There’s a Growing Number of SUVs & Crossovers, But Why?

It’s not an easy task buying a car. You have to take a lot into account; is it spacious enough? Does it drive well? Is it comfortable? These are just a few of the countless other examples of what we look for.

A large majority of SUVs & Crossovers sold at an average car dealership.
A large majority of SUVs sold at an average car dealership.

There’s been a recent craze of late where decision making seems to be a thing of the past. No one decides anymore, they just jump on the “I’ve got a BIG car!” bandwagon. I find it to be bland and unoriginal, cars of this nature seem to have no originality. It’s honestly quite depressing the way manufacturers seem to be churning out these, quite honestly, garish vehicles.

Take Mitsubishi, for example, a once varied company. They built anything – small city runabouts, super sporty vehicles and even off-roaders. A manufacturer of cars, famed by the relentless Lancer Evo, now reduced to producing two-bit cars that have no distinctive features to one another.

Of course, there’s many other examples: Vauxhall, Ford, Honda and plenty of other manufacturers are trimming down their lineup. All for the purpose of fulfilling a recent trend in the market. I don’t think people buying these are the issue, the manufacturer gives you no other choice.

Make it different

I like differences… They tell us a little more about who you are, what makes you, you. But, in a world where near middle-aged women & conference room dad’s need something to drop their kids off at school and take on the daily shopping run, what differences are there? They want something to stick out. “Alison over there, she’s only got a PERRRSHOOOOW, pfft”, is something I’d imagine them scoffing.

Of course, when you need to stick out, you need to blend in with all the others that use their vehicles as ‘status’. And when you have reached that status… You’re still no different from the others. Break the link.

But, to a lot of people, bigger means better. And it has only just started…

Why the recent trend?

I don’t hate SUVs, neither do I hate crossovers. I think they can be compelling. But they’re not for what they’re intended. I’ll pick up more on that later. What I would like to address is how this even started. And I think I have a good idea.

A Nissan offroading.
Photo by Emiliano Arano from Pexels

Nissan.

The Joke Juke took the world by storm back in 2010. According to Car Sales Base, the European sales only started with a mere 22,228 in 2010. They skyrocketed to 101,417 in 2011 and stayed at a steady figure ever since. Pretty impressive, right?

This is just a great example of how much the crossover has captured the minds of the every day driver. You can’t argue with the figures, they are popular. And since then, there’s been a wave of new line-ups of SUVs and Crossovers. It’s been a race for manufacturers everywhere to release the newest and greatest big car.

But it’s not just limited to the mundane anymore, oh no, the big guns have stepped in.

The take-over of luxury manufacturers.

You hear that sound? That’s the sound of multi-billion dollar corporations laughing as they defecate on their line-up.

A Lamborghini Urus SUV in a showroom.
A Lamborghini Urus. Photo by Viktor Theo on Unsplash

Yes, the likes of Rolls Royce, Bentley and Maserati, just to name a few, have started disseminating their latest and greatest. And more are being revealed what feels like every other day. It’s a shame to see, automotive pioneers with well known racing pedigree – sold out for the sake of out-snobbing others.

Okay, okay… so you can afford a nice luxury car, I get it. I sound as if I may be coming across as envious, but, really – it’s not that. I’ve always looked up to the crazy genius behind the likes of Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo & Porsche. But, to see something like this, it makes me feel as though they’ve left behind all they’ve built for a quick buck.

But, business means business. And when the public demands, they will deliver.

They’re just not true to their nature…

The problem I have with many SUVs & Crossovers is that they’re based on what I consider to be true to itself. A “Sports Utility Vehicle”.

Land Rover/Range Rover have delivered consistently with this. And I’ve always admired their true off-roading capabilities. But, modern crossovers lack this, they’re just cars on large wheels with a raised ride height. And as for most other “SUVs”, well, the off road settings are just a gimmick. Seriously, out of everyone you know or can think of that has an SUV, how many of them actually go off-roading?

A Land Rover SUV out in its natural habitat.
An off roader in its natural habitat. Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Back last year I was invited to a demonstration of the new MG ZS, which was basically just a test drive to see whether they could try and sell one to me. There was nothing particularly wrong with the car. It just felt like driving any other car, just a bit higher up. I didn’t like that – I like being closer to the ground, you have more of a connection with the road, you’re more aware of your surroundings. You just don’t get that with an SUV.

This to me is the problem. You drive a large, cumbersome vehicle that no doubt produces so much more emissions than the alternative, get in the way of other’s field of view, and yet, use it for your daily trip back and forth to work in a busy & packed city.

There’s just no need.

But there is hope

I do find solace in the fact that there are manufacturers that have sworn to not produce a SUVs. Automakers like McLaren and Bugatti have vowed to never make an SUV. But, then again, never doesn’t always mean never.

I can only hope they do stick to this promise. To quote the words of Mike Flewitt on McLaren producing an SUV:

“McLaren is a sports car brand, and that’s exactly what we’re going to remain.”

– Mike Flewitt

Of course, there have been teases of Bugatti producing an SUV, along with some rather compelling 3D renders. Motor1’s article details this quite well. But, it’s scary to think of how easily brands can be swayed… Ferrari for example, made the promise to not produce SUVs – that was only back in 2016. During the later portion of 2018 it was announced they are jumping into the SUV market.

What about alternatives?

There’s certainly not going to be an end to this any time soon. Ford have recently announced that they’re returning the Puma, naturally, they’re turning it into a crossover (because that makes sense, right?). Something that no has asked for.

But fear not, there are alternatives. So, here’s what I suggest to you, the reader. Let’s start questioning what we are actually buying.

As pointed out by many automotive journalists, the SUV is no longer what it stands for. They’re no longer sporty, and most of which have no more space than your regular family car. So why not figure out what we want out of a car?

If it ticks all your boxes – then good for you – you’ve done it, you’ve made a great decision! But let’s make sure it serves it’s purpose.

But, if it is a Sporty, Utilitarian Vehicle you’re looking for – then I think we can all agree on something…

An Audi RS 6 in front of a lake with mountains in the background.
An Audi RS 6 – A sporty, utilitarian vehicle. Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels

Get an estate.


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