By on January 5, 2018

2018 Accord, Image: Honda

Actually, I don’t feel fine. Far from it, in fact. Ever since I can remember, there has been a three-box sedan in my family’s driveway — both before and after I was old enough to buy by own vehicles. Midsize sedans used to be the default choice for most families in my hardscrabble hometown, parked cheek-to-jowl with rusty pickups at the local grocery store.

Now, our inky-black Charger is the exception rather than the rule in the school drop-off queue. Save for a CTS next door and a Mazda 3 down the street, we’re about the only household around with a sedan in the drive. The midsize four-door is in a bad way.

Through November of last year, every single midsize sedan in America, save for the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, recorded double-digit declines in sales. It’s a sea of red, like the departure board at JFK during a so-called snow bomb cyclone. Even those two models, nameplates steeped in value and recently refurbished unto the zenith of plushness, were off by about three percent in 2017. If those two storied brands can’t plant the seeds of growth, what hope do the rest of them have?

Efficiency and aerodynamic advancements in the sedan’s crossover brethren are quickly scuppering the value-add that four-doors once held over their stilt-wearing cousins. A front-drive 2018 Ford Edge with the prole-spec 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic holds but a single mpg over its Taurus cousin with the same drivetrain. So equipped, the Edge is, naturally, $4,000 more expensive to the consumer, and likely brings a lot more profit to the Glass House.

It doesn’t matter. Know why? Ford will gladly stretch the note for an Edge over 84 month at a subvented rate of 2.99 percent. The Taurus? 4.9 percent for the same terms. When America runs on monthly payments, you can guess which machine the customer will drive off the lot.

Other forces are at work, too. Manufacturers have economy targets to meet, and it’s not like sedans provide a big boost to the corporate average anymore. Building sedans takes up space on a production line, space which could be occupied by a higher-margin crossover. Witness the current mania being flung around the internet about the state of the next Ford Fusion. This is all without mentioning the fact that many customers like the feeling of sitting high in traffic, whether all four wheels are driven or not.

When this author and his wife bought a Ford Edge in 2009 to accompany our five-year-old Lincoln LS, I remarked at the time that if it was ’89 instead of ’09, we’d be signing the note on a Taurus wagon instead. I maintain that opinion. The Edge met its fate in a high-speed accident (no major injuries), at which point I returned to my senses and bought another sedan – the Charger, which is now fully paid off.

Further back in my rapidly aging memory banks, I can recall reading the Touring page of C/D back in the early ‘90s – y’know, when buff books stretched to nearly 200 pages and weren’t wall-to-wall with WeatherTech ads. They did, however, at the back of the book, have those odd FBI SEIZURE CAR ads and scandalous girly phone numbers to call, both of which bewildered and bewitched my pre-teen eyes. Anyway…

Some author – perhaps it was Bedard or Csere, I can’t recall – was pontificating about the then-new Ford Explorer. A quote harvested from a dealer has been seared into my brain ever since my retinas registered the ink on that page: “Most buyers traded in a car – often a sporty model.” The stage was set, even back then.

Today, I do a double-take whenever I see a wagon version of the Accord. I know Steph definitely spins around every time a Camry coupe drives past. Consumer demand necessitated the demise of these trims. Do you think in 20 years, when I’m the ripe old age of 57, I’ll be craning my neck to get a glimpse of a passing four-door sedan and saying, “I remember those!”

Of course, consumer tastes change like the wind, and the early ‘80s saw the station wagon reduced to a dusty corpse, slumped limply in the corner glowering at the Chrysler Magic Wagon and silently shouting “J’accuse!” as each minivan filled with happy families drove past. Perhaps there is a cycle at work this time as well, but I don’t think so.

I am certain there is a parallel universe out there in which the Ford Explorer was never built, the SUV boom never took off, and one can waltz into a Chevy showroom and select from any number of Impala and Caprice sedans instead of high-riding Equinox and Traverse crossovers. Alas, such is not the case on this particular Earth.

[Image: Honda]

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155 Comments on “It’s The End of the Sedan as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)...”


  • avatar
    make_light

    The thing is that crossovers DO make sense sometimes. The high ride height isn’t always frivolous. I have to back out onto a busy street every single day leaving my house. Dozens of people park on the street itself. Backing out in a low car was treacherous. No matter how careful or skilled I was, every day I lived in fear that someone bombing down the street while texting would wipe me out. Now driving a tall crossover, I can clearly see over the cars parked on my street, and my heart-rate doesn’t go through the roof before I leave for work each morning.

    That being said, no crossover rides quite like a sedan. At least nothing affordable.

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      The whole visibility thing suffers somewhat from the “fallacy of the composition”. Yes you can see over the cars, but what about when they are all crossovers/SUV’s/Pickups? You can see better at a football game by standing up, but what is everyone stands up?

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        For me, driving my CUV or SUV tends to make me lazy… I mount roundabouts and dont break on dips etc as I dont need to.

        However I feel like I’m comparing an SUV to any boring fwd sedan so in that case, why would I care?

        They’re all compromised and I dont expect a cat to behave like a dog.

        If you want ultimate enjoyment I really want an rwd sedan or coupe or even a mid engined car.

        The CUV/SUV is replacing fwd sedans or hatches so its not like I’m losing out too much.

        Also I dont expect one car to do it all.

        I would love to one day have an example of each car and use the one that best fits the day… one day I want an EV, one day an SUV and the weekends, a manual v8.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ thx_zetec – +1. Driving a CUV today gives you better visibility than driving a sedan, but it’s broadly equivalent (actually probably a bit worse) to what the average sedan driver experienced up through the 1980s. Three reasons for this:
        1) In a CUV today, you’re essentially just maintaining parity in the height arms race.
        2) Vehicles today have worse visibility because of scrunched roof lines and thicker pillars. Some younger car reviewers never have driven a vehicle with truly good visibility.
        3) All of the SUVs and CUVs that come standard with blacked-out windows behind the b-pillar. Up through the ’80s, drivers could see through rear window and windshield of the vehicle in front of them. I don’t have a huge problem with darkened glass to the sides of the cargo area, but rear windows and rear passenger windows should be held to the same standards as windshields and front passenger windows.

        • 0 avatar
          JDG1980

          How are tinted windows any worse than panel vans or box trucks with no through visibility at all? Those have always been legal everywhere, as far as I know.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ JDG1980 – They’re not worse on a per-vehicle level, but there are a heck of a lot more CUVs on the road than there ever have been sedan-delivery and panel-van-type vehicles. That’s why things are worse today.

            You’re right. It’s a double-standard, unless we delve into some sort of commercial vs private vehicle distinction.

      • 0 avatar
        Hank

        “Yes you can see over the cars, but what about when they are all crossovers/SUV’s/Pickups?”

