By on December 28, 2010

It’s a rough world out there: First new cars and especially SUVs were pretty much unsalable. A few months ago, the recession drove used car prices sky-high. Then truck sales were back with a vengeance. Now that you finally have a new shiny SUV in the driveway (yeah!) you wake up and it has lost a huge chunk of its value, overnight. Says USA Today today: “The run-up in gas prices past $3 a gallon has been running down the value of used SUVs, causing prices to plummet below levels listed in well-known buying guides.”

Dealers find themselves drowning in SUVs again. “There are far more truck-based SUVs being traded in than customers to buy them,” says Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation.

Prices are falling so fast that the price guides can’t keep up: The average used SUV was selling for nearly 20 percent below the price listed last month in used car pricing publications such as Kelley Blue Book, CNW Marketing reports.

And there are much more cars that are not even on the market. According to USA Today, a lot of people “may be hanging on to their SUVs even after they buy new, more fuel-efficient vehicles, intending to sell them later when gas prices fall.

“A lot of folks are just abstaining from trading,” says Tom Kontos, executive vice president of Adesa Analytical Services. And they should. As long as the live in the Northeast, and as long as the roads aren’t cleared, they should be glad that they haven’t sold that SUV

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81 Comments on “Not Again! Your SUV Just Dropped In Value...”


  • avatar
    stroker49

    7,20 USD/gallon here in Europe. Still a lot of SUVs on the road, not so many new though.

    • 0 avatar
      mhadi

      Petrol or Diesel though? It’s the petrol engine inefficiency and poor caloric value that makes North American SUVs so irrational.
      I cannot claim to have been everywhere is Europe, however when I do travel there there are so many station wagons, and so few SUVs in comparison. The reverse is true here – in fact, Volvo stopped selling it’s V70 station wagon here – the traditional of all traditional Volvos. In Europe, it is the reverse. Plus they are mostly diesels.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Volvos are expensive enough here in the US that they don’t compete against regular midsized cars.  I’d love a Volvo wagon, and I’d pay extra for a diesel, but the gas version is on the edge of what I can afford, and I could get a nicely outfitted minivan with more cargo/seating capacity and similar (gasoline) efficiency numbers for the same price.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I was originally planning on trading in my wife’s daily driver (aka the family wagon) Jeep Liberty this year, however with the economy I’m planning to keep it at least another five years. Sure we’ll replace it with another SUV like a Grand Cherokee, but it’s just going to be a longer time before we replace it. MPG doesn’t really bother me that much.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    There’s little evidence SUV sales and prices are faltering in Taxario, Canada notwithstanding gasoline is significantly more expensive than stateside. Gasoline pricing is way, way down the list of car operating costs behind taxes, depreciation, taxes, financing, taxes, insurance, taxes, maintenance, taxes repairs and taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      lol “taxes”

    • 0 avatar
      mhadi

      That’s because small cars are much more popular in Ontario, Canada than the U.S.A.-.e.g the Honda Civic is the most popular car in Canada for many years –  and people have always been more gas-price conscious than in the USA due to the higher price of gas. Therefore a rapid rise in gas is not going to cause that much alarm as the SUV-addicted Americans.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Not saying you intended this Bertel, but …
    Man, I just can’t get over the scorn attached to the word “SUV” when I see it in print or on the news in the last few years.  “A SUV ran over a baby today…”  Soooo bad; a car would never do that.
    If the automakers would give the public a better selection of roomy cars, wagons, or minivans maybe the herd-public would go for that over the SUV. (But if Oprah declares she likes SUVs, then again, maybe not.)
    Speaking as someone who wouldn’t cross the street to see Oprah, I feel that so many cars today are too streamlined for aerodynamics, too low to the ground, and they feel very confining inside. No thanks. The rise of SUV sales is in direct proportion to the rise of the pancake-car/sardine-can. I’d like my sunroof above the front-seat, please, not at the B-pillar. A 12-15 cubic foot trunk? Are you kidding me? For a family with 2.2 kids and a pet?  Fine for groceries, bad for traveling. Duh.
    When an Equinox is rated at 32MPG highway, and a Cruze is 36MPG, which is a more useful, family-friendly vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      Blame CAFE.  The manufacturers cannot sell big cars because they would blow a hole in the fleet average, so the big vehicles have to become trucks, which wind up being bigger and heavier than a large car or wagon would be.  Once again, the law of unintended consequences proves to be ironclad.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Roomy cars and minivans are out there.  They don’t sell nearly as well as an SUV because they cost close to the same.  Who would want a car when they could get an SUV at the same price.
       
      Look at Avalon and Taurus sales.  They aren’t so good.  Best selling large cars is the fleet queen Impala.  It gets so many retail buyers because it is cheap and decent mileage.

      As mentioned, CAFE is another huge contributor.  It brought the birth of the SUV as a family hauler.

    • 0 avatar
      asapuntz

      The unintended consequence of a too-broad _CAFE truck exception_, intended to protect work vehicles. In actuality, it pushed sales of SUVs and pickups as daily drivers, and stagnant work-van development (Sprinter and Transit Express are imported designs).

  • avatar
    dwford

    I have not seen a rush of customers trading in SUVs lately. Hopefully people will look at the numbers and not irrationally trade their SUVs in for a huge loss trying to gain some fuel economy. They will lose far more in trade value than they will gain in gas savings.

