Am I the only one who doesn't want an SUV?

opinion
There's room for all body types in 2020, but my heart lies on the road less travelled.
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Sports Utility Vehicle. The words behind the acronym taking over city streets, product planning meetings and our collective consciousness.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the SUV became the car to own, regardless of your sport or utility requirements, but a quick glance at VFACTs figures for 2019 leaves little doubt we're in the grips of a hostile takeover.

In fact, the ever-increasing popularity of cars like the Volvo XC40 and Skoda Kodiaq are almost single-handedly helping to drive their respective brands' growth in Australia.

Meanwhile, once-dominant mainstays are now facing competition within their own brands from their newly-released SUV cousins (I'm looking at you, Mazda CX-30. Pick on someone your own size and leave the Mazda 3 alone).

But in a statement I'll likely regret making the minute my husband triumphantly returns home with a Kia Sportage or similar – I may be the only person in the country who hasn't fallen completely under the SUV spell.

Above: The Mazda CX-5, Australia's sixth highest-selling car for 2019.

Don't get me wrong – I understand the appeal. Even purely from an aesthetic perspective, SUVs (including of the compact variety) have the leg-up on a Corolla in terms of cool factor.

They're also roomy, comfortable and perfect for people whose lifestyle sees them towing trailers, popping bikes on roof racks or traversing tricky terrain.

I just don't want one.

Why? Well for starters, I spend the majority of my time beetling around suburban streets, or braking on freeways with road works limiting speeds to 80km/h.

My idea of off-roading is tackling the gravel driveway at my friend's beach house. 'Sports' and 'utility' are two words that do not apply to my everyday existence.

I've got no kids, no dog and no baggage (bar the emotional kind... just kidding).

Plus, I hate parking in the cramped Richmond streets at the best of times, let alone when I'm two-and-a-half metres off the ground with the wingspan of a light aircraft.

I know as a motoring journalist I should be pre-programmed to espouse the merits of a classic station wagon. But for me, the appeal of a handsome sedan has far from worn off.

The sedan traverses time and generational boundaries. It's instantly recognisable and endlessly elegant.

There's a reason that when you ask a child to draw a car, they'll sketch you a sedan. Why heads of state tend to travel in sedans. Why upmarket limousine services opt for black sedans.

Sure, sedans are by no means extinct, but they can be hard to spot when obscured by a sea of Range Rovers and LandCruisers.

On a personal level, the balance of the silhouette appeases my perfectionist brain and calls to mind the classic American nostalgia of cars like a '68 Lincoln Continental. Commanding and authoritative, with lockable boots that kept murder-mystery movies in business.

And yet it feels as though sedans have inexplicably lost their sex appeal in recent years, with the Toyota Camry and Mercedes C-Class some of the few remaining representatives (as a colleague joked, "one's a car for people who drive Ubers and the other is a car for people who catch Ubers").

To go off on a brief tangent, the other day I was sitting in an inner-city cafe when I witnessed a waiter delivering a steaming omelette to a hungry cafe patron.

"I'm so glad you ordered the omelette," the waiter said to the omelette-orderer.

"No one ever orders omelettes anymore because they're not 'trendy', but they're so good. Every time someone orders one, it reminds me how great they are."

Is the sedan – hear me out – the omelette of the automotive world? A little forgotten in the wave of alternative breakfast options, maybe, but still a bloody great option?

Omelettes and sedans, one and the same.

There may be a wide range of omelette flavours available, from a crowd-pleasing ham and cheese number (a Mazda 6, perhaps) to an omelette with the works (a Lexus LS500?), but you'll rarely be disappointed.

I guess that makes the SUV the smashed avo on toast in this scenario – eminently order-able, endlessly Instagrammable and the one thing on the menu you can count on selling by the bucketload.

Perhaps it will take some design innovations to bring sedans back into fashion again, or perhaps it's purely a matter of time. Maybe, in some people's eyes, they never even left in the first place.

And while getting in and out of them might take a bit more core strength than effortlessly hopping out of an SUV does, they've certainly got their charms for those of us who don't require the extra room or ride height.

Now, I'm off to start a one-woman campaign to make sedans great again. I'll be selling the requisite red baseball caps on eBay in no time.

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