        Story of my life. I drive a ’15 Silverado 1/2 ton. In our school drop-off traffic, which is two lanes, it’s the average height vehicle (this is rural TX, 75% trucks & Yukurbahoes). Most of the time I can’t see past the driver in the right turn lane any better than when I drove a car. There’s always a Tahoe, another 1/2 ton, or worse, one of the swarm of F350s blocking my view. Any height advantage is moot most of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        slap

        I agree – I have a Miata, the wife has a CR-V. While the CR-V gives you the feeling of “standing up”, the actual visibility is not nearly improved over the Miata as you might think. And with the top down, while the Miata loses in ability to see over things it gains in its nearly unobstructed 360 degree visibility.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      I have a cure for you… back into your drive way instead of pulling nose in. I have always done this and never had an incident when leaving my driveway. It is safer as well as quicker when pulling out because you can see pedestrians and passing cars and don’t have to stop in the middle of the road and then proceed to turn the wheels and put the car in drive.

      Ever wonder why police, utility and military etc. vehicles are backed into their parking spots? It is because of a few reasons. One, a I said before, it is faster and safer to pull out. Plus, when you are already in the vehicle driving, you are more aware and focused on driving the vehicle, so when backing in you will be more aware of things around your car, not to mention there isn’t any toys or other items behind the car for you to roll over. Opposite of that, when you first get into your car you are not as focused or in tune of driving the vehicle and can have distractions, like placing your coffee and items, getting comfortable in the seat, turning on the radio, talking to the kids or thinking about other things besides driving. Add one or more of those things to backing up and you can often times have some sort of incident or a close call.

      When you back in, even if you have a slight distraction, you are still moving forward and can see and react a little better.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I can’t understand living on a busy street and not backing in. I live on a dead street and back into my garage. Have tried to get my wife to do it, but she says it’s too difficult (what?!). Backing in is the smart way to go.

        • 0 avatar
          make_light

          I need to turn left to pull into my driveway when I get home. Not much space to back in when there’s cars coming at you and cars lining up behind you.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          Same as the people who pull straight into a parking spots at the grocery store. Okay I get it backing in can be a pain. What gets me is when a pull through spot is available many people only advance one space so they will later have to back out rather than pulling all the way through so that they can pull forward to leave.

          • 0 avatar
            jh26036

            Look, I like backing into most spots but with the grocery store, having your trunk facing the wrong way makes loading groceries much harder. Do you enjoy watching people push a cart in between two parked cars, especially if one of them is yours? I can assure you, most people are not that careful.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          My wife now pulls into the driveway (quiet street) after my urging her to back in resulted in her running her (at the time) 7 month old Terrain into the cast iron fence next to the driveway. Deductible plus $400 bucks later she can get in and out of that driveway whichever way she is more comfortable.

          Apparently she needs a lot more than a simple backup camera.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            This is the exact scenario I would warn BrettC about. If your wife doesn’t want to back in, don’t make her. She probably understands her limits in this regard. At least she only hit the fence, and not the other car parked in the garage.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          We live on a busy-ish street with very bad visibility. We back into the driveway, but pull forward into the garage (and getting a car out of the garage is, accordingly, painful). The garage is under the house, so cold-starting a car backed into the garage fills the living room up with pre-lightoff exhaust. Yuck.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          No, the toilet paper goes over the roll.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      And when all those “cars” on yous street become CUVs , SUVs and Pick-ups what will you do then? Buy a Freightliner?

    • 0 avatar
      Mike-NB

      I don’t want to be the guy that picks a fight, but no one HAS to back into a busy street. In many jurisdictions that is illegal. In many jurisdictions it is presumed to be your fault if an accident occurs. In every jurisdiction backing into traffic is unsafe.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Sedans losing to crossovers I can totally understand. Certainly handling and fuel economy have advanced to the point that sedans no longer really have any advantage consumers care about other than price.

    But what I can’t figure out is why station wagons lost out to sedans… station wagons naturally had similar handling and fuel economy to their sedan cousins, and had the advantage of more cargo capacity and better visibility.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      SUV/CUV is a wagon, nothing more. But for advertising and marketing purposes, they changed the name. I saw a brand new Jaguar XF station wagon (not an F-Pace or E-Pace) drive off he lot yesterday when I was at the dealership, Driven by a younger blond.

      • 0 avatar
        cdnsfan27

        Don’t call it a wagon, it’s a Sportsbrake:) We already are going to have a hard time selling it as it is, I have one ten feet in front of me with an MSRP of $79K. Its going to be a hard sell…..

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        I had a wagon (’04 M/T 1.8T Passat) and now have a CUV (’17 CR-V) I can confidently state that my CR-V is nothing like a Civic Wagon (well, a theoretical one, since there is no Civic wagon)

        They ride higher, generally have taller interior dimensions (exception would be the Alltrack and similar European cladded-out wagons), generally has a higher seating height (again, except for the Alltrack, and Euro wagon-ish things), and a higher center of gravity.

        If they WERE station wagons, they’d handle like one. They don’t, and station wagons handle more like the sedans they spawn from.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Crossovers (depending on the size) are either (slightly) lifted hatchbacks or wagons.

        As the majority of buyers switching to CUVs drop down a size segment (i.e. – an Accord owner switching to the CR-V as opposed to the Pilot) – fuel economy, much less price, is not really a factor.

        One bright spot in the seemingly never-ending switch over to CUVs is the increase in popularity of the liftback, fastback, sportback, etc.

        The A5 Sportback, 4 Series GC, etc. have seen increasing popularity and even the 1st real month of Stinger sales (with limited inventory) has been promising.

        It’ll be interesting to see if the new Regal (in a new body-style) can at least slow down the downturn of Regal sales.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      Also, if you put things on the roof (kayak), a station wagon’s lower height means less lifting.

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    Are we returning to the design preferences of our pre WWII automobiles? Look at a 32’ Ford and a 2018 Escape. The days of the “modern” long and low look that came about in the early 60’s are over.

  • avatar
    tilakilla

    I like the article, but I wouldn’t consider the Edge and Taurus cousins just because they have the same drivetrain. The Edge and Fusion are built on the same platform, and the Taurus and Explorer share a platform. Now the Taurus and Explorer have the same 1 mpg combined fuel economy difference as the Taurus and Edge, but the Taurus has a much better 3 mpg higher highway fuel economy than the Explorer. A similar comparison exists between the Edge and Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      The laws of aerodynamics require that CUVs always will have significantly lower highway mpgs than the corresponding sedan. This results from both the larger frontal cross sectional area of the CUV as will as higher drag under the floor resulting from higher ground clearance.
      Around town, the difference in city mpg would be driven mostly be weight.
      With cheap gas, most buyers choose the perceived higher utility of the CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        3 MPG is “significant”, when factoring in the increased room for cargo and people, not to mention increased seating capacity?

        Yes, something bigger and taller will provide more resistance to the wind and will not be quite as efficient. But, in a relative world, it certainly isn’t “significant” anymore. This isn’t 1995 where the Taurus gets 30 MPG on the highway and the Explorer gets 17.

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          I don’t think the Taurus ever got 30 mpg highway.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            “I don’t think the Taurus ever got 30 mpg highway.”

            When first released the 2.0T Taurus was rated at 20/32. My 3.5 was rated at 19/29, but I easily exceed that. If it’s a 60mph trip, I run about 38mpg. Higher speeds will lower that number.

            In reference to the article, I don’t care what the EPA says, the Taurus will generally blow away an Edge when it comes to MPG.

