds me of the coal-rolling redneck who buys that dually with the Cummins to drive to work every day because, after all, he “needs” to pull that trailer once a year to the campground/lake–and he thinks he wants/needs one single vehicle to “do it all no matter what”.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Its no surprise you have “jalop” in your name. Yes, sedans can work, but they don’t work as well. And for a family of 4, aside from the sliding doors, minivans come with a lot of downsides…. significantly worse gas mileage for one, and worse parking prospects. For example I don’t think a minivan would fit in my garage with my other car…. a crossover certainly would.

          Stop being so contrarian and adolescent…. CR-V size crossovers are the nexus of a lot of people’s needs. The things sedans are better at (dynamics and fuel economy with gas at a historically average inflation adjusted $2/gallon) and minivans are better at (carrying 2-3 non-existent family members) don’t matter to most people. Stop trying to rationalize your tastes and force them on others

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            A Town and Country with a 6 will get roughly the same mileage as a Rogue with a 4 for similar years. This I know from personal experience.

            With the new Pacifica and a new Rogue, I am not sure, but I bet they are close with the minivan having far more space available.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          @jalop1991

          After 30 years of rising light-duty truck sales, I’m disinclined to buy arguments that suggest SUVs and CUVs are nothing more than station wagons on stilts. While it’s obviously fundamentally true, it also ignores the nuance of human perception and regulation. The average consumer does not believe CUVs are stations wagons or hatchbacks with lift kits, and the NHTSA agrees with them.

          If you’d like to lobby the feds to recognize lifted hatchbacks and station wagons as light-duty trucks, deserving of relaxed fuel economy standards, you’d probably do us all a huge favor and save consumers billions of dollars on redundant R&D. Godspeed.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          Fine, let’s call a spade a spade. These modern car based SUVs are just the car returning to its roots. Check out a 40 Ford. The ground clearance, the shape, the modern CUV is closer to that than the stupid wagons your mama beat your ass in back in the day. I like the CUV. Maybe if we fix the damn roads in this country we can go back to low cars.

          • 0 avatar
            ptschett

            I’ve thought the same way about CUVs for a while now. Automotive design follows cycles, and in my view we were just due for a reset of the late-1950’s long-low-wide good-roads-optimized idea back to the prior compact/tall and all-roads practical idea. (The one difference is that cars are now so specialized to purposes that the different formats carry on in parallel.)

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          @Jalop. I’m an SUV buyer. I wanted a nice vehicle and guess what? A Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5 Series was $15k more comparatively equipped than my SUV. They’re a darn good value for money.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ heavy

        You seem to believe government regulation is required for manufacturers and consumers to engage in mutually beneficial exchange. In fact, consumers and businesses will not stop engaging in mutually beneficial exchange, even if the government outlaws the practice.

        And if you truly believe that the government is responsible for fixing some kind of market failure, you need to figure out how the costs are being externalized. In other words, who is the sucker absorbing the costs to get commerce moving again? Usually, regulators make it impossible to figure out who is the unwitting patsy (e.g. Obamacare), but when you look at the length of financing terms, it seems the average car buyer is getting duped. Fullsize SUV buyers are also getting hammered.

        The transition from sedans to SUVs was caused inadvertently by CAFE regulations. Based upon the revised fleet fuel economy estimates for CAFE 2025, the new regulations are already inducing buyers to move to vehicles with less fuel efficiency potential. CAFE has always been a trainwreck dolled-up as public policy. It’s the solution whereby Congress spends no money on technology, ecology, or prosperity and consumers have no idea how much this sort of “progressive” policy actually costs.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          ^Thank you.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Eh – the majority of buyers switching from sedans to crossovers do so going down a segment size.

          The reason for this is that not only are, for example, compact crossovers roughly in the same price-range as midsize sedans, but with the recent generation of models, get roughly the same fuel economy.

          The move to crossovers accelerated when crossovers (one segment down) started to get similar fuel economy to the sedans that buyers switched out of, esp. when the price of gas was still relatively high.

          As for “Obamacare,” it was a half-arsed measure as it was heavily watered down in order to get the special interests on board (insurance companies, healthcare providers, big pharma, etc.).

          The US healthcare system is grossly inefficient and uncompetitive (all this talk about “competition” is BS), and now that Wall St. and hedge fund types have set their eyes on pharmaceuticals as their next big “play” (after they decimated the secondary mortgage industry, and prior to that, the dotcoms).

          Too many special interests making a killing in healthcare so probably won’t see any real reforms on our lifetimes.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            bd2,

            You are confusing “segment” with utility. You can fit more in a CR-V than you can in an Accord, even though the later is 10 inches longer.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            bd2, a compact-based crossover doesn’t get roughly the same fuel economy as a midsize sedan in real world driving. The EPA ratings only look somewhat close due to outdated test cycles. In stop and go driving, accelerating the extra mass of a CUV hurts fuel economy. The extra aerodynamic drag of a CUV relative to a sedan dramatically reduces fuel economy at 75 mph.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          TW5,

          You are just arguing that anybody who makes different purchases than you must be wrong (blame government!). It’s a tired old argument, should have retired long ago.

          People have always liked SUVs and crossovers, but they used to be too expensive to run. My dad would have loved a Scout or Travelall, back in the day, but there was no room in the family budget for 8 mpg. Now you can have your cake and eat it too. So stop complaining about how cars are now too affordable and last too long.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @heavy

            I’m arguing that CAFE creates unintended side effects. In particular, CAFE seems to motivate consumers to buy larger vehicles with lower potential fuel economy. CAFE is also one of the laziest and least-populist policies ever devised.

            People who support CAFE are those who generally don’t understand policy alternatives and public finance. For 2-3% of the federal budget, we could double fleet fuel economy in under a decade.

            The geopolitics of oil and politics of mandatory federal spendthrift trump fuel economy and carbon concerns. Republicans support oil at all cost (generally), and Democrats spend astronomical amounts while delivering increasingly meager benefits, and then blaming everyone else.

            There is no political capital behind CAFE. That’s why consumers are taught to love it irrationally, and it’s why the EPA behaves traitorously to protect their policy (no one else in DC actually cares).

