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[P]
SUVs, stability, tires & the media

By djx in Op-Ed
Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:41:38 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Tonight on Dateline, there was a report on SUV rollover accidents. This in of itself is not really k5-worthy, but I do have problems with the media hyping this up too much.

I know this may start a war between SUV people (myself included, I drive a 1985 Dodge RamCharger) and non-SUV people, but it should make for decent discussion. Here begins the rant. . .


As you all know, the recent Firestone and Ford problems have really ignited the SUV / Anti-SUV war. Yes, Firestone did make some tires that have a tendancy to experience catastrophic tread separation. However, Ford is at least partially to blame for this as well. Ford recommended that the Wilderness tires used on many of their trucks be underinflated to compensate for sidewall strength issues and for ride performance.

Let me begin with sidewall strength. For starters, a tire that has a weak sidewall need not be used on any on-road vehicle. Period. With that said, a weak sidewall condition can be stiffened somewhat with an increase in tire pressure, not a decrease. Overinflation causes accelerated tire wear, however. On a truck, the strength of a tire's sidewall is very important due to the intended load and higher center of gravity. Sidewall strength plays a critical part in the vehicle's ability to corner. A weak sidewall (either due to tire design or inflation) will give way under moderate to severe cornering loads, whereas a stiffer sidewall will not buckle as easily.

However, with more and more people buying SUV's lately, ride quality is becoming more of an issue. Tires with a very rigid sidewall give less under normal driving conditions, causing the suspension to absorb more shock in regular driving and therefore giving a rougher ride. By using a weaker sidewall tire, the suspension need not work as much to give a softer ride.

Since SUV's are so damn popular with everyone these days, I think that people need to stop and think, "What can this SUV do that a minivan / big car can't?" The obvious answer to this is that a minivan implies uncoolness/lameness/whatever, as does a big car. SUV's are the latest thing, right? So when I go to buy a new car, I should get an SUV because my neighbor just got a new Expedition. However, for most people, the chances of their shiny new SUV going off-road are about as good as me winning the lotto. So, for most people, a minivan will haul all of their family/friends/stuff around without as many safety problems. So what if you don't drive up to the bar in your bigass Suburban?

For the small percentage of us who do actually take our SUV's on serious off-road trips (not just going splashing through the mud after a good storm), we know about the risks involved in driving our trucks. We make educated decisions about tires. We don't just go buy 44" BFGoodrich tires because the look "cool." We buy them because we want the ground clearance and sidewall strength. We don't lift our trucks because it looks cool, it's practical. And with all of this, we know that there is indeed a risk of rollover accidents. We lessen this as much as possible by driving more carefully.

Well, with all that said, I feel better. I don't mean to single out Ford, because all SUV's have rollover problems. Ford just makes the easiest target right now. However, most SUV drivers are indeed idiots who bought their shiny Expeditions and 4Runners and Land Crusiers becasue they want to be "rugged" or whatever. They should be shot.

For making it all the way down here, here's a little bit of MLP for you: The Ultimate Poseur's SUV Page.

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Poll
I drive a(n):
o SUV 5%
o car 43%
o minivan 2%
o other 11%
o I don't drive 26%
o I'm not old enough to drive yet 2%
o rusty 7%

Votes: 169
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Dateline
o SUV rollover accidents.
o Firestone
o Ford
o BFGoodrich
o The Ultimate Poseur's SUV Page
o Also by djx


Display: Sort:
SUVs, stability, tires & the media | 83 comments (75 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Land Yaght. (3.12 / 8) (#4)
by Dr Caleb on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 12:38:22 AM EST

Personally, I prefer a large luxury car to an SUV.

I believe in using things for their intended purpose. A hammer is for pounding nails, not a monkey wrench. No one (I believe) would take their new $50k Lexus SUV off road, in the manner it was intended. I used to have a Jeep for that.

But now I don't need a Jeep. I like a big vehicle, with air ride suspension, big V-8 (decent on gas), leather interior, power everything and a trunk big enough for a family of 3. I drive about 5000km per month, and I like to be comfortable.