          • 0 avatar
            WalterRohrl

            Norm probably got 50…

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Plus, such fuel economy discrepancies (much less for the one on price) doesn’t matter as much as the majority of buyers go down a size segment when they switch to a crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      As a matter of price point, the sedan version of a given platform lives one segment down from its SUV mechanical relative.

      In practical terms, I’m not sure it matters, insofar as 0.7% of SUV intenders would consider any sedan that wasn’t free.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I hope there will always be a few good sedans around. Im puzzled by Ford’s decision to axe the Fusion if that is in fact happening. Hard to believe it isn’t at all profitable especially if it can be built south of the border.

    I unfortunately see myself in a crossover at some point in the future. This saddens me. Just like the demise of the manual transmission. Sure, there will always be sedans, and maybe a few manuals out there, but as choices become few and far between, when dealers stop stocking examples to test drive….you will be more or less forced to compromise on what you end up parking in your driveway.

    As a two car family, a midsized sedan is great. I already have a 3 row vehicle for family duty. I don’t need two as one will always be underutilized. I don’t want the extra weight, higher center of gravity and all the performance robbing consequences of additional mass.

    On the plus side, if sedans go extinct, it opens up the way for more performance oriented crossovers, which we all know will resemble wagons, maybe even morph into what we recognize as a wagon over time. So, there is hope, at least until humans piloting a vehicle down the road is forever outlawed in favor of our computerized overlords.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Most of my neighbors are well off retirees or near retirement age, most having three or more vehicles. The kind of folks who used to drive Buick or Mercury sedans and now have a Lexus CUV and/or Tahoe, and of course a half ton pickup that gets 5000 miles use a year.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    Looking at EPA fuel economy, hard to figure out. Somehow Ford can compete against Toyota in crossover economy, but in sedans far behind.

    Look at Highlander vs. Edge. Highlander 21/27 and Edge 21/29.

    OK now Camry vs. Fusion: 29/41 vs 21/32.

    I don’t think an mpg or two matters much, but the Camry is far, far ahead in fuel economy compared to fusion. It’s like the Fusion has a leak in the fuel tank *and* dragging a cinder block during testing.

    How can Ford be that far behind for sedan economy, but similar for crossover? But wait . . . . there’s more . . .the F150 is sig more efficient than the tundra.

    It looks to me like Ford is not putting cutting edge tech into cars, it gets used for full sized trucks. This reminds my of comparison between full size and mid-sized trucks, somehow engineers have figured out how to burn same gas with a smaller vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Ford f150 has the turbo V6’s or V8, and Tundra comes in V8’s.

      But the F150 in the small 2.7 V6 turbo 4×4 is 19/24/21 mpg or the 3.5l turbo V6 is 17/23/19 to the Tundra N/A 4.6l V8 is 15/19/16, so not too far apart, especially since the smallest engine you get in the Tundra is a V8.

      F150 5.0 V8 is 16/22/18 and Tundra’s larger 5.7 V8 is 13/17/14, again not too far apart when considering they are full sized trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        “again not too far apart when considering they are full sized trucks.”

        Okay? They’re BOTH full size trucks, what does that have to do with it? Its not like the above comparison between two different types of vehicles, these two are the same, but one is clearly more efficient than the other, on a very level playing field. Not only does the Ford have better mileage, but it also has more towing and payload capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          The answer is simple. Ford (and GM) push a lot of money into large engines excellent for SUVs/Pickups/CUVs due to their large presence in the American market where they sell well.

          Most European/Asian companies put a lot of money into smaller displacement engines. These are well suited for smaller sedans/hatchbacks but start to get strained on the CUVs. It is harder for them to justify spending a lot of R&D money on making the best large displacement engines and keep them constantly updated and new. Look at the sales of the Tundra/Sequoia compared to its American competition. The Tahoe/Suburban alone outsells them, and then on top of that GM have the Yukon, Escalade, Silverado, and Sierra.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yes, *every* full-size mainstream SUV outsells the Sequoia, and only the Titan sells worse than the Tundra.

            I don’t believe Ford is killing the Fusion, but I can see why investing in utilities and trucks would be a better use of their time and R&D money. If Toyota didn’t dump the Camry in to rental fleets, it would be tumbling like the rest. Same with Altima. Even though Honda sells a few Accords to them (fleetail), its the only midsize sedan on the retail side of things that can hold its own. Why should other companies dump money into the segment when all they can do to get rid of the finished product is to sell it with little to no profit? Or worse, at a loss?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I think you’re overstating it. Without the fleet sales, it looks like the Camry sold ~6% less than the Accord through Oct 2017. It therefore loses the retail sales crown, which is nothing new, but a narrow second place finish in segment with 300K+ annual sales is hardly “tumbling like the rest”. It wouldn’t take many Accord fleetail or coupe sales to make the retail 4-door sedan numbers just about equal. Toyota’s pivot toward fleet isn’t dignified, but it still managed a projected 2017 profit nearly twice that of Ford’s and they don’t sell many high-margin trucks.

            We’ll see what happens in 2018 when both new models have been out for a full year or more.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            It’s easy to justify the R&D. It’s a large, profitable market segment in the US. Maybe it makes more sense to not invest and collect the scraps left by the American competition? I would think the truck/large SUV segment is a piece of pie worth fighting for though.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        If EPA numbers are accurate, that is a significant difference in Ford’s favor. 3-4 mpgs add up fast when you are talking about vehicles getting <20mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      GM and Ford actually have a secret engineering center located in an underground cavern in Michigan’s upper peninsula. Here they they have 100’s of their best engineers working on a difficult problem: how to get a mid-size truck to get as bad mileage as a full size pickup. Somehow they figured it out . . . I think Nissan spies stole their technology and used it on the Frontier and the Titan.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    We bought our then-new 2013 Mazda CX-5 in December 2012. It now serves as my wife’s mommy-mobile (we have a 10-month-old son). I have a 2016 Mazda6 as my “dad car.” I LOVE my 6 and it’s a great car, but it’d be even better in wagon form. If they offered it here in wagon form like they do in Europe, that’s what I’d have bought. The form factor is just more efficient.

    And that’s what our CX-5 is. It’s a little wagon, basically. I can load the baby stroller and all the necessities in it just fine and I can also haul furniture (done it several times) or even use it as a mini-moving vehicle (done that as well). Wagons went extinct because people thought they were “un-cool”, despite the fact that most 2WD SUVs and trucklets like our CX-5 basically are wagons themselves. It’s all about public perception in America. You can sell someone a wagon and call it an SUV or a CUV and they’ll be all over it.

    The sedan is going extinct, sadly. But I’ll have one as long as I can. I enjoy driving a regular car and not a lifted one. I have to admit, though, our CX-5 and 6 ride on the same platforms and that’s convenient when it comes time to order replacement parts like filters.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Mrs. Hell and I have the same arrangement – Forester and Malibu Hybrid – in no small part because she demanded the higher H-point and because we intend to make babies in the near future. And, like you, I’d have taken a liftback version of the sedan in a hot second were it available.

      One hopes that there will eventually be a CUV so “sporty” (low) that it’s functionally a 5-door. The Model S may be an unexpected ally in this regard.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeremiah Mckenna

        What about the XF Sportbrake? After all, you get 3.0 Liter V6 380 HP Supercharged Engine All Wheel Drive and the lower CG as well as all the other goodies that come with it. It’s a nice looking car too.