            In summary, you need to stop clinging to bad policy. It’s embarrassing, and it validates the DC opinion that the people shouldn’t be left to their own devices.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          TW5,
          CUVs being classed as light trucks do have different regulations applied to them in comparison to the very car platforms which they are based on in the US.

  • avatar
    Rday

    My hybrid rav 4 gets between 30 and 35mpg average no matter where i am driving. So i think the smart oem’s will get with the hybrid and diesel powertrains to get me most mileage out of their units. anyone driving a large [camry/accord/etc] can get as good or better mileage and have space for carrying more stuff and awd to boot. So i think we are seeing a change in the customer as far as automotive taste goes. WHy drive a sedan when you can get a hybrid cuv that gets as good or better mileage with all of the other luxury performance perks too.
    Kinda like why drive a big sedan when you can drive a Sienna or Odyssey minivan that rides like a dream and really carries the load. I think sedans are on the way out for many consumers/ there are just too many other good choices for the same dollar.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Sedans have become the new sports coupes, only with 4 doors now. They are the more stylish, less practical, sportier looking alternative to the now traditional family-mobile – the crossover.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I’m glad my slogan is catching on. Sedans indeed are the new coupes, be they the little economy cars young women drive, or the quick large “personal luxury” sedans men commute in that complement their wives’ crossovers. For better or worse it is what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      SD 328I

      I agree with you, look at BMW, they got caught with too many sedans and not enough SUVs. Even for the vaunted 3-series, its sales are down.

      My tag name shows my love of my E46 sedan, but premium sedans are suffering by almost all makes right now because people rather have their SUV equivalent.

      SUVs just make more sense for more people. The only major downfall was their terrible mpg, but most cross-over based models are in the 30 mpg zone. Good enough, especially if gas prices go up.

      Average price for a new vehicle is $30,000 plus now, people want that vehicle to do everything if they are going to pay so much money. Cross-over platform is perfect for that. Won’t handle like a sedan in the twisty roads, but 95% of drivers probably don’t have a chance to hit a twisty road, it’s all about commuting, groceries, picking up the kids, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        “Average price for a new vehicle is $30,000 plus now, people want that vehicle to do everything if they are going to pay so much money. Cross-over platform is perfect for that.”

        No, minivan is perfect for that. “Crossover” or “SUV” or “CUV” are far, FAR inferior to the minivan.

        Which tells me that buyers are liars. They’re so busy lying to themselves about what they want, they don’t realize how obvious it is to the outside world.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          @jalop1991 would you stop…. average US family has 1-2 kids. What does a minivan do better for a family of 4 that’s worth the added price (for the same features), cost of ownership (in fuel economy, brakes and tires) and maneuverability/parking demerits than a crossover? Do you have a family?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Take something about the footprint of the current 5-series, give it LWB and about it 8-12 inches in rear seating, lose length in the trunk or hood if need be, and voila the perfect vehicle for the 1.5 child family.

            (btw 5 series has 158mm of ride height 158mm=6.2 in)

            http://www.carandbike.com/compare-cars/bmw-5-series-1017-vs-mercedes-benz-e-class-1151

            Critical thinking used to be a thing.

          • 0 avatar
            jalop1991

            Minivans are more expensive than SUVs? Really? Cost of ownership as well? REALLY?

            My guess is, you and everyone else who has bought into the everyone-else-has-one SUV/”crossover” mentality has never driven a minivan more than 5 minutes.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Yes @jalop1991….. a CR-V EX starts at $26K. An Odyssey EX starts at $33K. It’s the same story with every other compact mainstream crossover and minivan under the same brand and trim, aside from maybe VW and FCA.

            You still haven’t explained what this extra $7K gets the average family (which has 1-2 kids).

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            @28CL, I imagine such a vehicle would have problems fitting in the average American garage. No thanks. I’d rather a 2 row crossover that can easily fit a rear facing infant seat behind a 6′ adult comfortably. They tried your way with the R-Class and 5GT…. they both bombed miserably.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Half the marks against minivans you cite are due to their growth into full size vehicles. The original minivan was 176 inches long – shorter and narrower than a 2016 Honda Civic, and was popular because it drove like a car. It was a compact, based on a compact.

            The current “grand” Caravan is 26 inches longer with an 11 inch longer wheelbase, 7 inches wider, and has a 4 inch higher roofline. The curb weight increased from 2900 lbs. to 4400 lbs.

            The minivan isn’t mini anymore, and that’s why it’s shunned.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @sportyaccordy

            I have to head to bed but I will be curious to look into the 5GT which is something I am not at all familiar with to this point.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            @Lorenzo fair point, but Mazda and Kia tried the true minivan thing and they both bombed. For all intents and purposes, low load floor and sliding doors aside, the compact crossover IS the modern minivan. Heck, some of the compacts even come with 3 doors. I would not be surprised if something like the Nissan Rogue had a similar footprint to the original Caravan.

          • 0 avatar
            afedaken

            Things a minivan does better? Carry friends of those 1-2 kids, along with the assorted sports equipment.

            To put it another way, a properly equipped Tahoe will carry 8. A Grand Caravan will carry 8 and their luggage.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            “The minivan isn’t mini anymore, and that’s why it’s shunned.”

            That certainly explains why the Mazda 5 was such a huge hit then.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            “To put it another way, a properly equipped Tahoe will carry 8. A Grand Caravan will carry 8 and their luggage.”

            How often do you carry 8? Because if we apply the TTAC standard applied to full sized trucks if it is less than once a month you should own a diesel wagon and just rent a van for those trips.

            Interestingly enough I can haul myself, my wife, my 2 kids, and 2 of their friends comfortably in the truck. (Well the middle front kid probably is a little cramped but I do it for camp outs) and bring half the house with me in the back.

            Honestly though if I hauled 8 regularly I’d have a Transit Wagon or one of the modern big vans.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “To put it another way, a properly equipped Tahoe will carry 8. A Grand Caravan will carry 8 and their luggage.’
            A Tahoe or minivan with eight passengers would be hell on a long trip. If either are to carry any significant luggage then you’d need to use the roof rack.
            I had 3 adults and 3 teenagers in our Sienna last summer and we had to use the roof rack. it was tight.

