“Crossover” — dumbest vehicle ever?

The car makers have been pushing this market segment for a couple of years now, and I am still bewildered that anyone actually buys into it. Filtering out the manufacturers’ marketing-speak, the term “crossover” or “crossover SUV” appears to refer to a vehicle with the bulk of an SUV, but with the stylish lines (allegedly) of a sports coupe or sedan. They are generally built on a sedan platform (as opposed to being based on a truck), and are equipped with all wheel drive. Someone seems to think that this combines the best features of both categories; my assessment is quite the opposite.

Taken as an SUV, we find that the raked windshield, extreme tumblehome, and sloped rear glass (or “fastback”) severely constrain the interior space. Combined with the large wheel wells  (for the oversized wheels and tires), the interior accommodations are much more cramped than one would expect for a vehicle with these outside dimensions; while the sedan-based suspension makes it totally unsuitable for off-road use.

Considered as a sedan, we have a package that is much taller and heavier than necessary for the number of occupants it can carry, with the consequences of grossly inferior fuel economy, poor handling, and reduced performance (or alternately, a massive engine — see: fuel economy). Not to mention the inconveniences of high stepover and liftover, poor rear vision, difficulty of parking (necessitating gimmicks like sonar, rear-view video, and robotic auto-parking), and complete absence of a trunk.

Either way, innocent onlookers are affronted by the sight of a desperately over-styled, malproportioned, clumsy, bulky mashup of a vehicle.

Please stop this madness.

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