Comment: Why Are You So Obsessed With Me?
I'll be the first to admit. I love SUV's. I love the idea of bounding along on the beaten track, scourging through dirt roads, climbing up steep mountains that even Sir Ranulph Fiennes would turn his back on. And it’s not just me. The SUV segment is the second largest in the Australian motoring industry, with more than 140,000 of them being sold in 2015, and that number has continued to rise. Admittedly, more than half of these ‘SUVs’ are mere crossover SUV’s, designed to get the kids from school, to soccer then to home.
Almost 20 years ago, when I was still learning how to pronounce the word ‘Please’, if you had wanted an SUV, your only choices were the Toyota Land Cruiser and/or a Range Rover. And that was it.
Today, 20 years later, and nearly every single manufacturer has some form of SUV/crossover. Even Lamborghini have jumped on the bandwagon, along with Rolls Royce. ROLLS ROYCE! the people who make luxury vehicles softer than a mining executives chesterfield sofa!
It isn’t hard to see the appeal of SUV’s when you examine them for more than a second. Big, spacious, high riding vehicles with the stability of AWD to provide somewhat of an illusion as to being able to go off-road, when the reality is that the toughest obstacle they’ll face are gravel roads or speed bumps in shopping centre carparks.
But after a while of contemplating the mindset of an SUV buyer (yes, that’s how interesting my life is), it conjures up a question. What’s the big appeal?
There’s more room!
That would’ve read true 20 years ago, but now, not so much. A relative of mine recently purchased a Mazda CX-3, and I was surprised to see what little trunk space there was in the back! Now, I’m not going to go on a tangent here and start bagging on Mazda. The CX-3 is a great car. It’s nippy, efficient, and practical. But then again, my Ford Mondeo (A hatchback/sedan *ahem*) has more cargo capacity with the rear seats folded up then my cousins CX-3 has with the rear seats folded down. It gets almost the same fuel economy (I say almost, because mine has been playing up a little bit. If you know any good mechanics or vehicle diagnostic specialists, leave a comment below). So, why purchase a crossover with the illusion of being an SUV, when plenty of sedans and hatchbacks offer the same, if not, more room?
Again, the same would have read true 20 years ago, but car’s nowadays, with all their radar avoidance, crash alert things, not to mention the plethora of airbags that come standard in nearly every car these days, it’s hard to see this as a major talking point. I will concede, however, that in an accident, I would much prefer to be in a Land Cruiser then a small Fiat 500, which by the way, scored the maximum 5 star euro NCAP rating.
They have AWD!
So does the Subaru Liberty. So does an Audi A3. So does a Volkswagen Passat. You can see my point here, right? AWD used to be the reserve of SUV’s, but now, whilst still rare, can be found on sedans and station wagons. Another point to make is that some crossovers don’t even come with AWD. The new Toyota C-HR didn’t even come with AWD when it was first released. And that was in 2017!. Not to mention that my cousin’s CX-3 doesn’t come with AWD as standard. Her model, the range topping Akari, does come with it, but as for the rest of the line up?
You can start to see why it befuddles people as to why everyones suddenly rushed out to buy SUVS and crossovers. And yet, if I left this office, and someone offered me the choice between a Toyota Prado or a Subaru Liberty, you’d know which one I’d take. Who knows, maybe one day the whole SUV craze will die down, and in it’s place, a new body trend may emerge. Maybe hatchbacks will become the craze! It’s hard to know, but for know, we’ll just have to sit back, and ride it out, as the plethora of soccer mums (and dads #equality) ride around in their softroaders.