            @Big Al From ‘Murica – true.
            We seriously considered taking my pickup but I didn’t want to get stuck with a hormonally sweaty 14 year old crammed next to me. If our camping would have been more “serious”, the truck would have made the trip.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            @Lou…True, but with the truck you get to throw all their stinky camping crap in the back

        • 0 avatar
          SD 328I

          Not at all, why are they liars? People buy what they want, not what they need. The minivan is not perfect, it comes with a stigma and styling that negate it’s positives for a lot of people. That’s a valid concern as any other need they may have.

          The whole auto industry is based on that. There would be no supercars or premium cars is people only bought what they needed.

          Like I said, the SUV/Cross over fills just about every need most car buyers want, a good mixture of utility and also image. The minivan has better utility but not enough image to compensate for most people.

          Before you go knocking image conscience SUV buyers, this applies to car enthusiast and badge snobs as well, probably more so than even non-enthusiast SUV buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Interesting factoid: luxury sedans were down 131K in the US in 2016…. luxury crossovers were UP 121K.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I think part of the reason 3 series sales are down is because they are no longer the ultimate driving machine. They are now just a mainstream car with the BMW name attached.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          People don’t want ultimate driving machines. If they did the ATS/CTS wouldn’t be complete sales flops.

          The 3 is down for a lot of reasons but the biggest is probably the abuse of incentives catching up with them. Second biggest is a shift to crossovers…. much of the 3’s losses seem to have shifted over to the X3/X4 and the 2 series.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      Well, to be fair, if you’re comparing the hybrid Rav’s MPG to that of an Accord or Camry, the apples-apples comparison would be hybrid to hybrid. A hybrid Accord is going to deliver somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% better MPG than a hybrid Rav. That’s a substantial difference.

      When you say as good or better mileage, best to compare like powertrains.

      Minivans? That segment is in decline, getting beat up by SUVs just like sedans are. People aren’t choosing vans as sedan alternatives, by and large. Minivans aren’t a significant factor in declining sedan sales IMHO.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        If you need passenger and cargo flexibility, there isn’t a CUV or small SUV that can beat a minivan. Any of the people I know that have left minivans for CUV’s or small SUV’s did so because of the minivan stigma. Availability of AWD/4WD is a big positive for those CUV/SUV buyers.

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    I look forward to the day when SUVs become passe and proper station wagons like the VW Golf wagon are back in demand.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Nobody own a SUV wanna go back to crampy ass.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    No, I don’t think so. Except for driving dynamics, compact/midsize 2 row cross-overs do everything better than the sedans they are replacing, for not much more money, the public is catching on.

    Old legacy BOF SUVs kinda suck to drive, they will continue to go away, as they are not as useful as a quad cab truck, and in some cases, such as tahoe vs silverado, 20k overpriced, they don’t have the space efficiency of a modern cross over either. 4 Runner is hanging on, but would you really want one over a Tacoma?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Old legacy BOF SUVs kinda suck to drive, they will continue to go away, as they are not as useful as a quad cab truck

      I disagree with your thesis. I have had both, a CC pickup and currently have a Suburban. I find the opposite is true, the Burb is way more useful than the truck. The **only** downside to the burb VS the cc truck is I can not have a load of aggregate dumped into the back of the Suburban, which you can (and I did) with a CC truck. For the bulk of my normal family life, the burban wins hands down.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “I disagree with your thesis. I have had both, a CC pickup and currently have a Suburban. I find the opposite is true, the Burb is way more useful than the truck.”

        I own a Tahoe and crew cab Sierra PU. I find the opposite to be true. The utility and overall usefulness of my CC PU can’t be touched with any SUV. When I’m coming home back from the lake (3 hour drive) do I want an outboard motor and a 6 gallon gas can full of gas inside an SUV with me and my 3 kids? Don’t want to smell fumes and it’s outright dangerous. Much better to put stuff like that in the bed of the truck. That’s one example, I could give many more where the PU trumps the SUV when it comes to hauling stuff and people. As was said last week really depends on your lifestyle.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I has a Safari van for 2 years which serving duty as a pickup. ANY cargo that has odour permeates the vehicle interior. My Safari always smelled like wet dogs. If I carried lumber it was great. If I made a trip to the dump with household and yard garbage, yuck! If I carried my kids dirt bike’s then it smelled of gasoline and oil.
          SUV’s, CUV’s, mini or regular vans are good for “clean” cargo. Anything loose or malodourous is a problem. Pickups with their separate cargo compartments will always be superior in that regard. If security is an issue, a cap or tonneau cover can easily be added.
          Pickups are also better for oddly shaped or oversized objects.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Pickups are also better for oddly shaped or oversized objects.”

            Yep. Can’t get a 12′ Lund aluminum boat, a snowmobile, or a yard and half of mulch in a SUV. These are all things I’ve hauled in my PU fairly recently. I could go on and on.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Which is more useful a BOF SUV or Crew Cab truck? The real answer is that it all depends on the individual user. My current fleet exists of a CC 8′ bed 4×4, a full size cargo van, a mid size SUV, a Compact CUV and a full size sedan. Each one has things that they excel in a along with a lot of things that overlap. If I’m carrying something dirty or smelly the pickup is the clear choice, something really bulky that needs to stay dry or clean the cargo van, something moderately sized that needs to be kept dry then the SUV or CUV depending on the mix of items or passengers. The fact is in our house the CUV and sedan are the daily drivers since the bulk of the time there is only 1 or 2 people in the vehicle and maybe some groceries. The other 3 get pulled out when they are the best tool for the job at hand.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “4 Runner is hanging on, but would you really want one over a Tacoma?”

      Yes, easily. Significantly more refined driving dynamics, superior passenger comfort, and with the most recent degradation of the Tacoma to the gutless 3.5L, the 4Runner with its 4.0L 1GR-FE is sitting pretty. Also Tacomas continue to suffer poor rust-proofing from their US-specific C-channel frames, the 4Runner’s Prado fully boxed unit does not seem to suffer those maladies.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Biggest “problem” for the 4R vs the Taco is that virtually all use cases (aside from simple vanity) where the 4R trumps the CRV, not to mention Outback, involves dragging around the occasional thingy taller than what would fit in an old Volvo wagon. So it’s not so much that there aren’t plenty of use cases where the 4R are preferable to the Taco in isolation. But rather that for virtually all of them, the CRV/Outback are better still.