    • 0 avatar
      UnclePete

      That’s how I bought my 2004 Grand Cherokee with 45,000 miles on it for $4500. During the last big run up in gas prices, the person who owned it panicked and wanted to dump it. I put about 24,000 miles on a year and it costs me far less to run than a new vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I was amused by stories of people paying $13k for Geo Metros, as if the 25% gas savings would make up for the $20k combined they lost panic-selling their Camry and overpaying for the Geo. Good choice, guys! If gas prices stay at $4.50 for 20 years you’ll have broken even!

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My, my, fickle, aren’t we? It seems so many of the high-ticket items we buy – that is – popular items such as cars and electronics, but especially cars, are so subject to the economies of the moment. It goes to show you that so many vehicles are purely vanity and little else. True, a vehicle can represent who you are, or who you want to be seen as, but when things start to hit home, these things aren’t so important anymore, and it boils down to simply getting from point “A” to point “B” in any vehicle that is economical for you, image be hanged!

    It is unfortunate that these vehicles become very expensive boat anchors despite their possible usefulness and practicality in certain areas of the country, but they make no sense if you live in or near a city and need to commute every day. A vehicle to get you to the country on weekends occasionally? Well, that’s a different story. The Hummer or other tank that sits in your garage most of the time and waits for that occasional call to duty is great if you can afford it, but using your resources to have a SUV “just because it’s cool” if you’re struggling makes little sense, hence the widely varying perceived value of these vehicles at any given moment. Buyer beware!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      +1 And of course I can’t help but wonder what our automotive landscape would be like if there was a wagon version of the big sedans currently in production.  Ford is the only one that can claim that with the Flex being based off of the Taurus/MKS platform.  (Although I know they wouldn’t call it a wagon, god forbid)
       
      Magnum with the improved LX chassis and interior or say an Impala and LaCrosse wagon with actual third row seats.  (But I know it’s mere flights of fancy and that American automakers would sooner go bankrupt again then produce anything so out of style as a a “wagon.”)

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Howdy, Dan! I hear you loud and clear about the “station wagons”. As incredibly useful as they are, how dare we would want such vehicles!

      We were going to buy a Plymouth K-wagon back in the day, but, alas, the rear windows,were, of course, fixed in the first couple of model years, so a Reliant coupe it was.

      Don’t know if you caught it or not from earlier messages, but congrats to you and your future wife!

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Educator:  This is another example of how the old executives who run the auto makers are out of touch.  I’m 31 and and my son is sleeping on my lap now.  My parents generation drove minivans, so minivans have the stigma to me and my wife that wagons had to previous generations.
       
      For me wagons look useful, retro-cool, and could be far more efficient than the dreaded SUV.  Alas, automakers do make jacked-up wagons and call them CUVs, but my wife and I are both short and don’t care for the extra height, or the pseudo-macho looks.  Our little Japanese hatchback is getting a little tight, but it’s still performing admirably — and there’s nothing currently on the market that we really want to trade it in for.  Maybe the RAV4 EV will look good in a few years when we have our next kid in a few years, despite its excessive height?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Zackman, yes I got the congrats, thanks.  :)
       
      Luke42: My fiance has a stigma against both wagons and minivans but stronger against minivans.  Personally I love wagons having spent many hours driving my father’s “work wagons” all GM B-bodies from the late 70s to the late 80s.  I loved them all (perhaps the Pontiacs the best) and found that they were rock solid at 85mph and road like a dream no matter the speed.
       
      The last car registered in my name was a 1997 Ford Escort LX wagon I owned till 2 years ago.  I know there’s no third row seat but I’m starting to think the perfect vehicle for me would be a well cared for Magnum with either the 3.5 or the Hemi.  After the number of kids continues to grow?  Likely a Flex or Freestyle/Taurus X (I’m a hardcore used car buyer.)  My fiance?  She aspires to a Buick Enclave, which is fine by me cause I look at the sucker and my brain goes, “Electra Estate.”
       
      I’d look at B-body wagons but they’re becoming freaking collectors items.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I wonder how hard it would be to get a modern clean/efficient diesel engine installed in to one of those older wagons?  Hmmmm……

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Lol.  If you’re state’s emission laws are lax enough and your pocketbook is deep enough… At least for the B-bodies there should be enough room under the hood for a Duramax and an Alison automatic (DAMN GM for the crappy 350 Olds diesel of the 80s, poisoning the population on torque-y goodness.)

    • 0 avatar
      tklockau

      Agreed.  I love wagons and currently have an ’06 V50.  Why not bring back wagons?  We need a 2011 Volvo 240DL and a 2011 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon.  I do think it’s hilarious that the manufacturers all stand on their heads trying to call a wagon anything BUT a wagon, to the extent that when I got my Volvo, my boss said “oh, is that a small SUV?”

      I assured her it was not!

  • avatar
    caljn

    Boy, things sure do change on a dime!  Weren’t we seemingly last week lamenting Toyota’s oversupply of Prius’ because of the cheap gas?
    Now this week with gas prices up SUV’s sales have stalled.
    Allegedly the runup in gas pricing in ’08 was due to speculation and didn’t last.  This time it is allegedly for an improving world economy, so higher prices would ostensibly be permanent.
    Who know’s.  Drive what you want and try to enjoy your life.

