As Rolls-Royce tests its first SUV, the future of the ‘normal’ car looks uncertain

Motor Car Rolls-Royce Cullinan 

The new Rolls-Royce 4×4, codenamed ‘Cullinan’, is seen here in disguise

Can anything stop the stampede of the Sport Utility Vehicle? Last year’s sales of SUVs and ‘crossovers’ increased to 25 per cent of the total European market and while the charge has slightly slowed this year, SUVs are still well ahead.

Manufacturers are now talking about conquering the B-segment crossover (think Audi Q2), consolidating the C-segment (think Nissan Qashqai), and growing the large SUV sector (think Land Rover Discovery). And in the week in which we saw the launch of two new premium models from JLR – Jaguar’s E-Pace and Range Rover’s Velar – the premium end of the market is jumping, up 19 per cent last year, its third year of double-digit growth. Even Rolls-Royce is building an off-roader to challenge Bentley’s Bentayga, two models that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.