        The Volvo V90 or V60, A4 Allroad, Buick Regal Tour X, BMW 3 series, MB E Class Wagon, Subaru Outback, VW Golf Sport Wagon or Alltrack. Those are a few others that are out there.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Seems to me that the new Regal (in either liftback or estate form) will make a good replacement for your Malibu.

        Then there’s the A5 Sportback, 4 Series GC, Stinger, etc. as well as numerous wagons.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        “One hopes that there will eventually be a CUV so “sporty” (low) that it’s functionally a 5-door.”

        I would put the 1st gen BMW X1 in that bucket.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      Cx-5 is a mazda 3. Mazda 6 has more rear and front legroom, and it’s trunk is longer too, so that a folded baby stroller can be placed into it horizontally, rather then vertically only in cx-5.

      The claim that cx-5 is better car for a family with a baby vs Mazda 6 is very dubious and full of holes

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        Coming from someone that owns both, I can tell you that getting all required baby stuff for a weekend trip is easier in the CX-5 than it is in my 6. Logically, the 6 may have a longer trunk, sure. But we have taken trips with baby in both vehicles and the CX-5 accommodated more.

  • avatar

    In most cases, the crossover equivalent of a sedan or hatchback is heavier, more costly, handles worse, often carries less, often has poorer mileage, and almost never are available with manual transmissions.

    Other than that, they are wonderful.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes, because this is 1993 and (almost) all those things are true.

      Which sedan can “often” carry more than a similar-sized utility?

      • 0 avatar
        SatelliteView

        Well, I’ll try to wake you up.

        For example, mazda cx-5 is a glorified mazda 3, and it’s heavier, more expensive, does not handle as good, has poorer mileage. Unless seats are folded, it will carry marginally more than mazda 3 in its trunk.

        I’m sure the above is applicable across different brands. Did you just start getting into cars?

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      What CUV carries less than its sedan platform-mate? I’m not aware of any.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Exactly. He mentioned hatchbacks, so lets compare, shall we? Ford Focus hatch vs. Ford Escape.

        Cargo Volume

        Minimum
        23.8 ft Focus, 34.0 ft Escape

        Maximum
        44.8 ft Focus, 68.0 ft Escape

        • 0 avatar
          Lichtronamo

          And it’s not just cargo volume, but passenger volume as well. The more upright seating position of a CUV (Escape) makes it perceptively more spacious that its sedan/hatch counterpart.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      handles worse – irrelevant to most consumers, aside from ride quality

      often carries less – patently false

      often has poorer mileage- good enough to not matter currently

      almost never are available with manual transmissions – super irrelevant to the market right now

      • 0 avatar
        zoomzoomfan

        This. Our CX-5 averages 27 MPG city and 38 on the highway. It handles just fine for what it is (feels like my old Mazda3 hatchback, honestly). If I tried to ask my wife to describe how the CX-5 “handles” versus my 6, she’d have no idea differentiating the two. And neither would the buying public.

        • 0 avatar
          WalterRohrl

          To the average member of the public, a CX-5 “handles” the curves at the McDonald’s drive-thru better than a Mazda6 does, the 6 just gets too close to those yellow pole-y things that scrape the bumpers…Ergo, the CX-5 handles better.

    • 0 avatar
      JDG1980

      Heavier? Maybe, but who cares.

      More costly? Sometimes, but clearly the majority of buyers think it’s worth it.

      Handles worse? Not in the kind of driving most people actually have to do on a regular basis. This isn’t 1988, when the Samurai and Bronco II tipped over at the drop of a hat. It’s not the late 1990s, when the Explorer was a clumsy truck-based wagon with bad tires. Crossovers today are essentially car-like in their handling, and unless you’re trying to set records on the Nurburgring or the Tail of the Dragon, you should be fine.

      Poorer mileage? In stop-and-go driving, where most people put on most of the miles, there’s little difference. On the highway they are indeed slightly less efficient, but again, this isn’t the 1990s. Today the Honda CR-V can do 28/34 with a conventional turbo engine. If gas prices rise, the big players have hybrid crossovers ready to go.

      No manual transmissions available? Hate to break it to you, but 99% of Americans don’t care. Soon pretty much nothing but the Miata and a couple of pony cars will have manual transmissions available any more. It’s a tiny niche.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    As the general population has a large number of physically out of shape people, I suspect that the appeal is that they are easy to get in and out of.

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      I had a MINI Countryman a couple weeks ago as a service loaner. The vehicle is a bit bigger than my GTI, but I was surprised how much easier it was to get in and out of. There is definitely appeal in that to consumers. I don’t think it is particularly easier to get in and out of full size SUVs/trucks, and some mid size as well, when you have to lift yourself up into the vehicle and slide over into the seat.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I think cars like the Soul and Forester are easier to get in and out of. Probably the Fit and Outback, and it sounds like the Countryman as well.

        I agree with you on other utility vehicles, I don’t see how it can be easier to get into something you have to step up into and cross a 6″ door sill before you are in the seat. Maybe I don’t yet appreciate which joints go first for older or out-of-shape people, but I find it much easier to drop myself into a sedan than climb into an SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Physically out of shape people are probably 95% of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I think this is a big part of the issue. Older people and out of shape people have an easier time with in/egress with CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        CUVs are found in the athleisure department at your local dealer – “I may not do anything remotely associated with sports, but damn it I’ll certainly look like I do!”

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Midsize sedans aren’t going anywhere. We just call them compacts :) “Midsizers” are too effing big and don’t offer much tangible benefit over compacts. They need to just stretch compacts a little longer, make the intriors a little nicer and cull the midsize herd.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      What? Have you seen an Accord or Camry or Fusion or Taurus? These cars have become bloated compared to the same model from 6-8 years ago, not to mention their initial model. The Civic has ballooned into something that is almost unrecognizable as a Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Yep, we need a 1979 Civic so it’ll be cramped and slow and terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        The Taurus is tubby with poor space utilization. The Fusion is better, but Accord and Camry are outstanding in this respect. They make the most of the space offered.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        A name is just a name. If you want what was a Civic in the 90s, buy a Fit. Similarly if you want what was an Accord, buy a Civic. The Accord class is big beyond usefulness, which is why the segment is in freefall. But I think all the bellyaching over the death of the midsize is unwarranted. It’s still here. The names have just changed.

      • 0 avatar
        JDG1980

        I think that was sportyaccordy’s point – today’s “compact sedans” are what would have previously been recognized as midsize. Today’s Honda Civic is roughly the same dimensions as a 2000 Honda Accord. Honda and Toyota can justify having at least 2 sedans (“compact” and “midsize”) since they both sell well, but maybe the domestic manufacturers with less success in this field should try to optimize on one size rather than try for a pointless and unwanted full lineup.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The Fusion and Taurus are the same models from 6-8 yrs ago, but yeah, the newer models have continued the “size creep.”

        In particular, the Civic, CR-V and the new Accord – but that’s a big reason why they sell so well (the American buyer wants maximum space).