  • avatar
    windswords

    This only confirms my number one rule of car buying: Buy what you need/want, get the best price for it you can, don’t worry about what the neighbors own/think, and keep it a long time so you don’t worry about resale. If you really only want to have vehicle for 3 years or so then lease it.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Good thing I bought mine with the intention of 200k miles and 15+ years.  I’ll be screwed if it is in a total loss accident, though.  Should be plenty of cheap, nice ones out there to replace it though. 

    Gas prices are having more of an impact on what I replace my recently sold GTI with versus what I’ll do with my SUV.  Instead of getting that little Miata or S2000, I’ll probably go the more practical way and buy a small, fuel efficient hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      That’s the way to go. A family member bought a 2007 Trailblazer brand new and paid it off in a year. It gets 16 mpg arond town, 20 mpg on the highway. Still, not a cheap ride, but, boy is it comfortable! Planning on keeping it as long as possible, too, which is the right thing, as that vehicle can swallow lots of stuff and comes in very handy. Although a minivan or Equinox or its equivalent would have done the job as well, this is a better vehicle by far, so there is value if you are aware of that going in and can live with your decision. Me? I’m too cheap and my Impala does pretty well. Plus, we have an ’02 CR-V to carry junk if we need to.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      A family member bought a 2007 Trailblazer brand new and paid it off in a year.
       
      Should have gotten a Saab 9-7x – same thing, awesome seats, better suspension, damn quick in Aero guise… And they could have paid it off in six months instead of a year!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Sorry, Peri, she wanted a tank, a BIG tank! I couldn’t talk her out of it, either.

  • avatar

    Was planning on selling my ’00 Expedition that we no longer need. Maybe after the tax refund gets here I’ll get those new tires it needs and some front end work and drive it on the weekends…. then sell if gas prices ever come down a bit.

  • avatar

    I’m the proud owner of a 2000 Ranger.  I just wish Ford would build a new one.  The Ranger serves my purpose very well.  I owned a 1993 Ford Explorer for several years which served my purpose at that time.   My daughter was in soccer at the time and we were always going all over Texas to soccer matches.  Buy what you need, not necessarily what you want.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      I also have a y2k Ranger, and it’s been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned. Fuel economy with the 3.0L is reasonable with the manual transmission. Sadly, Ford has decontented the heck out of these in recent years, so you couldn’t replace it with new even if you wanted to. The Colorado/Canyon isn’t half as good as the Ranger, and I wouldn’t buy a Chrysler product on a bet right now.  Good thing that at 130K the Ranger is barely worn. Maybe small trucks will be back in vogue with $5 gas and Ford will reconsider bringing the world Ranger to the US. I’ll take mine with a diesel, please …

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy Hagar

      I’ve got a ’98 XLT “regular cab” w/window cranks, no fobs & the 2.5L engine. The only options it has are A/T and A/C, which certainly tax the engine but still give me something like 20-24mpg average. It’s been pretty reliable, though I did have to swap out the rack & pinion box at 90k miles. At 100k I did tires, front shocks, rotors, pads, an A/T service (including installing a drain plug) and new plugs; not bad and very affordable considering I did most of it myself. Unfortunately, that was two years ago and it now only has 106k…meaning it gathers dust in my garage and I’m running out of Lowe’s/Home Depot projects to justify keeping it. Next Spring I’m probably going to detail it and put it up for sale at $3500; that price might seem a bit high, but it looks like new and can haul just as much air in the bed as the wahoo’s w/the $50 F250′s.

  • avatar
    dculberson

    Sounds like the perfect time to buy that Lemons tow rig!!  Err, if my old house would actually sell.  Dang.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Bogus article. Anyone on the east coast right now would give their left nut for a SUV. This is hype, not fact.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Anyone on the east coast right now would give their left nut for a SUV
      Not where I live – and I’m in a sparsely populated area north of Boston with numerous “no salt” zones. The plow drivers keep the roads drivable for pretty much anything. We have bare wet pavement at this point. Yesterday, we had no problem in a Prius. Today I took a lowered car out for some exercise without a problem. The plowing is really, really good.

    • 0 avatar
      tallnikita

      Why?  combination of heavy weight, gearing for that 0-30 mph sprint, street tires and one-axle drive, and they are pigs in the snow.  As evidenced yesterday in NYC – unplowed streets with only cabs (mostly cars) in sight, not a single poseur with his/her Rover/ML/G class.  sorry, I saw an older Landie LR3 going through the slush.  accelerating through the snow is fine and dandy, but stopping you are losing to a car.  so the ditch becomes the inevitable escape route and those pigs don’t get out of the ditch any easier than a car.  actually much harder.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      MCS: I live in illinois, and I’ve found the Prius to be an exceptionally good snow car.  All of that computer-magic that balances the power between the gas and electric motors also sets the stage for a great traction control system.  I often drive past jeeps and other 4WDs that are sliding around in icy parking lots that the Prius has no problem with on my way to my parking spot.

      I’d rather be in a Prius than most other vehicles during a snow/ice storm.  And before anyone says that 4WD is necessary, I’ll point out that the problem with snow/ice isn’t accelerating, it’s stopping — and my car has 4-wheel brakes, just like your 4WD.