So I paid $35k for my new Crown Victoria, and laugh at people who pay $55-60k for an new SUV and are afraid to get it dirty!

HA! Ha ha!


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.

Settled on an Accord (1.50 / 2) (#7)
by skim123 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:12:02 AM EST

So I paid $35k for my new Crown Victoria

I looked at that too, that an high-end Oldsmobiles, too. I like the big cars too, the CrownVic has a fucking oversized bus-stop bench for a front seat! I'm not into the image thing with cars too much, but I thought it would be funny for a 22 year old to own an Oldsmobile or the like, seeing as the only person who owns an Olds that I know are my grandparents.

Anywho, I settled on a high-end Honda Accord, a little less roomy, but a really nice drive and very comfortable (already packed on 7,000 miles in the past four months).

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Buick Regal, baby (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by rusty on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 03:56:34 AM EST

My last car was a big-ass Buick Regal, white with the granny blue cloth top (not convertible, just one of those random cloth covered roofs). Everyone hated it but me, but that car rocked. 3.8 liter V6, power everything, and boy did that thing ride comfy. Plus you could fit the population of Iceland in the backseat. Anyway, I was 22/23 when I had that car. If you do buy a land yacht as a young person, be prepared for a lot of mockery. I just smiled and threatened to run them over. Plus, I was complimented by a South American generalissimo in a minivan with diplomatic plates whom I had just rammed into. "Ees like a tank!" he said. And he was so, so right.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
1970-something LTD (2.00 / 2) (#17)
by skim123 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:08:18 AM EST

A good friend of mine in college drove an old, rust-colored 1970-something LTD... his stereo system was probably ten time worth the car itself. We comfortably fit six college students in there! Only problem was the car was cranky about starting, especially if it was cold or wet outside.

Once he graduated and got a job, he "upgraded" to a brand new Ford.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Mocked haha! (2.00 / 2) (#23)
by Commienst on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 06:42:51 AM EST

Seriously though...

If they were mocking you for getting one of those big conversion vans just say that the rear seat turns into a bed. (Personally I would have gotten one with a bed in the first place). Problem solved.

Oh yeah. Spill some soured milk on the sofa and say if you lick it, it tastes like pastrami!

[ Parent ]

I can't afford to drive. (2.60 / 5) (#6)
by dead_penguin on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 12:56:02 AM EST

I'm a student. When I do drive, it's my '92 Hyundai. With gas prices being what they are, (even though it *is* a Hyundai), and with me living close to campus, I just tend to bike in. I get 20 minutes of excercise each way, and I save the gas and the $3.25 the uni is charging for parking now. It was either this or stop buying beer!

You made the right decision! (2.00 / 3) (#8)
by skim123 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:13:07 AM EST

:-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Forget safety! What about the enviromental issues? (4.33 / 12) (#9)
by neonman on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:17:37 AM EST

If there is any one reason to be upset with people owning unneeded SUVs, it is the degree to which they produce harmful emissions. It's a shame that so many people find their own status more important than the preservation of a clean, livable world.

In addition to that disturbing example of greed, we should also be frightened by our dependence on fosil fuels in almost every aspect of our day to day lives. Maybe most Americans don't know this, but the fact of the matter is that only a finite volume of oil/coal exists on this planet. A day will come when we will run out, and this day will come soon. We need to stop using oil in such wasteful ways, and save what we have for more important uses.

At this point in time, the technology is availible to change our habbits. It just isn't being implemented fast enough. Hydrogen fuel cells, solar cells, wind turbines, and other technologies offer clean and renewable ways to gather and store energy. I suppose that Americans just don't care enough about the problem to act now. I certainly haven't seen either of the two major U.S. presidential candidates suggest a comprehensive enviromental plan.

This is a lame ending, but I have a large quantity of past-due homework assignments to finish before tomorrow. I'm interested in hearing what other people have to say about these issues. I am somewhat knowledgable about these issues, but I'm sure that there are other people here that have a lot more information to offer the community. Please respond! Don't waste time on the safety concerns of silly yuppies.

