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Make Off-Roader SUVs, Not Coupe SUVs

For the last few years, automakers have realized that the SUV is the “next big thing,” but most brands aren’t sure where exactly to go from here. Once you have a small, a medium, and a large — and, in some cases, a huge — what exactly do you do next? What’s the next big thing in the SUV world?

Unfortunately, most automakers have decided that the answer is coupe SUVs, so we’ve seen an onslaught of “coupe” versions of normal SUVs, like the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the BMW X6, the Audi Q8, and dozens of others. These are OK — they certainly add a new dimension to the SUV — but they’re not that exciting (or anywhere near as popular) as their “normal SUV” counterparts.

But I think automakers are missing a really obvious trend they should be pursuing instead: off-roaders.

Come on, people! SUVs are really popular, and right now off-roaders are really popular too — think of the Ford F-150 Raptor, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and many others, all of which have a devoted following and sell for the sticker price, which is a rarity these days. Why aren’t other automakers doing this? Why are off-roader SUVs not being pursued?

I think it’s especially crazy because, to me, the market has really shown that it wants these vehicles. I’ve already named a few popular ones, but it’s not just that they’re popular from new, they also bring big money on the used market, where many buyers are clamoring for them, and they get a lot of attention in the press for their capabilities. Plus, there’s no doubt that Raptors and 4Runner TRD Pro models help to sell lower-end versions of those vehicles.

So where are the other off-roader SUVs? Why are we making Q8s and X6s instead of something like a Q7 Allroad with jacked up suspension and off-roading lights? I truly believe there’s a market for these vehicles, and I think the time is right for cool off-roaders to flourish — and I strongly suspect that this, not coupe SUVs, is the next big trend in the SUV business. Find an SUV for sale

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  1. Most off-road SUVs are BOF, which means custom platform and custom components which can’t be shared with many other vehicles typically in modern car manufacturer’s lineups.  Which means no economy-of-scale, which keeps prices up.

    See: Land Cruiser, 4Runner.
  2. I’m sure CAFE standards are the biggest obstacle these will ever face. If 4Runner sales start getting closer to RAV4 sales, then I’m sure carmakers will find a way though. 

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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