        For big 3row SUVs who can tow even an Airstream or boat suitable for “crews” requiring three seat rows, things are less clear cut. At least until Ram releases the MegaCrewMonsterSuperDuperMuricaCab ( stretchmytruck.com is doing well in Mormonia…) as a factory option………..

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “But rather that for virtually all of them, the CRV/Outback are better still.”

          A CRV/Outback would have their fascias and undersides ripped off/out and vital fluids spilled where my 4Runner and I go, so kind of a moot point in my case.

          Also, lowering rear window allows fantastic carrying capacity of long items (lumber and such), likewise said lowering window is universally loved by dogs, and makes long drives much more tolerable (less prone to car sickness).

          So I agree that for many buyers, the BOF layout is fantastically overkill, but there is still a non-trivial demographic of outdoorsmen/women who need the capability of a Tacoma/4Runner/etc.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            The 4R rear window, and the Tundra crewcab one, are plain awesome. Not sure why the rest don’t do them that way, unless they’re so hung up on “fast” back wagons, that they feel styling alone is worth sacrificing both space and the nicest rear window in the business for.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah, I guarantee you part of the loyalty of repeat 4Runner owners (and Sequoias too I suppose) is that lowering back window, no joke. And as you mention, the Tundra having it as an option really makes me strongly consider one if I was fullsize-truck shopping.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Sport utility and crossover vehicles”

    Two different things, SUVs are probably twenty percent of those figures.

    “treat sedans with the sort of disdain”

    Made to suck on purpose. Did you know the 200 Volvo sits high off the ground? Maybe sedans could have 5-6 inches of ground clearance for you osteoporosis afflicted old hippies? Nah, no height for you. No passenger room either.

    “Ground clearance (full load) 4.7″ (12 cm)”

    http://new.volvocars.com/ownersdocs/1987/1987_240/87240_04.htm

    Your MY16 and earlier CR-V is 6.7 inches.

    “here’s also a considerable amount of extra ground clearance, growing from 6.7 inches for all-wheel-drive (AWD) models to 8.2 inches for 2017.”

    http://www.autotrader.com/car-reviews/2016-vs-2017-honda-cr-v-whats-the-difference-259495

    Two more inches only matters to your wife 20 minutes a week.

    “While some did not quite meet demand, and have suffered for it, others are seeing rising incentives to meet the growing inventory surplus ”

    Supply and demand, we’ve reached the end of Chalky’s debt laden bartender and waitress “recovery”.

    “The current model year Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Equinox are both offering four figures of incentives and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.”

    Both very old models.

    “Jeep retailers are offering $4,500 in rebates on the current model Cherokees and the Compass can be leased for under $200 a month with $2,999 due at signing”

    Those too.

    “The Toyota RAV4 picked up almost $1,000 in additional discounts while Honda’s 2016 CR-V saw about $700 with 0.9% financing for up to 60 months or 1.9% financing for 61-72 months in some states. Meanwhile, Chevrolet has outgoing Tahoe and Suburban SUVs leaving dealer lots with no-interest loans for 72 months and thousands in potential cash returns.”

    It’s the eCONomy, stupid. Historically CR-V and RAV4 generally didn’t offer much in the way of discounts so $1,000 and .9 in ZIRP isn’t the end of the world for Toyonda even if it is unusual. K2XX is a tad more troubling but its a combination of this is the excess margin we need to make up for compliance car losses and banks will lend bc they like the repo resale.

    FWIW I was at the auto show last night and my W-body which is known for “big on the outside and small on the inside” was more spacious than nearly every car I sat in (could not get into the Conti there was a line the whole night if you can believe that). Buicks, Ford whatevers/Lincoln Zephyr, Acura TLX, Jeep Fiats, whatever the G37 is called now, damn near everything except the Volvo S90 (also a line but shorter), F-150, Navi, ‘burban and the like. I recall saying to myself, what Ford did in the Taurus (and was harshly critized for), is now commonplace. They wonder why cars don’t sell? Most of this country is clinically obese but did it every occur to them a 14-18 inch wide console in an already small “sport sedan” (because everyone has to be sporty to the point of madness) doesn’t compute? Not everything has to be AWD and even if it does find a way to make the transmission hump smaller jackasses! Did it ever occur to certain domestic mfgs the European human frame is much smaller and Euro designed models would never be acceptable to US buyers for issues of passenger size alone? Jeebus industry, what were you smoking?

    “The segment grew so quickly and automakers have responded so aggressively, that the market might quickly become over-saturated.”

    Ya think?

    ““That competitive pressure will intensify as the year progresses. There’s more price pressure ahead.””

    Good, time to fail and I’m loving it.

    “Unexpectedly strong sales of new vehicles in the United States in December propelled the industry to another record figure in 2016: 17.55 million sold.

    That is the good news.

    The bad news, though, is that the late push to beat the previous record, 17.47 million vehicles sold in 2015, came at a steep cost, as companies piled on higher sales incentives to lure consumers to their showrooms.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/business/2016-record-united-states-auto-sales.html?_r=0

    I think the previous debt fueled selling hype was in 2007 at around 16m units. That was also like $15 trillon dollars ago nat’l debt and probably $30+ trillion new digital dollars “printed” worldwide.

    Look at long term, and remember until very recently more and more production was outsourced outside of USDM:

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/car-production

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Bravo on everything you said. Agreed 100%.

      Although:

      “http://www.autotrader.com/car-reviews/2016-vs-2017-honda-cr-v-whats-the-difference-259495

      Two more inches only matters to your wife 20 minutes a week.”

      You have a typo there with that extra 0.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Wow, just wow.

      That was 28’s 23rd sonata, the “Appassionata”.

      So deeply triggered by such nice, roundy cars that most everyone else loves. o_O

      They turn him into a Beethoven of belligerence.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Some things:

      “Made to suck on purpose. Did you know the 200 Volvo sits high off the ground? Maybe sedans could have 5-6 inches of ground clearance for you osteoporosis afflicted old hippies? Nah, no height for you. No passenger room either.”

