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Small Crossovers - Will They Replace the Mid-Sized Sedan?

MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
edited December 2014 in General
The trend over the past few years has been all about crossovers ... CR-V, CX-5, RAV4, etc. These were the smallest utes available.

Now there is a new size coming to the US - the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Buick Encore. Premium manufacturers are also jumping on the bandwagon - BMW X1, MB GLA, Audi Q3, Lexus NX.

Sales of mid-size sedans seem to be affected by this trend:

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/question-day-small-crossovers-stealing-midsize-sales-fuel-prices/#more-955602

Does this new segment interest you? Might your next car be a crossover rather than a sedan?

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    edited December 2014
    I have both. CUV is a nice jack if all trades but sedans still offer lots of benefits. Ride/handling, better mpg, and generally cheaper. CUV is nice to sit up high.

    My wife went from 18 years of minivans to the RDX. Enjoys smaller size for sure, and used to sitting higher. But she really likes the sonata.

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    ventureventure Member Posts: 2,932
    I, personally, don't get the CUV or SUV craze. I got a Ford Escape, only had it about six months and traded it for a Fusion. I guess I'm not a SUV/CUV guy.

    I also don't get the "sitting up higher" phenomenon. Sitting up higher then what and for what reason? My wife like sitting higher too, but couldn't say why.

    Like I said, I don't get it, but it seems everyone else does. B)

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    stickguy said:

    I have both. CUV is a nice jack if all trades but sedans still offer lots of benefits. Ride/handling, better mpg, and generally cheaper. CUV is nice to sit up high.

    My wife went from 18 years of minivans to the RDX. Enjoys smaller size for sure, and used to sitting higher. But she really likes the sonata.

    My wife is the same, except she skipped the minivan phase. Tempo, Escort, then a series of SUV's - Expedition, Explorer, 2 VUEs and now the CX-7.

    She'd like something more car like next go around, but doesn't want a sedan. At the moment, the Volvo XC70 is at the top of her list.

    I've had a couple of mid-sized sedans over the years - early 90's Accord and an early 00's Saturn L300.

    I think the idea with this new crop is to marry higher MPG of a smaller size with better visibility.

    Fiat 500x, Jeep Renegade - what's next? And, who has the inside track to be successful?

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    Sitting a little higher gives a better view if the road (a very nice feature of a minivan). And fir old folks, easier to get in and out!

    Otherwise, the boxy cargo hold is very useful on occasion. One of my favorite features.

    Being car based is key to me. I have no interest in a truck based one. Don't tow or offroad. The RDX drives like a very nice but tall sedan. IOW it is a glorified TL Station wagon.

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    Inside track? I think the honda. HRV is going to be a huge hit if the power is adequate.

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    stickguy said:

    Inside track? I think the honda. HRV is going to be a huge hit if the power is adequate.

    HR-V is based on the Fit platform ... 1.5L engine, 130HP.

    Mazda CX-3 will have the 2.0L SkyActiv engine with 155HP.

    I guess it's all about the power to weight ratio.

    The HR-V is a cute little bugger, though.

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    Really want to see it in person. Should be at the Philly auto show.

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    robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    venture said:

    I, personally, don't get the CUV or SUV craze. I got a Ford Escape, only had it about six months and traded it for a Fusion. I guess I'm not a SUV/CUV guy.

    I also don't get the "sitting up higher" phenomenon. Sitting up higher then what and for what reason? My wife like sitting higher too, but couldn't say why.

    Like I said, I don't get it, but it seems everyone else does. B)

    The higher up is a big deal as we grow older. The hip points of CUV's make it much easier to get in and out as the seat height is just about average butt height. No need to drop down into a low car seat and struggle to climb out.

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    ventureventure Member Posts: 2,932
    robr2 said:

    venture said:

    I, personally, don't get the CUV or SUV craze. I got a Ford Escape, only had it about six months and traded it for a Fusion. I guess I'm not a SUV/CUV guy.

    I also don't get the "sitting up higher" phenomenon. Sitting up higher then what and for what reason? My wife like sitting higher too, but couldn't say why.

    Like I said, I don't get it, but it seems everyone else does. B)

    The higher up is a big deal as we grow older. The hip points of CUV's make it much easier to get in and out as the seat height is just about average butt height. No need to drop down into a low car seat and struggle to climb out.

    Good point, but I refuse to give up. :)

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    fushigifushigi Member Posts: 1,459
    We're a 2-vehicle household. Initially it was 1 compact sedan + 1 midsize sedan; 5 years ago it became 1 compact sedan + 1 CUV/SUV.

