By on October 17, 2009

Why do so many folks hate SUVs? Is it angst driven? Environmental? Ideological? Or maybe a fear of domestication? I honestly don’t know and rarely did I give two flips about it until late August 2005. Once Katrina hit, the car market in the United States forever changed and so did yours truly’s viewpoint on the All-American SUV.


I like them now because everyone hates them. But not in the same way. I like the fact that everyone seems to be dumping them. Now parts are as plentiful as whores for hire at a political fundraiser. No really. I’m dead serious. I can now easily buy a vehicle loaded with leather and all the options for less than 2 grand wholesale.

Of course I have no real need for it. But hey. I didn’t need to buy old Lincolns back in the day either, and I bought two. Speaking of which, the Suburban now has the unique honor of being the most repossessed vehicle at my sales. With the Ford Taurus and Dodge Ram taking second and third. Anyone want to start a family? A mobile mechanic business?

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131 Comments on “Hammer Time: Suburban Expeditions...”


  • avatar
    MasterOfTheJawan

    People hate SUVs because they’re the prime example of waste. Wasted gas, wasted space, more dangerous driving conditions, etc. I grew up in the minivan 80s and I’ve been saying this since the boom began in the 90s when everyone was dumping their caravans for explorers and suburbans. I never understood it. Why pay more $$$ for a vehicle that gets worse mileage than your old minivan and is smaller than your old minivan?

    I always said the only explanation was darwinism. These people wanted to be the dominant species of the road. Moms bought suburbans to make sure if they were in a crash it wouldn’t be HER kid that died…

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “Why do so many folks hate SUVs? Is it angst driven? Environmental? Ideological? Or maybe a fear of domestication?”

    Speaking for myself only, I can’t stand poseurs and pretenders. I can’t stand off-road vehicles bought by soccer moms to be used exclusively as cooler versions of minivans.

    I do care about the Environment, but I care about efficiency even more. I also care about the mess in the Middle East and the Terrorists that are funded by Saudi pertodollars.

    There are so many reasons to be against SUVs. My main comlaint is their gross inefficiency. Crossovers are barely better, sore not the 4,600 and 5,000 lb Flexes-Edges- and GM elephants like the Traverse-Enclave-Acadia etc.

    Andf there are so many of them on the road, you end up feeling unsafe in a (plenty big for Europe) Honda Accord, and feel the need for a car with both active and passive safety, such as a G8, or, better, a 5 or 7 series.

    But If I had a family to carry around, in a world full of Escalades and Expeditions, would I still feel safe in an excellent Honda Odyssey? No, I probably would get the biggest well-handling SUV, such as an X5 Diesel or a GL class diesel. The HP numbers are unimpressive, but I could care less, what matters is the TORQUE to accelerate, and these misers have more torque than an M3!

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Talk about a blast in the old way-back machine…those original Explorers were a bit smaller! There was no possible way they could toss a third row in them back in 1991. Another favorite – “place the sunroof in the bag in the cargo area.” Classic.

    They were what – 160hp? 4-speed auto. Crude front and rear suspension. Truck-hard interior and ride. Low rear seat. 15 mpg. They sounded like farm equipment. And yet people flocked to them like they were giving them away.

    Kind of like the crossover thing now. I think we all can agree that “crossover” is the 2009 way of saying “politically correct fuel and space hog.”

  • avatar
    MasterOfTheJawan

    Another tragity of the SUV boom is the death of the station wagon. In 1990 Ford (taurus), GM (A and B-bodies), Honda (accord wagon), and Toyota (camry wagon) all had affordable fuel efficient stationwagons. By 2000 there was just 1 left, the Taurus wagon which died a few years later. Now the only midsize wagons are high priced models from germany.

    Again, why people dumped minivans and station wagons which offer equal-or-more interior space and better fuel economy for a gas guzzling beast with less interior volume blows my mind and shows how low-level animalistic instict drives so many decisions people make.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I hate their annoying headlights, their equally annoying fog lights, and lastly, the invincibility factor they give their owners.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    I love my SUV, but I think I’m probably an exception to the rule. I use it how they were supposed to be used, not how they have been.

    I used to rant on and on about how so many people drive these things, until I got one.

    My slowly falling-apart 90s GMC Yuk-ahoe is out in the driveway right now with 192 bats of insulation in the back (12 bundles of 16) that I brought home warm and dry on a cold/damp fall weekend.
    After I unload it, I have to hook up my car hauler trailer and move our communal rally-cross car.

    In the summer, I can tow my RX7 to the track, and keep my tires/tools etc. inside the truck nice and secure. I don’t have to unload as soon as I get home tired and sore (like I did with my old pickup) since I can lock the doors and leave it in my driveway.
    This lets me get away with a cheaper/lighter open trailer instead of an enclosed. Fold down the rear seats, and a queen-size air matress perfectly fills the back, so it’s our tent as well.

    When it’s not towing the race car, hauling building supplies (you’d be amazed how much can fit in it), taking the Husky to the park or being used as a driver on heavy snow days, it just sits in my yard waiting to be needed. I probably put less than 10,000km per year on it. Honestly, for a few thousand dollars, having one of these as a true utility when needed as a 2nd or 3rd vehicle is incredible.

    (Steven, as an aside, mine is starting to knickle/dime me to death… what’s the going rate on a 6-7 year old Suburban/Expedition/Excursion 4*4 with tow package these days?)

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Master: people seem to think that they need AWD, and this is a main reason why the wagons died. Minivans offer much more space than wagons, so they replaced them, and some are offered w AWD, but soccer moms hate their styling. (I like the Honda Odyssey’s, but there are not many others I like). But the Odyssey class minivans are 4,600 lb behemoths.

    Subaru is currently the main choice of those who still want a wagon and do not need as much space as a minivan.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    +1 on station wagons. The solution to the need for SUVs is the wagon, easy to engineer and build using a 4 door platform. I can’t understand why they don’t make them again.

    Used Accord wagons sell for a premium as do the Camary wagons. The big Olds and Chevy Caprice wagons are sought after since they can pull a boat and haul cargo without being a truck. Not many left today it seems.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    @MasterOfTheJawan – and not quite so high-priced mid-sized wagons from Sweden…

    – Very happy owner of an ’08 Saab 9-3 Sportcombi

    @Redshift – you are one of the 2% of SUV owners who actually has a genuine need for the thing. Which is why GM has made Suburbans for what? 50 years plus? The overwhelming majority of SUVs (especially pricey ones) seem to be driven by small blond (natural or otherwise) women with surgically-attached cell phones. Solo.

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    Because SUVs are a Jack of all Trades and a Master of None.

    – Most are woefully inadequate (and unreliable) for off-roading beyond driving down a dirt road

    – Most can tow, but no better than a truck, often worse due to a shorter wheelbase or higher centre of gravity.

    – Most are heinously slow

    – Most get worse gas mileage than just about anything comparible

    – Most can carry people and cargo equal to or less than a good station wagon or pickup.

    There’s simply no actual reason to own one, except to conform. If you’re towing or offroading, a truck is better. If you’re into performance, a sporty coupe, sports car, muscle car or GT is better. If you need to carry lots of people or lots of cargo, a wagon is better. If you want gas mileage, a small car is better.

    The only reason fullsize and mid-size SUVs still exist is America’s obession with showing their ass to the world.

    The market is EVER-so-slowly going the correct route, with smaller crossovers making more of an impact every year.

  • avatar

    I love the warning about using tires other than what was provided by Ford, “otherwise your safety may be affected.” May have well said “keep these firestones under-inflated kiddies!” The coral pink polo shirt was giving me flashbacks so I stopped the video soon after.

    As for the question: I’ve always hated SUVs. The reasons are plenty:

    * Because of their inherent inefficiency. These are HUGE, heavy machines with genuinely miniscule interior spaces. Their utility is truly questionable when compared to alternatives (station wagons, pickup trucks, etc.)

    * Because SUVs became a drug that kept Detroit from facing the truth for almost 15 years. Instead of making cars they just gave up and sold over-priced padded comfytrucks and painted themselves out of business… all while thinking they were somehow brilliant.

    * Because of the goofy justifications of their owners: “I feel safer” “I like sitting up high” “I might want to go off-road” You’re NOT. That statement contradicts your first. You’ll never.

    * Finally because they are just plain awful to drive. The SUV is the automotive equivalent of the La-Z-Boy chair duct taped to a grocery cart. Top heavy, unstable, lousy handling, combined with driver-lulling comfort. They completely divorce the operator from the act of driving.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Syke

    OK, I can understand the “I hate poseurs” attitude – if anything, I probably share it completely, be it Masi bicycles, Harley Davidson motorcycles or SUV’s (Disclaimer: I’ve owned three Jeep’s during the time my wife was a real estate agent, and two Harleys – and have flown colors in three clubs over the past twenty years).

    My question is: Why do we get so down on SUV drivers, meanwhile giving a free pass to any middle aged guy with a 911, Ferrari, etc. who’s never gone near a track day, autocross, or even a Sunday afternoon seat of the pants rally? Hell, even a Miata or S2000 driver in the same straits should earn equal scorn.

    If we’re going to be unforgiving, let’s at least be fair in our hate.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    it is kind of an arms race, with bigger and heavier vehicles on the highways, the rest that drive normal cars do not feel as safe as they did in the 80s and early 90s, when there were much fewer of these guzzling top heavy rollover prone poor handling wasteful SUVs.

    Over in europe, even a lowly Civic or Corolla is mid-sized compared to the average car on the streets, which is most likely a Fiat Punto or VW Polo (smaller than the Golf) or Seat Ibiza or Renault Clio (=Nissan vesta) etc.

