To put my 2 cents in the crossover vs wagon debate; I do personally think wagons are better generally as well (even though I like some crossovers such as the Kona) because they aren’t as wasteful, fuel economy wise. A crossover/suv isn’t a very eco friendly choice (although that’s changing day after day).
As to why people might pick crossovers over wagons? There’s people who literally hate when their cars feel sporty and think fun cars are superfluous, or like the higher seating position of a crossover. I don’t agree with this vision but, understand some buyers are like that
My gripe with the current car market on the other hand isn’t so much the crossover-ness as much as it is that pretty much every car is either a faux-suv or then it’s a faux-sport. Which means ugly fake vents, completely black interiors with red detailing, fake carbon fibre everywhere, cheap sporty suspension which means it’s just hard and the car still doesn’t handle well cause it’s still a city car / suv / sedan etc. and that now it seems premium almost always seems to correlate with sporty, just with leather.
Car reviews almost always seem to focus imo way too much on how well a car goes through corners. Like it’s a big family car why does it have to corner like an mx-5? So to me it seems like you can’t get a lot of horsepower in your car without it having to also be a “sports trim” kinda deal with the fake vents, the side skirts, the red stitching, the hard suspension etc.
2 of my favorite cars I’ve owned have been my 1996 Ford Escort Wagon, and my wife’s 2000 V70 XC. I loved the versatility they gave, and in my wife’s car’s case, the AWD kept the car well behaved in winter driving.
But, I’m a big man. I am 6’3" or 1.85 m tall, and 280 lb. or 135 kg, and almost all legs. The thing I absolutely love about my 2014 Chevy Equinox, is I have plenty of room in my driver seat; and with my driver seat set in my position, I can still sit comfortably in back. Something that cannot be said about the aforementioned wagons, or any other mid to full size sedan I’ve ever owned.
I don’t lose much in the way of economy either. I average 28 mpg U.S., and I’m sorry, I can’t give conversion on that, which is better than my last few mid size sedans, the V70, or any compact I’ve driven before, with the exception of the Ford Escort, and a 3 door escort I owned before that. The handling is a bit cheap, probably because it’s a Chevy, and an LS trim (having worked with its bigger sibling, I can tell you trim level makes a difference)
To your point. I think car enthusiasts are getting shafted in multiple regards. The strategy, especially in North America, is to consolidate into high volume/high capacity. I think you see that with the plant closures from GM. The plants that are surviving are the ones that are already highly automated, and can turn out hundreds of thousands of vehicles. At this moment, the only low volume plant left, is the Corvette plant in Bowling Green.
I see, whenever I’m on forums, or even in the comments of YouTube videos, or Facebook ads (I studied marketing, and have no life, don’t judge) people bemoaning that GM is not listening to its customers, as all they want is a reasonably priced RWD sedan. If you look at it however, the 3 worst selling cars in GM’s lineup are RWD sedans. The SS, the Roadmaster, and the GTO/G8, as well as Ford’s Crown Vic and Grand Marquis were all discontinued to low sales figures. The fact that enthusiasts care so much about their cars is diminished by the fact that they cannot move 200,000+ units per model year.
It’s sad, not only that there’s no room for an enthusiast’s car, but also in terms of the economic model. GM has to move 10 million cars per year to break even, which leads to a whole host of issues; such as lower quality, bland, cookie cutter vehicles that appeal to the masses, rather than any particular target demographic. At the same time, any disruption to that number causes a ripple effect in the economy, such as what we saw in 2008. It’s not helped that there’s a ton of regulation that ensures that this will continue on indefinitely, with no hope of new entrants into the market (except for Tesla, but Elon’s thrown so much money at that, it would not have been financially viable for anyone else).
I see where youre coming from with CUVs practically killing off sedans, wagons etc, but your point about product diversity makes no sense for cars. You cant compare cars to jeans or coffee simply because cars are incredibly expensive. Not just to buy, but to make. You can get away with having 30 different variants of coffee because its quick and cheap to make a single cup of coffee, but cars? Its simply not possible for manufacturers to make that many different models to cater to specific market segments. As such you want cars that are jack of all trades to appeal to the wider market with either trim variants or other more low production specialised vehicles to cater to the more niche markets
Useless rant time:
I honestly kind of like SUVs, and although it may be frustrating to see them so much if you dislike them, enthusiasts need to understand the importance of seating positioning for some people, especially those who are older. The fact of the matter is that some people like SUVs because they are easier to get in and out of. That’s it. It’s not some conspiracy to get rid of sporty cars, it’s just a matter of preference and ease of use.
