Originally Posted by Akuria
I'll be sad to see it go if it does. It's one of the last body on frame SUVs out there and with a solid axle in the back. Sadly no one wants a SUV that does actual SUV things anymore. People want a CAR that looks like a SUV.
So far, they want giant bulbous unibody hatchbacks with AWD.
The writing was on the wall the day Subaru came out with a legacy station wagon with a taller roof and called it an SUV, and showed Dundee racing it down a dirt road chased by bad guys in a Ford Exploder, while talking about its having better mpg and handling than the Exploder, etc....
As soon as Subaru made the bold step of saying, hey , as long as we CALL IT an SUV, people will buy it so they bought an SUV, instead of a old fashioned/out of vogue station wagon
Immediately, everyone followed suit, and changed the lines of minivans (Mazda MPV, etc) station wagons, etc...and, suddenly, they were not minivans or station wagons, they were SUVS!
Now, the sad TRUTH is that an SUV is actually a lousy choice for those who just commute to work and soccer practice, etc...as, otherwise, you are paying for a lot of extra steel to have the strength to survive the twisting and torque loads of being off road...while never GOING off road.
Chuck the frame, and you drop 750 - 1,200 lb or so....and that = better mpg...which is what sells now a days.
Ask the AVERAGE person what they thought of a car they liked, and they say "It drove real smooth".
Not "It handled like it was on rails" or, it had great articulation....SMOOTH, like floating on a cloud.
Live axle ≠ Smooth
Independent Suspension = Smooth
Firm suspension that can handle heavy loads ≠ Smooth
Soft pillowing suspension that can handle Aunt Agatha's butt = Smooth
And so forth...a SOFT RIDE sells, and a firm or rough ride doesn't.
Jeep CAN get away with it because they are an icon with a cult following and an image going back to WWII, etc....BUT, only for the wrangler...NOT for the Grand Cherokee's etc.
Even the wranglers get traded in after a few years after being bought by non-aficionados... they get tired of the rough ride and buy a Buick or something SMOOTH instead...
If they kill the X entirely (No out of the question), it will at least die with its boots on....a dignified end.
If they sissyfy it a la the Castrated Pathfinder...it will die anyway, in disgrace.
If there were a way to make it a wrangler beater, the niche exists, and, it would sell.
JEEP didn't even realize that until a team of engineers there made a Rubicon from spare parts...a DEDICATED wheeler....and Jeep's marketing people were aghast that it had expensive parts you could not SEE....they wanted stickers and decals and plaques, not low range t-cases and lockers (Whatever THOSE were...).
They agreed to a teeny limited run to prove it wasn't going to sell, and sold all of them in a day....and, eventually, realized that the Rubicon SAVED jeep.
When Chrysler was sold off to the Italians, the wrangler/rubicon is the only reason they got the deal.
God only knows if Fiat has the brains to not almost make the same mistake, and castrate the wrangler too.
If Nissan had the VISION to take the Xterra in a new direction (Well, the original direction...) - Everything you need, nothing you don't...and STICK TO IT...go smaller and more utilitarian, less expensive, lighter, better mpg, etc...
...able to off road and survive...it would sell. YOUNG people are physically active, but not typically rich, and, an affordable off roadable machine is an attractive niche...and, its going to be EMPTY.
I GET that the CAFE spilled all over the market, staining it forever.
MAKE the X smaller and lighter and get better mpg...make the roof removable, go crazy....do something original instead of CHASING the market.