The automobile has evolved significantly over the past century or so, with classic configurations falling in and out of favor as time passes by, while newer styles have arrived and disrupted the industry, for better or worse. Now, in an age where electric trucks and hydrogen-powered supercars are a real thing, we have to wonder if sedans like the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 6, or Ford Fusion still have anything worthwhile to offer.
Leading The Pack
As things stand, based on sales in the USA, it is clear that owning an SUV or a crossover is the way to go. Apart from their larger size and more imposing curb appeal, these vehicles have proven themselves in a variety of areas. For starters, and largely because of their dimensions, these high-riders provide a significantly higher level of practicality than your average car. The raised driving position also offers a more commanding view of the road and inspires confidence in those behind the wheel.
However, you do need to keep in mind that the changes to the body have some downsides, too, such as larger blind spots and less maneuverability on the road. Luckily, most automakers pack modern cars full of driver-assistance features and the crash test ratings of SUVs are undeniably astounding. Add to this the superior ride comfort offered by their body-on-frame construction and it’s not hard to see why they are so popular as family cars.
|Cheaper price tag||More value for your money|
|Slightly better fuel economy||Plenty of hybrid/electric options|
|More engaging driving experience||More composed and comfortable ride|
|Excellent safety ratings|
|Significantly better passenger/cargo space|
Runts Of The Litter
For a time, small cars held the spotlight, which is why hatchback sales boomed for a while. However, that bubble popped when crossovers hit the scene. But what exactly made these super compact vehicles so popular?
Well, for those living in large cities, owning a car isn’t always practical, especially considering traffic congestion. But considering how cheap these cars are, it really didn’t hurt your wallet too much to get one, and the added convenience of having a car when you need one was worth it. Add to this the fact that they excel at zipping around town and dodging traffic, and their running costs are minimal. Thanks to their five-door styling, they also boast more trunk space than your average sedan, though back-seat passenger space is seldom impressive. Today, very few automakers still offer more than a single nameplate in this style, if any, so it can be nearly impossible to find any good options without turning to the used car market.
|More passenger space||Larger, easily accessible trunk|
|Stronger engine options||Maneuverable around town|
|Attractive styling||Extremely cheap to own and run|
|Active market with many choices|
The Bite To Go With The Bark
While the V6 and V8 are starting to go out of style, in favor of turbocharged inline-four or three-cylinder engines, the pickup truck segment continues to rely on these monstrous powertrains, since they do a better job of enabling the heavy lifting. Apart from just sounding gorgeous, as any owner of a classic Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang can attest, these motors are some of the most capable in the world.
Specifically tuned to deliver high levels of torque at relatively low rpm, and when paired with the correct drivetrain setup, these power plants deliver impressive performance. Add to that the sturdy construction of a pickup and you have yourself a real bruiser of a machine. No other style of vehicle can do as much work, and depending on the bed equipped, trucks have some of the best cargo-hauling capacities. You do make sacrifices for this, though, usually in terms of comfort and passenger space, since most people will buy a two-seater cab. If you have money to burn, aside from what you will already be spending on gas for these thirsty beasts, you could spring for a crew cab model and upgrade some interior features to make it more accommodating for the family, but you might be better off simply buying another car to park alongside it in the garage.
|Affordable and reasonable on gas||Extremely powerful engine options|
|Discreet as a daily commuter||Unbeatable towing and hauling capacities|
|Comfortable on the road||More than rugged enough to go off-road|
The Show Dogs
As with any market, there are products that are not designed for the Everyman. In the auto industry, these are the super and hypercars, although some absurdly luxurious executive sedans fall into this category, too. With price tags larger than most of us earn in a year, or several, these vehicles are reserved for the elite of society. In terms of performance models, powertrains capable of throwing out in excess of 1,000 horsepower are not all that uncommon, and acceleration and top speed figures are well above what is actually legal on most roads.
When it comes to luxury, no quarter is giving in the fight to inebriate you with sheer opulence. Many of these beauties are handcrafted, with every care taken to ensure that materials and build quality are absolutely perfect. And, of course, you’ll find nothing missing from the list of features. Whether or not they are entirely safe is hard to say, since no testing agency has the gall to wreck one to find out, and most owners only trot them out on special occasions anyway.
|You can actually hope to own one||Mind-blowing levels of performance|
|Great for daily use||Luxury beyond compare|
|Practical, suable trunk space||Hyper-aggressive curb appeal|