QOTD: Do All Good SUV's Go To Heaven?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
In 1988, Simon Bond published that seminal work, 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. It pissed off cat lovers, became a best seller, and spawned a number of “101 Uses for (fill in the blank)” books and articles. Today we’re faced with an even more haunting problem. The streets are crawling with SUVs driven by rap star wannabees and soccer moms afraid they’ll get bogged down in a mall parking lot somewhere. It won’t be long before the junkyards are overflowing with the rusting hulks of these once-proud symbols of excess and poseurship. So the question plaguing mankind today is, “What do you do with a dead SUV?”
Frank Williams
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  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Jul 27, 2006

    It's interesting that the "defenders" of SUV ownership claim the same reasons: 1) Big family 2) Space hogging hobbies 3) Regular offroading 4) Extreme weather locations In reality of course we see yuppie execs and Moms with a single child on the Walmart or school run. I would judge that Reasons 1-4 above apply in various combinations to less than 5% of SUV owners. Previous posters forecast correctly that these dinosaurs will end up being cannibalised over many years for a new generation of pistonheads.

  • BuzzDog BuzzDog on Jul 27, 2006

    Well, for my fist post on TTAC I will say that there is definitely a need for such vehicles, but a hallmark of our prosperous U.S. economy is that people often buy the biggest and best things they possibly can, for the few times it is necessary. You also see this with houses and appliances; can't tell you how many newer houses in this area have whirlpool tubs in the master bath that are never used, or six-burner professional ranges that are used mainly to fry eggs or heat up canned soup. But it IS possible to live with a smaller vehicle, with few compromises. We did it all the time before SUVs and pickups became popular 20 years or so ago. And I disagree with the provious poster who said that today's drivers are less likely to haul 4' x 8' sheets of plywood than they were in the 70s...due to the plethora of "big box" retailers (and the disappearance of free delivery) I think we are MORE likely to haul big items. That being said, I used to drive full-sized trucks, as I have always lived in an old house with up to an acre or so of lawn and garden. I now have a job that requires me to drive quite a bit; when I needed to replace my truck a year ago I chose a Pontiac Vibe (made a better deal than I could on a Toyota Matrix). While I get a mileage allowance of 44.5 cents per mile from my employer, it makes sense to get something that's inexpensive and easy on gas. In the last two weeks, I've suddenly had LOTS of full size SUV owners come up to me in parking lots and ask about the Vibe. One thing is that it has as much USEFUL space as most mid-size SUVs...I've unloaded co-workers' TrailBlazers (long wheelbase) and Explorers that were packed with samples, and transferred everything into the Vibe. Granted, I had to fold the front passenger seat, but for work I rarely travel with anyone else. As for my Home Depot runs: The Vibe can pull 1500 pounds, so I will eventually spring $750 or so for a hitch and 5' x 8' utility trailer. In the meantime I've used HD's delivery service ($25 or so) or borrowed a truck. Still less than the additional $10K or so that a full-size SUV would have cost me. As for big families: I don't have kids, but I'm from a family of seven, and we never had station wagons back in the 60s and 70s; when we all wanted to go somewhere we took both of my parents' cars. Even if you do this a few times a week, you still save more on gas than driving a mostly empty SUV. By the way, just a few days ago I five of us - ADULTS - went to lunch in the Vibe, with no complaints. The best part: I get 28 mpg in town, and 34 on the highway. As for off-roading, I don't do it (as is the case with most SUVs) and for extreme weather, the FWD has pulled me through some fairly fierce snowstorms. By the way, traction control is also available in the Vibe, although AWD is being dropped for 2007. So it IS possible to live a full, happy life with a smaller vehicle...but up until recently there has been no reason to do so. Now that gas is up around (and sometimes above) $3 a gallon, the market (that is, Mr. and Ms. American) are looking at alternatives, which is exactly how our free market economy works. I'm just looking forward to seeing some other alternatives out there, as competition always seems to improve what's available.

  • Rtz Rtz on Jul 27, 2006

    Go to one of your local "pull a part" type salvage yards. Pay the "cover charge" to get in($1 or $2(to cover all the little things you pocket or so they can profit from the 100's of people a day(most likely)). Walk around the yard and have a look around. You'll be amazed at the amounts of certain types of vehicles in the yard(so that's where they all went!), interesting crashed cars, cars that looked like they were still running when they were brought in, odd ball cars that don't fit in with the rest of the cars, the various states of disrepair and dismantled conditions some of the vehicles are in. It's well worth the money just to have a walk around to see the most unusual "parking lot" you've ever seen. Bring a camera so we can all benefit.

  • Jerry weber Jerry weber on Jul 28, 2006

    as you know, in 1977 GM announced that the wretched excesses of huge 500 cubic inch v8's twenty feet long would be relegated to history. The new 77 gm full sized sedans were a marvel 350V8s. smaller on the outside,roomy on the inside and more manuverable. Yes they sold extremely well and a new era was upon us, or was it? By the early 90's suv's were to replace the bloated sedan iron of the 70's with big truck v8's and all of the creature comforts, and for the first time in a generation 8 mpg would again be the norm around town. How many times can we cycle like this before the game is over? I think this $3.00 gas is here to stay and the present mix of products is soon gone.