  • avatar
    BDB

    I can appreciate the case for full-size SUVs–your suburbans, your Expeditions, your Armadas, and so on. They have real utility and are great at towing.

    But if you’re not towing anything regularly? A minivan has better fuel economy, a minivan has the convenience of sliding doors for your kids, a minivan has a better ride, a minivan is safer, so grow a pair and get a minivan for God’s sake. Nobody believes your “active lifestyle” fantasy besides you, anyway! You’re just taking the kids to soccer practice, deal with it.

    What I REALLY don’t understand are mid-size SUVs–Explorers, Rodeos, TrailBlazers, and so on. A wagon is less thirsty, a wagon has the same utility, a wagon has better handling, a wagon is roomier, so grow a pair and get a wagon.

    Compact SUVs I really hate. A hatchback or mini-MPV (the Cube, Xb at al.) are better, for almost all circumstances.

    I’m not even going to seriously address the “off-roading” argument because 95% of people who buy these things don’t go anymore off-road than a gravel driveway. If you live in the snowbelt, a regular car with AWD will do you just fine.

  • avatar
    rockit

    Syke:

    Thats a pretty good argument. Most of the posters here won’t acknowledge it though.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Hell, even a Miata or S2000 driver in the same straits should earn equal scorn.

    I agree about the Ferarri and 911s, but a Miata or S2000 can be very fun off the track just by going on twisty roads, or just enjoying a day with the top down.

    I do, however, hate people who get V6 Mustang convertibles with the automatic. They should be getting a Sebring or Eos if that’s what they’re looking for.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    This is making me nostalgic for my 1990 Ford Explorer (the same as in the video). It ran for 120,000 miles and was still running well when I sold it for $2,000.

    It was better than my two conversion vans: Dodge (fitted out as a crude camper) and Ford (fitted out as a Vista Dome railroad car on rubber wheels). What was I thinking? Or the VW Microbus (dangerous). Or the VW Squareback (burned).

    Now maybe I’m ready to get into a new class of well-hated vehicles–Prius.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    1. In the US even the most illiterate retards get to drive because anyone can get a license and credit just by fogging a mirror. Even in third world countries there is a natural process of selection that keeps these people in public transportation.

    2. Many of them drive without the supposedly mandatory insurance.

    3. The cost of medical care is stratospheric and makes even the most expensive to operate vehicle seem like a bargain.

    Driving a tank makes a lot of sense.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Now maybe I’m ready to get into a new class of well-hated vehicles–Prius.

    I don’t honestly get Prius hate. It would be a good little grocery-getter even without the hybrid engine. And that, I’d argue, is why it succeeded where other hybrids, like the original Insight, or even the first-gen Prius, failed. There was no reason to get them outside of the gas mileage. That isn’t true with second-gen and current Prius. It’s a good, boring, competent, grocery getter and errand runner that happens to get hyper-high mileage.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Well, as a general rule sport cars sit considerably lower than SUVs, so their headlights don’t bother me. Invincibility is still a problem.

  • avatar
    Becomethemedia

    For me it was both environmental, ideological and a distaste for conformity that I hated these things and cheer their demise.
    As a kid in the early 80’s the only SUV’s – though nobody called them that – were Jeep Wagoneers, Land Cruisers, Bronco’s, Blazer’s, Suburbans etc, and it seemed they were owned by men who looked like Grizzly Adams who lived on a mountain top, or hunted a lot. But it was a niche market and they were never intended for the mall.
    Then came the Ford Exploder,and the Nissan Mallfinder and with that came:
    *The hyper marketing – bigger is better, safer – and under engineered – top heavy,drank fuel, crappy brakes,antiquated suspension, poor cargo room for the size.
    * Stupid commercials that constantly played upon the high and mighty ,narcissistic aspect of the market.
    *The feeling of invincibility that came over people who drove them. Every winter it became common to see SUV’s upside down in a ditch, something I rarely seen before.People were convinced the rules of winter driving no longer applied.
    *Couldn’t see past them at traffic lights or using fog lights in the city, just because they can.
    *They just got bigger and bigger and they still couldn’t sell them fast enough.
    *But worst of all was the addiction to profit from SUV’s that made cars in the 90’s and 2000’s boring beyond belief ,not to mention killing the station wagon and to a lesser extent the minivan.
    It hurt last year when gas went to $1.40 a litre ($5.29 a gallon)when I had to pay $80.00 to fill a 2.0 Audi, but I was comforted in knowing that it just might kill the SUV market or at least knock it down a peg or two.
    It’s also why I enjoy watching Ford Explorers, Expedition’s etc being crushed on youtube for CFC.
    That to me is the new porn.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I can understand the height argument. Two months ago, I bought a Porsche 924S (yes, I’m a poseur, it hasn’t been to VIR yet, in fact I’ve only used it to commute to work on days when the weather is too lousy to use a motorcycle or scooter), and my first jaw-dropper was pulling into a light on the main drag in Richmond and realizing that my eyes were on the same level as the wheels of the Armada in the lane next to me.

    BDB: You got a point there. I find I take the 924S on the back roads when commuting to work, just like my Triumphs or Harley. I am hoping to get a bit of track time in next year, once I’ve got a few of the niggling points fixed.

    I guess the real reason for the selective hate is that all those mid-life-crisis idiots in the sports cars are keeping companies alive turning out products that we consider desirable, and would own if we could afford it. Conversely, the SUV drivers are supporting products we’d rather see go away.

    If you want to talk hard-ass attitude, I have always believed that automatic transmissions and cup holders should be banned from cars, period.

    My mother had no problem driving a manual (her first automatic was the 1951 BelAir dad brought home from that dealership as that year’s family car) and she was as far from a car enthusiast as you can get, so I don’t see why everyone else can’t adjust. If anything, that double ban would force people to actually drive rather than using cars as mobile offices/living spaces.

  • avatar
    Buddha Belly

    I don’t understand all the SUV-bashing? Especially those ranting about “the lone Mom/Dad” at the wheel. Yes, SOMETIMES the wife or I are driving by ourself. Other times I’m hauling Mom, Grandma, three kids, and the kids hockey equipment…Should I take two+ vehicles instead? At that point the efficiency gain of a smaller vehicle goes out the window.

    BTW…Done the minivan route. Although the sliding doors are great and the ride is nice, they can’t touch the Suburban/Expedition EL for interior space.

  • avatar
    George B

    While many people claim that the reason they hate SUVs for environmental reasons, I suspect what really pisses off passenger car drivers is simply having tall vehicles block their view of the road. I don’t like not being able to see the road ahead either, but I don’t want any laws passed that would limit my future ability to own a SUV or pickup truck.

    I believe that SUVs and now CUVs were successful for two reasons, tall ride height to see over traffic congestion and high per vehicle insurance costs and relatively low fuel costs makes owning one big versatile people and stuff hauling vehicle a relative bargain over owning separate passenger cars and tow/haul trucks.

    Steve, you write about bargain SUVs at auction, but how do individuals who buy vehicles infrequently get in on the SUV clearance sale?

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I might not like SUV owners (ESPECIALLY the ones that can’t seem to park them), but I’d fight to the death for their right to own them.

  • avatar
    KGrGunMan

    I’m a little different from most, i’m fine with people owning large suv’s, they can haul lots of people and tow at the same time, i would never own one because they are hell to drive, like the worst kind of penalty box for a sports car driver. hard to park, hell to drive in tight spaces, the distance it takes to stop one means people are on their brakes all the time 4 miles before the car in front of them and you have to slow down to 10mph to make a turn…they make the toyota camary seem like a fun to drive sports car.

    i hate small suv’s with a passion(wrangler excluded), rav4, crv, escape. holding 5 people and can’t tow anything, they all seem pointless JUST GET A HATCHBACK/WAGON and every aspect would be improved.

    i dislike suv’s but i love hatchback’s and wagons. groundclearance makes all the difference and less is more.

    the only suv’s i’d ever even think about owning would be: a wrangler, samurai or H1, all for offroad and nothing else.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Those auxilery sun visors are AMAZING!!!

    Very nice touch, Ford.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I think tigeraid hit the nail on the head: SUVs are the Jack of all trades/Master of none. And that’s why so many people loved them and still do.

    My take is Americans are by and large lovers of all things half-assed. I see people all the time just half-assing things left and right; do the 80% that makes the most difference because it only requires 20% of the work and screw the details because that’s “hard (whine).” This lets the “poseur” that makes up at least half the general populace have all things they could need in a single vehicle – weather handling, towing, people moving, comfort, volume…all checked off (80% of the way).

    Personally I see the appeal of being able to have a Multi-Purpose Vehicle (when I got my license in Maryland all “SUVs” were registered as an MPV). Few, including myself, can genuinely afford a vehicle for every distinct purpose. But that brings me to the other American trait that drove SUV popularity – inability to be realistic about needs.

  • avatar
    tparkit

    Two points to start: I lump pickup trucks in with SUVs, and I’m not against these vehicles being owned by country folk, or people who use them for a purpose (work, towing, etc.). That said, here are the reasons I’ll be glad to see the craze come to an end:

    — I live in a major city, and I’ve learned that 4X4 is an alternative spelling for “jerk”. When I’m on foot and I see one coming, I let it go by before crossing the street. Too many people who buy these things are compensating. A rusted-out SUV = +++danger… these aggressive, abusive nut cases zip everywhere, take corners on the fly, and drive in the middle of the street – straight at any vehicle coming the other way.

    — My hunch is that SUVs contribute to the cell phone problem. Drivers, especially women, feel protected and insulated to the point where they become complacent about being distracted.

    — On narrow side streets, parked or oncoming SUVs often force cars to waltz around each other.

    — SUVs reduce sight lines on the highway.

    — SUVs elevate the risk of an accident for any vehicle parked beside.