    The higher sitting position and ease of ingress/egress is definitely a selling point. For quite a while before he passed my father-in-law could get into my CUV with much greater ease than my wife's sedan.

    You also generally get a higher roofline so headroom isn't compromised regardless of seating position or moonroof existence.

    Beyond that, though, the utility of a crossover or SUV is a major selling point. During Black Friday I bought a 22' telescoping ladder that's about 6' long when fully collapsed (also a couple of feet wide and maybe 10" thick). I flipped one 2nd row seat forward and laid it down in the cargo area; no problem & no funky maneuvering to make it fit. And I could still seat 3 full-size adults. I then stacked a fully assembled hand truck on top of it and more stuff on top of that. No sedan, regardless of trunk passthrough, would have been able to hold both pieces let along the other stuff.

    CUVs have the right blend of the above + ground clearance (8.5" minimum), available AWD (w/torque vectoring), decent power/performance (V6), decent handling (aluminum roof for a lower center of gravity), and other features that make them more appealing to me (stuff in parentheses are features of my CUV). I also have a 3000 pound tow rating, load-leveling headlights, seating for 7 in a pinch, etc.

    Minivans offer or exceed most of what a CUV brings to the table, but they never get everything I want together in a single package and they cost a lot more.
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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    Hmmm ... how to revive interest in this discussion?

    What is a CUV? to me, a car based wagon on tip-toes with available AWD.

    Multiple sizes:

    Small - Subaru Crosstek XV ... Buick Encore (and the new Chevy Trax) ... Mazda CX-3 ... Honda HR-V

    Medium - Honda CR-V ... Chevrolet Equinox ... Toyota RAV4 ... Mazda CX-5

    Large - Ford Explorer/Edge/Flex ... Toyota Highlander ... Honda Pilot

    SUV's, by contrast, are truck based - Expedition, Armada, Sequoia, Tahoe

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    I agree about your definition. Car based, FWD bias, glorified station wagons! Though the real small ones are really just hatchbacks.

    don't forget the hottest part of the market. Premium/luxury compact/mid size ones like the X3, Q5, RDX.

    actually, I think the real big ones (like the Explorer) are more SUV, just because of sheer size. Same with the Traverse triplets. I think of CUVs as mid size or below, and only 2 rows. Just don't ask me why.

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    stickguy said:

    I agree about your definition. Car based, FWD bias, glorified station wagons! Though the real small ones are really just hatchbacks.

    don't forget the hottest part of the market. Premium/luxury compact/mid size ones like the X3, Q5, RDX.

    actually, I think the real big ones (like the Explorer) are more SUV, just because of sheer size. Same with the Traverse triplets. I think of CUVs as mid size or below, and only 2 rows. Just don't ask me why.

    I think of SUV as body-on-frame, and CUV as unified structures. For example, the Nissan Xterra is an SUV to me, but the Murano, which is about the same size, is a CUV.

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    yeah, that is the basic definition. Just a quirk of my mind I guess. I just want a separate category for the uni-body behemoths!

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    stickguy said:

    yeah, that is the basic definition. Just a quirk of my mind I guess. I just want a separate category for the uni-body behemoths!

    Like what? Land Rover?

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    I will just go with BargeWagon.

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    Oh, goodness .. it's been quite a while since there's been a post here.

    Well, the latest entries in this soon to be competitive field are coming. The Honda HR-V will be in dealers in just a few weeks. Here is Edmunds take on it:

    http://www.edmunds.com/honda/hr-v/2016/road-test.html

    Under $20K for a base FWD LX, going up to about $25K for a loaded EX-L AWD.

    The Mazda CX-3 is due out later this summer with about the same pricing. Less functional but more sporty, in keeping with the Mazda tradition.

    I haven't made a final decision, but at the moment I'm pretty sure my next car will be something from this category - small, practical, AWD. Could also be a Subaru Impreza, but when the time comes I'll test drive them all and see what works best.

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    I really want to see the Mazda up close. The one at the Philly auto show was up on a platform with doors closed. Good blend of size, utility, efficiency, and still able to drive "sporty"

    a loaded up one of those could make a nice alternative for an entry level sports/premium sedan too, if done right.

    also nice to sit up a little higher. the older one gets, the harder it is to get in and out of a low slung car.

