Eclectic Motoring: Luxury adds functionality as exotic automakers introduce SUVs


Low gasoline prices, rising incomes, an improving housing market and a stable economy.  These are just some of the reasons according to automotive industry executives as to why the SUV and crossover segments continue to be white hot.  One out of every three vehicles sold during the 2015 calendar year were SUVs.  Automakers are forecasting the SUV segment to grow by 40 percent by 2020.  Two sets of age groups are mainly responsible for fueling this market – the baby boomers and the millennials.

While it is true that the millennials make their first vehicle purchase years later than their parents did, they are still purchasing new vehicles.  The attraction for the millennials to SUVs is an attempt to not “feel older” or be like their parents with the purchase of more traditional vehicles like a large sedan.  In fact, studies also show that even in an environment of higher gasoline prices, millennials would rather downsize to a smaller SUV than to abandon the segment completely.

It is of little surprise that the approximately 75 million baby boomers would lead the charge.  Many are in their high disposal income years and enjoy the added advantages that owning an SUV provides.  The SUV of today boasts better fuel economy, more luxury, and are more capable of those models they recall in the past.  The baby boomers also tend to skew toward the more luxurious, higher priced (and to the automakers, more profitable) SUV models in the range.

With this backdrop, exotic and performance based automakers who have not as much as even considered as much as any kind of non car in the past are now rushing SUV models to market.  Here are the most recent announcements:

1. 2016 Bentley Bentayga SUV – Yes, Bentley has introduced an SUV.  This one displayed at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show is only one of two currently in the United States and is one of only 40 that the automaker plans to sell in the United States for the 2016 model year.  Fast freight hardware includes a 6.0L W12 twin turbo engine that makes 600 hp!  The Bentley SUV has a top speed of 187 mph and can nail zero to sixty in 4.0 seconds.  The MSRP is $229,100.

2. 2017 Jaguar F-PACE SUV –  If you were still wondering about the popularity and demand for SUVs, wonder no more.  Jaguar will enter the fray with an SUV of its own next year.  The F-PACE is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder Ingenium diesel as well as two variants of the automaker’s 3.0L supercharged V6 gasoline prime mover.  Torque is communicated to the ground through a ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission. The F-PACE is the latest Jaguar model to benefit from the brand’s expertise in designing and manufacturing aluminum bodies.

3. 2015 Porsche Macan SUV – As one of the first upscale nameplates to enter intro this non-traditional market with the launch of the Cayenne back in 2004, Porsche doubled down last year with the introduction of the smaller Macan.   The all-new 2015 Macan was the first Porsche model to break into the compact SUV segment.  Offered in Macan S and Macan Turbo models, two advanced engines are available; a new 3.0L V6 twin turbo and a 3.6L V6 twin turbo.  For the first time in a new Porsche model range, all variants of the Macan feature the high performance seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) as standard



Ken Chester, Jr. is President & CEO of Motor News Media Corporation – an automotive news service founded in 1989 as The AutoBuyer Plus Corporation. Featured on numerous television and radio programs, viewers, listeners and readers alike relate to Ken's friendly manner and wealth of information about the many vehicles currently for sale in today's complex automotive marketplace.

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