Question of the Day: Is There Any Good Reason to Buy an SUV?

question of the day is there any good reason to buy an suv

The reaction to my musings on BMW's X6 has been fast and spurious. TTAC readers do not want. Pulling out a random gripe from the comments gives us Pete_S4's take, "I still don't get this vehicle. It's absurdly heavy, very thirsty, and has little space for such a big vehicle. Like many recent German vehicles it's all justified by a pile of electronics. Briefly I can feel the seduction of such vehicles. But it only takes a weekend at the track to remind why we like to turn off all of these electronics." And while he's right, I would argue 99 percent of the time 90 percent of an SUV's utility is totally and utterly wasted. No one tows anything, the third row has a duffel bag on it and they (almost) universally suck eggs to drive. At least the X6 is honest in its dishonesty. Anyhow, gas prices have continued to increase, rising five cents in the last two weeks. So I ask you, are SUVs dead?

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  • Ctoan Ctoan on Apr 08, 2008

    Landcrusher: Momentum equations don't say anything about bumpers coming through your rear window. If your BMW rear-ends someone, there'll be two crumple zones working to absorb the impact. If your SUV rear-ends someone, it'll be the tiny thing SUVs call a crumple zone and the passenger compartment and the top of the trunk absorbing the impact.

  • Kendahl Kendahl on Apr 08, 2008

    Use of a maximum sized SUV as one's personal vehicle will diminish as gas prices continue to rise. However, they will still have their uses. A Prius can't pull a 2,500 pound horse trailer with two 1,200 pound horses inside.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Apr 08, 2008

    ctoan, I have seen cars that had motorcycles go THROUGH them. At highway speeds, crumple zones generally do diddly. Force is ALWAYS a factor. Sure, at slower speeds the bumper height makes a difference. Fine, try and legislate bumper heights. Don't squeel when every car looks stupid though. I will bring my bumper down when everyone else does. Oh, and yes, when the sports cars bring theirs up as well. BTW, I won this argument here months ago because once I pointed out that everyone's suspension will have to be tightened to eliminate nose dive, and that the bumpers will need to be a foot high from bottom to top to ensure that the bumpers ACTUALLY meet in 80% of the cases. The result would not be to eliminate SUV's but to eliminate cars. Everyone would need to be in an SUV.

  • Frizzlefry Frizzlefry on Apr 08, 2008

    I think SUVs have done one thing...improved car safety. Side curtains and elevated driver positions being some. In fact, one thing the NHTSA report on SUVs showed is that in recent years, car vs car fatalities have gone down. In fact, a steady decline. SUV vs Car fatalities have remained constant since SUVs have established their 40% presence on roads. Is that the fault of car designers who are unable to keep up with the increasing amount of super-utes on the road? Or is it the fault of people who keep buying mega-SUVs? Despite the efforts of Volvo and other safety inclined companies, one can only do so much in 6000 vs 3000 pound impacts. The efforts of the NHTSA have made some impact. Look at the front bumber height of newer, normal size SUVs like the Grand Cherokee. Lower and with crumple zones. Greatly negating their effect on cars when they collide. But there is only so much you can do for a hummer or F150 without detracting from their advertised off road ability. I think we should keep in mind that the super-utes are the main culprits today. Thankfully, despite advertising, people realized that super-utes are really hard to drive and far too large...as LC pointed out. That, combined with gas prices, should make our roads safer. But, there are still some who are willing to suffer through high gas prices and the inability to park anywhere in order to get the feeling of physical superiority against other SUVs/cars on the road. And they dont seem willing to give that up any time soon.

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