Hooniverse Asks: What's the Most Overcrowded Automotive Category?

Jaguar-C-X17-side-view-2
Jaguar is planning on entering the already highly competitive luxury sport utility market with the F-Pace longroof next year. That puts the British brand about a decade and a half behind the competition, but hey, the more the merrier, right?
There are a number of automotive categories that seem to be stuffed the way ’50s college kids packed coeds into phone booths. Variety may be the spice of life, but many of these categories are just too dang hot to handle! Which of these do you think is the most unnecessarily over-filled? What in your opinion is the most overcrowded automotive category?
Image: newspeedcars

33 Comments

  1. Crossovers, at least for any brand that has more variants than cars. The three-rowed ones are the worst, given the relative failure of minivans.

    1. A crossover is a less useful minivan for people who buy cars based on “sitting higher” and “feeling safer” and “features” and “warranty” and “resale value.”

      1. Yep. The marketers realized that people would trade utility, driving dynamics and a few thousand dollars to not have the stigma of minivan or station wagon. So now Toyota and Ford both make three of them on the same platform.

      2. Given that family cars are cyclical, I wonder how long that last one will be good for crossovers. They replaced minivans, because people who grew up in the back of a minivan couldn’t abide buying a minivan, but when the people who grew up in crossovers need to find a family car they’re likely to also firmly reject their mom’s choice of car.

        1. Exactly, what goes around, comes around. Thus the renewed fancy for (classic) wagons.

        2. That’s a good point. I wonder if wagons will become popular again. Maybe the hipster millennials such as myself will be useful for something after all.

  2. According to a quick look on Cars.com for vehicles on the market in the US by body type, there are 286 models available that are sedans, which is an impressively large portion of the 1062 models for sale currently… There are 276 crossovers, though. That’s crowded for a segment that is mostly divided into CR-V, RAV4, Pilot, MDX and Explorer buyers.

      1. Yup, that Cruze-based one is really homely-looking. Lowering the beltline would help a lot, but would probably reveal the Cruze ancestry to all those proud Buick owners…

  3. Why is there so much animosity, acrimony and downright venom towards crossovers from the “internet enthusiasts”? I really don’t get it. A vehicle that makes better use of space than a sedan, is much more capable in severe weather (when the snow starts falling in a few months, ground clearance becomes a real issue – at least where I live), and does allow better driving visability. Mileage is pretty negligible difference, and granted beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but personally most (most, not all!) of the crossover/SUVs are vastly more attractive than any minivan built today.

    1. We like wagons and the CUV killed the wagon. Take your average sedan platform, lop a few inches off the rear and raise the roof and suspension by an equal amount and you have the average CUV. Doing these things to an otherwise worthy vehicle platform makes it less fun to drive. Minivans have similar visibility and make better use of space than anything on the planet, but people don’t like the “soccer mom” stigma. Ground clearance may be an issue for some, but not many. Another beef from enthusiasts is that it increasingly seems to be the default choice of people who don’t care about their cars, the “give me something beige that the seat is at my hip height” crowd.

      1. I guess I’m still confused why so much vitriol. You’re entirely right, the average CUV buyer is someone who wants/needs reliable transportation that provides significant interior room. I can’t imagine that someone who places a priority on driving dynamics is going to be cross shopping a Murano and say an A4. So the most realistic comparison is to the minivan. The van does utilize volume more efficiently. Both offer visibility and ease of entry. The CUV usually has better clearance. The biggest difference really comes down to styling. So why can’t someone who’s needs/wants steers them in this direction put a larger emphasis on styling and pick a CUV/SUV? I’m not saying that a cross-over is the best thing on the road, I’m only saying that the segment meets the needs (and wants) of a lot of people and I can see why they have become so popular.

        1. Vitriol is what the internet does, actual emotions are probably much less dramatic, or at least I hope they are. While a Murano buyer wouldn’t look at an A4, a smartly styled V6 Altima wagon would get my attention when a Murano never would, but it would probably only be available with a CVT *sad trombone sound*. My personal inclination against CUV’s comes from seeing manufacturers trying to make variants of models that I like (CTS Wagon, TSX Wagon) that check most of the CUV buyers’ boxes and fail while SRX’s and RDX’s fly off the lots. Automakers aren’t going to make cool cars if no one wants them, so I see CUV’s both crowding out more functional and enjoyable options for the sake of ground clearance.

          1. Aha! That’s the answer that I wasn’t coming up with – vitriol IS what the internet does.
            I kept thinking that no other segment seems to command such hatred – and then I looked across the parking lot to my full size, crew cab, 4 wheel drive pickup. A segment that is maligned just as much or more as crossovers in the ol’ cyberspace. Damn you internet, now get off my lawn!

      2. From a certain point of view, the purity of the driving experience in the wagon was already diluted by adding all that needless steel and glass to the back of a sedan (which was itself compromised with those extra doors.) 🙂

    2. At least for me, the animosity is guilt by association with SUVs. Most crossovers ape SUVs in style and presence, and if you’ve had enough of SUVs, one tends to lump them all together.
      Interestingly enough, I find that some crossovers go back to designs from the 1930s and 1940s: upright seating, tall roof, short hood. If manufacturers would lay off the SUV cues and make crossovers that look more car than truck, I’d call that a good move, as there are lots of customers who wouldn’t be caught dead in an SUV but wouldn’t mind something higher off the ground with more room inside.