    • 0 avatar
      wiseweasel

      It’s truly unreal how big midsize cars are now. They are all bloat! I love my e90, but the 2 series size would be perfect in a sedan. My GF has a Fusion which is… 192″! My e90 is 178″ with similar feeling interior dimensions. My new Honda Pilot (which seats 8 btw) is only 195″… 3 inches longer than the fusion! There is no reason for the fusion to be as huge as it is, nor any of the midsizers nowadays.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Ha, my wife’s MKX is 190″ long I think, and it’s just about as long as I’d want any car to be. Friend of mine has a 2 series, and it was right sized for 4 5′ 9″+ adults over a weekend. A little tight but we are all good friends.

        Where cars like the 2er fall apart is if you need a rear facing infant seat. Even with rear doors the front seat in front of it would be rendered useless for anyone of average height. Once my daughter can sit facing forward I would definitely like to come back to a coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Curious if you’re familiar with the sheer size of today’s car seats, particularly the rear-facing variety.

        Midsize sedans are family cars. If you don’t have car seats or people regularly riding in your backseat, I struggle to think of a reason to be shopping in this segment at all. A tidier Focus will serve budget-friendly commuting purposes well, while a 2 series is what you daily drive when children haven’t sucked your bank account dry.

        • 0 avatar
          JDG1980

          The Focus is probably the worst compact sedan currently on the U.S. market, simply because of its horrible transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Midsize sedans typically ride a bit smoother and have better sound insulation. They make better highway cars.

          Something like the 1st gen Cruze is an exception, but GM abandoned that design direction in the 2nd gen.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    Drove from Sacramento to Fresno, 360 miles round trip and back yesterday with my 2014 Impala (new platform) and got 33.8 mpg from a NA 3.6 with 62k miles driving posted speed limit. One would never get that with a CUV and somehow I survived not seeing over cars ahead of me.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I rented a santa fe in Houston, and I don’t know if the lie-o-meter was way off, but I was getting 32 MPG avg.

      The encore is rated for 33 and often gets more than 35.

      The Kia Niro is getting over 50 MPG.

      Plus there’s really no difference between 30 and 33, and many many suvs get 30. Big difference from 12-18, but anything about 25 is just “cheap” IMHO. I’d never choose a 33 MPG car over 30 MPG because of the fuel economy

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Every car I have ever owned, leased, rented, etc has a trip computer that overestimates fuel economy compared to the manual calculation at the time of fill up. The most accurate I have seen is the current gen Mazda6. I have NEVER seen a car that underestimates fuel economy on the trip computer…NEVER. Some are very bad offenders. How can you consistently be off 4 to 5 mpg in a 15-18 gallon tank. Its all part of the “feel good about your car” philosophy. If you never check, and I suspect most people don’t, you will be elated at the fuel economy results displayed on the computer. Like my little sister who gets 50 mpg in her Legacy Sedan on a regular basis. Or my neighbor with full sized pickup truck who averages 25 mpg on every fill up.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          I had an F350 diesel, and its the only car I had that underreported fuel economy. I never understood it. I’d put in 30 gallons of diesel, drive 540 miles and have it tell me I averaged 12-14 MPG.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’ve never had one remotely that inaccurate. The worst I’ve had was my Subaru Forester, which consistently reported results about 3%-4% better than actual fuel economy (or a bit less than 1 mpg). The Lexus is more like 1% optimistic. The G8 was, and the C-Max is, dead on.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I’ve never had a trip computer that would report mileage. I’m still just banging the calculations out on my phone’s calculator at every fill up.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          “Every car I have ever owned, leased, rented, etc has a trip computer that overestimates fuel economy compared to the manual calculation”

          You’ve owned, leased and rented the wrong cars. :)

          My Taurus is dead on. I’ve tracked the mileage for as many as 20 mile markers and it’s within a margin of error. Same when it comes to fuel used and MPG calculations. A teeny difference, but so close it’s scary.

    • 0 avatar
      Lichtronamo

      Actual mileage may vary. That’s the problem with comparing EPA estimates, which often have little to do with real world conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        I don’t get people calculating mpg – not much you can do about it, unless you plan to really alter your behaviour to save a few bucks.

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          It’s another data point that you can use to make sure the car is running properly. If you’re in a car that normally returns mid-30s and it suddenly comes back at mid-teens there might be something wrong. It behooves you to check

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          Twice a year or so I do it to see how accurate my in-vehicle computer is. When I have a car that doesn’t have an in-vehicle computer, I check any time I “feel like” my fuel economy tanked unexpectedly, because thats normally how you uncover issues such as eccessive carbon buildup (especially on german cars for some reason) or injector/valve/carb issues.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Lichtronamo, EPA estimates have as much to do with real world conditions as anything else. They’re certainly closer than most other estimates.

        However, as you indicated YMMV. Perhaps, the term “real world conditions” shouldn’t exist when it comes to MPG. The variance by driver or usage is so very large. It should always be the first place you look when trying to understand mpg.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Sedans don’t make sense. They’re hard to get in and out of, the handling isn’t any better, and they’re terrible for carrying or hauling anything. No, a few inches of higher center of gravity doesn’t mean anything when the steering has no feel, is oddly boosted, and everyone goes in a straight line. A trunk pass through isn’t useful and a trunk lid makes things hard to fit big stuff in the trunk. Sedans weren’t always popular. Not sure why they were in the first place.

    People make fun of truck drivers for buying a truck when they don’t haul or tow things. When’s the last time you hit .5g of lateral force to even care about the center of gravity? Think of doing squats or wall sits. That’s how getting into a sedan feels like versus sliding into a crossover.

    Wagons are for snobs. Many of them are more expensive and simply ways to dintinguish your tastes from the mainstream. Look at the All-Road A4. More expensive than the Q5. Or the Cross Country Volvo wagons. With decorative but useless cladding that says “I’m rugged yet elegant!” It is like a North Face or Patagonia jacket or a diving or scuba watch. No one really dives or goes hiking.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      “No one really tows” is an invalid reason to disagree with people who daily-drive pickups.

      “No one really hikes” is a valid reason to disagree with people who daily-drive wagons, and “no one really corners hard” is a valid reason to dislike the sedan form-factor.

      Gotcha.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        He didnt say that. He said if you want to judge someone as having a vehicle too capable for their needs, look in the mirror for an example of the same.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          To the extent he said anything, it’s that sedan buyers hypocritically overlook the inherent compromises of the form factor, and that wagon buyers are label-whore phonies.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      I had a ’98 accord sedan, and I would go to all sorts of places like Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea etc. and fit everything I needed in it.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Well, that settles it then.

        Nobody needs anything more than an Accord sedan because you can obviously fit a washing machine, some 2×4 studs, some sheets of plywood, or a dozen bags of cement in one.

        Next time I see a building contractor in an F-250, I’ll let him know that all he needs is a Honda sedan because if it was all you needed, its all anyone ever will need.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          That’s not what he said. Lighten up, Francis.

