The Demise of the Car and Rise of the SUV in One Photo

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Gecko, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Gecko
    Gecko Staff Member Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Here's a scene from the Los Angeles Auto Show. This is at the BMW display, and you have the BMW X7 parked next to the BMW 8 Series. Both of these are brand-new models, recently revealed and both are coming out shortly: the 8 Series right now, and the X7 should be out within the next few months. And the number of people excitedly checking out the two cars is a great representation of the current state of cars and SUVs.

    On the left, you have the 8 Series, BMW's hot new coupe, which -- years ago -- would've sparked a huge collective gasp of excitement on the floor of the LA Auto Show. No longer. On the right, you have the X7, and you can see where the interest is: there are five people visibly poring over every detail of the X7, whereas nobody is even looking at the 8 Series.

    Admittedly, this was just a few minutes of observation, and it could've been a complete anomaly, but I don't think it was. I walked back to the X7 several times to check it out, and I was disappointed each time that it was absolutely full of journalists: in the front seats, in the back seats, in the cargo area. It wasn't really possible to get a closer look, so I'll have to do that another time.

    The 8 Series, meanwhile, was the opposite: nobody really gathered around, and not much general interest on the show floor. Admittedly, the X7 is a bit newer, and it was revealed more recently -- and that's surely a reason why the SUV was getting more attention than the car. But there's also a general point to be made here: the journalists covering the LA Auto Show know the X7 is going to be one of the hottest new cars their readers and viewers will want to check out, so they're eschewing the once-hot sporty car for a 3-row family hauler. Indeed, we're now living in the age of the SUV.

    Source: https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/picture-great-representation-cars-vs-suvs-281474979900007

    We talk a lot about this here in the monthly sales threads, and I thought this pic spoke to it pretty directly. Crazy how everyone has begged for another 8 series for the last 20 years... now we have it and nobody cares.
     
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  2. mikeavelli
    mikeavelli Staff Member Moderator
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    Bro when were you there? I was there press days Wednesday and early Thursday. What is absolutely nuts is your post is something I 100% observed myself and it left my scratching my head. I legit could not even get a photo of the X7, it was full of people in and outside it. The 8 series an Z4 were empty when I was there. Easy to snap pics.

    Crazy this thread was my exact thought and it was the same observation.
     
  3. MichaelL
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    Really sad. I guess I am strange.... I would be all over the 8 series and the Z4, and wouldn't give more than a passing glance at the X7. I just don't understand the fascination with SUV's.
     
  4. Gecko
    Gecko Staff Member Administrator
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    I wish I was there... this was just something I shared. I miss the auto show circuit!
     
  5. Gecko
    Gecko Staff Member Administrator
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    It's definitely down to personal preferences, but I used to feel like you for a long time. I drove a modified GS for several years and also had TRD Camrys before that. Acceleration, cornering, handling, etc. were all very important to me. Owning an SUV seemed stupid and unnecessary.

    Then I bought a house, adopted some dogs, started renovation projects around the house, my yard needed to be relandscaped, began regularly taking road trips to the beach and to see family... and the SUV made a lot more sense for me. I'm also 6'1", and as I get older, getting in and out of an SUV is a lot easier for me.

    In a perfect world, I'd love to have a coupe - like an LC or 8 Series - as a fun weekend car, but that's a looooong ways off for me financially. With everything else I have going on, my 4Runner is just a better vehicle for me right now.

    I think a lot of America feels the same way... SUVs are just easier for bigger families and active lifestyles. The cheap price of gas and increasing efficiency of SUVs just makes the decision that much easier.

    Even trips to Sams Club and Target... rolls of toilet paper and paper towels + everything else... those trips are way easier in an SUV.
     
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  6. mmcartalk
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    A lot of people (and the media) think that gas prices are a big factor in the choice between a sedan or an SUV, but if you really look at the EPA numbers, there really isn't much difference between most of today's crossovers and their sedan counterparts in typical gas mileage ratings. The main difference (and most of the gas-hog reputation) comes from the big, truck-based, body-on-frame SUVs....they gobble gas like trucks because they, in fact, are trucks.
     
