Are Sport Utility Coupes here to stay?

Over the years, the trends, the tastes and the requirements of car-buyers keep changing. As a result, cars evolve as car-makers strive to meet what is needed and in vogue. Not all of those changes, it has to be said, are for the better. Some shouldn't have happened but happened anyway, some could be utterly pointless while some would be solutions to problems nobody had. A perfect example is the growing breed of Sport Utility Coupes - a fusion between a SUV and a coupe!

SUVs or Sport Utility Vehicles were conceived for a purpose. With tough body-on-frame construction designed to withstand abuse, high stance for a better view of the road ahead, spacious cabins for transporting your family, friends, their dogs and luggage and off-roading capabilities for those occasional jaunts, SUVs were the proverbial jack of many trades. Coupes, on the other hand, had a different set of criteria to satisfy. With two doors and often space for just two adults, these are cars where aesthetics and fun-to-drive characteristics took precedence over space and practicality.

Whoever thought combining these two to create a new body-style was a good idea? 

Someone from Bavaria, for sure!

Though AMC dabbled with the Eagle SX/4 in the eighties, it was BMW that started this segment-within-a-segment in 2009 with the X6. It was nothing but a X5 that had it's boot chopped off, roofline curved downwards and windows made smaller. With lesser passenger space and even lesser boot space compared to the X5 to go with it's odd looks and higher sticker price, the X6 should have flopped. It didn't. It sold well. So well, in fact, that BMW added two more smaller SUV Coupes - the X4 and X2 to the line-up. 

As is always the case with the German luxury trio, success in a new segment doesn't go unnoticed. Mercedes-Benz soon followed suit with the GLE and GLC Coupes with Audi and Porsche joining the bandwagon recently. 

While beauty lies in the eyes of the beholders, you will all agree Porsche's Cayenne Coupe is the only one from the bunch that comes across as a looker. Yes, the Audis don't look half as bad as the fugly, ill-proportioned SUV poseurs from BMW and Mercedes-Benz but the Q3 Sportback and Q8 are far from being the classy Q3 and Q7 on which they are based.

What is it with these things that make them popular? After all, they are SUVs with lesser utility and space, coupes that don't look as good or go as fast on a twisty track and expensive than their good-looking and more-capable siblings. Why isn't any of these stopping the rich folks from buying these Sport Utility Coupes in tens of thousands? I, for one, wouldn't be seen dead in one of these. Not that I can afford one, anyway.

Problem is, we are getting to a stage where these weird-looking, high-riding things are proliferating beyond being the toys of the super rich. A host of Chinese brands including Haval - that's headed to India - have Sport Utility Coupes in their line-ups. Volkswagen recently took the wraps off it's first ever, the Nivus. There are more, for sure.

Money dictates proceedings in business. And in that context, SUV Coupes are easy money for car-makers. We can all make a collective hue and cry but Sport Utility Coupes are here to stay. That leaves us with just this plea to all the car-makers around - make them Sport Utility Coupes all you want, at least get the styling right and the proportions spot-on!

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