The automotive market is in obvious change right now and has been for the past several years. We have seen the evolution of autos more so in the past twenty than the prior eighty years. New categories such as the SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) and the CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) are two such categories.
Many are just now noticing the class known as CUVs. This is made up of such autos as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Edge and Chevy HHR. I recently realized how much I like this class of automobile. After test driving a CR-V, I realized what makes them so popular. You have the ride height closer to an SUV yet the comfort from a car chassis and gas mileage of one as well in many cases. Even the all new Ford Flex boarders this class in my book being that it's based on the Volvo XC90 chassis and gets similar mileage, along with having a front-wheel drive configuration.
So where is the market stacking up in these respective classes. Well according to the numbers recently released from my friends at SEMA, some are doing better than others. One thing we know is people are waking up to the realization that gas in America will likely never be in the $2-3 range again. Not that I'm surprised as we have been paying less than any of the first-world countries. Do remember that if you have a soccer team as a family then you are sure to find excellent deals on Expeditions, Yukons, Sequoias and alike right now.
Notice that compared to popular belief, all manufacturers are suffering. People's lack of love for the large SUV does not segregate by "domestic" or "import". If anything I see larger decreases on models with worse fuel economy. For example; a friend owns a FJ Cruiser and he was floored when he realized the best he could pull was 15mpg. Likewise I had a friend that was amazed he averaged upwards of 19mpg from his Jeep Liberty.
Now we see the sales trend of the CUV class. Some have lost a bit of ground while others are seeing exponential growth 2007 to 2008. We must also factor that some models are new to market while others have been available for a few years now.
As I have said before, the need for a vehicle to handle rough roads, larger cargo loads and passenger space will never change. These class of autos will be here until autos go extinct. All I ask is that you consider your car buying on necessity over desire. If you live alone in the city, a Hummer might not be the wisest choice. There are easier ways to stand out in the crowd than to have the "I don't care what gas costs" mentality.
Knowledge is key, know your carbon footprint and what you can do to shrink it.