I'm not going to hide behind a cloud of civil politeness, Motor Trend, you make me angry. "SUV" is a very sensitive term to me, and you've just treated it worse than the Dave Matthews Band treats the Chicago River. If you didn't catch that bit of outdated pop-culture, it means you just dumped a bunch of $h!t human "waste product" onto an unassuming and undeserving entity, in this case, the modern Sport Utility Vehicle. From its inception in the 1940's with the Willys Wagon, the term has stood for virtually everything that your chosen selection of vehicles does not: tough, utilitarian, capable, and versatile. Are you sure this isn't the "Crossover of the Year?
I understand that the market is changing, for some reason people no longer see the need to drive around the perfectly paved streets of the suburbs in a gigantic ex-military vehicle. Perhaps it was just reality that people would eventually decide to move to a smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle—something that could impress them by having the capability to get out of their driveway, that was covered in less than two inches of snow. People never really needed the capabilty that a traditional SUV offered, I once heard that significantly less than 5% of Land Rover owners acutally took their vehicles off the pavement. Right around the time when gas prices started to skyrocket in the United States is when practicality set in, and when the crossover, and a new segment of the automotive industry was born. Crossovers are all the rage today, and for good reason too. Though they lack the serious off-road prowess of some SUV's, they're easy to drive, and significantly more affordable to maintain, drive, fuel, and purchase—because most of them are built and designed around a car chassis that has already been engineered and produced.
Just because something is popular, doesn't mean that the "hit thing" prior to it ceases to exist. My iPhone 4S didn't simply vanish when the iPhone 5 was launched, neither did my possibly nerdy collection of knotted-up Yo-Yo's that I don't really tell anyone about—and neither did the SUV. It's still here, people still purchase them. Lots of them. Sales of the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee are skyrocketing so much that they've had to hire more people so they can build enough to keep up with the demand. [link] Land Rover even had to switch over to 24 hour production to keep up with demand for their popular SUV's. [link]
There's plenty of room in the play-pen for the SUV and the Crossover to live harmoniously next to each other, and even thrive. In the opening of your article you mention "As this segment keeps redefining itself, we'll continue to adjust our evaluation methods and techniques." The SUV segment is defined, and clearly so. If manufacturers cease to offer an SUV, you can't just go to their crossover line-up and choose something in an attempt to sell ad space. There's plenty of vehicles out there to choose from, and by the way, you've called nearly half of your "SUV" contenders a crossover in previous articles.
Seriously, isn't it about time you started the "Crossover of the Year" awards?
At least they did give the most SUV-like vehicle of the bunch, the Mercedes-Benz GL, the 2013 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Award.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of reading about the 2013 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contenders, here they are:
- Acura RDX (crossover)
- Audi Allroad (based on an Audi sedan)
- Ford Escape (crossover)
- Honda CR-V (crossover)
- Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
- Infiniti JX (crossover)
- Mazda CX-5 (crossover)
- Mercedes-Benz GL (you got one, and wow, it won!)
- Mercedes-Benz GLK (crossover)
- Nissan Pathfinder (now based on an Altima)
- Subaru XV Crosstrek (crossover)
Here's just a few of the SUV's that you missed:
- Jeep Grand Cherokee (supposedly the most awarded SUV, ever)
- Jeep Wrangler
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Land Rover LR4
- Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (which you named SUV of the Year 2012)
- Mercedes Benz G550
- Audi Q7
- Porsche Cayenne
- VW Touareg
- Ford Expedition
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Chevrolet Suburban
- Caddilac Escalade
- Toyota Land Cruiser
- Toyota Sequoia
- Others that I am not forgetting on purpose