I'd Rather Be In An SUV

Minivans still provide utility and many of the features that family-vehicle shoppers desire, but a lot of those folks would rather drive something else, especially an SUV, says a new survey. It's a style-vs-functionality issue, says Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor of Kelley Blue Book. Its marketing research arm did the study on new-vehicle buyers' attitudes, wants and desires. Of those who say

Minivans still provide utility and many of the features that family-vehicle shoppers desire, but a lot of those folks would rather drive something else, especially an SUV, says a new survey.

It's a style-vs-functionality issue,” says Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor of Kelley Blue Book. Its marketing research arm did the study on new-vehicle buyers' attitudes, wants and desires.

Of those who say a minivan best fulfills their needs, half say they'd rather drive a vehicle of a different nature. Twenty-nine percent say that would be an SUV.

“Minivans have long been associated with ‘a car full of kids,’ which may be driving newer younger families toward more SUV-type styling,” says Vogelheim.

But there's hope yet for a fresh generation of minivans, he says.

“Several new minivans are coming out this year with more versatile and functional features that may be able to break through the stereotype and be the family car of a whole new generation.”

In the survey's ranking of what best fulfills the needs of family-vehicle shoppers, SUVs are on top, then sedans, minivans and station wagons.

Consumer concerns over high gas prices and safety issues caused a recent 5% decline in SUV interest, according to a Kelley Blue Book study. However when it comes to the family vehicle, 43% of shoppers say SUVs best meet their needs.

Features families want most are power rear windows, fold-flat seats and rear climate controls, according to the survey.

At the bottom of their want lists? Entertainment packages and power sliding doors.

The study also says:

  • Most of those with household incomes of more than $75,000 say an SUV best fulfills their family-vehicle needs, Most of those with household incomes under $75,000 say a sedan best does that.
  • Safety is cited as the most important attribute among consumers when buying a family vehicle. Value for the money and comfort run close behind.
  • While most of those shoppers say storage capacity is not an important factor, 73% say their vehicles will be used to run errands “often.”
  • Half of the surveyed shoppers plan to spend $15,000- $25,000 on their next family vehicle.
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