The Infamous SUV.
We love em, because millions of them are sold and driven each year, Yet we love to hate them because they are big and guzzle gas. I’ve compiled some of the reasons some of the obvious, some of them not so obvious that you may want to look at when deciding to buy or own one of these big rigs.
Why you may want one:
Durability / Reliability: Let's face it, the American car builders, who build most of the SUV's on the road, do an excellent job of building big vehicles. After all, they have good experience at it! Most SUV's are built on full-frame, rear-drive truck chassis, which are made to take considerable abuse. The mechanicals in most of these trucks are tried and true designs that have been fine-tuned over the many years the American companies have been using them in both trucks, and previously, in their cars.
Reduce solid waste: Yes, now this sounds odd being that an SUV has much more metal and other components than a car does, BUT take a look at the previous remark! If an SUV is more durable, reliable, and can take abuse better, chances are it will last longer than a car would. This means it will outlast a car, and therefore may reduce solid waste. What does this mean to the average person though…read the next line
Value: Yes, another one that may leave you scratching your head, but remember the last two lines! Yes, an SUV costs much more than a comparable car, BUT because it is built on that truck frame again, it will last longer, and will continue to provide good , reliable transportation long after it's paid off. The powerful engine of an SUV spins much slower at highway speeds than that of a compact car, so in theory, it will last longer
Crash safety: Just face it, there's more metal there to protect you, and a full frame to keep the emergency services from needing a can opener (jaws of life) to get you out if you end up in a wreck!
Handling safety: The safe handling of an SUV is a debatable one, but one factor stands out among all others that makes an SUV safer. Because they are built on a truck chassis, they are made to handle large, heavy loads. Many claim the SUV to be less safe because the truck chassis does not handle as good as a car, and that they roll over easier. This may be true when the vehicle is unloaded, but the tide turns when the truck-based SUV is loaded up heavily. Chances are, you have passed a family headed out on vacation in a small, front-wheel drive car with luggage strapped to the top, teenagers in the back with their knees up against their chest, the rear bumper dragging the ground, and the headlights up in the air. This is a highly dangerous situation. Chances are though, you never even paid attention to the family vacationing with an SUV, that's because all the passengers have a safe amount of room, there is plenty of cargo room, and the vehicle's suspension is handling the load.
Poor condition handling: Most people say the reason why they like an SUV are because they have four-wheel drive. Previously, trucks and SUV's were the only vehicles to offer four-wheel drive, but lately there have been many cars that do the same. The advantage of an SUV with 4WD is that if you need them, you can combine the other good abilities into your vehicle for that much more versatility. SUV's handle snow, rain, mud, sand, and many other issues with ease as long as the driver knows hot to properly control the vehicle!
Effiency: Yes, you read that correctly…efficency. Even a six-year-old can tell you that if you take 8 people, and put two of them in 4 Mazda Miata's that get 40 MPG, you're only getting about 10 MPG. Take those same people, and let them ride in a single Chevy Suburban that only gets 20 MPG on the highway, and you've effectively doubled your fuel mileage for the trip…not to mention taken three extra cars off the road that will help in binding up traffic.
Good visibality: There's no doubt that a tall truck does allow a person to see ahead, and plan maneuvers in critical situations much better, but here are some other visibality issues to think about too. If you like to tow trailers, of course, the SUV is a good vehicle to do it in, especially because it's easy to see over the top of most boats to the traffic behind. SUV's being wider and having larger mirrors also frequently do not require additional trailering mirrors when towing something like a camper. Back to towing that boat, because your truck is sitting up taller, the other traffic can see the taillights and signals not only on your boat trailer, but on the back of your truck!
So here it is to sum it up, If you:
Carry a lot of passengers, cargo, or both either at the same time, or separately
Plan on owning your vehicle for a very long time
Plan on frequently subjecting your vehicle to operating extremes not normal to everyday driving, like off-roading, or towing trailers,
And need the added bit of safety a larger vehicle can afford your large clan of people going down that dirt country road
An SUV is is a good vehicle for you!!!….BUT
You shouldn't have one because:
Inefficency:Now this sounds counter-productive to what I had previously mentioned in the last "pro's" section, but this pertains to using an SUV for daily transportation of a single person. Many people use an SUV for commuting and daily errand-running where a small car will do the job just fine. Accelerating 5000 pounds of steel between traffic lights takes tremendous amounts of power. Basically, there's no sence in using this much truck to haul around one 150 pound person, and about 20 pounds of groceries!
Marginal handling: Are you a driver that likes to blast around turns and pull G's. Well, if you are, an SUV is not the vehicle for you. SUV's are not designed to handle turns quickly, they are designed to carry large loads, and handle poor terrain (see above) if you want to go fast…get a sports car! If you want to go fast AND haul a bunch of your friends around…make sure I’m not riding with you, or anywhere near you on the road, because these two combinations do NOT mix!
Expense: Do you like to get a new vehicle every few years, if so, purchasing an SUV can be a real waste of money. These vehicles are an expensive way to stay in style, not just to purchase, but also to operate. If you are just using one for personal transportation, consider that an SUV's larger engine takes more oil, more coolant, larger air filters, and many other parts, and not to mention gasoline. Insurance for an SUV is typically higher too. If you are not using one of these rigs to it's maximum capabilities, you're throwing money away!
Comfort: Many of the latest SUV's come with the gadgets that your fine luxury cars have, like leather seats, navigation systems, and DVD players. With these tempting things, it's hard to convince yourself that what you have here is a truck! Trucks have firm suspension to handle rough terrain and heavy loads. When they are not performing this job, the ride is very unforgiving. Not to mention the truck engines used in these vehicles, while being very well built engines, are not designed to be smooth and quiet, they are made to perform and work hard! Yes, SUV's do have as much, if not more room than your fine Cadillac, or Mercedes sedan, but you also don't need to climb into those cars either!
Environmental concerns: The most common argument about the SUV is how much fuel they use. One must not forget the tremendous size of these vehicles, and the amount of materials and energy that goes into building one. Like I mentioned before, if you are a person that likes to replace their vehicle frequently, the SUV is not for you, especially if you are concerned for the care of the environment.
Size: The amount of room inside an SUV is great if you are carrying lots of people or cargo, but what do you do with all that extra mass when it's empty? Well, most SUV drivers are looking for parking spaces big enough to accommodate their beasts, or once they find one, are spending an eternity blocking up a parking lot while they go back and forth between gears trying to shimmy it between those two Hondas that they can't see anyway because they are below the window line of the vehicle!
So, to sum THIS up, if you
Drive you vehicle solo and with very little cargo
Primarily drive for commuting or for stop and go city driving
Like to drive and take turns fast
Have good weather, and stay on the road for most of your journeys
Like a nice quiet, vehicle
Then an SUV is not the best vehicle for you!
Synopsis:The modern SUV is a big versatile vehicle that will do many jobs well be it hauling people, cargo, trailers, or traveling in places that cars won't get. The problem is that the general driving public does not need a vehicle that does all of this. An SUV in the hands of the average driver is a pure waste of money and resources!