      The Prius lacks ground clearance, but I live in town and we have paved roads and snowplows, so the ground-clearance is a non-issue.  The Prius isn’t the right tool for farmers and/or folks who actually live in the rural parts of the state with a half-mile driveway that they have to either plow or drive over.  But for those of us who can shovel our driveways and have a snow-removal service that clears the roads often enough that there’s less than 4″ on the road, the Prius is an incredibly capable winter car – and we’ve only had one snow of more than 4″ this year (we’ve had 2-3 4″ snows, and one 7″ snow — and anything under an inch is “flurries”) — so, even if we didn’t have snow removal, we still would have been able to get around.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Luke, just because you see people sliding around in the snow in a 4×4, it doesn’t mean that it is the fault of the vehicle.  Most likely it is an idiot behind the wheel.  4×4 are far more capable in snow and ice than a Prius.  All of the electronic nannies are available for 4×4′s today too.  I used to own a Formula Firebird.  I never really had any problems with it in the snow, ice is a bit more tricky, but doable.  A bad driver in that car would have been in the ditch.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      They sure look like poor tools for the job to me.
       
      Again, where I drive, the problem isn’t rough/unimproved roads, it’s roads that are slick with ice/snow.  I’ve driven a number of FWD, RWD, and AWD vehicles in these conditions, and I really don’t see much of an improvement over FWD with a good traction control system, which is what the Prius has.
       
      I can get through these conditions with my RWD Ranger, too, but takes a lot of attention to keep the vehicle under control — and the 4WDs don’t look like they’re much better.  And 4WD only helps to GO, which isn’t the problem.  Braking and steering are the problem on slick roads, and 4WD doesn’t do anything for that — unless you have ABS and a good TCS, which are what my Prius has.
       
      Now, if you’re traveling on unimproved roads, an SUV or 4WD pickup truck has some extra ground clearance, durable suspension, and a few extra spinning wheels to help you get unstuck. Those can be useful, and there are times when I’ve been on bad roads where 4WD would have been very useful.  But driving in the more civilized places where I spend most of my time, 4WD and extra ground clearance do not provide any advantage in winter weather — the LSD-like behavior provided by the TCS is even more capable than required. It’s about braking, steering, and control.
       
      I do see why 4WD is so popular on pickup trucks, though.  Pickup trucks have very poor weight distribution when unloaded (70/30?), so they’re lousy snow vehicles without 4WD and fishtail if your attention lapses.  But that’s just using 4WD to make up for the fact that pickup trucks are designed to run with a load all of the time.  But if pickup manufacturers would make a pickup with FWD or full-time AWD, then non-4WD pickup trucks wouldn’t suck to bad in the snow.  RWD SUVs probably have better weight distribution, but why bother when a FWD minivan with will do everything (except travel on unimproved roads and tow RVs) better than an SUV?

      I know this goes against the conventional wisdom, but reality is what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Maybe if you had driven one with all of the electronic nannies that I mentioned earlier, you would have seen the differences.  In slick conditions, not all wheels have traction at the same time.  More drive wheels give better options for traction.  I am happy your Prius has lots of electronic nannies.  Drive something else with electronic stability control and 4WD or AWD in bad conditions, and you would see the difference.
       
      Also, your evidence as stopping as what is important, and that your car has four wheel brakes… good for you.  Just like all cars since… I don’t remember when that became standard on cars.  But it was a really long time ago.  Stopping in low traction conditions is helped greatly with electronic nannies in todays cars.  This wouldn’t be any worse than a good electronic stability control.  You would probably find that stopping was better in a Corolla or Civic since they are lighter.
       
      Another important aspect of low traction driving is controlling the vehicle in turns.  Electronic nannies help out here greatly, but AWD or 4WD helps even more.  So, before you say that 4WD or AWD doesn’t do anything in low traction conditions, remember that people do more than just stop cars, they also have to turn from time to time.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Oh, so now you agree that the electronics are far more important than 4WD in real life winter driving?
       
      I never argued that an SUV with ABS/TCS wouldn’t be good in the snow. I argued that an SUV was unnecessary for good weather-handling ability.  My argument is that my little technolog-packed car is just as good in real the life conditions — and that the 4WDs that don’t have these features (particularly older Jeeps) look like they’re struggling in conditions that don’t really bother me much.  It looks like they pop the clutch every time they move.  I would have thought that it was the driver or a poorly adjusted vehicle, but I’ve seen this year after year all over town — it surprised me at first, but now it’s starting to be funny.
       
      BTW, my Prius behaves as if it uses individual-wheel braking to aid turning on slick surfaces.  It seems like it also uses individual-wheel braking to simulate a limited-slip differential.  The system can do amazing things at low speed, but once you exceed the capabilities you turn in to a hockey puck.  Yet another reason why slow and steady is a good idea on slick roads, but it sure can be hard to keep up with.
       
      I never expected the Prius to be such an excellent snow car (it is what it is, it is a practical little FWD hatchback with good efficiency/reliability and not much else), but my experience with the thing shows that all of those electronic gizmos under the hood really do make it the best snow/ice vehicles I’ve ever owned, and one of the better ones I’ve driven.  The suspension and ground-clearance aren’t doing it any favors, either… Also, I didn’t think the guy earlier in the thread who said he was out in a Prius a couple of days after the blizzard had much to brag about.