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    stickguy said:
    I really want to see the Mazda up close. The one at the Philly auto show was up on a platform with doors closed. Good blend of size, utility, efficiency, and still able to drive "sporty" a loaded up one of those could make a nice alternative for an entry level sports/premium sedan too, if done right. also nice to sit up a little higher. the older one gets, the harder it is to get in and out of a low slung car.
    Which is why I think this segment is primed to take off. The baby boomers are looking for vehicles that have better entry and exit. 

    Darn it there wasn't a CX-3 at the Denver auto show. Guess I'll have to wait until it's released before I can see it. 

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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    The big questions for the new crop is how quiet will they be, and how nicely appointed are they? I assume they will all be similar size and cargo capacity, so it will be the smaller touches that make a difference, just like their compact cars counterparts.
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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    What I've read so far is that the HR-V is quite versatile compared to the CX-3 but the Mazda will be a bit more sporty in nature. The Encore has a good reputation of luxury while the Trax will be the budget version. Jeep Renegade will be the one that appeals to the off road crowd. And the 500X will be the "alternative" choice. 

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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,481
    For me, as small as I want to go is Civic, Corolla, Focus, sized. My wife and I each have Escapes.
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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    Spouse and I are sorta re-thinking the compact car thing, because after the Encore, the Accord seems so . . . Big.
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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    I think that every time I drive my Sonata. Nice car, but seems really large. especially when I squeeze it into the garage. The Volvo fit much better!

    I am sure that my next car is going to be a size class smaller. Probably.

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995

    For me, as small as I want to go is Civic, Corolla, Focus, sized. My wife and I each have Escapes.

    Which is the CUV equivalent, in my mind.

    Fit = HR-V
    Sonic = Trax/Encore
    Mazda2 = CX-3

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    suydam said:

    Spouse and I are sorta re-thinking the compact car thing, because after the Encore, the Accord seems so . . . Big.

    My folks have an '03 Hyundai Sonata they bought new ... and now has 30K or so on the clock.

    I think one of these new small CUV's would be perfect for them, as getting in/out would be so much easier.

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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,481
    I take my 85 year old mom to the grocery store every Sunday. I always take the Escape. It's much easier for her to get in and out of than my Fusion.
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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    I think the point is they aren't just for 85 year olds. Some of those folks prefer larger vehicles. But some of us boomers grew up driving small cars so in a way this is a return to them after our families have grown.
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    Sandman6472Sandman6472 Member Posts: 6,989
    Love the new HR-V and have sat in a few, Honda will sell all they can build I dare say. Think if I hadn't gotten rid of the '14 Tucson, I'd be getting one fairly soon. I did love everything about the Tucson except the size and mpg's..was comfortable and had ample power when needed. But fell in love with the wife's new Audi A3 which is based on the new Golf. Spending a bit less made the logical choice the Golf and depending on how things go reliability wise the next 3 to 4 years will tell my next move since the plan is too keep it until at least I hit 100k. By then, the refresh should be done on the HR-V and will then see what to do. Glad it has the 1.8 engine from the Civic which will give it more grunt than the smaller Fit engine. Would love to get an EX-L as I like the nicer things it comes with and paying a bit more upfront to get what one really wants is so worth it!
    Honda has a grand slam here and hoping the Mazda 2 will do the same.

    The Sandman :)B)

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995

    Love the new HR-V and have sat in a few, Honda will sell all they can build I dare say. Think if I hadn't gotten rid of the '14 Tucson, I'd be getting one fairly soon. I did love everything about the Tucson except the size and mpg's..was comfortable and had ample power when needed. But fell in love with the wife's new Audi A3 which is based on the new Golf. Spending a bit less made the logical choice the Golf and depending on how things go reliability wise the next 3 to 4 years will tell my next move since the plan is too keep it until at least I hit 100k. By then, the refresh should be done on the HR-V and will then see what to do. Glad it has the 1.8 engine from the Civic which will give it more grunt than the smaller Fit engine. Would love to get an EX-L as I like the nicer things it comes with and paying a bit more upfront to get what one really wants is so worth it!
    Honda has a grand slam here and hoping the Mazda 2 will do the same.

    The Sandman :)B)

    Don't you mean the Mazda CX-3? It is based off the new Mazda 2, but that car won't be released in the US.

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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    I did see an HRV when I was out shopping with my friend. Or rather, I had to search to find one, as it does not stand out at all, even in a lot full of other Honda models which by definition are pretty bland looking cars. I'm a Honda person generally but the HRV to me looks like a slightly higher Fit. It doesn't look as though it would have that higher seating position. Then again, I haven't sat in one so maybe it feels different inside than it looks.
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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    the next Mazda 2 isn't coming here? really? I thought it was.

