I had been thinking that it was just a trend. A protracted, rather strong trend, but a trend nonetheless. But now I’m not so sure. Like them or not – and I like some – SUVs, CUVs, crossovers, 4x4s, whatever, might just be here to stay. Certainly, there’s no sign of the increase in SUV sales letting up at the moment. Perhaps the ‘after-SUV’ won’t come after all.
Only recently we've had a first drive of the Peugeot 2008, including the e-2008, and a full road test of the MG ZS EV. Next week… well, next week’s road test is the Christmas special, so a very different kind of sport utility vehicle. In the weeks after that, though, there will be yet more. But peak high-peaked cars? We’re certainly not over it.
And yet, just 18 months ago, Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato told us Peugeot was “trying to invent the after-SUV”. Now, at the launch of the 2008 SUV, he said he thought otherwise. Now that might be because last time around he was talking during the launch of the 508 – as pragmatic a family saloon and estate as you’ll never see – and this week it was at the launch of a compact crossover, but I don’t think so.
“I think [demand] will remain at this level,” Imparato says. But what of crossovers being heavier and having larger frontal areas, meaning they’re less efficient than lower cars and there being ever-stricter CO2 limits? That doesn’t matter so much, “because at the same time [as building more SUVs] we are electrifying the segment. So you don’t have to face the SUV-bashing”.