I used to hate them.
Until 2 things happened:
1: badly maintained roads beat my Legacy GT's suspension into submission. Two sets of replacement dampers, and several perished bushings and wheel bearings, before 100K miles.
2: Legacy showed itself not to be friendly to cargo that I had purchased, because the trunk lid portal was too small, and the seats don't fold down.
Outback XT being cancelled didn't help the cause, as now I can't just get an equivalent car with more cargo room, and more ride height, and my wife doesn't want to be subject to the negative connotation she has toward station wagons. I know it is irrational.
So CUVs it is.
And BMW's X4 concept (near production) was just introduced in Shanghai.
I am not a huge fan of modern BMW cars... but if they offer a 3-door version of the X4... I will certainly consider it. (fold down seats, and a liftback hatch are good, and more applicable to me than rear side doors or rear seat headroom for frequent adult rear seat passengers.)
I doubt Lexus will immediately introduce rivals to the X4... but it is no surprise that they are offering the cargo utility, and ride height over broken pavement and high visibility seating position that people seem to like, and purchase accordingly.
People were sold on SUVs 15-20 years ago, on a practical standpoint. More practicality than they even use in some cases (which becomes wasted space and weight sometimes)
Now they still like the practicality aspects that they were sold on previously, in a more civilized, car-based unibody vehicle CUV. It can't really be called a surprise.
And government treats them with an advantageous double-standard... so it is no surprise that manufacturers push them.