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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    stickguy said:
    the next Mazda 2 isn't coming here? really? I thought it was.
    I saw an article a week or two ago about that. I think Mazda wants to focus on the 3, 6, CX-3 and CX-5. 

    I've heard that a new CX-7 may be coming in the next year or two. 

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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,481
    I think these small crossovers are going to cannibalize sales from their next size up siblings. One exception is Buick, which does not have a next size up Crossover.
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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    The Enclave?
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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    suydam said:
    The Enclave?
    That's two sizes up. One size up would be the equivalent to the Equinox. 

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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,481
    I'm thinking CR-V, CX-5, Escape, RAV 4 are next size up.
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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    I'm thinking CR-V, CX-5, Escape, RAV 4 are next size up.
    I would agree. 

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    I would agree that the HRV could take sales from the CRV. unless it is just too damned slow. plenty of people only need the smaller size, but get the bigger one since there is no option (up to now).

    for my needs, a CX3 could be perfect. I like the 5, but don't really need the extra space.

    I do want to try out an HRV before I buy anything else.

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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    I think they are more likely to take sales from cars, both compact and midsized.
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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    suydam said:
    I think they are more likely to take sales from cars, both compact and midsized.
    My thoughts exactly. The easier entry and exit will appeal to the aging boomer population. 

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    explorerx4explorerx4 Member Posts: 19,481
    As far as I know, which is not too far, Ford and Toyota don't have plans for a Fiesta/Yaris based crossover.
    2 sizes down is a lot and I think it will take 3-4 years to see if these small crossovers stick.
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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    Ford has the smaller CUV in Europe though. could do well here.

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    robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    stickguy said:

    the next Mazda 2 isn't coming here? really? I thought it was.

    You'll be able to buy it as a Yaris.
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    robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805

    I think these small crossovers are going to cannibalize sales from their next size up siblings. One exception is Buick, which does not have a next size up Crossover.

    Buick will introduce the Envision this fall to fill in the gap between the Encore and Enclave.
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    Sandman6472Sandman6472 Member Posts: 6,989
    Have sat in several HR-V's and they are very very nice...Honda will sell a boatload of these. Saw 3 last week within about 8 minutes, all driven by women and looks to be a bit larger than the Fit. Using the 1.8 engine from the Civic I've read somewhere and think that's the smart move...as folks looking at a Civic will probably cross shop the HR-V especially if they either think their family might get larger eventually or are looking for the versatility it offers. Personally, I didn't feel as high up as I did while driving my Tucson, but it seems to have a great ergonomic interior...everything was right at hand and all I sat in included push button start. Though not a fan of this feature, yet, methinks that more and more car companies are going to switch over to this so folks can just leave their keys in their pockets or purses...there is a safety issue here also, it's just safer to push the key fob button, get in and push a button to start. I can see women liking this feature more than men in the beginning because it is easier.
    At this point, if anything did happen to my Golf and I needed a replacement, I'd go straight to the Honda store and buy a HR-V without any hesitation...will it be more fun to drive than my Golf? Probably not, but it does everything else so well that I could livw with one for a long time...and there wouldn't be the reliability issue hanging over it!

    The Sandman :)B)

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    stickguystickguy Member Posts: 50,875
    Much slower than a golf. If you like your oomph.

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    texasestexases Member Posts: 10,757
    At least they bumped up the engine in the HRV to the 1.8l. Still, not fast.
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    MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 243,995
    texases said:

    At least they bumped up the engine in the HRV to the 1.8l. Still, not fast.

    I don't think any of them will be fast, save the Renegade / 500X, which can be had with 184HP.

    Trax/Encore - 138HP
    HR-V - 140HP
    CX-3 - 155HP

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    suydamsuydam Member Posts: 4,708
    I think you would want to find out how it drives first. Reviews mention that it's a noisy vehicle and that the CVT drone is louder than with, say, my Accord. Also I would be leery of buying any brand new model in its first year. Just because it's a Honda doesn't make it necessarily the best. I say that as a Honda person generally. Your particular VW has a pretty good rep The latestMotor Trend comparo is very interesting. Although how anyone can possibly stand the Juke is beyond me. Ugly outside and uncomfortable in.
    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/suvs/1506_the_big_test_2015_2016_subcompact_crossovers/
    '24 Kia Sportage PHEV
    '24 Chevy Blazer EV 2LT
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