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  7. Ian Schmidt
    Ian Schmidt Staff Member Moderator
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    Yeah, crossovers typically have little or no mileage penalty vs. their sedan platform-mates, and even the BOF trucks have gotten a lot better.
     
  8. mmcartalk
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    I agree with you...but for different reasons. Give me a nice, big, softly-sprung, high-profile-tire, easy-riding sedan. SUVs, though, are driving both of us out of the market.

    It's obvious, though, why some people like SUVs....winter traction, higher seating position for short drivers, and more room inside to carry larger, bulky objects.
     
  9. MichaelL
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    I disagree. I keep hearing that but it isn't true. Well I should say what is a significant difference? I just looked up a Honda Civic and a Honda CR-V, both front wheel drive, and automatic. Here are the differences:

    Civic 31/40 average is 34
    CR-V 26/32 average 28

    That is significant to me. 6 mpg average, and 8 if you are doing freeway driving. And for what? A higher seating position? No thanks. I could look at other comparisons where the difference would be greater but you get the idea...
     
  10. mmcartalk
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    Did they have comparable engines/HP/torque ratings and transmission? Compared to the Civic, for example, though the engine is smaller than that in the CR-V, the HR-V has much closer EPA mileage figures. The CR-V also sits higher off the ground, with more air resistance.
     
  11. ssun30
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    You just defeated your own point by bringing up 'heavier, higher off the ground, more air resistance'. This is exactly why SUVs will never be as fuel efficient as a comparatively sized sedan/hatchback/wagon. Modern SUVs get acceptable fuel economy such that it's no longer a deal breaker thanks to moving to transverse FWD platforms and unibody construction, and a whole host of improvements to ICE technology. ICE SUVs don't suffer as much because a lot of the losses are mechanical. But for hybrids/EVs, SUVs are outright terrible because they can't hide their aerodynamic inefficiency in any way, shape, or form. Car manufacturers are very unlucky that the push for EVs coincide with the SUV boom, which guaranteed that their early EVs (that have to take the form of SUV to sell) have poor range.

    So while I agree that SUVs are efficient enough such that their advantages far outweighs their drawbacks, you definitely cannot dismiss the disparity in fuel economy (and electric range, in the future) as non-existent. In markets that are much more sensitive to both higher sticker price and fuel cost, the SUV market crashes just as quickly as it booms.
     
  12. mikeavelli
    mikeavelli Staff Member Moderator
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    Isn't it a bit retro though? Think of early cars and how high the driving position was. Very commanding. Then we went long, low and sleek which stayed until recently.

    SUVs are today so damn good you don't miss much compared to a sedan etc. Just ten years ago you did, some felt like trucks. Today even a truck feels like a car.

    It's not just the USA too, its all over the world. I don't see this trend changing unless SUVs start flipping over left and right or they somehow become uncool to the masses. As of now SUVs are cool to non car people.
     
  13. mmcartalk
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    Early cars were high and narrow for a reason. Most roads were unpaved, and, during wet conditions, mud often reached up to the axles, underpinnings, and fenders.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, there's truth in that statement. But that's because, 10-20 years ago, more of them, compared to today, were BOF trucks.....and, since then, have transformed into crossovers. Today's remaining BOF trucks and SUVs, though, for the most part not quite as stiff because of suspension improvements, still ride like more or less like trucks used to. There's one major exception......the Ram 1500. It's the most car-like large pickup ever designed (see my recent review), partly because of good sound-insulation, and partly because the designers, several years ago, tossed out the traditional leaf-springs in back and put in coils.

    Sedans, particularly Buicks, still sell extremely well in China.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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  14. mikeavelli
    mikeavelli Staff Member Moderator
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    I forgot to mention BMW brought it to Rolex 24. Funny I thought it was a X5 and saw people staring and then making grill comments. Thats when I realized it was a X7. Odd it would come to Rolex I thought but clearly it was getting attention.
     
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