    — For a car trying to make a right turn at a stop sign, an SUV alongside to the left (SUV continuing straight ahead or waiting to turn left) can completely remove visibility to the point where the right-turning car is pinned in place until the SUV moves.

    – Parked SUVs obstruct sightlines at intersections.

  • avatar
    Loser

    For some reason Explorers, Tahoes, and their like don’t bother me, it’s the Escalades and most of all the Hummers I can’t stand. I don’t understand why people continue to buy large SUV’s. I really thought after the 1-2 punch of post-Katrina gas prices and last summers $4 gas people would have learned. When it comes to the average American some lessons are never learned.

    I really wanted a G8 GXP in the worst way and the local dealer located the one I wanted. I couldn’t get passed it’s SUV MPG while using premium fuel. That was the deal breaker for me.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    this one really bugs me, a SUV with noticeably underinflated tires (maybe cuz it’s doubly wasteful).

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    No flaming the site, its authors or fellow commentators. Persistent offenders will be permanently banned.

    How about adding flaming people’s home country to that list? Maybe I’m just thin skinned or my sense of patriotism is too big, but the America bashing on this site is getting old/offensive. I don’t go on rants about other people’s countries. Trust me, I could rip on Canada, Europe, and posters that think using British vernacular is cool (it’s not), but I choose not to. Please show the same courtesy, as some of us still take pride in our country.

  • avatar

    Wow. Don’t everybody fight over who gets to go to the lynching!
    I had my short 4×4 affair with a Scout International CornBinder in 1970. The local wise old bird from the local garage (he’d been plenty wild in his youth and his kids were keeping up scare just fine) pulled me out of a snowed over back road with his 2WD tow truck a loonnngg cable.
    Said two things: 1) “Lucky you didn’t get far enough in that cable wouldn’t reach….you’d had to wait for spring.” 2) “People don’t seem to realize it don’t matter how many wheels are spinning if none of them have traction”
    I still get a grin on my face and a surge of appreciation when I see a real gork like the old Land Rovers with the head light recessed back in at the radiator or the old post-war real Dodge Power Wagons. Authentic, capable.

  • avatar
    LennyZ

    I often hear the argument about how people have to own a SUV since they have to haul stuff home from the big box stores. I recently finished my basement. I rented a pickup, made 3 trips to Home Depot and bought all the drywall, studs, nail, flooring, etc. in one day then returned the pickup, filled with gas for less than $200.00. I didn’t have to pay for insurance or make costly monthly car payments, or pay for a lot of gas throughout the year just for the convenience of a day’s hauling. I could rent a truck a month and still be ahead. My daily driver is much more efficient and a lot more fun to drive than a truck. SUVs are status symbols for the weak minded nothing more.

  • avatar
    JimC31

    The reason people hate on SUVs is simple: class warfare, and that’s all I’m reading here.

    Anything that’s popular with the middle class is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with our wasteful decadent society and we could solve all our problems if only everyone thought exactly like me and my friends. Why SUVs in particular? Most obviously it’s the quasi-religious dogma of Environmentalism, and I strongly suspect the way they are particularly popular with women.

  • avatar
    rschmidt1988

    I think for whatever reason minivans and station wagons became uncool, and that drove the demand for SUVs. People have a need for the mobile office / mobile closet for kids. If you look at the Edge/MKX, it shows we have come full circle, because that my friends is simply a stream-lined minivan. It just took 20 years for the car companies to realize that cars like the Toyota MPV were terrible to look at and uninspiring to drive.

    I support everyone’s freedom to pick whatever car they would like. However, the truck exception for gas guzzler rules in the US should be ended for one, no reason a sports car getting 15mpg should be treated differently from an Excursion. And there needs to be some sort of SUV parking ghetto enforced, far, far away from the entrance, because watching people conduct a 12 point turn in a Nissan Armada while on the phone is eye-rape.

    If you want to kill the SUV market, just make gas $8 a gallon like in France, and dump the tax revenue into something useful, like mass producing Tesla’s to drive the price down to $20k.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I have never understood SUVs. I remember when the Jeep Cherokee started getting popular. Then the Explorer came out, and all hell broke loose in SUVdom.

    When the Explorer came out, I owned an 86 Mercury Marquis (Fox body) station wagon. It had every bit of the interior and cargo room of the early 90s Cherokee or Explorer or Blazer. The only difference I could tell other than ride height and 4WD (which most buyers didn’t need) was that the little SUVs were cool and my Foxbody wagon was not.

    Then people started calling Suburbans SUVs. Folks, Suburbans were never SUVs. They were big truck-based station wagons, just like the International Travelall that stroked that market first. But I have lost this skirmish, and acknowledge that everyone on this site but me considers a Suburban to be an SUV. I can take it.

    When Suburbans became a big hit in the 90s, I owned a Ford Chateau Club Wagon. I never understood Suburbans. Every one I ever saw packed for a family vacation had luggage piled up and covering the entire back window because there wasn’t enough room behind the back seat for cargo. My van was a way better family travel vehicle, but Suburbans were cool and my Club Wagon wasn’t.

    Despite all this, I still harbor a quiet envy for an Excursion or an Expedition EL. And if the price were right, I would even consider a Suburban. I don’t really need it. My oldest goes to college next year, then we are down to a family of 4. But I would drive one in a heartbeat. Why? Because I like the following things: Big, V8 power, rear wheel drive, station wagons, and Big. Did I say Big?

    I will join in on the general hatred, however, of Escalades and Navigators. If you need (0r want) a big, really expensive, really comfy station wagon, Chevy, GMC or Ford have everything you could want. Unless you are out to impress everyone else and make sure that nobody thinks you may have spend under $45K on the vehicle, then I guess you need an Escalade or a Navigator.

  • avatar
    dean

    I dislike SUV’s simply because they are a cynical exploitation of a massive CAFE loophole.

    And it was CAFE, not the SUV, that killed the station wagon.

  • avatar
    BDB

    If you want to talk hard-ass attitude, I have always believed that automatic transmissions and cup holders should be banned from cars, period.

    I’m gonna put on a big flamesuit for this one, but there IS a case for automatic transmissions, especially the newer six and seven speed ones on certain kinds of vehicles and for people who drive in certain kinds of traffic. I’m sorry, but a stick shift in stop and go SUCKS, you can deny it if you want, but it really sucks. It is a b*tch on my kness and I’m only in my mid-20s! I hate to think what it is like for someone in their 50s with knee problems. I can completely understand someone who lives in the Washington suburbs or L.A. getting an automatic for a daily driver.

    The reason people hate on SUVs is simple: class warfare, and that’s all I’m reading here.

    Please. You can get an Escape for 18k after rebates, and I love for example Porches even though I’ll probably never own one short of winning the lottery.

    It’s the fact that SUVs killed off entire vehicle classes (every single domestic wagon, full size wagons of any make, most hatchbacks, and most minivans) that were better at what they’re used for 99% of the time. It was a triumph of cynical marketing over utility and substance.

    The fact that the Suburban killed off the ’90s GM B-bodies is enough alone to give SUVs my undying hate forever.

  • avatar
    jmo

    The other issue with buying SUV’s back in the day was that you were giving $10k+ to the big three.

    In 2006 BMW enjoyed about a 6% profit margin. So, on a $45k 5-series wagon BMW makes about $2,700. On a 30k Explorer or Cherokee or Tahoe they were making $10k.

    When you bought a 5-series you were getting a car that cost $42,300 to “make”. With a 30k Explorer you were getting a car that cost 20k to make.

  • avatar
    MasterOfTheJawan

    @jpcavanaugh You like a big RWD V8 powered station wagons? What you want is a 94-96 Buick Roadmaster wagon. It’s a land yact powered by the LT1, same engine as in the Corvette from those years =) AND you still get 26 mpg highway.

  • avatar
    rpiotr01

    I don’t hate people for what they drive because what people do with their money and time is their own business. If someone drives a 911 cause it makes them feel young, so what? If someone drives a Tahoe because they thing Mini-vans are ugly, again, why should that bother me? Life is short and sometimes pleasure is hard to come by. If it floats your boat, do it.

    If anything annoys me it’s driving habits. I’ve been tailgated by reckless Civics and passed SUVs doing 55 in the right lane. The driver makes a big difference. If they drive with a modicum of courtesy everything is cool.

    Lots of haters on this site, wow…

  • avatar
    BDB

    I don’t hate people for what they drive because what people do with their money and time is their own business.

    Yeah, and who on here seriously proposed banning people from driving SUVs? A lot of people just plain don’t like them, and we can have an opinion, thanks. Just like we can discuss whether the new Buick Regal looks good or not without infringing on the right of people to buy them.

  • avatar
    jmo

    ’m sorry, but a stick shift in stop and go SUCKS, you can deny it if you want, but it really sucks. It is a b*tch on my kness and I’m only in my mid-20s!

    I’ve only ever had manual transmission cars and when I used to commute down 128 in the Boston area I never had a problem with it. I actually prefer it, as in most traffic you can, if you keep it in first gear, drive with just the gas and use engine braking rather than the brake to slow the car.

    I travel for work and obviously my rentals are automatics. I’ve done the bumper to bumper thing in Miami, Atlanta, LA, SF and I can honestly say, I think a manual is easier in traffic than an automatic.

  • avatar
    BDB

    jmo I guess it’s a matter of taste then. I’ve done freeway trips where I have to through northern Virginia (only second to Los Angeles in the entire country as far as traffic goes) with a manual and I preferred an auto. In stop-and-go a manual becomes mechanical, boring, and irritating. It’s better for open road driving and twisties, though.

    A manual DOES keep one better focused on actually driving than an automatic under any circumstances though, I’ll say that. I’ve never seen anyone yammering away on a cell phone that drives a manual!

