I’m talking about those things that are tall like an SUV, have big wheels like an SUV but are not SUVs. They are Sport Activity Coupes, or Sport Utility Coupes, whichever acronym you prefer. And if you thought there were just some dumb fad, they’re not. They’re catching on and people seem to love them enough to keep buying them.
Bloomberg writer Kyle Stock had a new Mercedes GLC300 Coupe recently and recounted the all the attention the car drew. “It’s a master class in curb appeal,” he proclaimed. “A cure for SUV fatigue. The latest entry in a strange genus of automobilia that makes little sense but lots and lots of money.”
He’s right in that the tall coupe-but-not-coupe things don’t make much sense: they aren’t are particularly good at any one thing. They are poorer performers than their coupe or sedan counterparts due to additional weight and ride height, and have less storage capacity than a traditional SUV. Yet they are still stellar sales stars, according to Mercedes. The automaker told Bloomberg that buyers are are down to shell out more for the hunched SUCs.
“[Buyers are] really drawn to the vehicle, based off of exterior styling and the image of the car,” Keith Edwards, a Mercedes product manager for the GLC line, said. “A coupe, at the end of the day, is about showing off… You’re basically working with a high household income and a very trend-setting crowd. They’re certainly in the hands of the right customers in the right places.”
And, as the story notes, they’re selling crazy well.
While we might yell and scream and curse at the proliferation of the SUCs and how they are everything bad about an automaker, this is just further proof that the SUVpocalypse is here to stay. The SUCs are just a sub-category of that. Will any of these buyers take advantage of the increased ground clearance and go off-roading in their slick new Mercedes GLC Coupe? Doubtful.
Then there’s the issue of the name. These are are not coupes. Coupes have two doors. These have four. Here’s a handy chart if you need that broken down further.
In fact, the word “coupe” was likely chosen to evoke a sportier sense, something else that buyers can’t seem to get enough of. Edwards even said it himself—it’s about showing off.
What are they, then, these vaguely oblong larger-than-average people carriers? Raised station wagons? No, because the cargo area of an actual station wagon has to have its own delegated side-window. And also the roofline doesn’t extend far enough over the rear cargo floor.
Perhaps it’s a hatchback, then. A raised hatchback. With big wheels. Wouldn’t that make it basically a Honda Crosstour, then?
Whatever, it’s fine. You won’t catch me buying one of these things. And while I do believe automakers selling them in droves is collectively conforming our market in a bad way, as long as the cool shit still keeps being made, I won’t start a revolt. Yet.