      P.S. I’ve been eying some of those older Jeeps lately because they look like fun, but if they can’t keep up with the Prius in the winter-driving that we actually do (which features a lot of icy parking lots), then maybe my wife is right…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Luke,
      I was only stating that all of the electronic nannies that are available in your Prius are also available in newer 4WD and AWD cars.  These will perform better in snow and ice than and FWD or RWD car with the same nannies.
       
      What is more important, probably the nannies.  I never said 4WD or AWD was more important than the nannies, but I did say that a 4WD or AWD with the nannies would perform better.  But comparing your car to and older vehicle with dissimilar options and touting 4WD unnecessary is ridiculous.  Modern cars are better than older cars with less technology.  We can agree on that.
      BTW, I wasn’t only talking about SUVs and Trucks.  Many cars have AWD and would perform better than your Prius in ice, snow, wet, and dry conditions.  AWD does tend to make them heavier, so they wouldn’t perform as well at the gas pump, but that is all.  Nannies, are good, but nannies with AWD or 4WD are better.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My point is that the conventional wisdom about the inherent superiority of 4×4′s in winter conditions just doesn’t hold up in the real world.  At least the civilized parts of the real world that clear the road frequently enough to keep the accumulation under about 4″.

      In my experience, the electronic “nannies” as you call them are far my valuable — they save experienced drivers a few times a year when they make mistakes, and keep oblivious or inexperienced drivers in control of their vehicles. All a 4×4 SUV gets without these training wheels is get you some ground-clearance and the ability to spin all 4 wheels at once. Any 2WD can accelerate the car just fine in the snow, so stopping and control are the issues, and 4WD doesn’t do anything for either of those problems, while the electronic traction control system does quite a lot for those problems.
       
      When I lived in Virginia, people would freak out, raid the grocery stores, and thank God for their 4x4s, despite the fact that the roads were entirely passable by any vehicle higher off the ground than a Ferrari and more stable at low speeds than a motorcycle.  To anyone who has been educated in the rudiments of driving in non-ideal conditions, this “conventional wisdom” is insane — but nobody listens to the “harrowing” tale of someone who drove in on the same roads in a boring little car with speed and safety margins appropriate for the conditions, and didn’t have any trouble at all.

      4-wheel brakes matters far more than 4-wheel drive.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    A  lot of very good points have been raised here. Trading in a perfectly good SUV due to a run up in fuel prices doesn’t make much sense. The loss in value would only be offset by fuel savings if fuel prices go considerably higher than $3+ per gallon and stay there. The flip side of the arguement is that it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy a new SUV now or perhaps anytime in the future. 

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    There is one thing that people forget when gas prices go up and they dump their SUV for some little sh!tbox. It’s called the law of physics. There is just no way that a small car can compete with a much heavier SUV in a collision, as long as both vehicles have the latest compliment of safety devices. The unfortunate car owner is also in the direct path of the carnage, while the SUV driver rides above the point of impact. I look at the cost of gas for my SUV as an additional insurance cost. One that I am glad to pay.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      This is a slippery slope…for instance if I follow this line of logic (me at others’ expense) then I should buy a 8k lb 3500 HD dually pickup truck (that gives me 10 mpg best) so that if I’d hit your smaller SUV I’d be safer at your expense.  Going further I should have it lifted 6-8 inches so that I’m even safer at your expense as my bumper will no longer be close to your vehicles (or any others) front/rear or side crash protection and will simply go over top or punch immediately into the SUVs greenhouse (let along simply drive over top of a small car).  Even more add on large steel brush guards / grilles increasing my vehicles mass.  In the end I’ll be driving a Mad Max vehicle.  I could simply consider the $100+ dollar fill up weekly as an insurance premium.

    • 0 avatar
      BMWfan

      @jaje

      A little over the top in your response, no? Of course anything can be taken to the extreme. What I described is just an additional benefit to the 4 wheel drive, and additional cargo carrying capacity that I find very useful, as others have mentioned. BTW, my vehicle is stock, as delivered from the factory. Lighten up on the coffee, and you will be fine

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Yep.  All the fuel you’ll buy in your life is pocket change compared to hospital bills.
       
      The law of diminishing returns is kicking in pretty hard in by the time you get to that F-350.  As well as non money costs such as the newfound difficulty (or impossibility) of parking.  But daily driving a clown car in heavy traffic is a risk I’m content to leave to the poor and ideology blinded.  A real car doesn’t cost that much more.

    • 0 avatar
      marjanmm

      So fear is the deciding factor in your car buying decisions? In my opinion safety should be just one of the priorities, it will certainly not determine the class of the vehicle I buy.
      Also the logic is not correct, I saw somewhere the stats for number of killed and seriously injured per 100,000 vehicles of certain types and the safest by far were the mid size sedans since they have the right mix of physics – not too tall to tip over easily, relatively nimble for collision avoidance, not too heavy but still big and heavy enough for collisions with other cars, unibody, good crumple zones.
      SUVs were far worse for reasons of instability, relative unsafety of body on frame compared to unibody vehicles and also the mass will do you no good in collisions with immovable objects, quite the contrary.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      A good car will be safer for both its occupants and for people outside the vehicle than a typical SUV and the statistics back this up. SUV’s in general roll over too easily and those with high front ends are not good for the pedestrian in pedestrian-impact situations (pedestrians are approx 50% of total traffic fatalities in the major city near where I live). There are quite a number of cars available nowadays that have very good safety ratings.