        • 0 avatar
          turbo_awd

          Actually, what he needs is a minivan, not a sedan.. I totally astonished several people when loading 4x8s into our Grand Caravan at Home Depot (and closing the rear gate!). The guy who gave me a hand loading them was astonished: “My truck couldn’t fit those!”. Plus, they’re like $20k new for a base version. Get two :-)

          I knew a general contractor who for years used a Mazda MPV instead of a truck. Mind you, if you regularly need to haul cement, that’d need a suspension upgrade, probably.. No problem fitting a washing machine/dryer either :-)

          • 0 avatar
            deanst

            My mazda5 didn’t seem to like it when I put many bags of gravel in the back, but otherwise dimensional lumber is no problem. (With the exception of a full sheet of plywood!)

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          Tell him to get a cuv, since it ain’t 1993 anymore

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        You really must not have bought very much. I’ve carried an Ikea couch and 60″ plasma home in my Mazda3 hatch, but it was a pretty tight fit both times.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I didn’t realize owning a 10, err, 11 year old wagon made me a snob. I can assure you that going from my snobby wagon to my wife’s SUV means a BIG dropoff in handling ability and feel.

      Your should get out more. And lay off the bitter herbs.

      • 0 avatar
        romanjetfighter

        I wasn’t saying you’re a snob if you’re a wagon owner. I don’t think anything of you. I am talking about how wagons are marketed and talked about today in the automotive press. We have identities we want to project and for people to recognize via what we consume/buy.

        Wagon owners are no different. Just like Denali owners aren’t any less worried about their image than Escalade owners, they just have a different image they want to project.

        What I am saying is that the form or bodystyle doesn’t matter to driving dynamics, but it does affect daily use. And the sedan is compromised as a form factor.

        Crossovers aren’t BOF SUVs that ask you to make huge compromises. Sitting high is good stuff. Crossovers have legitimate benefits over the sedan and THE WAGON!!

        I don’t judge people based on the body style of their car. Or lament the popularity of crossovers over sedans or wagons. Just like I don’t lament panoramic sunroofs because it makes cars top heavy.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          I have yet to drive an SUV/CUV that is as fun to throw around as a sedan or wagon. I have not driven any Porsche C/SUV for a long enough period of time to confidently include them here, so they might be the exception. I’ve also not driven the CX-5 and have heard that too is pretty good.

          I drove an E wagon and then the ML350 back to back. Guess which one drove better.

          SUVs are fine. They’re comfy and big and boring.

          I couldn’t give a rip about what a car says about me. Life’s too short to worry about that kind of nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          Can’t say I really give a damn what other people think. I have always liked hatchbacks and manual transmissions, and I doubt the latest trend in higher, faster, less fuel efficient will change my mind.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      My commute takes me on back roads about 2-3x a week, and my sedan is much lower than the average crossover thanks to coilovers. When I need to haul something I will take my wife’s crossover or MIL’s minivan.

      I think the big lesson here is for everyone to stop trying to dictate what other people should drive. Sedan, wagon, crossover, pickup, Subaru BRAT, they are all more than 99% of people need 99% of the time, which is OK. People are allowed to choose cars in communist China; no reason we shouldn’t be able to here. NOBODY here would speak against the excess of a sports car or high performance wagon for example. Let’s get off our high horses just once

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    As (if?) electric vehicles become popular the sedan will make a come back. Aerodynamics equals range and no matter what Elon thinks battery price will remain a driving force in vehicle development.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Sedans serve no purpose they are not dynamically superior to wagons, hatches of liftbacks and offer less practicality. Coupes are only successful for a short period of time and non-performance coupes for even less time.

    Utility vehicles offer utility and a better view down the road and when everyone else is driving one you don’t want to be in the low down vehicle in a crash.

    Add in that your average buyer doesn’t care that much about high horsepower or handling dynamics as long as it’s capable then having a low center of gravity or better weight distribution is a non-factor.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      The shift is happening. A female neighbor traded a Explorer for a crew cab F150. Raved about rear flat floor. I contend half tons are sedans with open trunks.

    • 0 avatar
      thx_zetec

      “Utility vehicles offer utility and a better view down the road and when everyone else is driving one you don’t want to be in the low down vehicle in a crash.”

      6000 lb super-duty trucks with 12″ lifts offer utility and a better view down the road and when everyone else is driving one you don’t want to be in the low down vehicle in a crash. So let’s not endanger our lives with mere cross-overs!

      Extra height hurts dynamics and fuel economy. For safety and visibility I think it is a wash, helps the tall vehicle at expense of the short vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Right, because nobody would want to compromise for the sake of SOME economy, price and ease of parking.

        Because parking, fueling and paying for an F-450 is the same as doing so for an Edge?

        “Extra height hurts dynamics and fuel economy. ”

        Yes, 1-3 mpg is SO important with our cheap gas, its much better than having more room and capacity. And every soccer mom on Main Street USA is very interested in the dynamics of the appliance she uses to take her kids to school and run by Walmart.

        • 0 avatar
          thx_zetec

          You give up some mileage, like you say about 10%. We are a rich country and gas is cheap, so people pay.

          My point about the super duty is where do you stop? Looking around I see many people have passed the cross over going to full size or super duty or super-duty-jacked, all for better visibility (for them. Worst for others).

          The thing that caught my eye in the post above was that cross overs were needed because “everyone else is driving one”. We are in a size and height arms race.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Why do people keep repeating this gibberish about cheap gas. $3.40/gallon isn’t cheap to me, but then my last name isn’t Rockefeller.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “$3.40/gallon isn’t cheap to me, but then my last name isn’t Rockefeller.”

            http://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/

            Today’s average gas price in each of the 10 largest car-building countries, converted to US$/US gal.:

            Germany $6.24
            Spain $5.66
            South Korea $5.51
            Brazil $4.79
            Japan $4.64
            India $4.38
            China $4.20 (plus hefty displacement taxes)
            Canada $4.06
            Mexico $3.42
            US $2.77

            Yep, we’ve got cheap gas.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Cheap” is relative. If you do the list by top 10 oil producing countries the US is more in line.

            Kuwait $1.32
            Brazil $4.79
            Mexico $3.42
            UAE $2.18
            Canada $4.06
            Iran $1.36
            China $4.20
            Russia $2.74
            USA $2.77
            Saudi $2.06

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Every country with a price lower than Russia’s on that list subsidizes fuel purchases by their citizens. The USA is near the bottom for countries that don’t subsidize consumer fuel purchases, because we have very low fuel taxes and considerably subsidize domestic production.

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          My next car will be an International RTX. Cuz I like them. I have absolutely nothing to tow, never haul anything. I am going to modify it though because its not high enough and I want to make sure I can roll coal on all the environmentalists driving Super Duty’s and Chevy HD’s.

          I will make sure to pull up next to them when exiting parking lots so they cant see past me and have to wait for me to pull out first. I will pull in front of them on the highway so they can admire nothing of the forward universe but my tailgate (and roll coal on those darn tree huggers)

          This actually sounds like a fantastic idea. Looking into terms now.

  • avatar

    As a kid, I learned from Detroit that small cars are cheap cars-nasty, loud and uncomfortable. Later, BMW and Honda changed minds here, BUT they still then charged you $10k for that six inches in the floorpan in the back seat and 3 inches of headroom. This was normally in a nicer car, when you needed family size for your spawn & stuff. This usually ran with increased income levels, so the car makers did well charging you 10-15K for a bit of sheet metal, engines and ICE usually being pretty much the same.

