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Now you've done it, America. A new study by IHS Automotive has revealed that American motorists are turning to the high-riding style of crossovers and sport utility vehicles more than they are traditional sedans. Through May of 2014, IHS says that SUVs and CUVs account for 36.5 percent of new vehicle registrations. Sedans, meanwhile, cover just 35.4 percent. That represents a flip-flop from the same period five years ago, when the trusty four-door occupied 36.3 percent of registrations to the SUV/CUV category's 31.4 percent.

"It's not that sedans have become unpopular," Tom Libby, an analyst at IHS, told Bloomberg. "It's just that CUVs have really grown. They drive like cars, but they have higher positioning, the option for four-wheel drive and better fuel economy. There's more space for seating. It's easy to see why they've taken off in popularity."

We're guessing when Libby says "better fuel economy," he's referring to the current efficiency of new CUVs – models like the Ford Escape shown above – compared to past models, not necessarily sedans. Also, we'd be quite curious to see the breakdown in registration percentages if the CUV and SUV were separated.

Our issue with the SUV/CUV split aside, we'll admit that these results aren't all that surprising. Nowadays, you aren't a competitive automaker if your sedan line isn't supplemented with a high-riding equivalent, complete with optional all-wheel drive and off-road looks. Still, due to gravity and their often higher curb weights, CUVs tend to be no match for normal sedans when it comes to driving dynamics, and for that reason, we'll chalk this one up as a disappointing – if predictable –trend.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 80 Comments
      laguy19
      • 7 Months Ago
      Only on Autoblog where you will hear people wanting wagons. There's a reason why there's few wagons here, they don't sell. They used to, before the 1990s; then SUVs took their place, now CUVs.
      mikeybyte1
      • 7 Months Ago
      Wow, lots of screams for more wagons. Where were all of these wagon buyers when we had lots of wagons on the market? I agree we could use a few more options here in the US. I would love to see Buick do a wagon version of the Regal - it can easily be based on the Opel version. It would make a nice near-lux wagon to fill the gap left by the Acura TSX wagon and compete with the Volvo V60. And Ford could do the same with the Fusion, and Chevy with the next gen Cruze. But that's really all the market needs. One compact wagon, one mid-sized, and maybe one more near lux. That is it. There is a reason CUVs are so popular - people ditched wagons for SUVs and are now downsizing to CUVs. Get used to it.
        Klep
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I was in elementary school. Now I scour AutoTrader for used wagons.
        slap
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        All I have owned is wagons for the last 30 years, so don't blame me.
      churchmotor
      • 7 Months Ago
      To everyone saying they want a wagon, go buy one, plenty of wagons are for sale.
      tegdesign
      • 7 Months Ago
      Well that's because a sedan makes little design sense. Artificially closing off the cabin of the car to the trunk space, and making the load space much shorter than the roof line has always seemed a ridiculous vestige of the passed to me, and the proof is the word to describe this foreshortened load area. Trunk. Yes like buried pirate treasure trunk. A wagon or hatchback is much smarter, and looks better. They don't need to look like a VW golf either. Audi A7. SAAB 9000 or 900.
        Mondrell
        • 7 Months Ago
        @tegdesign
        I'd love something among the lines of the A5 Sportback or the M4 Gran Coupe. I almost never carry anything a trunk alone can't handle, but that full-length pass-through would suit me just fine for the few instances I do.
        tegdesign
        • 7 Months Ago
        @tegdesign
        *past
      jdc
      • 7 Months Ago
      FWIW, I own a 2012 mazda 5 GT. $25000 out the door with leather, sunroof, BT etc. its built on the 3 platform, which keeps it small, but in the end, its just too small. =( woefully underpowered and sucks gas more than it should (needs the skyactive engine from the CX5) Needs power doors, power seats and the more power. Perhaps if they were to fix those things sometime soon, I would consider it as a replacement -- but alas -- we should have bought an Odessey or Sienna (or a new Kia) full size van. They are way, way better at everything. Would have bought a mazda6 wagon instead if they still made it.
      kmac1036
      • 7 Months Ago
      due to my height I can't find a car that I fit in, never enough headroom. I sat in a Fusion ok, but it requires a power seat & no moon/sunroof. not easy config to find or resell later. a friend of mine sold his sedan & bought a CUV, has a knee injury from a while back & does a lot of driving. he told me a lot easier for him to drive now & his leg doesn't hurt like it used to.
        kmac1036
        • 7 Months Ago
        @kmac1036
        and with 2 kids in carseats yet, it's tough to do that in most sedans. the ex has a prius c, that car is crammed, the kids barely have any leg room.
        Rob J
        • 7 Months Ago
        @kmac1036
        What a load of garbage. I am 6' 4" and about 240lbs and I drive a mazda 3 without issue. I also drive a super duty for work and find the seating position no more comfortable than my inlaws passat (and it has a sunroof). Tall people existed before crossovers were available and large sedans have more than enough room. Hell, I have been in crossovers (like the RAV4) which have less space than a full sized sedan.
          AlphaGnome
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Rob J