    • 0 avatar
      zigpenguin

      It is a classic arms race. Once some people start driving SUVs and have extreme advantage in a crash, there is a strong incentive for everyone else to start driving SUVs so that they don’t get screwed in a crash. Same thing for visibility, etc. But then, when there are enough SUVs, no one has the crash advantage or the visibility advantage anymore, and everyone has lower fuel economy amongst other downsides.
       
      It’s like you are in a cold war and have signed a treaty limiting nuclear weapons. Suddenly, you realize that there is a loophole for tactical nuclear weapons and that your rival is building huge quantities of them, giving them a military advantage (the sly dogs!). You have to scramble and start building them yourself to maintain the balance of power. Both sides would have been better off without this escalation, but the treaty had a loophole, so it was inevitable. After all, if you had found the loophole before your rival, you would have started building tactical nuclear weapons because you can’t trust them not to build them, so you should get there first.
       
      Such as it was with CAFE. The loophole for SUVs made them inevitable.

    • 0 avatar
      MarcKyle64

      It seems to me that the best mix of safety and gas mileage would be a Crown Victoria or Gran Marquis.  They can get mileage in the high 20s on the highway if driven gently, have enough bulk to protect the occupants when a jacked-up F350 hits them, and are not likely to roll over.  If only the city mileage was better!

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      BMWfan – I was just taking your logic to the next step of mass and higher center of gravity = safety.  Unfortunately the largest fatality rate from single car crashes come from rollovers from high center of gravity SUVs so you are actually giving up safety if your SUV gets out of control just to be better off in a crash with a smaller car (and not a same size or larger SUV).  I’ve seen plenty of rolled over SUVs here in the Midwest as they drive faster (big truck, riding high) thinking they are safer b/c of 4×4 and higher ground clearance…until they get a tank slapper and brown their shorts).
       
      I’m not saying large trucks should never be driven or owned by people who don’t use them for commercial purposes.  I own a 1/2 ton Silverado ext cab.  I use it mainly to tow a racecar trailer and haul large items.  I just don’t drive it as a daily driver b/c the mpg is terrible and I really don’t feel that safe b/c I limit my ability to avoid an accident altogether (the advantage of a small or midsized car gives you this).  Plus it is not that fun to drive.  As a racer and actual instructor for high performance driving…I see plenty of these large SUVs doing 90mph on the interstate (and many flipped over).
       
      I do like the arms race analogy to why people by SUVs and how the laws were skirted b/c of CAFEs hopelessness to curb their sales (don’t forget the flex fuel loophole on SUVs that were given an artificial rating of 25mpg b/c it could run ethanol – when in reality if they actually ran e85 the mpg of that SUV would be 25-33% lower – talk about a lose – lose scenario).

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      BMWfan, I would never buy an SUV for precisely the reasons you mention. I don’t want others to suffer on my behalf. I don’t want to kill some family just because they are riding in a car.
       
      It is kind of an arms race. The more people buy SUVs and trucks for family/commuting, the more people will be afraid to drive regular cars and will be compelled to buy an SUV/truck. Wouldn’t it be better if very few people bought SUVs/trucks (those who really need them) so that everyone else would be safe driving regular cars? By themselves, SUVs have poor safety record. It is only in an SUV-to-car collisions that SUVs have an unfair advantage of overriding the car’s crumple zones.

    • 0 avatar
      marjanmm

      @vvk
      +100
      Perhaps there is a chance for civilization without logic based on selfishness as the accepted norm.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      There will always be a percentage of the population that base their decisions primarily on unfounded fears.  I pity them.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Let’s not forget that used SUV prices have recently been at historic highs, primarily due to low supplies.  High gas prices in 06-07 and the horrible economy of 08-09 cut production of new ones way down in those years, and the cash for clunkers flushed a lot of older SUVs out of the market.  So to say that prices are dropping now, even if by a lot, are probably bringing them down to a more normal level.

  • avatar
    MrBostn

    My 98 Accord Sdn did fine yesterday. I drove the wife to and from work, about 15mi each way. No need for an SUV in my mind. My battle is usually with the driveway. Snow drifts and at the end where the snow plow pushes hard icy chunks of snow. I shoveled that before I left.

    If people want to buy a truck/SUV, fine with me. Live and let live. I do admit though I hate being behind one though.

    Happy New Year everyone-Homeowners, don’t forget to shovel/sand/salt extra around your property-the ambulance chasers are on high alert.

  • avatar
    DuManchu

    If this holds true it’ll be good news for me.  I’m planning on picking up a 4th gen 4Runner V8 here within the next year, the problem is they still command a hefty premium over their V6 brethren.

    Fuel economy is subjective, IMO. To me, 18/20 is awesome gas mileage. I was struggling to hit 10/12 in my 94 Land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Some oil analysts are predicting $5/gallon in the US by the end of 2012.  In general, analysts are predicting anywhere from $120-225 a barrel by than.
     
    A weak dollar, recovering economy, increased global production, competitive demand for oil from emerging economies, etc.  And both Russia and Mexico have declining oil production.  Its only going to go up from here.