    3. I can only answer for myself: I’m bothered by the phoniness of SUVs/crossovers. Their ground clearance is no better than that of most early 90s cars. Huge wheels waste interieur space en masse. Gun slit windows on the side and rear facilitate the use of electronics that should be redundant, thus diminishing essential driver skills. Also: Pay more, get less really hurts my believe into mankind.
      That said, I certainly don’t “hate” any cars, I’m just not particularly interested in this category.
      The Honda Stream minivan I…eh…mention occasionally was I exactly what I wanted: Efficient, quick, 7 seats and great reliability. Apart from the last part, this is what BMW tries to achieve with the 2, just one and a half decade later.

    4. I’ll veture into these waters. I “hate” them for the same reason I “hate” Sidney Crosby. They’re good at what they do, they aren’t the cheapest option, but you can still get value for what you pay, but the marketing and the hype SHUT UP!
      No, not everyone needs AWD, in fact most drivers don’t know how to exploit AWD to their benefit. they think it will keep them from slipping in the snow which AWD and specifically the on-demand AWD systems in most CUVs do not. that is what good tires are for.
      Next, the average driver is coaxed into thinking it has a car-like ride with a higher seat point… No it has a CUV like ride with a CUV like seat height. Drive accordingly. It will not ever handle as well as a wagon of similar ilk would. The center of gravity is just not right for that. So you get a bunch of hapless, cellphone-on-the-ears drivers bombing around county roads at too high of speeds only to brake MID CORNER in a attempt to slow down.
      Then we get the cargo/versatility argument. Most CUVs give up space to their wagoned platform brethren. Bigger wheels/tires, more suspension, give a higher floor ad the roofline is not always that much taller to compesate, for example 2005 3-series wagon had more cargo space inside that an 2005 X3.
      So marketing tells the ill-informed and automotive naive that the CUV is the car of their dreams for all of these reasons ad yet a wagon, or minivan would be superior for every single measure.
      So I hate them because Pavel Datsyuk is better than Sidney Crosby.

      1. You had me right up until trying to tell me a poor man’s Guy Carbonneau is better than “the kid” I’m no Crosby apologist, but when he’s healthy (which I guess isn’t all that often) there is nothing Datsyuk can do better than Crosby – including whine to the refs and swear in Russian!

    5. – Crossovers mean fewer minivans, fewer wagons, and fewer legitimate SUVs, and I mourn the loss of all of those over a segment I really don’t care for.
      – I live in Canada. I’m no stranger to winter. But I get by just fine without the compromises that extra ride height entail – it seems either crossovers ride unpleasantly stiffly, to control body motions, or they wallow all over the place. One way or another, that higher center of gravity is going to have an effect.
      – They’re at the forefront of people thinking they need AWD to survive winter, ignoring the snow tires that would help them out even more (and yes, I know, AWD and snow tires are the ultimate combination – no argument there).
      – If it’s not the winter driving thing, someone will insist that you need ground clearance to deal with all these potholes all over the place. Not bigger sidewalls, more ground clearance.

      1. Somebody near my school has lifted a truck and added low profile tires.

        I laugh, because they’ve ruined their:

        -aerodynamics
        -fuel economy
        -off-road ability
        -pothole survival ability
        -ease of access to vehicle interior
        -center of gravity

        Need I go on with the pointlessness?

  4. The Big Three pretty much have saturated the full-size pickup market. Toyota and Nissan have been unsuccessful interlopers and it appears that they will remain that way at least in the short term.

  5. The CUV segment.

    I get it when companies have two models, a five seater, and a seven seater. That makes sense, as it caters to large and small families.

    What I don’t get is why we need all these fillers, cars that that are tiny bit bigger, or smaller, with slightly different styling. It’s almost getting like the muscle car wars, where every company had to have a car the competed directly with the competition, and dozens of nonexistent niches were filled.

    Oh, and my opinion on CUV vs. Minivan: My family of five lives in rural Alberta, on a gravel road, where the roads can drift over, and where some extra ground clearance and 4/Awd is probably a good idea. We have a Mazda CX-9 as our main driver, and are of the few that could probably justify owning one.

    That justification doesn’t mean much though, because for the eight years before getting the CX-9, we drove a Honda Odyssey, through all weather, for 300 000km! Yes, it did get stuck once or twice, but those times both happened because we failed to sufficiently clear our own driveway!

  6. Gawd I hate CUVs, the car for people who have given up. There’s nothing distinguishing about them, they all look so much alike, they all work, look, act, drive the same, they are the Levittown of cars.

  7. Open question:
    Is the crossover, with its rough-road capability, versatility yet utterly prosaic platform beneath it, actually the category of car most directly comparable to the first popular automobiles?

    1. Having just been looking at a Model A and Model T Fords I have to agree.
      Back when roads weren’t, all cars were SUV/CUVs. The Model A was parked next to a Mazda CX7, they were the same height.

  8. Isn’t the other half of Jaguar Land Rover making this type vehicle anyway? Are they not combined dealers?

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