          What makes you comfortable in your car is purely subjective. Just because you're comfortable driving a Mazda3, does not mean that everyone else will be. I drive a Regal GS and I have to have the seat at its lowest setting to sit comfortably - making ingress and egress a bit tricky. Recently drove an Escape and loved that I could raise the seat as high as it could go and still have plenty of headroom while making getting in and out a breeze and I love the seating position. I'm now in the process of trading in my GS.
        BipDBo
        • 7 Months Ago
        @kmac1036
        How freaking tall are you? Modern cars are taller than ever. I'm 6'-1" and I have not been in any modern car that gives too little headroom. They are all very roomy over the head, some even cavernous, the only exception being the rear seats of coupes. You do know that many seats adjust up and down now, right?
      Terry Actill
      • 7 Months Ago
      The sight line advantage you thought you had just disappeared. Now you look directly into the eyes of another bitter and frustrated driver wishing he was in a BIGGER vehicle. And so it goes on and on.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        And there I am in my Ford Fusion, surrounded by idiots in their CUV's, unable to see anything...
        Larry Litmanen
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Terry Actill
        Gas prices should act as a deterrent to stupidity, but i guess they are not high enough yet.
          vigorpat
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          If only we could find a deterrent to your stupidity.........
      Spartan
      • 7 Months Ago
      People like the high seating position and utility and are willing to sacrifice a little fuel economy for it. I prefer SUV/CUVs over sedans all day long. And for all of you screaming for wagons, go buy a TSX Wagon, Jetta Wagon or a BMW 3-Series touring and put your money where you mouth is. Don't wait to buy it used, either. Go do it now and stop giving all this lip service about wanting a wagon.
        jdc
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Spartan
        TSX wagon = $35K 3 series = $45K -- its tiny Rather have an XC70 for that price Jetta = $25K -- small, hit my knees getting in. Before my Mazda 5 I had an 2005 XC-70. Was actually pretty nice car and had the room of a large sedan with an extened cargo area. Was nearly the ideal wagon. Would love a new one, but Volvo.
        jtav2002
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Spartan
        I want an Audi RS6 wagon. Not a Jetta.
      tegdesign
      • 7 Months Ago
      But why does everyone go from not liking something, or saying "that car isn't for me for A B and C reason" to "You shouldn't be allowed to buy that because I don't like it." ?? Why do so many think we should all live by their own opinions? Do you want to be forced to live by mine?
        Mondrell
        • 7 Months Ago
        @tegdesign
        Personally, my issue with high-riding vehicles in general is that they kill other motorists' situational awareness. Even at a proper following distance, someone in a car or shorter SUV/CUV can't see around a larger one, and I've observed many instances where the SA deficit created by tall vehicles contributes to crashes or near-crashes. If someone has one for the sake of actually making use of the space or utility, then whatever. But there's an onslaught of evidence suggesting that most consumers don't. You have the right to choice as a consumer, but it's kind of crappy that some of us are leveraging it pretty thoughtlessly.
      BipDBo
      • 7 Months Ago
      America, you're really just buying station wagons. You're just so afraid to admit it, you are willing to pay significantly more for your wagon to be jacked up to CUV heights, getting worse fuel economy and worse driving dynamics.
        ravenosa
        • 7 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        I always call my friends' SUVs/CUVs station wagons or microvans. For some reason they hate it. They're like the high-heeled hiking shoes of the road. Not for hiking, you look taller but you're waddling around and they're nothing but a ridiculous comprise when there would be much more comfortable and less ridiculous options (as far as either shoes or wagons/vans go). I can see where fat Americans like the ability to not have to bend their knees when they get in/out of their cars, and there's that expression of "bigness" when driving a microvan/non-off-road wagon that's great for people suffering from smallness issues. Can't say I'm surprised at all why these boats are popular.
        churchmotor
        • 7 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        FYI, cuv sales are exploding globally.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 7 Months Ago
      Gross.
      Zeta
      • 7 Months Ago
      Is it really that surprising to see that most people buy cars base on their needs not based on their wants?
        neilyadig
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Zeta
        People need a high driving position? No, people think they want a high driving position for some reason, sacrificing good driving dynamics.
          tegdesign
          • 7 Months Ago
          @neilyadig
          They don't "think" they want a high driving position. They prefer a high driving position.
          neilyadig
          • 7 Months Ago
          @neilyadig
          People "prefer" a high driving position because that's what is "in", fashionable. It may be popular, but it doesn't change the fact that these drivers are sacrificing driving dynamics.
          AlphaGnome
          • 7 Months Ago
          @neilyadig
          Because you don't like, nobody else should either, right?
          J W
          • 7 Months Ago
          @neilyadig
          Not everyone is a driving enthusiast, so the "driving dynamics" you're leveraging is meaningless. Most of these drivers just drive the car. They are not hitting on/off ramps as fast as they can, autox-ing or trying to be the next drift hero. These are what's available and they fit the bill for a lot of people.
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