    • 0 avatar
      BMWfan

      Unfortunately, I believe you are fairly accurate in your assessment. The modernization of China and India and their increasing thirst for automobiles, is what is using up the surplus that used to keep prices low. This is the downside, if you want to call it that, to foreign countries allowing their populace to be exposed to American and European values. In my opinion, the solution to our future transportation woes, is to develop an extensive, modern, and reliable mass transit system. The trend towards electric vehicles is a good one, but as it is being implemented today, we are just exchanging one pollution source for another. I would feel much more comfortable if I new that these electric cars were supported by a renewable energy source such as solar.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      And Ben Bernanke is “buying’ $600B of US securities with printed money.  The folks who own the oil when it comes out of the ground are seeing inflation because of this “purchase” by Bernanke.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      All money is “printed money”. It’s a promise of value. Nothing more, as in “backed by the full faith and credit…”. Singling out the Fed repurchase as being, somehow, fundamentally different than any other action by the Fed is an empty argument.

  • avatar

    While dealers may have a surplus of SUVs on the lot, it could mean they’re offering better deals for SUV-seekers. A lot of manufacturers and dealers are offering some great end of the year deals on SUVs and other 2010/2011 models now through early next week.
    For anyone thinking about purchasing a new car, it’s definitely worth checking out the available deals out there. Consumer Reports compiled a complete list of rebates and incentives, including potential savings below the MSRP. Here’s the link: http://crautodeals.com.

  • avatar

    Whoever buys a truck for “resale value” deserve all that they get. Extract its value through the use and deprecate the paid amount, you are going to gain more that way. Basically, run it into the ground. I am riding high on my 18 mpg SUV and feel fiiiiine while lemmings rush to trade in.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Absolutely.  I’ve got a truck and like any other car I’ve ever purchased I didn’t buy it for resale value, I bought it to work it.  Buying cars for their resale value is completely insane.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    When people went nuts during the Seventies gas crisis and looked to dump their year-old Caddies for Pintos or whatever, my old man stayed calm and said: “the most economical car is the one that’s paid for.” True then, true now.
    Holding on to current mass-production cars for resale value is stupid. They’re always a depreciating asset. Even “collector item” vehicles aren’t moving.
    I’ve got a friend with a Sixties T-Bird, a late Eighties Rolls-Royce, a commission-based job that sucks right now, and a mortgage that’s killing him. He won’t sell the cars because they’re worth less than he paid. He doesn’t want someone else to “steal” and enjoy them at current prices. Maybe he can live in the Roller and weekend in the T-bird when the bank forecloses?
     
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Investing in a car as an investment is a bad idea b/c they are plain and truly an depreciable asset (meaning 99.999% of the time its value will always go down).  The C4C debacle which used our tax dollars to help people trade in good used cars/trucks for new cars/trucks was a bad idea.  Used car prices did not drop as they normally do b/c of such but they are still the wisest investments until the C4C cars that were bought in their stead flood the market.  If your car is paid for, reliable and gets decent mpg, then leave it alone.  You’ll save more now, later and actually create less emissions b/c you did not need a new car built.
       
      However, if your dd gets really crappy mpg – then get a 2nd used fuel efficient car b/c that’ll pay for itself in a years time – seen it happen when my buddy would dd his 2500 suburban which he needed for towing horse trailers and used it as his dd, but with gas so high he went to an auction and an $800 80′s Integra (which we had to do a headgasket as it blew on the way home!) and within 2 months he paid for the car just in gas savings and saved thousands of dollars on gas over the 2 years he used it.)

  • avatar

    My 2001 Ford Expedition, the canyonairo,  gets 12ish around town and 16ish on the highway—even tho I got 18 once but the wind musta been behind me and maybe I was going downhill. I love it and it has been the best vehicle I ever had, it’s been to the west coast and back more than once and now has 113,000 miles. Looks great and mechanically in good condition with few repairs. Soon I’ll be buying a new vehicle and will look at good mileage but will keep the canyonairo around for weekend runs to Menards, to the airport and misc driving. Who can replace a big comfortable safe SUV? Small good mileage cars scare the heck otta me. Good mileage can be got in a mid size car and mid size SUV/crossover now…..

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ll get excited once VehiCROSS, Land Cruiser, and 2-door Tahoe/Yukon prices fall.

  • avatar

    Buy what ever you like but DONT bleat and whine when gas hits $6 per gallon and you cant afford to drive a girly SUV

  • avatar
    jj99

    Solution.  Run down to the Toyota dealer and pick up a new Highlander with the 4 cylinder motor.  With the tow package, this vehicle tows 3500 lbs.  It seats 7.  The EPA estimates were 20 city and 27 highway.  I have never measured mileage lower than 22 mpg with a high of 26 mpg. 

    From time to time, I travel, and rented several Detroit CUVs.  While some of the stickers claim mileage nearly as good, I see much lower numbers.  An Edge I rented was a gas hog, as was a Buick Enclave.