  • avatar
    Luke42

    In my experience, there are 3 main kinds of SUV drivers:
    1. The “safety nut” who buys a giant vehicle to feel “safe” instead of learning how to drive.
    2. Bling — someone who wants to get in your face to tell you how “successful” they are.
    3. People who need to haul passengers and tow large loads at the same time.

    Note that driving off-road didn’t make the list.

    But, the real issue is that there are enough SUV drivers who drive their giant 8000lb vehicles aggressively as if they’re small cars or even motorcycles, which puts me at risk. And, no, I won’t join the arms race — I’m too practical to buy a big ugly expensive vehicle that doesn’t suit my needs. I mean, if a driver can’t figure out that they should drive an 8000lb truck as if it were an 8000lb truck, they deserve some backlash.

    Also, I don’t like waste — particularly waste of a finite resource like oil. But I’ll save that tirade for http://www.treehugger.com/… :-)

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I like them now because everyone hates them…. Now parts are as plentiful as whores for hire at a political fundraiser.

    +1.
    If you turn your own wrenches for repairs, the total cost of SUV ownership has cratered. Especially 4X2 models – for a few $K you have a truck like vehicle that should go 150K more miles.

    Of course, SUVs are trucks. They should be driven accordingly.

  • avatar
    jmo

    jmo I guess it’s a matter of taste then.

    I think it might also depend on the type of car. What car were you driving through NOVA with a manual?

  • avatar

    I don’t know about other SUVs, but I had a 2000 Explorer with a limited slip differential and I thought it handled pretty well for a vehicle with a high center of gravity. The one time I had to make an emergency maneuver, the Explorer made the swerve without a wiggle. I’d expect the late model Explorers with independent rear suspension to handle even better than mine.

    I say drive what you want. So what if most Porsche, BMW and M-B owners never driver their cars anywhere near what the cars were designed for?

    What annoys me more than poseurs behind the wheel are people that assume that driving this or that car is compensation for a small penis or some other perceived inadequacy.

  • avatar
    miso_hot

    LOL look at that lady’s mom pants.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Those of us in the 3-5% minority who do take our 4X4s off-road are loving this market cratering.

    I can purchase a nice Cherokee for $2-3k. Another 2k of lift, lockers and tires and I’m ready for some serious Fordyce/Moab wheeling.

    The SUV mania of the past 15 years has filled the auction and wreckers yards with enough parts to last decades.

    I’m with the other posters on here that 90% plus of SUV owners would have should have gotten a minivan or wagon. They would have saved $10-15k on initial purchase and 5-10mpg

  • avatar

    My wife and I needed a larger vehicle with more room for kids. Two weeks ago we traded our Volkswagen Jetta for a Honda Odyssey. We looked at several other minivans, but did not even consider an suv or cuv.

    It has always amazed me how an suv can be so big on the outside and so small on the inside. Unless you do heavy towing or drive off-road an suv has little to recommend itself over a minivan except for image. If it weren’t for image, most suv owners would be better off with a minivan.

    For those who want an suv (for whatever reason) this is America, and for the moment we are still entitled to drive whatever makes us happy.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I hate SUVs because they typify the “I got mine, the bleep with you attitude”.

    “I can see over traffic, so what if I make it impossible for you idiots in cars to see what is going on. Not my problem.”

    “If I hit you I’m gonna be fine ’cause of all that steel around me. I could give a bleep if in the process I smash through your vehicle at head level and kill everyone inside. Not my problem.”

    “I can burn as much gas as I want because I can afford it. If my wasteful consumption also causes prices to go up for everyone else, I don’t care. Not my problem.”

    “I’m a mom, but I don’t want anyone to think I am. If they do think it, they had better be thinking MILF. Alternatively, I may have children, but I’m not really a dad. I’m a swashbuckling adventurer looking to score a little fun on the side. No worries, I have a good attorney.”

    Obviously not every SUV owner/driver embodied these thoughts consciously, but enough did that it really ticks me off.

  • avatar

    Bigger is better!
    Only in America, a 600cc bike that can kill an unskilled rider on the first turn consider to be a beginner bike.
    A low end 7 series is the 745i.
    A low end S class is the 550.

    I drive a Mazda3 with a “small” 2.3 engine, I know it’s small because the 2010 model got a 2.5 liter!
    In Europe they sell this car with 1.4 or 1.6 ?

    We are downsizing, I can feel it! that’s why the F-150 is the best selling vehicle in September!

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    The USofA was busy wasting TRILLIONs of dollars on imported oil and SUV/Truck “asset” depreciation during the late 1990s/early-2000s.

    The “Pride of Stupidity” segment of the US, so brilliantly encapsulated by people like Sarah Palin, is always bitchy when the “Smarter” people can say “told you so”.

    I might not like SUV owners …. but I’d fight to the death for their right to own them.

    Time to recalibrate your ideas on “freedom” and/or “rights” and talk with your fellow Americans about selfishness and greater responsibility.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I might not like SUV owners …. but I’d fight to the death for their right to own them.

    Then I’m sure you’ll agree that if someone chooses an SUV and McMansion over a condo and civic, when they end up paying $1100 a month in gas commuting 2 hours each way to work, their children should go hungry.

    If they chose to make payments to GMAC for their Denali vs. payments to a 529 plan – their deserve to watch their children spend the rest of their lives flipping burgers.

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    I don’t have anything new to contribute to the SUV hate-in. Suffice it to say that I would never own one, and shower contempt on the vast majority of owners commensurate with the size and price of the vehicle.

    I want my wagons and hatches back. This CUV fad is maddening because it just beats around the bush when the solution is so obvious.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    My question is: Why do we get so down on SUV drivers, meanwhile giving a free pass to any middle aged guy with a 911, Ferrari, etc. who’s never gone near a track day, autocross, or even a Sunday afternoon seat of the pants rally? Hell, even a Miata or S2000 driver in the same straits should earn equal scorn.

    Agreed. My SUV gets better mpg than any muscle car from the ’60s, and many current performance cars.

    You know what irritates me? Car racing of any sort. Huge waste of petroleum.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Time to recalibrate your ideas on “freedom” and/or “rights” and talk with your fellow Americans about selfishness and greater responsibility.

    No thank you. I like my FREEDOM and RIGHTS just the way they are, and so does the majority. (I’ve yet to see any large rallies of people clamoring for higher gas prices and dictation on what they can or can’t drive.) Don’t worry, I’d also fight to the death for your right to believe your ideas for “freedom” and/or “rights” are somehow better than everyone elses. I just wouldn’t vote in accordance to them.

    Then I’m sure you’ll agree that if someone chooses an SUV and McMansion over a condo and civic, when they end up paying $1100 a month in gas commuting 2 hours each way to work, their children should go hungry.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that their are people who can EASILY afford the SUVs and McMansions you mentioned who’s kids are doing just fine. I’m not certain if you have a genuine concern about people’s children being able to eat, or are just jealous of those that can afford to have their cake and eat it too, but I can assure you that the SUV didn’t hold a gun to that theoretical person’s head and forced his children into starvation. A maxed out Honda/Toyota/etc could create the same scenario.

  • avatar
    jmo

    their children should go hungry.

    I should have said, “If they can’t afford it, their children should go hungry.” If they can afford it, then by all means they should live whatever lifestyle they choose.

    What I have a problem is with the ignorant sheeple blaming the banks and oil companies, when the only reason the banks and oil companies were able to take advantage of them was because they were ignorant and foolish.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I agree completely. If you can afford to do it then do it, but if not then don’t bitch about it. I think my biggest beef is with those that believe SUVs should be made illegal/obsolele for “the common good”. I believe as far as personal accountability is concerned, we’re on the same page. Still the Sally Struthers in me can’t stand to see a child starve. (I’m also impartial to chocolate cake a’la South Park’s version of her.)

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    I like my FREEDOM and RIGHTS just the way they are, and so does the majority.

    Yes, but you’re co-opting the words to mean things they shouldn’t. Rights and Freedoms are about individuals. Where is there a “Right to Purchase Stuff”?

    The moment your choices have effects on others, your claimed “rights” require questioning (or let’s say “co-operation”) because we’re in this together. The concept is “Community”, sometimes, but not very successfully, expressed as “Democracy”.

    Democracy also relies on the community being fully informed. Did the millions of SUV owners in the 1990s know that their actions would (partly) lead to loss of life in Iraq?

    Not enough people listened when “Oil Dependence” was discussed in the mid-1980s (or even 1970s). They carried on with their mythical “right” to purchase wasteful vehicles. Damn the consequences.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Wow, this is a hatefest. Reminds me of a line about why the early Mormons were persecuted: “They had more than one wife, and they were happy.”

    Steven, I love Hammer Time but I was surprised to read: “I can now easily buy a vehicle loaded with leather and all the options for less than 2 grand wholesale.”

    Edmunds says dealer retail for a clean, loaded ’99 Suburban with 98,000 miles is in the seven grand range. In Georgia, Carmax is trying to peddle an ’02 Suburban with 105K, leather and etc. for $12,450. My credit union has a $13,200 price tag on a repossessed Expedition, loaded but with 95,000 miles.

    “the Suburban now has the unique honor of being the most repossessed vehicle at my sales. With the Ford Taurus and Dodge Ram taking second and third.” You mean the Taurus X [Freestyle], not the sedan, don’t you?

  • avatar
    wnoh41

    reclusive_in_nature: Thank God for guys like you

    PeteMoran :I might not like SUV owners …. but I’d fight to the death for their right to own them.

    Time to recalibrate your ideas on “freedom” and/or “rights” and talk with your fellow Americans about selfishness and greater responsibility.

