In the early 2000s, the automotive industry created a type of migration between different car categories, which were awkwardly called crossovers. In short, mid-size SUVs using car features, especially in terms of designs. The ladder chassis was quietly abandoned for monocoque designs, a logical strategy aimed at improving the comfort, handling and fuel economy of the vehicles.
That’s how models appeared like Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander, by way of predecessors of the type. The Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7 and Subaru Tribeca followed, with many models trying to carve out a place in the growing catch-all segment. After a while, the incredible amount of cars was that the parts were divided. Compact, midsize with two or three rows of seats, while traditional SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner are on the sidelines.
While some models like the Chrysler Pacifica and Ford Flex saw their careers end quickly, others are still breaking sales records. However, we have seen in recent years that manufacturers, increasingly concerned about the electricity of their ranges, leave the niche of judges with two rows of seats, where the recently updated players are almost absent. Toyota Venza and Subaru Outback may be different, in the context that these types have a certain “flavor”, but the situation is different for the range of cars, which cannot be renewed in their current state.
Think of the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Edge, GMC Acadia and Nissan Murano, all models that are aging or gathering dust at dealerships as the industry ramps up three-row models. Note also that with few exceptions, every vehicle launched in recent years now offers this popular third row, often useless and adding weight to the car. This is the recent case of the Kia Sorento and the Mitsubishi Outlander, when Toyota announced the arrival of the Grand Highlander, a larger central area than the Highlander, but also with three rows.
Although Ford is not confirming anything on its side, we already know that the new Edge for the Chinese market will also have three rows of seats. Will we be eligible for a product like this soon? And what about the next mid-size SUVs sold by GM and Stellantis, which must undergo electrification? Will the gas-guzzling middle man still have a place?
One thing is for sure, Ford Edge, GMC Acadia and Nissan Murano today give the feeling of used products. Because their design is outdated and because it hasn’t been changed in a very long time. And my little finger tells me that even if some of them survive, manufacturers will focus on large models and electric cars. Two more profitable formulas and better suited to the wishes of buyers, who also realize that compacts have become arbiters. As proof, recently Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan, of length comparable to Ford Edge.