Machismo. I think it's the biggest reason for people buying SUVs. Most people would be better off with a minivan....
Wiat a minute, minivans are notoriously bad in crash tests. They carry a higher fatality rate in collisions with other cars than any other class of auto. Remind me again why the family soccer mom is better off with a minivan?
Now, changing the subject to oen I care about, some of the anti-SUV crowd has their head misplaced too. I am an avid camper, and I like the desert. Places like Canyonlands National Park in Utah are incredible...
But the thing about Canyonlands, and many other similar places, that most people don't realize, is that that 95% of it is inaccessible without motorized transport.
By inaccessible, I don't mean "inaccessible to those unwilling to backpack it." I mean INACCESSIBLE. There's usually no water. The native peoples who lived in little pockets in the area centuries ago enjoyed a much wetter climate, and even then they had to carefully collect water from puddles on top of the mesas. Trying to hike it is prety much suicide.
Jeep trails were well established by uranium miners in the '50s. Jeepers who go into the park have a strong wilderness ethic, and stay on the trails. I'm one of those, and camping is one of my reasons for owning an SUV.
There are people constantly pushing for SUV's to be banned from the national parks and forests, and they've succeeded in a lot of places. Never mind that those parks are now accessible to only the young, physically fit people able to hike it (or, in some cases, nobody)--it goes right against the National Park's purpose of establishing the parks to be protected on order that they may be enjoyed for generations to come--they're protected, sure, but who's enjoying them? I'm young and relatively fit right now, but if I suffer a knee injury like my mom did, I'll not be able to take a backpacking trip again.
on a side note: The largest vehicle anyoe would want to take on an actual wilderness trail is the Toyota 4Runner. The expedition, excursion, etc are abominations as far as I can tell. Better than the 4runner are short-wheelbase vehicles like the 2-door Montero, or the old Suzukis--but good luck finding those in America, Consumer Reports did them in in '88 by showing how you could roll the Suzuki Samurai by driving it like an idiot at high speeds and treating it like a car. Anything that looked like the Samurai wouldn't sell any more It's a wonder the Wrangler is still on the market.
Consumer Reports then continued to blast all remaining realSUVs with comments like "it handles like a truck" (it IS a truck, dipshit), and recommended vehicles whose suspensions bottomed out on modest dirt roads (a fact that they noted, but glossed over.) Thus encouraging SUVs to become bigger, cushier, and softer. I blame them for a great deal of the the current SUV "problem."
Ok, that's my rant. Do whatever you will about the SUV "problem". But leave me my wilderness and my means of using it.
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