    Yeah exactly, we should be worried about how we can waste more tax money on giving everyone the right to free healthcare, or their right to welfare. My question is: If health care is a right, does this mean that taxpayers are obligated to pay for health care for everyone? I can think of no other right that works this way. In the criminal court system, if you can’t afford an attorney for your defense, the state provides you one. If you’ve got the money, you pay. (And, the cut off is pretty low.)In the civil court system, you’re screwed.

    We have a right to bear arms. Does the government pay for your gun should you decide you want one? Of course not. Indeed, if you want to conceal carry, you end up paying the government. Sounds a lot like the old poll tax where you had to pay to exercise your right to vote.

    Does the government give you money to practice freedom of religion by building a church, synagogue, mosque or pentagram? Does the government give you pen, pencil, paper, computer, Internet access, or whatever so you can practice your freedom of speech and of the press? But here we are attacking a guy who supports our freedom to live as we choose? I don’t drive an SUV and I don’t care to argue in their defense, most of the points are very valid. Coming up with waste this, inefficiency that is moot. If you can afford it thats fine. People waste things all the time. Are we going to berate everyone who doesn’t recycle every soda bottle they use? How about the person who doesn’t have the latest energy saving hvac system? There are answers to our problems, attacking people who support our freedoms and God given rights isn’t the solution.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Coming up with waste this, inefficiency that is moot. If you can afford it thats fine. People waste things all the time. Are we going to berate everyone who doesn’t recycle every soda bottle they use? How about the person who doesn’t have the latest energy saving hvac system?

    This illustrates my point. For the conservative “defenders of freedom” somehow there is a “right” to be wasteful. Being able to “afford” it makes it perfectly OK? WTF?

    There are consequences to such “God given”, but in reality self-proclaimed “rights”, that are far too often not considered.

  • avatar
    Loser

    What I have a problem is with the ignorant sheeple blaming the banks and oil companies, when the only reason the banks and oil companies were able to take advantage of them was because they were ignorant and foolish.

    That borderlines on making people responsible for their own actions…..now that’s crazy talk, just plain crazy!
    What’s next, blaming fat people for being fat when we all know it’s McDonalds and Burger Kings fault?

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    what matters is the TORQUE to accelerate, and these misers have more torque than an M3!

    Sorry, but acceleration is determined by horsepower, not torque. The idea that torque, not horsepower, determines acceleration is a big misconception. People (and car dealers) like to brag about torque, especially in diesels where it’s typically a bigger number.

    A car’s quarter mile acceleration can be closely estimated by a mathematical equation involving the vehicle’s weight and power.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Sorry, but acceleration is determined by horsepower, not torque..

    My numbers may be a little off but as I understand it you could design a 200bhp engine with 400lb/ft of torque at 1800rpm or a 400bhp engine with 200lb/ft of torque at 9000rpm. For the average motorist the 200bhp/400lb/ft engine would be far more usable. Even if, given the proper gearing, both engines would be able to accelerate the vehicle in the same amount of time.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Maxb49

    …. acceleration is determined by horsepower, not torque. The idea that torque, not horsepower, determines acceleration is a big misconception.

    Actually, they’re the same thing. One is not more important than the other.

    Here’s a (long winded) but neat explanation. (Why you would drag-race a Neon is beyond me).

    Peak power always determines the top speed however.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Max,

    For example put the average american behind the wheel of a:

    323d with 201bhp at 4100rpm and 295ld/ft at 2000rpm

    or

    Acura TSX with 201bhp at 7000 rpm and 172lb/ft at 4400rmp

    Both have 201bhp but the average driver, scared of a 8000rpm redline, is going to prefer the 323d with its low rpm but high torque engine.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Actually, they’re the same thing. One is not more important than the other.

    Actually, no, they are not the same thing. Torque is a measure of a twisting force, horsepower is a measure of power. These are distinct scientific concepts but people unfamiliar with physics are always confused.

    Horsepower is the product of torque and rpm. An engine that makes a lot of torque at low rpm may have less (in many cases a lot less) than another engine that makes less torque at much higher rpms. In that case, the engine that makes less torque at much higher RPMs will accelerate faster than a car that makes a lot more torque at lower rpms.

    This torque bullshit is all over the Internet, typically perpetuated by diesel guys who own engines making lots of torque but relatively low power. There is even a website that outright states “a car with 300 lb ft of torque and 200 horsepower will walk away from a car with 300 horsepower and 200 lb feet of torque”. This is utter nonsense. More power = greater acceleration. You can get more power by increasing torque, but not necessarily! You can also obtain more power by increasing the RPMs, or both the RPMs and torque.

    Peak power always determines the top speed however.

    Top speed is always determined by power, the car’s frontal area, density of the surrounding air, and the car’s coefficient of drag.

    Power and weight determine the acceleration

  • avatar
    jmo

    Now that I think about it a 323d and a TSX weigh about the same and both have 201bhp high tech 4-cyl engines. It would be interesting to read about how different they feel on the road – one being a high revving gas engine and the other a low revving but high torque diesel.

    TTACs needs a TSX/323d shootout.

  • avatar
    wnoh41

    That section of my comment didn’t read as clearly as I would’ve liked, your analyzation was fair. I don’t believe in a stereotypical right to waste nor do I condone it. I just feel its unfair to crucify people who own an suv because compared to something else its wastefull. Like someone mentioned above if you are going to hate you might as well spread it evenly. Do we all equally hate v8 pony cars due to their waste? I am not an extremist either right or left and I totally agree that the vast majority of suv’s are a waste, but so much is. I care about the planet, I care about the country and so on. Where are the answers? Where do we draw the line? Technically we are all currently wasting electricty commenting with no tangible positive effect. I know we as a country are too wasteful be it suv’s or whatever else and I wish we had solutions. I just feel that ripping people with suv’s as ignorant conservatives or whatever is an easy scapegoat and a little hypocritical considering how well all live these days. I know suv’s waste, but if you want to attack that and that purchasing power then attack al gore’s private jet, attack exotic sports car owners, attack huge mansions… but it never ends. So what do we do?

  • avatar
    jmo

    “a car with 300 lb ft of torque and 200 horsepower will walk away from a car with 300 horsepower and 200 lb feet of torque”

    I’m certainly not arguing there is any difference.

    What I am arguing is that the average driver, trying to pass someone on the highway, is going to prefer a high torque diesel that doesn’t need to downshift, to a low torque gas engine that is going to need a two gear downshift and a screaming race toward redline to pass the same vehicle.

    Just imagine how different a 201bhp 323d is from a 201bhp TSX.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Maxb49

    Actually, they’re the same thing. One is not more important than the other.

    Actually, no, they are not the same thing.

    My phrasing was cumbersome. Torque and Power (as the linked article says) are “two sides of the same coin”.

    More power = greater acceleration. You can get more power by increasing torque, but not necessarily! You can also obtain more power by increasing the RPMs, or both the RPMs and torque.

    Eh? Read the article I linked previously.

    Power, frontal area, coefficient of drag, determine the top speed.

    Errr, Chicken and Egg? Power is required to overcome frontal area/Cd. Read about the power requirements of the Veyron to understand. VW determined fairly early on they’d need ~1,000hp to hit 400km/hr.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    50merc, I am talking about older vehicles that are repossessed. A lot of them are mid to late 1990’s models with anywhere between 150k and 200k.

    The latest SUV I got was a 1998 Suburban with leather and all the options. It was a dealer trade-in, 180k overall, and had been extremely well kept by a lady who primarily used it to tote her kids to private schools and sports practices (judging by the bumper stickers and interior touches). I sold it to a very nice fellow who has a mobile mechanic business.

    The market has completely changed from what you and me traditionally have envisioned it. The 800 lb. gorillas are no longer even half their former weight in the remarketing industry. In fact, I rarely have a reason to go to the traditional sources for inventory. I usually either go directly to the dealers or at independent sales in the area.

    What a difference a recession makes ;)

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    What I am arguing is that the average driver, trying to pass someone on the highway, is going to prefer a high torque diesel that doesn’t need to downshift, to a low torque gas engine that is going to need a two gear downshift and a screaming race toward redline to pass the same vehicle.

    The average driver is going to put the pedal down and pass the guy in front of him. He’s not going give a damn as long as the car does it’s part. If he’s in an automatic, downshifting isn’t going to be an issue.

    Just imagine how different a 201bhp 323d is from a 201bhp TSX.

    In terms of passing power? Not different at all, as the cars will come geared from the factory to optimize performance in their power bands. Given that equal power, each engine in the same car will accelerate the car at an equal rate. If they’re in different cars, given equal power, the lighter car will accelerate faster.

    Errr, Chicken and Egg? Power is required to overcome frontal area/Cd. Read about the power requirements of the Veyron to understand. VW determined fairly early on they’d need ~1,000hp to hit 400km/hr.

    Absolutely incorrect. Power is required to overcome the friction of air, not the vehicle’s coefficient of drag It’s a simple math problem. A car will continue to accelerate until it cannot overcome frictional forces. These friction forces come in the form of air resistance and rolling resistance (tires).

    Veocity = Power/Friction

    The equations relating the Friction due to air resistance is a bit too complex to accurately write in this box. The following article explains the mathematics behind a car’s top speed: http://autopedia.com/stuttgart-west/Physics/StuttPhysics06.html

  • avatar
    jmo

    Given that equal power, each engine in the same car will accelerate the car at an equal rate.

    The average ignorant US driver is going to go “OMG! Redline, the engine is going to explode!” Not realizing that a 3.8L Buick V-6 is just as happy at 3500rpm as a TSX is at 7000rpm.

    The average driver is going to put the pedal down and pass the guy in front of him. He’s not going give a damn as long as the car does it’s part.

