Small-car purchases seem to be the trend, but what about the segment of the population that needs the interior capacity to fulfill their weekend dreams? SEMA’s 2007 Automotive Lifestyles Survey showed that about a third of automotive enthusiasts partook in running, jogging, walking, bicycling, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, shooting, camping and/or hiking in the last year.

About a quarter of enthusiasts said they have worked out in a gym, boated and/or sailed in the last year. For these “outdoor” people, a small, limited-cargo-room car may not suffice. Therefore, there is a whole active population that is looking for fuel efficiency and cargo room.

In the past, pickups and SUVs were popular with this same sample of people that were surveyed for their “outdoor” habits. This survey showed that six of the 10 most popular vehicles are capable of taking on an active outdoor lifestyle. These most popular vehicles, according to the 2007 Automotive Lifestyles Survey, that are capable of “outdoors” are:

•    Ford F-Series
•    Dodge Ram
•    Chevrolet Silverado
•    Chevrolet C/K Pickup
•    Jeep Wrangler
•    Chevrolet S-10

At the 2007 SEMA Show, it seemed that Americans wanted the best of both worlds. They want to be able to go where they want and take whatever cargo they desire. As voted on by specialty-equipment manufacturers, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid was named the most accessory-friendly vehicle at the 2007 SEMA Show. With its fuel economy that matches the Camry, the Tahoe Hybrid and other fuel efficient SUVs, CUVs, and pickups may be the way of the future for Americans that are stubborn for their large vehicles.

Only time will tell if automotive manufacturers will be able to make big cars that have enough fuel economy to keep them popular. Large-vehicle sales may be hurting, but vehicle technology is increasing faster than ever. Mostly fueled by high gas prices and potential scarcity, we may still see automotive manufacturers give consumers what they want. Keep an eye on these vehicles that allow for consumers to live their life how they want to. As fuel economy improves, popularity may once again rise among the fullsize truck/SUV segment.

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