Actually, I'm reminded of yet another dimennsion to the SUV problem, though. Many people who would normally drive smaller/compact vehicles now feel intimidated by the large size and dangerous nature of other SUVs on the road. I for one, being 17 years old, encountered concern from my parental unit when I got my driver's license. Their concern was not over my driving practices and experience, however. They were concerned that my life would be at greater risk in a small car. Ultimately, when they did decided to buy a second vehicle (mostly because there was now a third driver in the family), they chose a mid-sized SUV, rather than a simple compact car, because of their concerns for safety. A small, efficient car would be suitable for any of our needs, but safety took precidence. Have any other kuro5hin readers felt or observed these concerns?

Arg... <insert profane exclamation here>! ..homework.
_________________________
Aaron Grogan
aaron@stufflikethat.org
http://stufflikethat.org/
Hallelujah, and more comments (4.50 / 6) (#24)
by katravax on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 06:44:38 AM EST

You saved me from typing in the same rant. Those SUV owners complaining about gas costs are creating their own problems. SUVs are, generally speaking, extremely wasteful vehicles.

As to your comment on the intimidation factor, I agree. I choose my transportation based on safety and environmental impact, and the fact is, I feel far less safe surrounded by all the SUVs on the road. They make it harder to see other traffic around you because they're so large, and the drivers tend to pull too far forward at lights and stop signs, which means you can't see around them to see whether it's safe to turn.

Parking lots are another issue. SUVs, being larger, take up way more of a parking place and make it difficult to use the space effectively. How many times have you had to park between SUVs and knew that you were having to park too close for people to squeeze in and out of their vehicle easily (not to mention you STILL can't see around them when trying to pull out of a space).

Another factor that may or may not be approachable, is that drivers tend to suck at driving. Car wrecks are the number one cause of accidental death in the US. Now, not only do I have to be concerned about the idiot on the cell phone ahead of me in traffic, I have to worry about their perceived safety. What I mean is, they think they'll be safe in a wreck, so they take even fewer safety precautions than before, thus making the roads even more dangerous for the rest of us.

I understand the fun and safe feeling of driving a large vehicle (years ago I drove newspaper delivery vans), but for day-to-day driving, SUVs are rude to the planet, rude to other drivers, and decrease the safety of drivers who have chosen NOT to drive them.



[ Parent ]
damn SUV's (2.66 / 6) (#29)
by vinay on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:17:49 AM EST

A lot of the comments posted are all about "the evil of SUV's, and SUV's suck because of this, and that." Well, what about the good of SUV's? Actually, I can't really think of anything. I drive a '89 Toyota Paseo. I have friends who are like 5'2" who can't sit in the backseat without hitting their heads.

That said, SUV's may not be the most efficient or the safest, but people want to buy them. For that reason I'd support their right to buy them. I might tell them they're dumb, and rail about how they're going to get me killed, but I'll still support their right to buy them.

That being my little mini-rant for the day, I'd have to agree with you in that yes, the large number of SUV's in the road is a bit intimidating (recall the description of my car). A friend of mine drives a Cadillac Escalade, and my god it's huge. It could damn near roll over on my car. As the author noted (a few things I didn't know, kudos to him for bringing such things to light), they are a tad unsafe just because of marketting/design considerations. I think that's a tad inexcusable. If you're going to build an SUV, build it well. If the ride's rougher, market it as "it lets you feel the road" or something.

-\/


-\/


[ Parent ]
Environmental issues? feh. (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by djx on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 04:54:01 PM EST

Let me explain that a little bit.

As I said in the story, I own and drive a 1985 Dodge Ramcharger. It gets about 15ish MPG in town. I know that's nothing to write home about, but it is a heavy-ass truck with a 381cid V8 in it. That poor engine works its ass off to get my truck going and keep it moving. On the freeway, it gets about 18 to 20 MPG. I know that's not wonderful either, but it beats some of them. Yeah, it's not the most fuel efficient vehicle in the world, but it gets me around town and to all the places I go camping that don't have roads.