    Again, all that you are saying is 100% technically true – but, the average driver is going to be terrified of going over 4000rpm. That being the case, most people are going to be happier with a high torque low rpm diesel than they are with a high bhp high rpm gas engine.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Again, all that you are saying is 100% technically true – but, the average driver is going to be terrified of going over 4 rpm. That being the case, most people are going to be happier with a high torque low rpm diesel than they are with a high bhp high rpm gas engine.

    I’m going to ignore your total disrespect of American people and get right to the point of your post which is absoulte NONSENSE because American drivers drive Corollas and Civics which always break 4,000 rpm when accelerating. I don’t see Honda Civic drivers on the side of the road calling Tripple A aver they pass someone on the highway.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Maxb49

    I think we’re in a semantic area.

    Max power output determines top speed for any vehicle against it’s frontal area/Cd/rolling resistance/density of air etc etc. I don’t believe I contradiced that. You seem to be trying to prescribe power as somehow more important.

    You can’t have one without the other hence my reference to it being a chicken and egg problem.

    The same goes for Power and Torque. It would be helpful if you didn’t make it seem one was more important than the other, especially when they are directly related.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Peter,

    They are related, but power ultimately determines the acceleration of a car. A car with high torque at low rpms can still be out accelerated by a car with significantly less torque at higher rpms. In that sense, horsepower is the figure to look at when comparing vehicles’ ability to accelerate.

  • avatar
    jmo

    American drivers drive Corollas and Civics which always break 4,000 rpm when accelerating

    And you are wrong – I’d be very surprised if the average Corolla driver ever hit 4000rpm.

    A 2009 Honda Accord makes 190bhp at 7000 rpm- may I ask you – on the average, how many times does an average Accord driver hit 7000rpm per month?

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    A 2009 Honda Accord makes 190bhp at 7000 rpm- may I ask you – on the average, how many times does an average Accord driver hit 7000rpm per month?

    You claimed that nobody drove above 4,000 rpm. Civic and Corolla drivers break that all the time when they put the pedal down to pass. End of story.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    As a former driver of real off-road vehicles – Land Rovers, Willys Jeeps and a Toyota FJ45 (the old 1960’s one) – driven in the kind of conditions they were designed for, I have nothing against these kinds of vehicles per se.

    Why do I hate suv’s?

    Mainly the kind of people who drive them: insecure, misinformed, narcissistic, gullible “consumers” that buy them to drive solo to work, to ferry their overweight brats around the suburbs, or to park (usually badly) at the mall.

    As an engineer, the inefficiency of using a badly compromised vehicle for no really good reason is offensive in itself. The awareness that the prime reason for their market success is due to marketing – that is just rubbing salt into the wound.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Maxb49

    They are related, but power ultimately determines the acceleration of a car. …… In that sense, horsepower is the figure to look at when comparing vehicles’ ability to accelerate.

    I’m sorry, but aside from the drag-strip you can’t make that statement. It’s just not that simple. Did you read the article?

  • avatar
    jmo

    Civic and Corolla drivers break that all the time when they put the pedal down to pass. End of story.

    Dude, seriously, I’m am comfortable in saying the average Corolla driver never drives aggressively enough to cause the engine to spin faster than 4000 rpm.

    If you think the average Corolla driver is hitting 4k on the tach on a regular basis you are sadly deluded.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    I’m sorry, but aside from the drag-strip you can’t make that statement. It’s just not that simple. Did you read the article?

    Acceleration is acceleration, whether you’re on a drag strip or interstate highway. You are clearly having difficulty comprehending basic physics and for you to be lecturing someone with an educational background in mathematical physics is absurd. Don’t try to transfer your lack of comprehension on to others, these are simple relationships.

    Power and work are two different things. They aren’t the same thing at all.

    Torque is a rotational force. When this force is applied to a crankshaft, it is doing work. Power is the rate at which work is done.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Dude, seriously, I’m am comfortable in saying the average Corolla driver never drives aggressively enough to cause the engine to spin faster than 4000 rpm.

    If you think the average Corolla driver is hitting 4k on the tach on a regular basis you are sadly deluded.

    Hop in a little car and pass someone on the highway. Watch that tachometer go through the roof. Hell, a Northstar V8 hit 5,000 rpm making a pass on the highway.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Hop in a little car and pass someone on the highway. Watch that tachometer go through the roof.

    What I’m saying is the average Corolla driver never pushes the gas pedal down far enough – even when passing – to cause the engine to spin faster than 4k. Now you may think the average Corolla is drive by 19yo hoons, but the reality is the average Corolla is driven by 55 yo menopausal librarians.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Hop in a little car and pass someone on the highway. Watch that tachometer go through the roof.

    Do you honestly think the average DTS driver is hitting 5k rpm on a regular basis. If the average Boca Raton based, phaeton roofed, white walled, DTS has ever even hit 5k rpm, I will eat my hat.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    What I’m saying is the average Corolla driver never pushes the gas pedal down far enough – even when passing – to cause the engine to spin faster than 4k. Now you may think the average Corolla is drive by 19yo hoons, but the reality is the average Corolla is driven by 55 yo menopausal librarians.

    What you were saying is that an American driver, being somehow inferior to a foreigner, would panic if they accelerated hard in their cars. Those little four cylinder engines rev very high, very fast when you’re accelerating between 45-55 mph making a pass.

  • avatar
    jmo

    What you were saying is that an American driver, being somehow inferior to a foreigner, would panic if they accelerated hard in their cars. Those little four cylinder engines rev very high, very fast when you’re accelerating between 45-55 mph making a pass.

    Exactly – but not just Americans all drivers would feel that way.

    A 2010 Camry makes 169bhp from its 2.5L 4-cyl. A 2010 Suzuki Hayabusa makes 171bhp from its 1.3L: 4-cyl. Put the Hayabusa engine in a Camry and you think the average driver isn’t going to notice a difference?* The average driver is going to prefer the high torque low rpm engine every time.

    * Obviously, it goes without saying, the Hayabusa engined Camry would be geared differently than the standard engined Camry.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ Maxb49

    You need some exposure to racing data traces, or to bone up on gearing/torque/power dyno curves/areas.

    You choose a car with higher power and I’ll chose one with higher torque than yours. Other things being equal (driven wheels, mass), in gear I’ll kill you, and on a twisty track, I’ll get round quicker. If both cars are optimally geared, you’d likely win the drag “race”.

    Don’t try to transfer your lack of comprehension on to others, these are simple relationships.

    So simple in fact that someone with a “educational background in mathematical physics” shouldn’t be claiming one over the other as more important! That’s all I’ve been suggesting.

    Power = Force * Velocity

    or,

    Force = Power / Velocity

  • avatar
    jEarlz

    “I can now easily buy a vehicle loaded with leather and all the options for less than 2 grand wholesale.”

    ahh…freedom of speech; use it wisely

  • avatar
    ronin

    Who cares why people might want an SUV? If they can afford it, let them have it. How come we need to judge what vehicle people choose to own in a free market, and how come we need to judge the drivers? Driving an SUV believe it or not is not a moral issue.

    People don’t understand what I drive, and that’s fine with me. I don’t believe my opinion is superior, just different.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I was hauled around as a kid in a 54 Suburban. Back when they were a panel truck with windows and seats. Then VW buses. Six kids, Mom , Dad, and Grandpa. Not the luxo barges of today. I used Grandwags to cart my kids around during their formative years. I still have one. It gets driven about 1k miles annually.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    jmo :
    That being the case, most people are going to be happier with a high torque low rpm diesel than they are with a high bhp high rpm gas engine.

    Bit of a side argument, but does anybody really still think that diesel is ever going to become even remotely popular on this continent?

    I’m pretty sure the entire American driving public has decided diesels are smelly and noisy.

    Besides, after being introduced to an entire range of vehicles that make no noise at all, (hybrids, the chosen FutureCar of the masses), do you really think diesels have a snowball’s chance in hell?

    About as likely as soccer becoming our national sport. Give it up.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Though I have no stats, I have a theory that incidents of road rage increased proportionately with the # of SUVs [and cell phones]on the road.

    Of course maybe driver assholism is just more obvious when it’s done by the driver of an SUV.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I don’t hate SUVs. I’ve always been fine with the idea of living in a free country and letting people make their own purchase decisions, even when those decisions are different than mine.

    I’ve always thought the Chevy Suburban was one of the best vehicles available – like having a Silverado with a factory installed cap over the bed. As long as you didn’t intend to stack cargo above the roof line, it’s very very practical.

    I’ve never had an SUV, but maybe it’s time to start looking at them.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I have two SUVs and an eco box. I bought the Civic a year ago for a long commute to keep it’s miles off of a Jeep I have that is now just an in-progress off-road toy. I really don’t like driving the Civic and miss the Jeep a lot, so on nights and weekends the Civic just sits in the driveway.

    I love having SUVs. They’ve been the best vehicles I’ve bought as they have no limits. Plenty of room for when you need it, nice view up top, four-wheel drive, big tires, comfortable, and great for road trips and going off pavement into God’s country.

    IMHO, SUV haters are either hypocritical environmentalists or just someone that hates someone else having something that they can’t afford to buy or drive. But then I’m okay with their hate as the fuel their saving in not owning one is all the better for me. (lol)

  • avatar
    shaker

    jmo: “Do you honestly think the average DTS driver is hitting 5k rpm on a regular basis. If the average Boca Raton based, phaeton roofed, white walled, DTS has ever even hit 5k rpm, I will eat my hat.”

    It happens more often than you think; usually when mowing down pedestrians on the sidewalk.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    I see the fuel economy stats for most larger sedans and wagons today and laugh at how they get SUV-like mileage.

    A rear-drive Expedition should average 17mpg.

