An acquaintance of ours recently set out to buy a small car for his daughter. The young lady decided she liked the look and feel of the Ford Fiesta (yes, the same Ford of Jaguar fame!). Off father and daughter trod to the local Ford dealership.
After letting the salesperson know what they were looking for, they were told they were ‘in luck’. Because the dealership actually had two Fiestas left. “But what about ordering a new one?” they asked. They received the surprising answer that Fiesta’s would be no longer sold in Canada after the 2018 model year and dealerships were not ordering any more stock.
A second query brought a second surprise. When the father and daughter asked why the Fiesta had been discontinued, they were told that car buyers aren’t looking for small cars. That they want more small SUVs. The sales person then offered a look at the newly introduced Ford EcoSport.
The Crowded Small SUV Marketplace
They are sometimes called a Small SUV, baby SUV, or a mini SUV, or a subcompact SUV or a subcompact crossover. But whatever you call them, you suddenly can’t turn a corner without seeing diminutive SUVs.
Veterans of the subcompact SUV/crossover market include the Kia Soul which debuted 10 years ago. The Nissan Juke that arrived in 2010. But it’s only in the last three or four years that the small SUV market has exploded. With the likes of The Buick Encore, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota CH-R (which allegedly stands for ‘Coupe High-Rider’). Arrivals this year include the aforementioned EcoSport and the Hyundai Kona.
Has Anyone Seen a Subcompact Land Rover Around Here?
Considering they single-handedly created the SUV segment. They’re not averse to the small SUV (witness the success of the Freelander). Recent moves have shown an interest in giving the marketplace what it demands. You would think that Land Rover would be in on the subcompact SUV action.
Well, it turns out that they are interested, but not just yet. News coming out of Land Rover says the company will introduce a diverse range of new models in the next four years. How diverse? You can lookout for a Range Rover coupé; a Defender pick-up truck and a more car-like Range Rover.
And, yes, plans are afoot to introduce an SUV that, at 4.2 metres in length, is even smaller than the original Freelander . While there is some debate about whether it will be a Land Rover or a Range Rover, the new model is expected to arrive for the 2021 model year.