If Jaguar had produced an SUV ten years ago, I’d have been first in the queue to chuck rotten tomatoes at the idea. Indeed when Porsche did no less albeit 11 years ago, I did exactly that, going so far as to say I wish the Cayenne had never been built.
What’s changed in the interim? Everything and nothing. Although they have moved on in technological terms, SUVs remain cars that sacrifice the qualities we profess to desire most – such as performance, handling, fuel economy and ride comfort – for the chance to stand out from the crowd both literally and figuratively. Some even go off-road – but not many.
So they make no sense. But if we only ever bought cars that made the most sense, we’d all be driving around in diesel-powered Golfs. What Porsche realised then and which I took somewhat longer to appreciate is that SUVs are astonishing money-spinners.
For now at least the world – or at least those parts of it that can afford such cars – reckons big is indeed beautiful. Size does matter and if you can drive past your neighbour’s house in a car that says than mine is most definitely bigger than yours, you’ll park outside your place with a smile on your face. Sadly a superior 0-60mph time isn’t much of a response.