      Sedans were pretty low for a very long time. I remember how low my early 90s Accords were out of the box. My late 90s Maximas were not much better. Subaru and Ford tried it your way with the SUS and Five Hundred respectively, only for both of them to bomb.

      No passenger room is also a red herring. I have rented/driven most of the last crop of midsizers; positively cavernous. Granted rear rooflines have become intrusive, but the implication that something like a Sonata isn’t big enough for the average American is absurd. Average midsizer matches your W-body in nearly all interior dimensions, while being better at pretty much everything else:

      https://www.cars.com/research/compare/?acodes=USB60CHC131A0,USC70HYC031A0,USC70VWC041A0,USC70HOC011A0

      So maybe you thought the interiors were smaller because you were convinced they would be before you even got to the show.

      I do agree that the auto market is pretty much predicated on a credit bubble, but neither that, nor some grand conspiracy for auto makers to torpedo their own sedan sales, nor the suggested stupidity of consumers paying thousands more for a minivan that provides added capacity that is meaningless to most households, explain it. It simply comes down to crossovers being the right fit. Truthfully I don’t even know if the profit margins on a CR-V are higher than those of an Accord- I’m sure that gap will close further once they move to a shared platform with the next Accord. They are priced the same with the same engines- where is the extra money on the CR-V made now? People are really tying themselves in knots to dump on crossovers.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Check out your local auto show, specifically the MKZ, Q37 Sedan, TLX and for good measure, the Buick Insignia conv (TLX is probably the best of those in terms of interior room). Measure the center console/trans hump and the front passenger room of each. I’m 5’9 and I found all three to be crampt for “luxury” cars, nothing opulent about feeling like you are sitting in an escape pod.

        Please also notice at no point in the Appassionata did I dump on CUVs. I believe the only ones I sat in there where the XC90 and XC60, neither of which was mentioned, and the Jeep Cherokee which I sat and ate a pretzel in, because why not. I’m calling out the stupid in the few sedans I saw vs the big honkin’ trucks and SUVs. I’m also pointing out a circa 1967 Volvo platform offered very similar ride height in 1987 to the most recently fielded CR-V which I find odd given as much as we hear about ground clearance über alles.

        On another note, the new Expedition looks very nice in the flesh btw, very GMT900 Suburban like.

        “or some grand conspiracy for auto makers to torpedo their own sedan sales, nor the suggested stupidity of consumers paying thousands more for a minivan that provides added capacity that is meaningless to most households, explain it. ”

        I agree with you on “mini” vans as much as they have merit, they may be too much for the 1.5 child family. I do believe the sedans are sabotaged to some degree but I don’t think they are being torpedoed. I think the attitude is, for the 1.5 child couples we market the S/CUV, for anyone else this or a car model but to cover our bases we give it four doors even though those model are not equipped for meaningful passenger transport. So we essentially offer two door coupes with rear doors so as cover all angles, which is just stupid IMO, but if you don’t like it sir here is the S/CUV to be upsold on.

        “They are priced the same with the same engines- where is the extra money on the CR-V made now?”

        I’m not up on Honda as much as you might be but MY17 CR-V (lx) says
        “MSRP: From $24,045” and MY17 Accord (lx) sedan “MSRP: From $22,455”. So if CR-V shares with Accord now it seems there is a $1500 premium from the start of MSRP.

        • 0 avatar
          scwmcan

          Actually 28 the 240 lost ground clearance compared to the 140, as I recall the 140 had aprox 8 inches of ground clearance which is more than many of the cuvs have. I can recall my father going many places in the 140 that he couldn’t in the later 240.

        • 0 avatar
          Daniel J

          I’ve got more hip room and footwell room in my 2010 Mazda 6 than the current generation, even though on paper the new one is supposed to be roomier. Center consoles have gotten out of hand in terms of size.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Actually that new Buick CUV whatever its called has a 5k rebate on it now. Saw it three times last week and went to the Jax Auto show here in FL and saw it again. It falls inline with what I have said about Chinese made American cars..

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Two more inches only matters to your wife 20 minutes a week.”

      QOTD

      LOL

      I read somewhere – “women put up with 20 minutes of awkward groping a week just to gain 10,060 minutes of peace and quiet.”

  • avatar
    RHD

    How automakers can increase new car sales:
    1) For each new car sold, buy one off of Craigslist or Facebook classifieds that’s priced at $1000 or less. Recycle them.
    2) Buy used cars and export them, like Japan does to Russia and New Zealand.
    I wouldn’t be in favor of these tactics, it’s just a theory that with fewer cars in circulation, sales of new cars could only increase.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Better ride heights for retirees knees. Though turbo, CVT & transfer case will surely spell costlier repairs after 10 years…

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Better ride heights for retirees knees.”

      Toyota shit their pants when the original Scion xB launched, and the market turned out NOT to be 20 year olds, but rather 55+ people looking for a cheap ride with slide-in, slide-out seating height.

      The first gen xB is damn near the perfect car. Lots of room for people, or lots of room for driver and cargo. Superb seating height and outward visibility.

      The perfect step up from the gen 1 xB is the minivan, for all those same reasons except it hauls MORE people or MORE stuff, including that vaunted 4×8 plywood that every “macho” man tells his friends and the salesman he “needs” to be able to haul but never actually does.

      But people think “CUVs” are perfect. Is that because they’re lying, or because they’re stupid?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I had both the xB1 and a minivan, for all the reasons you state. I was 41 when I got the xB in 2005, and it was a tremendous car with great value. I didn’t see many 20 year olds driving them.

        But besides hauling the family (7 of us) in the minivan, I have actually used it to haul 4×8 sheets of drywall and plywood, and all manner of hauling, as well as towing. :)

        Now that I’m down to 1-2 kids at home, a CUV is the likely replacement – maybe. It will be very hard to give up a (currently) reliable vehicle with so much real utility.

      • 0 avatar
        syncro87

        jalop, I like the first gen xB, but it’s not really perfect in certain environments. Out here in flatland Midwest USA, try driving a 1st gen xB on a windy day on a multi-hour trip down I-35 from Kansas City to Wichita. Or on the highway around KC. You’ll either be blown off the road by a gust of wind or a fast-moving Escalade. I’m exaggerating, of course, but a first gen xB is a pretty undesirable machine under certain conditions.

