CUV competitors at Texas Auto Show reflect category’s strength in sales

Toyota’s Highlander was just one of many CUVs at the fair.

Toyota’s Highlander was just one of many CUVs at the fair.

You just can’t miss the CUVs.

Crossover utility vehicles will occupy a lot of floor space at the Texas Auto Show the next three weeks – about what you would expect from a category that has dominated 2017 sales.

Spread out over two buildings and an outdoor truck area at the State Fair of Texas, the auto show comprises about 400 of the latest vehicle models from 16 auto manufacturers.

But CUVs are getting their fair share of attention from early car show visitors.

The CrossTrek is one of three Subaru CUVs at the show.

The CrossTrek is one of three Subaru CUVs at the show.

Many can’t get to the crossovers fast enough, according to a Hyundai product specialist at the fair. “Even some of those who start with the cars quickly find their way to our crossovers.”

Hyundai is represented at the fair by their 2018 Santa Fe and 2017 entry-level Tucson CUVs.

Hyundai’s presentation perhaps is symbolic of the change in fortunes of CUVs and cars, with its crossovers lined up along the main walkway of the exhibit hall and cars tucked in behind.

CUV sales for September beat all other categories, including pickup trucks, and approached total car sales – small, midsize, large and luxury combined – while growing faster than any other category. Industry data shows that CUVs have grown to nearly 34 percent of light-vehicle sales this year from 24.5 percent in 2010, while cars have slipped under 37 percent from nearly half in that same period.

Explorer was one of three different CUV models representing Ford.

Explorer was one of three different CUV models representing Ford.

Among the crossovers scattered throughout the Automobile and Centennial buildings in Dallas’ Fair Park are the highly popular Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Chevrolet Equinox – all three of which are among the 10 top-selling vehicles in America so far this year.

Other CUVs among the 20 top-sellers so far this year that are appearing at the fair are the Ford Escape, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander. But nearly every manufacturer attending apparently wanted in on the action, including but not limited to the several identified above, plus Buick, Dodge, Fiat, GMC, Kia, Nissan and Volkswagen.

This bright red 2017.5 Rogue was front and center for Nissan.

This bright red 2017.5 Rogue was front and center for Nissan.

While Nissan was represented by Rogue and Murano 2017.5 models, there was one notable absence.

“No, I’m sorry. We didn’t bring a Juke,” said a Nissan representative, who noted that she saw one in the fair parking lot and conceded that “we probably should have.”

Still, if you’re shopping CUV competitors, the Texas Auto Show isn’t a bad place to start through Oct. 22. If you’re not in Texas, other upcoming auto shows include Sacramento, CA; Charlotte, NC; Albany, NY; Phoenix, AZ; Orlando, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA, and Indianapolis, IN.

And after checking out the CUVs in Texas, there’s always the Truck Zone – but that’s a different story.

The 2018 Equinox was Chevrolet’s entry at the Texas fair.

The 2018 Equinox was Chevrolet’s entry at the Texas fair.

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