    I’m flipping through Car & Driver and see that the hot hatches are getting low 20s only. The Audi S4 and BMW 330i averaged 18mpg, or basically the same as a full size SUV! Minivans average 19mpg.

    So if I had an Expedition and downsized it, I would still get the same fuel economy!

    Why bother then?

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Do I hate SUV’s? No. Do they annoy the h*ll out of me ? YES.

    * They are less likely to see me on my motorcycle than a normal sized car

    * They are more likely to kill me or my wife in our subcompact cars in a collision

    * When I HAVE driven one, I always feel like i’m going to “tip” (Don’t ask me which model…I’ve felt it over a couple models and it was many years ago)

    * Less likely to be stick (My preference for my 70 mile roundtrip commute on the highway)

    * Eat almost as much gas as my sports car and are not fun at all (definitely just my opinion)

    * SUV drivers seem to enjoy talking more than driving (definitely also just my opinion.)

    * They don’t seem to have a lot of interior space compared to the minivans I’ve driven (maz 5, and the kia one — forgot the name)

    * I can’t see over/around them in traffic. They also seem to tailgate me (moreso when I’m on my sport bike).

    If people want to drive them, that is fine, but IMHO because of physics they should be a different licensing class. Going from say, a vw beetle or rabbit to a navigator is a huge change in physics!

  • avatar

    1. Snark check
    B. SUV hating check
    iii. Bogus phyics check
    four, Freedom hating check
    V. It’s good for u check

    Needs moar irony!

    Edit: and Vista Cruiser

  • avatar
    volvo

    Wow! SUV hate-fest and online physics lesson all in one post.

    I wish you all would give those cute small CUVs a little love.

    I started my car ownership with a 1969 2002 in 1969 and pretty much stayed with Euro sport sedans/wagons until now.

    For my new car I wanted AWD to avoid putting on chains when in the mountains. sufficient ground clearance to use on fire roads and enough power to pass other cars going uphill in the mountains at 55mph.

    I researched most vehicles out there and purchased a V6 AWD RAV4 about 9 months ago. It has turned out to be one of the better vehicles I have owned.

    270hp, AWD, reasonable clearance. 25mpg combined on regular gas. Drives like a car. $26K OTD.

    Like many posters I wanted a wagon and cross shopped:

    Outback – Standard boxer 4 underpowered. Turbo and 6 need premium gas, get poor mileage and cost significantly more than RAV4.

    Volvo XC70 – $16,000 more than RAV4. Wife found seats uncomfortable (go figure).

    CRV – Underpowered.

    AWD BMW and Audi – Costly with less ground clearance.

    Recently completed a 4,000 mile road trip in the West and the mpg gizmo says 26.8mpg for the entire trip which included significant amounts of two lane mountain driving.

    Best features of this vehicle – Sitting up where I can see what is around me combined with car like handling (not sports car handling).

    This “small” CUV meets my needs better than any other alternative I could find.

    For those with towing need a body on frame SUV probably is what they need.

    For carrying tofu and arugula back from the farmers’ market a Smart, Versa or a decent pair of New Balance shoes will meet your needs.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Hmmm, why aren’t the mythical “average Americans” diesel engine fans?

    Most drivers could care less how fast the motor is spinning while doing its thing. In fact, I’m puzzled why tachometers are installed in so many automatic transmission equipped vehicles. How many people pay any attention to them? I do, but I’m a car nut. Most people could care less what RPM the engine is spinning at. They may care about noise and vibration, but not RPMs. Diesels do not win any noise and vibration contests!

    BTW, I checked my Bible and there are no God Given Rights enumerated in there anywhere. Quite the contrary actually. The Bible delineates numerous restrictions on human behavior. For example, how does a God who denies you the right to eat pork somehow also give you the right to drive an SUV? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Like_the_Quran-_does_the_Bible_prohibit_people_from_eating_pork_too

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    SUVs (and oversized trucks) are actually quite
    useful – they consume large quantities of
    gasoline, which helps to ensure that the world’s
    supply of petroleum will be used up more quickly
    than if we all drove Civics; since they use so
    much gasoline, they help to keep people employed
    in the petroleum industry who might otherwise be
    unemployed (or unemployable); they generate a
    much higher proportion of tax revenue than the
    aforementioned Civics (gas taxes, sales taxes for
    parts, etc).

    And to the lefties who are concerned about air
    pollution caused by motor vehicles: let me
    suggest that the two biggest environmental
    problems the world faces are (1) overpopulation,
    and (2) the supply of fresh (i.e., drinkable)
    water. Air pollution caused by automobiles (and
    rapid transit, trucks, freight railroads, power
    plants, steel factories, et.) is way, way down
    on the list of serious enviornmental concerns.
    [Comment trolling—edited by Staff]

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “BDB :
    October 17th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Now maybe I’m ready to get into a new class of well-hated vehicles–Prius.

    I don’t honestly get Prius hate. ”

    I was not a hater, but used to dismiss the prius, until I rented one on a business trip in April 09m (LAX area) and again in June 09. Three days total, 50++ city, 47 MPG highway to San Diego, and in June even better, 62 and 69 MPG on leisurly drives on the coast south of LA.

    It handled well, felt sure-footed, was not boring, and gets UNbeeffinglievable mileage. 10 to 30 MPG ABOVE any other HYBRID!

    I may buy one for myself when the price is right, even the Gen II I drove was great, the new one (why do they call it prius IV? there were only two different body styles before it) is even better.

    If I lived in the LA area I sure would buy one and recommend one to most others.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Congratulations, volvo, for stating so well the case for cute utes, especially the RAV4. Millions of Americans agree and have voted with their dollars. I might join them.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    If the Prius comes up with a wagon, it will sell 100,000s a year, on top of those the sedan/hatch prius is selling. provided the styling is still OK.

    And I bet it will still make, if not 50 MPG as the sedan, at least 45-48.

    Vastly superior to any hybrid Escape or Mariner or Rav4 or CR-V.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    @Mikein08
    You don’t have to be an’uberleftie’ to be annoyed with SUV’s…all you need to do is go for a drive any day of the week and count all the morons (usually ALONE, often yaking on their cell phone) while their road hippo blocks other’s views, puts drivers of more sensibly-sized vehicles at increased risk of death or severe injury in a collision, and sucks up more oil (that our soldiers of dying over, and that we spend untold billions of gov’t money every year to secure) and spews out more pollutants….

    Most giant SUV driver’s use their vehicles capabilities a FRACTION of the time, and for the rest of the time, we all get to put up with roads clogged with these land-whales.

    Free country, free choice etc, etc, yeah…but if one drives a vehicular F-you to the rest of us, don’t act suprised when ‘the rest of us’ give you a middle finger in return.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    I certainly am no ueber-leftie, having voted for anybody BUT the Dems since 1998. (I have not bothered to change my Dem registration, tho).

    The low-MPG issue (mostly SUVs and Pickups people do not need but buy to pose as whatever) has another most important dimension:

    There is no doubt that US-hating terrorists are funded by OIL REVENUES from Opec, and especially from Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    The most efficient way to really strangle terrorism is to cut off their $ supply.

    Decreasing oil consumtion modestly usually produces a Huge drop in oil prices.

    I still am not in favor of outlawing these Obese breadvan on stilts StupidUglyVehicles, but I am strongly in favor of a huge gas tax (offset by an equal tax cut elsewhere!).

    If we had $6 and $9 gas as they do in Europe, those automotive atrocities SUVs (and obese crossovers!) would not rear their ugly heads on our highways.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    You choose a car with higher power and I’ll chose one with higher torque than yours. Other things being equal (driven wheels, mass), in gear I’ll kill you

    You are an example of why this country needs better science and math education. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You give me a car with more power, and you a car with more torque, I’ll kick your ass on the track every time.

    I have correctly said that horsepower is the figure to look at if you want to compare acceleration and speed. Torque is but one component of power.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    As an engineer (though not mechanical) let me try to explain the torque vs hp dilemma.

    First lets underline that the power (hp) is a product of torque at certain rpm and that rpm.

    As a first example let’s say you are cruising at say 100km/h in a petrol engined car at 3500 rpm which at that point is in it’s highest gear. At the same speed a diesel car (turbo common rail) would cruise at 2500 rpm simply because diesel engine would yield enough power for 100km/h at lower rpm with somewhat longer top gear. This is due to the fact that modern diesel engines have much much more torque at lower rpm.
    Now if you need to overtake you put your foot down, in the petrol car, if you have a good automatic it will immediately kickdown in order to get your engine in the max power band which is 5k to 6k and above rpm. Now after a little bit of time due to inertia the engine will get to 5000+ rpm and you will have close to max of engine’s power which along with the shorter gearing will enable you to accelerate very quickly.
    On the other hand in the diesel car, you put your foot down and you immediately accelerate since you are already in you max power band. Your are slightly hampered by the long gearing but the torque is immense.
    This all means that basically if you have a good auto transmission and a petrol engine that likes to rev (gets to higher revs quickly) the acceleration is basically the same or even better for the petrol car since the peak power is greater. The petrol engine will consume much more fuel for this manoeuvre but that is beside the point.

    As a second example take a relaxed cruising and accelerating when you are not pressing the accelerator pedal to the limit. What happens is that your auto transmission is in the economic mode and will upshift at say 2500 or 3000 rpm which means that you get much much stronger acceleration in the diesel car than in the petrol simply because in the economic mode of the diesel engine your turbine is already spinning and you are in you peak power range already. You just touch your pedal and your car accelerates as if pushed by the hand of god. That sensation of power in the economic mode when you don’t need to downshift is what sells diesels in Europe. The sensation of acceleration at 2500 rpm in a typical diesel 2 litre car is incomparable to the sensation in a 2 litre atmospheric petrol. I love that sensation.
    Also don’t forget Europeans drive manual and lot of us are lazy to downshift to 5000rpm in a petrol 2 litre.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Maxb49:
    You give me a car with more power, and you a car with more torque, I’ll kick your ass on the track every time.