        A Honda Fit is another example of a car that’s brilliantly packaged but not much fun to drive at 80 mph for 200 interstate miles, not to mention fast moving suburban traffic where the average vehicle on the road is the size of a Traverse. If I lived in San Francisco, though, I’d happily own either.

        Speaking of the xB, I think as much as anything the reason the 2nd gen bombed is that Toyota hobbled it with a relatively inefficient engine/transmission that killed fuel economy right around the time gas was getting expensive. I like the looks and quirkiness of the first gen, but the second drove a lot better and had was substantial enough on the road with enough power for me to consider one on a couple of occasions. At the time, with relatively pricey gasoline, the crappy MPG turned me off. If Toyota had put a decent auto transmission in the thing, raising FE, I think they would have sold a lot more of the xB in the days when gas prices were fairly high.

        When I win the Powerball, I’m going to have someone swap a VW 1.4TSI engine and tall-geared 5 speed manual from a Jetta into a 2nd gen Scion xB. Or maybe the 1.5T from a Civic. Something the shape of an xB with a more efficient power plant and transmission would be about ideal for me. Maybe a Skyactiv Mazda5.

  • avatar
    B_C_R

    I don’t know why the segment would slow down. These vehicles have basically replaced the sedan and the minivan in many garages in the US, compromises be damned.

    I think true body on frame SUVs will slowly die out and be replaced with more CUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I disagree with the last sentence. The few BOF SUVs that are left (4Runner, Wrangler, GM K2XX, Expy/Navi, etc.) since the CUV migration of the late ’00s/early ’10s fill their niche better than when every automaker had an SUV c. 2004.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    There’s a lot of fragmenting of this huge sector…

    Full sized BOF SUVs have always been falling off. The size, consumption, cost.

    Even monocoque 4,400lb SUVs are falling off. I dont personally see where a Pathfinder works and something like a CRV doesnt.

    The CRV like in the title photo is a pretty decent format… ie. FWD based medium CUVs. Cheap enough and economic enough and large enough to be useful. I realise cost is a bit high for developing nations.

    Below this is subcompact CUVs like the Mazda 2 to Xtrail Sport/Qashkhai… that’s certainly a growth section.

    Below that is 3rd world subcompact CUVs that arent suitable for the western world.

    At the bottom, the grown is certainly there.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    It’s a sign of competition. Eventually it had to happen. Someone decided that rather than developing new features and making their vehicle better, they’d put cash on the hood instead. And to be competitive, everyone will have to sooner or later.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Another cash for clunkers would get rid of many older vehicles and boost sales of new ones. I think were still a few years away from a major decline in new vehicle sales but if it gets bad that would help especially in getting rid of a few more of the older less efficient vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “help especially in getting rid of a few more of the older less efficient vehicles.”

      Nothing “efficient” about taking perfectly functioning vehicles and scrapping them out.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    They need to be re-classified as modern sedan utility and lose the “sport” from the name. Most of them today are simple crossovers that make them more like jacked-up station wagons (with limited capacity unless the seats are down) with very little true sportiness involved due to their relatively high center of gravity. Most of them can only barely handle soft-road conditions and only a very few can handle no-road conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      But if you remove “sport” from their name, you ruin the entire house of cards on which the rationale for buying one is built.

      “See? We’re not a family! We’re not married with kids, home by 6 and tucking them into bed by 7! We live ACTIVE lives! We drive a SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE! And we go all those places the commercial says, all without kids like that couple in the commercial!”

    • 0 avatar
      ptschett

      I always understood the ‘sport’ to be as in the outdoors ‘sporting’ activities where the historically trucklike 4×4 station wagon makes sense – hunting, fishing, etc. – never as in ‘sports car’.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Stop that ..you are making sense

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @ptschett – yes. It is “sporting” to shoot a deer with a 300 Winchester Magnum ;)
        All joking aside.
        True.
        Sport is related to activities as opposed to driving attributes on paved roads.

        @jalop1991 – the majority of Jeep Wrangler (limited or Standard) owners I know don’t do any sort of off-roading. They buy for the image. They don’t want to admit that family life comes with constraints on image and activities.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “They buy for the image. They don’t want to admit that family life comes with constraints on image and activities.”

          I saw an interview with a 30-something suburban mom a couple years ago, in a story about SUVs vs minivans. I swear to you, she said, “A minivan just screams ‘mom’!”–as if the three rugrats she’s dedicated her life to hauling around to every birthday party and soccer game, who spill out of the damn car every time she stops, were somehow invisible to the world.

          That numbnuts woman is the reason we can’t buy anything but tall wagons with AWD. She doesn’t need AWD, but somehow she thinks she does. And after all, didn’t the entire genre start with the Bronco driving all the wheels? Sure it did!

          And in her mind, she’s just a child-free, active-lifestyle, Bronco-driving woman still at her teenage weight (yeah, that 350 pounds is invisible to the world, too).

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            If we all drove vehicles based on what we “need,” we’d all have Trabants. What vehicle do you drive, may I ask?

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “That numbnuts woman is the reason we can’t buy anything but tall wagons with AWD.”

            Thanks, Numbnuts Woman!

            And thanks, jalop1991, for giving us a new knobhead to laugh at!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            The 2 women on my street with Wrangler Unlimited’s were pretty hot. The ungainly 350 lbs were the husband and kids ;)

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            I’m wondering what behavioral differences one might expect from women whose nuts aren’t numb.

            Fortunately, I’ve never observed that anatomical feature, numb or otherwise, on any woman with whom I’ve had morning coffee.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Try Thailand and report back.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            No secondary sex characteristics over there, old boy. Chap can never be certain.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            OldManPants – like the old joke:

            “But, will you respect me in the morning?”

            “No worries. I always sleep past noon!”