    Bottom line is try the CUV before you buy.  Tell the dealer you want to rent one for a few days, and measure the mileage.  Don’t trust the sticker.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Vehicles with a V6 will get worse mileage than the similar sized one with a 4 cyl.  The is all the Enclave and Edge come with.
      FWIW, the Highlander stickers are 20 city and 25 highway.  In no real world does it seat 7.  The middle seat in the 2nd row is about 4 inches wide.  The back seat has zero leg room.  If a 7 passenger vehicle is important to you, don’t get with the Highlander.  The 4cyl engine is also very puny and will probably hurt resale more than the V6 would, which stickers at 18/24 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Steven02, the 2010 Highlander is 20/27.  And, on the east coast, 4 cylinder highlander of any year are in short supply on used car lots.  Finally, the Edge I rented was rated at 18/25, but I was seeing 17, and that was in a mix of driving.  Bottom line is do not trust the EPA numbers reported by the manufacturer. Before you buy, rent the vehicle and measure the actual mileage.  I don’t know how Ford gets away with an 18/25 on that one.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      jj99,
      Interesting that the Highlander lost 2 hwy mpg for 2010.  Makes no sense.
       
      I will also think you will find that 4 cyl Highlanders are in short supply on dealer lots too because they don’t order very many of them.  It would be interesting to see what the breakdown is on the ordering, but I am guessing that there aren’t that many today that are made with 4 cyl engines.  It is like the zero option manual car with no A/C that all manufactures list as the starting price but one that you never see in show rooms.
       
      I don’t know much about the Edge.  I have never driven one.  I was pointing out the fact that you are comparing V6′s to a 4 cyl and talking about how great the Highlander and it “seats 7.”  I do have an Enclave.  I don’t know if you rented a 2008 or a 2009 and later.  For 2009, it got the DI V6 engine that delivered 1mpg better in the city.  It is rated for 17/24.  Mine is a 7 passenger version, because I couldn’t find an 8 passenger that I wanted.  The 8 passengers are in short supply ever where too.  There just aren’t that many made though.  Anyway, for the 2009, I hit exactly the numbers that are on the sticker.  I have hit 25 on a very long highway drive, Dallas to San Antonio.  In a mix of city and highway, I get between 19 and 20 mpg.  Mine can actually seat 7, 8 if I got the one that I wanted.  The third row isn’t a joke and neither is the center seat in the middle of the 8 passenger Enclave (a terrible design in this generation of Highlander, my in laws 2002 Highlander had a usable center seat).
       
      The Highlander isn’t as big as the Enclave.  Not even close.  The previous generation of the Highlander was a much better design than the current one.  If someone doesn’t need something that size though, which is probably the case if the want a 4 cyl ones that aren’t made, they should be looking at Rav 4s or Equinox or CR-V or something similar.

  • avatar
    bomberpete


    This is all short-term nonsense. Most of the people posting here are smarter than the average bear and aren’t going to trade an SUV they like and need for a Fiesta because gas hits $4/gallon.

    The best thing that can happen is a price rise to $4.50 or $5 gallon NOW, followed by a 40 cent gasoline tax when prices come down again. It’s what we need to pay for our future in energy sources, product development, jobs and infrastructure.  For 40 years, political cowardice and compliance to the oil industry’s wishes has kept the U.S. from developing a cohesive energy policy. If we learned anything from 2008, it’s that people will make smarter and more consistent choices when their pocketbook feels it.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Here we go again.  So I guess I’ll trade my 15-20mpg 4x4pickup for a 2wd 4cyl pickup that gets 20-24 mpg. What a huge $$ savings that 5mpg will give.  Bottom line? Unless you want to drive a beer can, you aren’t really gonna save all that much.   Do you really need a truck? Well, A  econo-box cant even pull a decent sized trailer.  Count me out.  I’ll keep what i have.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    3 boats to tow in the summer(one which goes almost 4 tons), a snowmobile trailer to tow in the winter and a family of 5 /w dog to cart around. The Tahoe isn’t going anywhere for a long long time. My wife uses it to commute during the week but if she drives it right, doesn’t burn more that 3 gallons of gas doing it. That’s the beauty of cooordinating where you work and live. No 60 mile plus daily commutes for us in some little pop can thumbing our noses at those wasteful SUV drivers. Hey wait a minute….LOL

    The beauty is that in 5-7 years good BOF V8 powered tow vehicles like our Tahoe will be worth their weight in gold as good used ones become scarce and new ones are either too expensvie or non-existent alltogether. 

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Unfortunately for every one of you who actually needs a Tahoe, there are 10 others who bought the same and won’t use it for such but only as a daily driver.  These are the people who need to buy something more practical to them.  Minivans are perfect for most people who have large families but they want the “minivan” image.  Minivans can tow quite a lot of weight now.  In fact I’ve seen an Odyssey pulling an enclosed featherlite trailer with a Noble M400 in it – he had a tranny cooler on it and a weight distributing hitch and rear airbag suspension to get it to work – it was his wife’s minivan and she’d let him use it to tow his track toy.

      I use a pickup b/c I tow up to 6klbs and need the bed to throw in dirty stuff like tires, or grimy / dirty engines from parts cars.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    No way.  I just sold my father-in-law’s old ’99 Grand Cherokee for full blue book (“excellent” condition average from KBB, which was higher than Edmunds and NAPA when I ran it), and I was getting calls left and right.  Yes, it was in great shape for a 12 year old vehicle, with really low miles, but EVERY person who called said that the Jeeps in the mid-Atlantic for sale were either dealer high prices or in terrible shape.  If I was more patient I could have gotten a few hundred more, but my mother-in-law was antsy and I got tired of the BS dealing with no-shows and constantly fielding phone calls.
    Maybe it’s neuroticism of people here, but if you want to dump your 4WD SUV, advertise it in DC area.  You’ll get what you want for it.


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