Sport-utility vehicles (SUV) are popular as ever; if an automaker wishes to print money, produce an SUV. Porsche was highly prescient over a decade and a half ago introducing the Cayenne SUV; that car made the company so much money that they were then able to invest it back into sports cars. The likes of Lamborghini and Bentley have followed suit, and Ferrari will soon join the fray. These historic nameplates, far removed from the idea of an SUV, simply can’t resist the money prospective.
Full-line manufacturers have long ago latched on to the SUV money train, even if some are later to the party than others (looking at you, Volkswagen). Particularly, Subaru proved that consumers will buy anything resembling an SUV: they simply raised the Impreza hatchback on stilts, call it the ‘Crosstrek’, and the result is mega profits. The buyers are none the wiser that it’s merely a wagon sat higher from the ground.
SUV sales are doing so well and consequently traditional sedans are not (even the vaunted Honda Accord and Toyota Camry is down in sales) that Ford will be jettisoning its entirely sedan lineup in favor of SUVs. Of course, nowhere in the announcement is an admission that Ford’s current sedan portfolio is desperately outdated and behind on the competition.
As a car enthusiast I used to be utterly against SUVs. Wagons and hatchbacks offers the same utility, and if I were inclined to venture truly off-road, I’d buy a proper body-on-frame bruiser like a Toyota 4Runner or a Jeep Wrangler. The way I see it, the typical unibody SUV needlessly sacrifice fuel economy for the sake of a tall seating position and commanding view.
Keyword is I used to. My family recently bought an SUV - Hyundai Tucson, and having driven it around and on a few long trips, my mind has completely changed. There is indeed something magical, and more importantly comfortable, about the elevated seating position: ingress and egress is tremendously easy, and unlike a sedan your body is not hunkered down in a contorted position (especially if you’re on the taller side like I am). An SUV is also much easier to park, it being significantly shorter in the length than the typical four-door.
Sports cars remains the zenith in my heart, but for the regular commute and long journeys, I can understand why SUVs have become so incredibly popular.