The ICON: Cool After It Was Cool
It is some dark days for the SUV. People in the US just aren’t buying them in 2008, even used ones. Although desperate sellers might want to send theirs over to China. Remember back in the late 90’s buying an SUV was a way to rebel against the bland minivan that everyone bought when they were hot. SUV’s had attitude and looked tough in contrast to the bar of soap shaped designs that all minivans shared at the time. So is the SUV really doomed? Maybe not.
Minivans rocketed to popularity in the mid 80’s and early 90’s as an alternative to the common family station wagon. Minivans were bigger and offered more flexibility than station wagons and looked sleeker at the time. They also offered a more commanding view of the road which attracted a lot of buyers. But while the wagon fell into decline, an interesting thing happened, Volvo made wagons cool. In fact they turned theirs into a race car and built a series of limited edition high performance street versions all carrying the R designation. Volvo turned the banal wagon into a corner burning grocery hauler by dropping in turbochargers, lowered suspensions, and wrapping it in an angular exterior body design. Volvo took the idea of the station wagon to the extreme and re-injected personality and attitude. They created something cool.