    I have correctly said that horsepower is the figure to look at if you want to compare acceleration and speed.
    ___________________________
    There are still other things that need to be taken into account like track/weather conditions, vehicle weight, weight distribution, driven wheels, tires, transmission type, gearing, number of gears, and downforce.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    rpiotr01 :

    If anything annoys me it’s driving habits. I’ve been tailgated by reckless Civics and passed SUVs doing 55 in the right lane. The driver makes a big difference. If they drive with a modicum of courtesy everything is cool.

    I’m with you on this one.

    Somebody else mentioned that the sheer size of some of these SUVs can make driving (turning at intersections, etc) dangerous. I agree with this as well.

    Therefore, I always make every attempt to pass them on the road except when I’m turnning soon or if they’re going a lot faster than the speed limit. I don’t like having something that big in front of me blocking my view of the road.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Americans quite loved SUVs and we now love CUVs. We used to love station wagons. All the same thing really.
    I hope to annoy many people someday by owning a HUMMER H3 or a Dodge Nitro
    Possibly an automatic V6 convertible Mustang as well

  • avatar
    NickR

    Mostly because they use way too much gas, pouring emissions into the atmosphere, and increasing everyone’s dependence on foreign oil. Because they were a shining example of Detroit’s design indolence and inability to plan for the future. Because they block my sightlines. Most the people who had them didn’t need them.

  • avatar
    p00ch

    To those who ask why sports cars don’t get bashed as much as SUVs:

    1. sports cars, especially high-end models, are only driven a handful of miles each year;
    2. sports cars do not obstruct other drivers’ views;
    3. a sports car’s bumper won’t tear your head off in a low-speed collision (regardless of what you’re driving).

    And one must be quite naive to think that SUV-hate stems from envy.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ marjanmm

    Thanks for your contribution. I think my friend Maxb49 forgets that neither power (nor torque) exists simply as a “peak”. The shape of each curve determines vehicle performance.

    @ Maxb49

    You are an example of why this country needs better science and math education.

    I’m even more pleased to be an Australian then.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    I always railed against SUV’s when they were popular because I thought they were limiting my choices as a consumer. I knew Detroit’s over-reliance on them would come back to bite them in the ass. I started defending them when the environMENTALists labeled them humanity’s greatest plague, I’m instantly for anything greenies are against. Now I just find it great that you can buy something four wheel drive for less than five grand. Such deals were unheard of no too many years ago. Good times for people who actually need such vehicles.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “I’m instantly for anything greenies are against.”

    You might want to think really, really hard about the implications of a “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” way of reacting to situations.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Way late to the party, but I’ll chip in as well. I don’t hate SUVs and their owners; however, I do think that most SUV owners would have been better off with something else. I get a laugh nearly every time I’m driving down the main feeder road that links my subdivision to the freeway. Invariably there’s a middle class mom taking her kids to school in a Suburban/Explore/Land Crusher. What makes me laugh is seeing them turn to the right to straddle the small dips created by the slightly depressed manhole covers in one section of this road, dips that I barely feel when I drive over them in my Mazda6. These SUVs have probably never even been driven on a dirt road least of all a 4WD road on a hunting/fishing trip to the middle of nowhere. The waste isn’t laughable, but to see these women baby them certainly is ironic.

  • avatar
    L3ridgit

    I own a 93 2500 Suburban 4×4 with the 454, so I’m not even saving on fuel cost buy having a diesel… but even when the pets aren’t in the back and the 31 foot trailer isn’t attached I love driving it just to get groceries… we have four seasons here… I know my suburban is too long between the front and back axle to do rock climbing in Moab, but it’s wonderful in January in Salt Lake City… I will have to agree that it has less interior space than you would think for being a tank… but still enough room for 5 passengers and a full sized mountain bike inside… plus a day’s shopping…

    I have owned coupes and sedans and FWD a RWD and smaller trucks… and as much as I wish I got better MPG I will never trade my 5 ton tow capacity for anything… throw a 5 ton come along and 5 ton tow chain with j hook in the back during winter just to rescue wagons and minivans (and sedans and coupes…) none of which weigh 5 tons… but neither does my trailer… it’s just under 4 tons… but I like a little margin of safety… can your wagon or minivan drive through 2 feet of snow with it’s stock height?

    I have all the torque I will ever need even with the trailer thanks to my 7.4L… and yes it’s an automatic… but it’s my first…oh, and I hate my cup holders… *curses GM* did I mention rear heat is nice for stretching out and sleeping in the back… I <3 16 MPG city for all my Suburban does for me during 2/3 of my use of it…

    I am still somewhat practical… If it's just me that needs to go somewhere and not half of my life too… I have a motorcycle (still need to build a rack for it on the tail of the trailer though… )

    call me if you need something towed… like a broken down minvan or wagon with overpriced parts?

    =P

    *hides from the poo flinging opinionated haters*

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    John Horner made me laugh … again :-)

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    KGrGunMan – i hate small suv’s with a passion(wrangler excluded), rav4, crv, escape. holding 5 people and can’t tow anything, they all seem pointless JUST GET A HATCHBACK/WAGON and every aspect would be improved.

    BULLSHIT! I hauled about 500 lbs of firewood this weekend to a scout campout with my ten year old CR-V. 185K miles. Pulled my Brenderup 1205S trailer loaded down with everything. Used the AWD repeatedly to crawl through the MUDDY fields and I’m proud to say I was one of the FEW who did not get stuck. When I couldn’t go forward I went backwards and then forward again and was free. Never had to have the BSA tractor “save” me like I saw several fullsized SUVs and minivans which simply sunk as soon as they reached the mud due to their weight.

    It’s not an ideal HD tow vehicle but then I don’t tow 10,000 lbs of anything ever. It IS ideal for hauling up to 5 people and alot of stuff and towing up to 1500 lbs. We drove it 700 miles each way this summer for vacation and it was perfect for a family of four. The Brenderup makes it even better.

    FWIW I got 25 mpg combined for 150 miles including 500 lbs of wood, 400 lbs of trailer and a few hundred pounds of us and camping stuff.

    By comparison I average 25-26 mpg no matter what we do with it and have since new. Our all time high was about 29 mpg on vacation to the Smokey Mtns and our all time low was about 20 mpg towing a car dolly about 50 miles with a DOA Plymouth Acclaim on it.

    There IS a place for large vehicles and small. My needs day in and day out call for a small vehicle with the Brenderup doing my pickup duty and it TYPICALLY hauls more than I see Ford Rangers and GM Colorados hauling around here.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Layman talking here: Where can you buy vehicles ‘wholesale’ and where can you get a half decent suburban for 2k? Anyone? Because I haven’t a clue.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Generally, you raise your hand up at the dealer auction and if the number is less than 2k… you’re there.

    Another option is to buy it directly from the dealers.

    Then you have banks that repossess vehicles and hold their own sales.

    Retail wise a well kept Suburban/Expedition from the late 90’s will be anywhere from $3k to $5k given options, mileage, and condition. However well kept Explorers and Blazeresque vehicles of the same vintage can be had for $2k to $2500 retail. There are so many in the market right now that it’s hard to get rid of them. I just bought a garage kept Explorer for $900 yesterday.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    This post has been stewing in my mind for a few days. I’m not interesting in joining MASUV (Mothers Against SUVs) but I do agree that they are exorbitant in some cases.

    What I don’t agree with is this whole meme about “just buy a wagon instead” and “I hate cute-utes”. I bought a used CR-V in 2006 and for the most part I think of it more as a car than an SUV. During that time, there weren’t many choices in the realm of “station wagons” to choose from. Now I see more interesting wagons on the market but I’m not in the mood to ditch my vehicle just because. Hatchbacks were not as useful as they are becoming (e.g. Honda Fit).

    Here’s the thing though, I find my CR-V extremely useful and it puts the “U” firmly where it belongs in SUV. It’s basically a block on wheels with a pointing section at the front where the engine goes, so the interior shape is conducive to loading up a ton of stuff (I even fit a full sized shopping cart and 4 people in there one time and a motorized Laz-E-Boy recliner another time). It has a shorter overall length than my old Integra so it’s easy to park and the 4-cylinder engine gets okay gas mileage. I like that extra ground clearance so that I can hop the curb and back it into my front yard to load up when we go camping. That same ground clearance helps me from plowing deep snow after a blizzard and I like the variable 4WD that kicks in with the heaps of snow and ice we get each year.

    It’s too bad that cute-utes have gone soft since, with style over substance being the raison d’etre. I saw a VW Tiguan parked the other day and it looked like you might be able to fit a roll of toiler paper behind the back seat in the cargo area if you’re lucky (or 4 if you stack them on top of each other).

  • avatar
    StatisticalDolphin

    There is no substitute for being at the top of the automotive food chain.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I used to have fun with people at work when they wanted to show me their new SUV in the parking lot that they had just bought. My first question was always, “What are you towing with it?”, knowing dam well not a thing. Needless to say I got a lots of dumbfounded looks.

    Currently I need a vehicle that can carry 2 adults, 3 kids in car seats, 2 dogs and lots of gear. It also needs to be able to pull one of my 3 boats during the summer, one which tips the scales at just under 4 tons. As well as a loaded snowmobile trailer safely on snowy icey roads in the winter. Not many cars, vans or pick-ups that will do that.

    Eventually ours will be parked and be used soley as a tow vehicle. As gas goes back up I think you’ll see a lot of people that truly need these types of vehicles doing the same thing. The days of doing 30 mile or longer daily commutes in full size SUV’s are coming to an end.

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