The more I get in and out of (relatively) low to the ground sedans and coupes, I understand why someone who are older or who places a high value on comfort would buy an SUV. It’s a similar reasoning to why automatic transmissions have dominated the USDM. It’s not that people hate sportiness, they just see ease of use and comfort as a priority. I find SUVs more easy to get in and out of, and even more comfortable because of the seating position. I know what I’m saying is blasphemy to a car enthusiast, but understanding why SUVs are popular is very important.
Well sure its not a fair comparison; I am aware of all that . It doesn’t change facts though which is that the stark contrast between the cars market and others is a strong source of contention.
I mean you can reason and rationalize and understand your way around things all day but that doesn’t necessarily make them more palatable. For instance, I am perfectly aware of how the digital revolution has made film cameras and vinyl records obsolete in a number of irrefutable ways but that doesn’t imply any dislike for them; hell I have a growing vinyl collection and an old film DSLR. And for a more relevant example, I understand why Ford is killing off all their non-crossover products but that doesn’t mean it I’m not still pissed off ; I liked a lot of their non-crossover products . And I would have bought new had I been given the chance. We’re talking about a more emotional response here and granted not everyone is probably aware their response is emotional, but it is.
TL;DR - emotions aren’t slaves to rationality.
Yup. And believe me I am not only aware of this but I’ve indeed decried people for continuing to parrot this bullshit about the automakers not listening to consumers. The ONLY people who want RWD + power + affordability are the significant minority. The automakers have listened to consumers and not necessarily because they wanted to either.
What do I mean by that? Well not get political here, but fact is that part the explosion of the popularity of the crossover is due to the regulatory environment that our governments and by extension us the consumers have created. More safety features = fatter pillars and more weight = worse visibility, economy, handling etc = worse car, categorically. How do you maintain the things that will sell people on a car (i.e. those they can actually observe on a showroom floor) like visibility, ease of entry and egress, utility, etc? You make it bigger. Not only does it let you add all those safety goodies, it also means that from a perception (and regulatory standpoint due to how at least CAFE works in the US), you don’t need to justify why it gets worse fuel economy or why it handles worse. In these regards it probably exceeds expectations, hence why the fuck would you buy the smaller sedan?
And who gives a shit about whether or not it actually does any of the things it ostensibly can do. Most people will never push the boundaries of their cars far enough to find out how good or bad it really is in most regards.
TL;DR - Crossovers are the culmination of our efforts to make cars safer while simultaneously saleable. And most people don’t give a shit because they exceed expectations.
Basically every car on the market has a false sense of safety today, I hate it. (This goes back to the late 90’s too). It’s why people who speed in big cars believe they are safer than small cars that believe they are safer than bikes. No matter how much cars advance street machines will just never be up to the task of saving you at high speeds, they can only give the illusion.
Yeah I’m not sure about that…a car from 2018 is going to perform far better in an accident than even a car made ten years ago. The strides in safety have been arguably larger in the last ten years than at any other point in automotive history.
The Illusion of safety isn’t an illusion, though. cars are MUCH safer nowadays. 4 and 5 stars abound.
that said, ford fucked it with the Ka+. that’s probably the least safe ‘big name’ car on the market.
i will also ad about car size, yes, cars are getting bigger, but not by as much as you’d expect. take the Peugeot 204 from 1965. it’s only a touch smaller than the current 308 in the same sector. and even the first gen Escort (which is even smaller to it’s modern equivalent, comparatively) is only around 30cm shorter than the 2018 Focus.
@Deponte also, do i need bring up that video on the Altima vs Tsuru?
Cars are becoming more vertical and getting a bookshelf shape, hence the name. It’s also why one of my favourite cars is the Countach. It’s tiny (Not even 4.2 metres long for the longest trim) and still not as tall as any modern Lamborghini or really any car made today (Even the later high-body models that had slightly raised suspension).
Above is the later 41-42 inch tall Countach afaik, the pre high-body ones are an inch or two lower which is amazing considering that it’s not even slammed to the ground like many modern cars, a true testament to just how slim the body is.
Well no shit, cars have always been unsafe for pedestrians, modern or old, as for not being as safe as people think, I really disagree. The safety features shown in car crash tests are passive safety. We arent even talking about active safety like automatic brake assist and how manufacturers are improving that or even driverless cars.