    The CUV breaks this. Civic or CR- V ? Altima or Rogue ? Better a crappy CUV than a crappy car…in BMW land, the X3, the first entry of “mediocre” into the BMW lineup was bigger than the 3 series, so many folks who had money and got to the correct dealer still came away with the wrong car, because it was bigger. I sat in the Chevy dealer recently while something was being fixed, and spent some time in a CUV with a 22k price tag new. It was sparse inside, but would take five passenger and their stuff, without anyone getting cramps. Most folks don’t conceptualize driving dynamics, so the CUV vs small car thing is a wash anyway.

    The US doesn’t encourage tiny cars, we design for pickup trucks in most places, so the size difference is meaningless.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’m sure there will be sedans in some form or another going into the future. Your choice will probably just be more limited than it is now, with the strongest sellers by those companies who can turn a profit on them remaining in the market.

    Sedans have their limitations but I simply prefer the way they drive, and the better ones don’t require you to crack your head getting in and out of them. When it doesn’t fit in our sedan, we have the 4Runner. I prefer that to having two jack-of-all-trades CUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      You’ve basically described what happened to minivans. Honda/Toyota/Kia have stayed in the market (which is much smaller today), but everyone else gave up.

      The equivalent future means choosing from the Accord, Camry, and maybe one other car from a company that won’t throw in the towel. Probably Nissan or one of the Koreans.

      • 0 avatar
        JDG1980

        Exactly. Honda and Toyota will stay in the sedan market because they sell very well and are generally considered best-in-class. Nissan will probably stay in because they sell to the subprime market that can’t afford anything better. But where is Ford or GM’s unique selling proposition in sedans? Why would they want to devote an assembly line that could be making popular crossovers, SUVs, or pickups to slow-selling sedans that they have to give away at near cost? Some of their sedans are pretty good (the new Chevy Impala has excellent reviews, and I was reasonably happy with the Ford Fusion that I got as a loaner during the Takata recall) but they just aren’t moving much.

  • avatar
    arach

    I’m so confused by the whole thing.

    Aren’t crossovers just evolution of sedans? I mean seriously?

    The difference between a crossover and sedan is… what? Ride height by a few inches? Could it not just be argumed that cars keep getting bigger (which is whats already been said about sedans?)

    Lets take the Crosstrek for example. “oh wow an SUV beating out the lonely impreza sedan” (no one point out the impreza still outsells the crosstrek).

    My point is, the crosstrek IS an impreza with an extra inch of ground clearance, all of a sudden making it “not a sedan”?

    Sure, we call them “crossovers”, as in “a cross between a sedan and an SUV”. if thats the case, why do they automatically get lumped into the SUV group? For headlines?

    Sedans aren’t really “dead”, but people like sedans that are a little taller and a little roomier. Its really a fairly minor shift… after all, we cross-shopped a Hyundai Sonata and a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. From my perspective they both would serve the same purpose and aren’t really functionally different, just rather feature-rich.

    A hatchback is a small SUV in many ways, why don’t we class hatchbacks as non-sedans?

    Its all semantics. In fact I think if the Smart Car were invented today, it would be classed as a 2 door crossover.

    I mean the Buick Encore is a “Crossover”? Its 168″ long. The Kia Soul? Seriously I wouldn’t even have thought that was a “crossover” unless I read that it was. Its a car that happens to be boxy looking. Its not even lifted or that tall. A Fiat 500x and Nissan Juke? These things aren’t “SUVs”

    But yes, argue over “names”. The sedan isn’t really dead, its just expanded to different sizes and shapes. Whats not to enjoy about a slightly roomier, taller vehicle that still gets great gas mileage? Doesn’t that fit most peoples needs a little better? sure.

    Personally, the only reason I’d choose a sedan over a “crossover” is if I bought a sports sedan… otherwise, why would I choose a smaller passenger car over a bigger roomier one?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Crossover is an evolutionary step of the *wagon* combined with an SUV. Its not analogous to a 3 box sedan.

      And no, I don’t believe the Kia Soul is a crossover, no matter who says it is. Its just a t
      boxier wagon like a Scion xB, a PT Cruiser or an HHR was. Nobody called those crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      A CUV is more than just a bigger sedan with more ground clearance. The difference between an Accord and a CRV is more than just an inch of ground clearance.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        But what about the imprezza and the crosstrek? And “different wheels” doesn’t count.

        An Accord and a CRV as only as-so different as a Forrester is to a legacy. I don’t see how an Accord and CRV is “More”. Its a bit boxier, but other than that whats the difference? It offers AWD as an OPTION, but there’s no reason Honda couldn’t offer AWD on an Accord as many other sedan manufacturers do, and the the AWD system on CRVs is similar to that on other sedans.

        A CRV doesn’t have a strong frame and can’t TOW anything more than an accord.

        It serves the same markets as the accord but with a different branding, different shape, and some different options.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If I could go down to the Chevy dealer and make a deal on a brand new 1991 Caprice Estate I would, but because I can’t I’ve got a 3 row CUV.

    My wife however was one of those ladies who insisted her Pontiac Vibe be referred to as a CUV. Not something worth arguing over and certainly easier to put a kid in a car seat in her Terrain than it would have been in my mother’s 1982 Celebrity.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    See how coupes are today? They’ve retreated from the mainstream into a “sport” niche. There are a couple of models that sell big volumes (the ponycars) and a few other small-volume hangers-on.

    That is the sedan in a decade. The CUV has become the default car and as smaller/cheaper CUVs get more common that trend is only going to continue.

    The silver lining is that the remaining entries will focus more on people who like to drive, because those are the only people who will want sedans anymore. We see a bit of this already with the new Accord and Camry, and it will get more pronounced.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      I think there’s truth to that. The non-sporty ‘fashion statement’ coupes have all but disappeared, and rightfully so. That bodystyle trades what miniscule practicality advantage a sedan may have for lighter weight, better structural integrity and cleaner style. All of that is right in lockstep with what you want from a sporty drivers car. So-called sports sedans are kind of a joke in that theyre dynamically inferior to a comparable coupe, much as a more versatile wagon would be. Theyre for someone who wants a bit sportier image than a wagon might convey but not committed enough to go all the way and get the coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “So-called sports sedans are kind of a joke in that theyre dynamically inferior to a comparable coupe”

        That very much depends on the particular sedan and coupe involved. For instance it would be very hard to make an argument that a M3 is dynamically inferior to an M4, and in comparable trim the M3 is lighter.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          You have a point, but I believe 3 series is now a totally different car than a 4 series…isn’t the 4 a bit bigger? Back when a 3 coupe was nothing but the sedan less 2 doors is what I had in mind. Likewise the first gen Neons, Late ‘80’s-early ‘90s Sentras, and so on. Nowadays the closest related sedan/coupe would probably be the Charger/Challenger. Outside of top end speed l, the Challenger is the clear winner in performance metrics…aerodynamics of the front clips are the culprit, but as far as I know, no one has tried a Charger front clip on the Challenger to compare. Guaranteed it works, because just about every other LX face swap has been done at some point.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I love sedans and coupes, appreciate body-on-frame SUVs like the 4Runner and utterly despise other SUVs and CUVs. These are appliances not cars, and they are marketed as such. Manufacturers don’t even tell you what engine is these things anymore. If we have to lose sedans can’t we have real stations wagons instead?