For the emissions department, I will go on record as saying that my truck, with the new catalytic converter that I just installed a month ago, passed the Texas emissions test with flying colors. Before I changed the cat, it never would have passed. This phenomonon occurs with all gasoline powered vehicles. The catalyst simply wears out. If people would change their cats every 100,000 miles (or whatever the exact figure is for it), emissions wouldn't be such a big deal. While I'm ranting on about emissions, it should be illegal to drive any vehicle that burns more oil than fuel. I can't stand watching oil-smoke pour out of some of the cars here in Houston. It just makes me sick. And some people bitch about the standard tailpipe emissions of gas engines without taking into consideration the large number of vehicles that need engine overhauls to fix the problems of oil combustion?

Oh, and for the people who think that SUV & truck owners should have a trucker's driver license, I couldn't agree more. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing some complete idiot zooming down the highway in their Jeep/Chevy/Ford/whatever SUV at like 90mph. Common sense should tell you that a vehicle that's taller is more topheavy and therefore more likely to roll over. Therefore, you shouldn't be driving it (and expecting it to behave) like a car. That just doesn't work. I also agree that seat belts are the most important piece of safety equipment ever invented for a vehicle. I wouldn't ever even think of driving anywhere without mine on. (Mind you, if I'm just pulling up the boat ramp, I typically don't bother, but I'm also not going more than a couple hundred feet at extremely slow speeds.) With that said, I will also add that I do carry a Commercial Driver License (complete with HazMat and tank endorsements) for work, and the training from my CDL has been invaluable for rollover avoidance in my Ramcharger.

Rant over. Again.

djX
-<end of transmission>-
NO CARRIER.
[ Parent ]
Rollover! Play Dead! (2.20 / 5) (#10)
by rusty on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:43:21 AM EST

Silly SUV owners. My Miata isn't likely to roll over any time soon. :-)

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

____
Not the real rusty

the red or silver? (2.50 / 2) (#12)
by 0x00 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 02:49:31 AM EST

Are you driving the red or silver one? :)

Either way, one of the drivers is breaking road rules. It appears to me, that the picture shows a country road, so I'm assuming traffic goes both ways. There is a double line marking on the road. I think the person driving the silver one is just trying to prove that red ones don't go faster...

--

0x00

Possibly 2 clowns driving mazdas.

[ Parent ]
Silver (1.33 / 3) (#14)
by rusty on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 03:50:18 AM EST

I'm the silver one, on the wrong side of the road going way too fast. ;-)

True story: Driving out to California we were in the middle of Arizona on one of those stretches of two-lane blacktop that goes straight out to the visible horizon. Speed limit was... "umm, hell, who cares". I came up behind a camper or a truck or something that was going too slow, and peeking around I could see that I had plenty of time before the next oncoming vehicle. So I went for it.

Meanwhile, my passenger and (at the time) girlfriend (now fiancee) Christina was looking down at a map or something. When she looked down, we were going a reasonable 55-ish in the right lane. When she glanced up, we were going 90-ish in the left lane with a vehicle oncoming. She had a classic "scream and throw your arms in front of your face" moment.

I made it with plenty of space... don't know what she was so concerned about. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Done that too... (2.00 / 1) (#50)
by zantispam on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:22:07 PM EST

...with my SO. We were going to Arizona on the 40 and I had the cruise on 85. Came up behind a Winnebago going, like, 50, and went to pass.

Floored it, passed, and left my foot on the gas just to let the car unwind a bit. She finally noticed that we had sped up considerably, glanced at the spedo, and damn near passed out.

125 (that's mph, not kph). In the left lane.

I decided to slow down and be responsible after that. And since someone's wondering (I know you are), it was a nice clear day, excelent road conditions, 5 knot tailwind (east to west), and I was the *only* person I could see (save the Winnie) for probably five miles in either direction.

Car? 2000 LeSabre custom (can ya believe it?). Series II 3800, supercharged, AC off (I do that when I pass). The brakes sucked though. Heat up waaay too quickly in mountains (learned that coming into Denver).

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]
Sweet cars... (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Fireblade on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 04:16:31 PM EST

I can usually get 3 - 4 feet of air off one in my Explorer[1]. :-)
I couldn't resist either.

