I’ve recently come to the conclusion that every single two-door SUV, in the entire history of the automobile, has failed. All of them. Every single one has been an egregious, massive failure — and yet, every few years, one or two new two-door SUVs trickle out, released by automakers hopeful that "this will be the one that succeeds."
Here’s the reality, automakers and readers: This won’t be the one that succeeds. None of them will ever succeed. All two-door SUVs fail.
Before I get started with this, I’m going to provide you with a thorough — but not even slightly comprehensive — list of all the two-door SUVs that have failed over the years. The list is:
Chevrolet Blazer K5, Chevrolet Blazer S-10, Chevrolet Tahoe, Daihatsu Rocky, Dodge Raider, Dodge Ramcharger, Ford Bronco, Ford Explorer, GMC Yukon, Isuzu Amigo, Isuzu Trooper, Isuzu VehiCROSS, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Land Rover Defender 90, Land Rover Freelander, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, MINI Paceman, Mitsubishi Montero, Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, Nissan Pathfinder, Range Rover, Range Rover Evoque, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Sidekick/Vitara, Suzuki X-90, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota RAV4.
Look at that list! It’s massive! It’s a huge list of cars that attempted a two-door SUV, some of which even existed at a time when the two-door SUV was acceptable — but then, eventually, they gave in to market demands. Admittedly, the two-door Range Rover Evoque has not yet been canceled, but the writing is very clearly on the wall.
Basically, here’s the situation: Every automaker that has ever attempted a two-door SUV, for any reason, at any time, has eventually witnessed the cancellation of that two-door SUV due to poor sales. In some cases, the two-door SUV in question lasted a while (Jeep Cherokee, Chevy Blazer) before the market did them in; in some cases, it was much shorter-lived (Dodge Raider, Suzuki X-90). Either way, no automaker in the last 20 years that has debuted a two-door SUV has seen it last more than a few model years before it eventually went away.
And here’s the kicker: Even the four-door SUVs that behave like two-door SUVs — requiring the front doors to open before the rear doors can open — have failed (see Honda Element and Toyota FJ Cruiser). Simply put, nobody wants a two-door SUV.
Which brings us to the exception that ultimately proves the rule: the Jeep Wrangler.
For many years, my two-door SUV argument could’ve been turned completely upside down by the simple existence of the Jeep Wrangler, which was a two-door SUV up until about 2008. But then, something interesting happened: Jeep came out with … a four-door Wrangler. And right now, a decade after that first came out, if you go on Autotrader and search for new Jeep Wranglers, you’ll discover that 77 percent of all new Wranglers listed for sale … have four doors.
In other words: Even the two-door Jeep Wrangler was no match for the four-door Jeep Wrangler.
And so, the current market situation is this: Every single two-door SUV in history has failed, except for one — and that one is the Jeep Wrangler. Ten years ago, it would’ve been the lone exception to this rule. Today, in 2017, the popularity of the four-door Wrangler is proof of this rule’s accuracy.
There’s only one conclusion to be drawn from this: If you’re an automaker and you’re considering a two-door SUV, and you think your two-door SUV will be different from all the other two-door SUVs, and you think your two-door SUV will succeed … guess what? It won’t. If the World Two-Door SUV Champion Jeep Wrangler can’t succeed, yours won’t either. I promise you, the people have spoken — and they want four doors. Find an SUV for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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