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Cafe ratings! I know it is not the real reason, but it is one reason. Interestingly enough SUV's with third row seating are automatically classified as trucks. The Subaru Outback and the Crosstrek are also classified as trucks due to their above average ground clearance. This classification saves the day for Subaru as their "truck" lineup has less stringent CAFE standards than normal sedans like the Impreza.

Alex on Autos, explains the Subaru connection at around 3:10 of this video.

 

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I did not watch the video but I think that's also why the VW Tiguan is configured how it is:

FWD/standard 3 row = "truck" - 3rd row is standard only so it can classify as a truck.
AWD/standard 2 row = "truck" - AWD satisfies the requirements, but if you want 3 rows you get to pay $500 for it.
 

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I honestly would like to see a 3 row wagon, preferably with AWD. No, not the Ascent. Drop it down, stretch it out a bit. It would drive nicer and still have AWD. I, as well as the majority of people, don't really need the additional ground clearance and would prefer better handling. I live in MN and deal with snow, but very seldom does the additional ground clearance make a difference. The only reason my wife and I prefer the CUVs is because with all the other CUVs on the road, you can see through them or around them, instead of looking at their doors.

When we driver our lowered VW (see my pic), you are looking into the side of cars. I picked up a 1996 Roadmaster Wagon a few years ago and love driving this car. No, I wouldn't want it for a daily driver any longer due to size, but it is a nice ride. On road trips, we average 27 MPG with this car. Full sized - V8, Rear Wheel Drive Wagon, that rides like it is on a cloud. Room for plenty of cargo inside as well. 22 years ago, they were producing full sized cars getting 25-30 MPG. The Roadmaster sedans are often getting 29-30 MPG. What I would give to be able to afford a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon to have sitting in my garage too.

The CAFE standards are bizarre to me. We are adding plenty of emissions equipment on the car to minimize the output of pollutants. By doing so, we are making the cars less efficient as far as mileage goes. I have a 2011 GM Diesel. This was the first year of DEF and some additional emissions equipment. On the road, not pulling anything I will get around 13-15 MPG. A 2010 without the extra emissions equipment will get 20 MPG or better. With the improved emissions equipment, I really fell that the CAFE standards should be adjusted. There needs to be a better balance.
 

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Cafe ratings! I know it is not the real reason, but it is one reason. Interestingly enough SUV's with third row seating are automatically classified as trucks. The Subaru Outback and the Crosstrek are also classified as trucks due to their above average ground clearance. This classification saves the day for Subaru as their "truck" lineup has less stringent CAFE standards than normal sedans like the Impreza.

Alex on Autos, explains the Subaru connection at around 3:10 of this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3yuv8jAorg&t=217s
But explain how it has anything to do with cafe. Remove all but 1 seat and it is still a truck by ground clearance alone.
 
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