1 No, I don't really own one

[ Parent ]

Poll options... (2.75 / 4) (#11)
by ZanThrax on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:55:59 AM EST

OK, so I sound like a recent slashdot refugee (I am), but where's the truck option? Pickups are not Sport Utility Vehicles, they're what SUV's are built out of (or at least most are... stupid sport-cutes are being built out of cares now).

I've even got a good reason for it. A half ton is one of the only vehicles that I can sit almost straight in.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.

Re: Poll options... (none / 0) (#67)
by Paul_F on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:09:33 PM EST

I have a 1983 Toyota 4WD pickup I chose "other"

I bought it long before the SUV craze started. I don't consider it an SUV.

I like it a lot it's a 4 cylinder (22R engine they run forever) with a 5 speed manual transmission. I never figured out my gas milage but it can't be too bad. It's sure not anything like a Ford Exploder. Oh yeah when I bought tires for it I bought good tires Michelins they're the best. Screw Goodyear (woo, I got a good year out of these tires...) and Fred Firestone tires.

[ Parent ]

Darwin Awards (2.50 / 6) (#13)
by Suanrw on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 02:57:28 AM EST

Many of these SUV owners are becoming Darwin Award candidates through their foolish attempts to defy the laws of physics.

Sadly, they are also taking their children with them, thus denying them the opportunity to compete for these prestigious awards themselves.

Okay, what's the appeal? (2.66 / 3) (#16)
by spiralx on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 04:59:24 AM EST

Okay, so as of now I can't drive, and whilst I plan to learn at some point, I'm far too lazy to devote the time and money it would take.

But, what I'd really like to know why these things are so popular in America? Looking at them, I can't really see any advantage over a car, except for the fact that in an accident, you can be pretty much sure of killing the other guy, and they eat petrol even more so than some American cars.

Is there something I'm totally missing here?


You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

One thing... (3.00 / 7) (#21)
by plastik55 on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 06:01:07 AM EST

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.
w00t!
[ Parent ]

Another thing (4.00 / 3) (#27)
by Rand Race on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 08:37:34 AM EST

I fully understand your point, I used to own an old CJ8 treebeater for just such things. But... it was not my daily driver nor would I want it to be. I live on a mountain with only two ways up and down (unless you want to do some serious off-roading). Both have hairpin corners and are quite curvy, it used to be a quick trip up and down until the SUV craze hit. Now it can be a fairly long wait while some dingbat tries to manuver their Navigator through three consecutive hairpins after pulling the rest of the mountain at ten miles per hour under the limit.

These things are slow, they handle like bricks, and, like the old BMW joke, the only difference between them and a porcupine is that the porcupine has the prick on the outside (I'm talking Cute-Utes, and the really massive, expensive ones here). An uncomfortable number of them seem to believe the inside lane is the SUV lane, that given any choice their rolling walls should be parked next to the smallest vehicle they can find in a parking lot (I parked my jeep well away from stores just to be courteous), and a disturbing few think that having a 200 pony V8 means they can run with my RX7... through curves!

Like you said, these things are trucks and this craze would be killed, while leaving the ability for those who need them to buy them, if they would simply force owners of these trucks to get a trucker's drivers license.

Sorry if I am venting, the ride to work was hell this morning. ;)


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Right... (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by Ranger Rick on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:38:51 AM EST

...but you're the type of person who should actually own an SUV, I have no problem with that...

Most of the people I see with SUVs have no reason to have it *except* for the it's-not-a-mini-van factor, which is a really stupid reason to pay an extra $25 per fillup.

:wq!


[ Parent ]
Could someone enlighten me? (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by AndrewH on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:54:31 AM EST

family soccer mom

Football mum?

I have seen this expression before, but it makes no sense.


John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr — where are you now that we need you?
[ Parent ]
Soccer Mom (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by Refrag on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:07:36 AM EST

A "soccer mom" is a mother that spends the majority of their weekends driving her children back and forth to various soccer fields. They can usually be spotted by a soccer ball sticker on the back of their vehicle. (no joke) The last soccer mom I remember seeing had a soccer ball sticker on the back of her Ford Excursion.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Almost... (none / 0) (#69)
by tzanger on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:18:17 PM EST

To me, a "soccer mom" is one who spends all their time driving the kids to soccer, baseball, hockey, swimming, ballet, etc... Kinda like what my wife and I do.

