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Trucks are cool again and we have SUVs to thank

If you ask we, truck have always been the unimportant ones, but their ability to resonate with US shoppers has really diminished. Trucks are growing in popularity these days, and one of the big factors driving this shift is an unlikely source: SUVs.

During the 1980s and 1990s, small truck is the actual vehicle for families. But as SUVs become more popular – and indeed, more refined and car-like – many buyers want to move away from the family-friendly image associated with minivans in favor of something. something more extroverted. Why be a mother when you can be one great momYou know?

This shift became overwhelming in the 2000s, reducing the once boom minivan segment for some key players. Now, the term “SUV” is almost meaningless, used to describe vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Many automakers are even applying this butch update to sedans and wagons to increase their appeal.

“In the 1990s, the popularity of SUVs was enhanced by the promise of a fun and active lifestyle thanks to their proportions and rugged design,” said Ed Kim, president and principal analyst of the company. AutoPacific said. “Today, the only thing really common station wagons in North America are Subaru Outbackfeatures enhanced suspension and solid styling details. Latest Kia Carnival was successful in part because it had a more vertical and cubic design compared to the typical pea-like minivan.”

Sell ​​the play

When it launches in 2021, Carnival long service replacement Sedona mini truck But there’s no point in the Masquerade Festival launch that use the words “van” or “minivan”, instead of calling Carnival a “multipurpose vehicle”. Kia even goes as far as to say that Carnival has filled the “gap between SUVs and family cars” – a segment we didn’t know existed – touting “a boxy and apple-like SUV design.” violence of the truck”.

As silly as it sounds, the point is, it worked. Throughout 2021, Kia sold 25,155 Carnival units, surpassing the number of Sedonas sold in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

“Design increases visibility,” said Joseph Choi, Kia product strategy director for Carnival. “We took everything that makes this type of vehicle appealing but then hit an area of ​​design that broadens the appeal.” That will only get stronger as the Carnival goes through its life cycle as well.

“The car looks so good, I’m very excited about its next design version,” said Choi.

Following this trend, in 2021, Toyota announced a new level of Woodland trim for it Sienna that gave the minivan more SUV-like features. Changes are minimal, limited to things like a 0.6-inch increase in ground clearance, roof rails with crossbars, drag hitchhiking with 3,500-pound towing capacity and a 120-volt AC outlet to power small camping gear. The Woodland comes with standard all-wheel drive, which was – and still is – optional on the others. Sienna model.

However, while the Woodland decor sounds great in theory, it’s a different story in the real world. When are we? tested one in early 2022We find Woodland doesn’t really go far enough to warrant its relatively high price tag, for the 2023 model year it’s $47,530 including $1,335 for destination.

There have been exceptions over the years that have tried to blur the line between trucks and utility vehicles, notably the Volkswagen Syncro . vanfirst generation Mazda multi-purpose vehicle and more cynical, GM The truck collection was designed with badges of the 2000s, but not across the entire minivan market as is the case today.

Go big or go home

The rise in popularity of the road is another area where van/SUV combinations are on the rise. Owners are buying full-size trucks and equipping them with full probes — you know, #VanLife — and the automakers themselves are now getting in on the action.

Many years ago, Mercedes-Benz added four-wheel drive sprint van to give this big boy some extra abilities; remember when we carrying a man up a logging trail in Canada? Mercedes also introduce a Weekend camping concept based on the smaller one measurewhich later renamed to Getawayit doesn’t really matter, since this truck’s time in the US is coming to an end.

More recently, Ford launched the Transit Trail last year, a serious reception for its full-size truck with legal off-road vehicles. The Trail combines the Transit’s 310-horsepower twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel drive, a 3.5-inch increase in ride height, a 2.8-inch wider track, and 16-inch wheels with 31-inch Goodyears. arranger Workhorse off-road tires. There’s even an optional tow pack that can tow up to 6,500 pounds, as well as specially designed drillable areas to accommodate shelves, cabinets, beds, and other amenities available from installers.

“SUVs will continue to influence the design and proportions of overall vehicle design in the long run because they are by far the most popular vehicle segment in North America,” said Kim. and minivans – especially electricity in the future – the result can be more successful.

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