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Weren’t sedans historically appliances on wheels?

      I still think CUVs are the evolution of the sedan.

      In marketing they always talk about focusing on the “consumer” not the “Product Solution”. The “consumer” is still looking for something similar- affordable, mediocre, appliance on wheels that is conmfortable”. The CUV is like a tablet over a laptop- generally servicing the same customer base for the same purpose fulfilling the same need, but it just happens to be a little better at it. Thats simple evolution.

      I would say a tablet and a laptop are about the same thing. I use a surface Pro 4 now, and I consider it a “laptop” but someone else will argue its a tablet, but it serves the same purpose at the same times in the same places in 99.9% of the same way.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I was in a parking lot recently and noticed that there were 8 non-sendans in a row in my lane. A mix of vans, trucks and CUVs.

  • avatar
    spyked

    One of the neat things about all this sedan death-watch stuff is noticing just who drives what. Around here, any CAR/sedan is mostly driven by a young professional man. Be it an Accord, 3 series, MINI, Jetta, Mazda, Fusion, whatever. If you see a CUV/SUV (which is most of time), it is driven by a woman, be it CR-V, Tiguan, or even a Yukon/Suburban. The boring sedan has become the new sports car that guys want and the SUV is now the mommy-minivan? Jeep Grand Cherokee seems to be the one that crosses genders, as did the Touareg when it was sold. When’s the last time you saw a male driving an Explorer that wasn’t a cop? It’s the replacement for the Windstar and Country Squire.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      “The boring sedan has become the new sports car that guys want”

      No. Just…no. Any youngish guys tooling around in appliance grade accords, fusions and other such bottom feeders do so because they are either apathetic towards cars, poor or both. Minis aren’t ‘sedans’at all.The 3 series, some Mazdas and Jettas do carry some cache and/or have reputations as being rewarding to drive.

      The only 4-door sedans that are sought out as the ‘sportscars guys want’ are those that actually ARE sporty: WRX/STI, M3, Charger, S3, etc. The fact that these have a 4-door body style tends to be just tolerated or insignificant in exchange for the availability of these and the driving dynamics.

      I got news for ya…proper sportscars are still VERY much a ‘thing’. Forget about what the know-nothing car rags are telling you about the pony cars only selling to aging boomers because that’s crap. As new purchases, yes it’s probably skewed older, but who is tracking buying habits on the second hand market? But out on the road, you see a good half of the Mopar LX cars, mustangs and camaros driven by X’ers and Millennials. Im in a few car groups, and I personally know dozens of Millennials with decent jobs who have purchased brand new Chargers and Challengers….most all Hemis. I live near Portland, OR too, where conventional ‘wisdom’ says we either rideshare or have hybrids. So there’s that.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Most car owners don’t seem to care how many cylinders their car has or it’s mileage or how it drives anywhere near as much as they care about the brand, seating height and how it looks.

    That’s another reason why CUVs sell well. BMW is stuffing 4 cylinder engines in SUVs that cost upward of 50k. The same engines used in the 2, 3 and 4 series, but charge much more in the X body. BMW isn’t stupid… they’re giving customers what they apparently will buy/lease.

    After driving a few of the 4 cylinder variant X1 and X3s, they have no appeal to me. The new m40i variant of the X3 is amazing, but the regular X3 – it seems like an incredible waste of money for what you’re getting.

  • avatar
    AndyYS

    I’m not ready to abandon the sedan in favor of an SUV for three reasons: 1-price, 2-gas mileage and 3-a large trunk. The decline of the sedan mystifies me.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The death of sedans is a regulatory construct fueled by self-sabotage. Americans liked lazy sedans for decades, then CAFE regulations came along, in which regulators expressed their irrational preference for trucks making 14mpg, rather than sedans making 18mpg. Sedans were forced to adapt. The lazy underpowered wallowing sedans of the 60s and 70s became a regulatory mandate; therefore, as uncool as humanly possible. As a result the sport sedan market became chic in the US.

    Unfortunately, sport sedans are self-sabotage for most buyers. You’re paying more money for less sidewall, less fuel efficiency, and parts that are much more heavily stressed than the lazy old land yachts of previous generations. Those paradigms, along with new CAFE regs, have finally ushered in the inevitable–sedans with no ground clearance, terrible ride quality, frenetic driving dynamics. Low-margin price tags are the result.

    It’s hard to say what will happen in the future because CAFE 2025 (2017-2025) is very hard on CUV’s. The regulatory burden could cause CUVs to become cramped, hybrid tincans. Americans could shift back towards sedans and fullsize trucks, or maybe they will prefer something new, like hatchbacks?

    Future unclear. Whatever paradigms exist today will probably not exist in a decade, IF fuel economy standards are unchanged.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “It’s hard to say what will happen in the future because CAFE 2025 (2017-2025) is very hard on CUV’s. The regulatory burden could cause CUVs to become cramped, hybrid tincans. Americans could shift back towards sedans and fullsize trucks, or maybe they will prefer something new, like hatchbacks?”

      CAFE 2025 is harder on sedans than it is on CUVs. CUVs have the benefit of being classified as trucks if they have 4WD and specific approach and departure angles. The costs of the 2WD models can be amortized with the offsets of the 4WD models. This is a major reason why automakers are pushing hard on CUVs and away from sedans. An AWD sedan can’t be classified as a truck.

      As far as size goes, if anything, they are likely to get larger. The CAFE bar adjusts downward with footprint. The major shift will be CAFE offsetting tech like Stop/Start, mild hybrid and PHEV proliferating.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        It’s harder on fullsize sedans. S-Class will need to make 34mpg combined by 2025. That will be interesting. Midsize and compact will only need to make about 30-35mpg so they will probably survive the regulations with just mild-hybrid, since their hwy economy is good. However, the credits and the market may ultimately move sedans to full hybrid.

        Small-midsize CUV’s will have to meet similar ratings, probably 28-33mpg, with the smallest CUV’s requiring 37mpg combined by 2025. It will be interesting to see what happens. The only vehicles that achieve those numbers are all full hybrids. Some of the newest CUVs are in the 30mpg range, which might do it depending on their footprint. However, ability to achieve the standards and ability to keep a product desirable are two separate issues. CUV’s might just morph into weird tall sedans. It’s already happening, especially if you look at the aero-cladding the manufacturers paint black to disguise its proximity to the pavement. If you tuck it close enough to the tires, it doesn’t mess up the angles too badly, but it kills ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar
      JDG1980

      A few plug-in hybrids can go a long way towards meeting CAFE standards – the MPGe ratings are phenomenal. And there’s no reason those hybrids can’t be crossovers, or even pickup trucks.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice piece. However take into account the fact Camcord offers predictable results, comfort, rear seat and trunk room at a somewhat reasonable price. The competition cannot offer all of those things at once, which is why they mostly suck. We’ll never know what the market would be if there were more than two choice options in the segment.

  • avatar

    It’s not 500 words, but here’s my take:

    Moms gotta sit up high.


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