        • 0 avatar
          Frylock350

          @Lou_BC,

          We’re looking at a Wrangler and I’m sure it’ll only go offroad a handful of times a year. It does tick other boxes though. Its the roomiest most winter capable convertible you can buy. It also has fantastic styling. We don’t like “wedge of cheese” shaped rounded SUVs/CUVs. We’re waiting to see what the Ford Bronco might look like before making a decision.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Frylock350 – one would expect the interiors to be more comfortable once moves up into the higher trim levels. I find the interiors rather uncomfortable.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I had an ’08 Wrangler JKU Sahara and for what it is, it was surprisingly comfortable. I put 70k miles on it in 9 years (purchased October of ’07) and used it as my primary driver for 7 years, taking it to a true off-road park only twice but getting good use out of it in heavy weather where street flooding and blizzards are relatively common (putting up with hurricanes and nor’easters.) The seats were firm, but then I don’t like soft seats (they hurt my back.) Most of all I owned it because my father-in-law was a farmer and his driveway was dirt, meaning whenever it rained or snowed you NEEDED 4WD just to get in or out.

            Have a Renegade now which should meet the need while still offering better economy (almost 50% better highway and about 25% better in town.)

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    “Are Sport Utility Vehicles About to Become Passé or Simply More Affordable?”

    TTAC, you’re kidding right?

    Silly question otherwise. What is becoming passé are sedans.
    Those things are comparatively useless nowadays, in this era of cheap gas, SUV’s, and pickup trucks!

    I mean, think about it.
    Example:
    For ~$70 K you can get a GMC Sierra Denali 2500 Duramax pickup that has as much luxury as a twice-more-costly Mercedes Benz S-class; can haul 2K lbs and tow $24K, while riding like a dream through almost any road and off-road conditions, AND while getting comparable fuel mileage!

    ref: http://www.tfltruck.com/2017/02/2017-gmc-sierra-2500-hd-duramax-first-drive-towing-review-video/

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

  • avatar
    Zackman

    CUVs appear to be the most attractive type of vehicle for a few reasons. For me, one big reason is the type of styling on cars – coupe rooflines on sedans hampering their practicality and gunslit windows.

    Another reason is the aging population (guity) and the ease of entering and exiting a CUV compared to a car, plus the increased visibility in a CUV by sitting up a bit higher and having generally a larger glass area.

    When it is time to kiss my Impala good bye, and if my eyesight holds up, a well-cared for, used HR-V or similar vehicle may be the type of ride that would be perfect for me, as we already have a CR-V.

    Secretly, though, I’d like a Malibu, because that car suits me extremely well. Also, Wifey knows I’m a Chevy guy at heart…

  • avatar
    don1967

    Clearly we are in the Age of Sitting Up High, but in my experience that grows tiresome after awhile. Especially when done on a budget. The cheaper the wagon-on-stilts, the crappier it rides, handles and sounds.

    Give it time and the lowly sedan/hatchback/wagon will bounce back at least partially.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Interesting observation.

      Two other items:
      1. The CUV market is beginning to price into the same stratosphere along with trucks, because of bling and high demand.
      2. Real-life fuel economy of CUVs is pathetically low, with the exception of the few hybrids out there. Getting 20/28 mpg isn’t close to what sedans get now.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        MPG is lower than the equivalent sedan, yes, but maybe not “pathetically” so, given how much frontal area you have to push in a CUV compared to a low-slung sedan, higher curb weight (even without AWD), and the effect of an air dam (or lack thereof).

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Don’t forget 4 wheel drive. Useful on the occasional drive to Lake Tahoe.
    .
    .

  • avatar

    Still plenty of room to expand for smaller SUVs. Has to do with affordable gasoline, people becoming overweight with each passing year (SUVs are easier to get into) and SUV prices comparable to midsize sedans.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    How come no content today? President’s Day?

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    The idea that sedans have suddenly become ‘useless’ just because there is another alternative is idiotic. Not everybody has kids or a need to haul a bunch of stuff around. Lots of people would rather drive a more stylish or sporty vehicle. My sedan meets 100 percent of my needs and looks better, and gives me more pleasure, doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Swell, enjoy your sedan. I’ll enjoy my CR-V. 28 will enjoy his Deathmobile(s). Fortune passes everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      ‘The idea that sedans have suddenly become ‘useless’ just because there is another alternative is idiotic.”

      *suddenly*

      So very true. I’ve ALWAYs thought that sedans are useless.

      “Lots of people would rather drive a more stylish or sporty vehicle.”

      Hence the Raptor, PowerWagon, ZR2, Cyclone, Lightning, SRT10 Ram……….

      I won’t touch the last part of that comment ;)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s the car seats that are causing the problem. I’m up against this right now.

      I bought my beloved Lexus LS 460 when we had one child, no plans for another, and therefore many cubic feet in the unused half of the spacious back seat for the assorted bric-a-brac you take on road trips.

      Then child #2 showed up rather unexpectedly. Now, with both monster car seats in the LS 460, there is a tiny bit of space between them, a couple cubic feet in the large rear footwells, the trunk, and that’s it. We have three separate road trips coming up this summer and I’m honestly not sure how we’re going to pack all of the stuff we want to take with us — not just clothes, but also toys, kid bikes, lots of cooking tools, and outdoor gear. Then add in the fact that with a new baby on a road trip it is often necessary to have a private space for mom and baby to spend time.

      With some sadness I’ve been thinking about replacing the flagship with a 2014-15 MKT EcoBoost (“Uglified but Cheaper Flex”). I’d be paying a significant amount of money to get a car I like less, but at least it would have ample room for everything and everyone when we’re traveling 1000 miles each way.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If it were me I’d rent a minivan when I needed the room. Btw, I know yours is SWB but do you believe a LWB would give you the room you need day to day?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I used to think my corporate contract would allow me to rent a minivan at a reasonable rate. No such luck. I can get cars of indeterminate class cheap, but to reserve a minivan specifically it’s $650 to $800/week or more in high season. If I do two trips of two weeks and a trip of one week, I’ve paid almost the entire amount of payments I’d have over one year as a result of a loan on a MKFlex.

          An LS460L would help only marginally, entirely because the footwells would be longer. And a properly equipped one actually has less trunk space than the SWB because plumbing for the four-way climate eats a couple cubic feet. The fit would just be better with a two-box, three-row vehicle. Is a better fit for the five to six weeks we’re on the road worth the other 46-47 weeks (when the LS460 SWB has more than enough room)? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @dal,

            Perhaps upgrade your wife’s vehicle and keep your LS?

