Why SUVs are getting bigger? Just after you think sport-utility vehicles couldn’t get any bigger, they are.
Two of the auto industry’s most hulking SUVs, the Chevrolet Suburban Tahoe and Chevrolet Tahoe, are growing in size for the 2021 model year.
For customers, that potential extra headroom, more legroom and more space to haul stuff.
For automakers, that means more profits due to the fact large SUVs are among the industry’s biggest moneymakers, rivaled only by full-size pickups, which are also getting bigger.
Other SUVs, just like the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Expedition, are getting longer and larger, too.
“Size creep,” is how Stephanie Brinley, principle automobile analyst at research company IHS Markit, describes it.
“When you go out and you ask what people want in a car, they usually say they prefer extra space,” Brinley says.
The trend comes as the nation’s SUV growth continues. Steadily low gas prices are providing Americans with self belief that they won’t get stuck with gasoline guzzlers during a surprising spike in fuel prices.
Fuel-Efficient SUV: No pain at the pump
The national average price of gasoline hasn’t topped $3 since 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That reality, including the rock-bottom unemployment rate and record stock prices, has benefited SUV sales.
It also doesn’t hurt that SUV gasoline mileage has improved across the board.
Among all SUVs, 28 vehicles within the 2020 model year get a minimum of 30 miles per gallon in combined city-highway driving, compared with just one model in 2000, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“With low fuel prices, no one cares how big they’re really, and therefore the gas economy has improved, too,” says Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at car-buying site Autotrader.
Another aspect driving the trend: Americans are getting older, and SUVs are commonly less difficult to climb into than low-riding passenger cars, analysts say.
That’s one motive why GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have discontinued most of their passenger cars, like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Chrysler 200, while sales of other vehicles that were once stalwarts have plummeted.
When 2019 is over, about 1/2 new-vehicle sales within the U.S. will be SUVs, according to statistics from car-research site Edmunds. Passenger vehicles will represent about one-third of those sales, while pickups should comprise the rest.
To capitalize on the boom, automakers have additionally been introducing more SUV models, along with three-row selections from Subaru, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen for the first time.
Tahoe SUV grows 18 inches
To keep customers buying its big SUVs, GM introduced earlier this month that it had stretched out the Tahoe and Suburban SUVs.
The 2021 Tahoe is 6.7 inches longer than the 2020 model, which is a big leap in an industry in which 1 or 2 inches can make a considerable visual difference. And its wheelbase adds 4.9 inches.
That extra size has improved the vehicle’s maximum cargo room by 29.8%.
It’s the latest in a series of increases. From the 1999 model to the 2021 model, GM added 17.7 inches in size to the Tahoe.
Ford has added eleven inches to the length of its Tahoe rival, the Ford Expedition SUV, since 1999, according to Edmunds.
There are dollar signs behind the increases.
The common full-size SUV sold for $67,681 from June through November, compared with $36,856 for the average full-size car, according to Cox Automotive, which owns Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. The average midsize SUV offered for $39,278 during the equal period, compared with $26,244 for the common midsize car.
A bigger midsize
The size race is not restricted to the standard Detroit Three automakers.
When Japanese automaker Toyota revealed its redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander at the New York Auto Show this year, it crowed about the extra dimension in its larger SUV. The Highlander has added 10.9 inches in length since its debut in 2001, together with adding a third row.
At 194.9 inches, the 2020 Highlander is now longer than the 193-inch 1999 Chevy Tahoe.
And it’s no longer just the industry’s largest SUVs adding size. The most famous SUV in the united states of america – the Toyota RAV4 midsize SUV – has added 14 inches to its wheelbase from 1999 to 2019.
It appears that more People are willing to pay more for bigger vehicles nowadays.