            People without young kids do not undestand the lack of space in even large sedans. Be happy your LS is a big car; mid-size sedans cannot accommodate two rear facing convertible seats unless the driver is like 4’10” or you aren’t properly reclining your child. I’ve tried this in many sedans (Sonata, Camry, Malibu) and the only one I was able to get it to work in was a 2016 Impala. That’s why I love our Terrain, it’s got just as much total legroom as a full-size luxury sedan with more cargo room and the footprint is slightly smaller than a midsizer.

            Consider a CCSB pickup as well; though I’m sure comparably equipped they’ll be more than a MKT. The interior room is unparalleled, with a tonneau you effectively have a 50+ cubic foot trunk and you can haul bikes with a hitch mounted bike carrier. I’ve hauled luggage for kids and adults with bikes, pack’n’plays, toys, fishing equipment, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Frylock350 – when my wife and I first started looking at vehicles for our family, we looked at several sedans. We chose to go with a minivan rather quickly. We weren’t planning on having more than 2 children but we already had an 80lb dog. Car seats suck up a ton of room and there wasn’t room for the dog in the cars we looked at.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            We live in the city and my wife doesn’t want to drive a huge vehicle day-to-day. She has a C-Max Energi and thinks the size is perfect. And, for day-to-day use without tons of stuff, it is.

            The CCSB certainly would solve the stuff problem, but at two feet longer and several inches wider than a MKT it’s not really parking-friendly. My neighbor has one (a 2012 F-150) and it doesn’t even quite fit in the parking lane next to our curb. In theory, the city could ticket him any time. My Lexus fits with a few inches to spare, as would a MKT.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @dal20402 – I know what you mean. If we take my truck to visit my wife’s cousin ‘in the big city”, I park up against their garage door, my front end sticks out partway into the sidewalk.

            My driveway is nice. I could park a Super B train transport rig up against the fence and still have room for my pickup.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I just feel like crossovers are the next step in giving up that leads to autonomous cars. And frankly, if crossovers continue to be the future, I will gladly give up my license, because what’s the point of anodyne vain transportation pods are all that’s left?

    But then again, hopefully this will prove to be a cyclical trend. I’m sure if you asked a hypothetical 1977 version of the B&B, they’d insist personal luxury coupes were the best possible transportation solution. The market has spoken, they want a spacious, comfortable ride, and have picked the product that BEST suits their needs.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      CUV’s are inadequate for serious utility chores, but at least they have some ground clearance to clear bad pavement and poorly maintained country roads. CUVs also have better clearance for a driveshaft. The same cannot be said for sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        So if the roads are that bad, why are adequate sidewalls increasingly rare?

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Is it a matter of style, or a matter of big companies pushing the poor consumer around?

          No one’s forcing you to buy ghastly 18″ or 20″ wheels with low-profile tires.
          Or if they are “forcing” you to do so by bundling certain desirable features with higher trim levels that also require those larger wheels, it’s not impossible to swap them out for some sensible 16s.
          Or if it is impossible to swap them out for something with more sidewall, it’s probably because anything smaller won’t physically fit around the brakes.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I’m pretty sure 50 series sidewalls are the norm. Most people aren’t buying BMWs with the sport package.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            My first car (built in the mid-90s!) Had 70-series tires. 50-series still sounds low-profile for anything that’s not supposed to be handling-focused. Also, i guess we don’t care about how unsprung weight affects ride?

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          because people are increasingly image-conscious and gullible?

  • avatar
    Dan R

    We need a Mustang CUV.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    As others have surmised, I don’t think SUV are going anywhere, anytime soon. Probably what has happened is that Great Sedan Exodus is nearing an end, so sales are going to flatten out and look more like what mid- and full-size sedan sales looked like when they ruled the road.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The whole reason SUVs sales have declined is because their prices have shot up across the board, the good options went from $50 to $1,200 (gear ratio) the good engine upgrade went from $500 to $25,000. Get rid of CAFE and let manufacturers spin out as many SUVs as they can produce at COMPETITIVE prices and the market will follow.

    CUVs are a different story they share the market with cars, their demand is much more similar to that market, and there’s only so many people that can give up on life in a given day. For everyone else that doesn’t need an SUV they still make the Accord, Cruze, and a wonderful new car I strangely love – the Fiat spider 124.

    Granted we don’t need to do a case study when a small quarterly drop in sales happens.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Yes and no Hummer. A V6 4WD 4Runner that used to sell for about $30k in 1990s dollars ($45-50k today’s money) now goes for $35k with more feature content in 2017 money. Likewise the current lower/mid grade Explorer XLT (the lame crossover one) sells for low $30s, the same asking price people were paying for the Ranger-based BOF 1990s variant, without accounting for inflation. The departed Xterra was another very reasonably priced option.

      You’re right though, the fullsize GMs have really ballooned in price. I’d love to see the reincarnated Bronco come in at the low-$30k mark with 4wd.

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    My next vehicle will almost certainly be a small CUV. I like their typically better ground clearance and approach and departure angles, the usually smaller footprint, the butt-high driver’s seat that makes for easier entrance and exit at my age (currently 66, probably 68-ish by the time I buy), the better visibility while driving, and the room when the seats are folded.

    I don’t care about the purportedly better driving experience with a sedan-based wagon or minivan. I’m tired of my current Honda Fit scraping its front spoiler on entering a paved parking lot from a paved city street. I simply don’t buy the idea that a car guy such as myself needs to be a driving dynamics purist, that my car choice needs to wring 2-3 more mpg out of a cheap gallon of gas, or that I could get a few more cubic feet of cargo space in a minivan.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I need a vehicle to signal that I’m doing decent financially and that although I no longer have an STD I am not totally afraid of contracting another one.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This is more of supply catching up with demand which eventually will happen when something is in short supply the manufacturers will eventually make more of to meet the demand. I doubt that cuvs are losing their appeal as much as more manufacturers are making more cuvs and that there are more choices. Yes there are cuvs that have not had a major redesign but this might still happen if all the cuvs were redesigned. This has happened in the half ton truck market and eventually will happen in the midsize truck market as more manufacturers enter the market and production capacity is expanded.

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