It's all part of being a parent, I suppose.



[ Parent ]
Consumer Reports (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 01:59:46 PM EST

I get such a kick out of them. I remember them marking down a 300ZX for "lack of passenger space". That, of course, being everyone's number one criteria for judging 2-seater sports cars.

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

Reasons why... (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by rbird on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 10:53:50 AM EST

I drive a Nissan Xterra (a relatively "small" SUV). There are several reasons why my wife and I decided on this vehicle. First, the size. We own a house and often need to haul "stuff". Big sheets of plywood, plants, groceries, etc. Most cars are therefore eliminated immediately. A pickup truck was not an option, because the passenger area would not be big enough for our dogs and (future) kids. Second, the cost. At about $20k, the Xterra is cheaper than many of the other cars we might have considered in other situations.

Finally, the Xterra seemed to be the most suitable of the SUV's we looked at. It's just about the only "light" SUV that's built on a truck frame rather than a car frame (like the Lexus, Honda CRV, etc. are). And it was cheaper than even a used Explorer or Blazer. The gas mileage may not be the best, but then again I only live 4 miles from work, and we only take a couple of long trips per year.


Bob
[ Parent ]

Why I drive one. (1.00 / 1) (#68)
by tzanger on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:15:14 PM EST

But, what I'd really like to know why these things are so popular in America? Looking at them, I can't really see any advantage over a car, except for the fact that in an accident, you can be pretty much sure of killing the other guy, and they eat petrol even more so than some American cars.

Personally I drive one (94 Jeep Grand Cherokee) for a number of interrelated reasons:

  • Rides higher, I can see more
  • I do actually go offroad/onsite for work
  • I can lug around a shitload of equipment without needing a covered truck box
  • I can fit my wife, two (soon three) kids in and all their stuff
  • 4WD (see point 2)
  • I like the feel and look

Now points 1, 3 and 4 could be achieved with a minivan (we have one of those too, a 98 or 99 Pontiac Transport) which Mom drives. More stuff can fit into the minivan but it's useless onsite for me, hence the Jeep. Winters here in Canada can get to be fun, especially when you're in northern Ontario or Quebec, so the 4WD comes in handy. Finally, I'm not afraid of taking the Jeep out to cement plants, quarries, lumber yards, etc. It's a working vehicle.



[ Parent ]
SUV vs normal cars (2.00 / 6) (#18)
by Chakotay on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:36:34 AM EST

When I visited the US (Richmond VA, VA Beach and Washington DC) I was stunned by the huge number of SUVs on the road. They're always in the way - you try looking to your left to see if there's traffic coming, and there's the nose of a gleaming glittering big fat lifted SUV with extra wide tires, with no way to look over or around it.

Americans were screaming and shouting about the high petrol prices. Well, the petrol prices are four times as high in Europe. And if you still think petrol prices are too high, why drive a car that gulps petrol like Yeltsin does vodka?

The US are responsible for over 50% of the fossil fuel consumption of the world - thus also for over 50% of the pollution. While in the EU the various governments do everything possible to decrease air pollution by rewarding people for buying light and fuel efficient cars (or rather, by punishing them for buying heavy inefficient cars like vans and SUVs).

Most European cars, even the less fuel efficient ones like Volvo, BMW, Mercedes and Audi, have a very fuel efficient engine. Most of them have 3, 4 or 5 cylinder engines of 1k-2k cc, running at an efficient rpm. Most vans and SUVs have big assed gasoline gulping V8 or V12 engines running at an inefficiently low rpm because that sounds cool.

All that aside - I wouldn't want to drive a small European car like a VW Lupo, a Ford Ka or a Smart in the US. You wouldn't want to be caught in any collision with such a small car when there are so many SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and other huge cars around. That's another reason why so many people buy SUVs to use as family cars, because it feels a lot safer to be the same size as everybody else...

As for rollover risk... Remember the BMW A-class? :)

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

SUV vs normal cars (4.00 / 9) (#19)
by Chakotay on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:37:37 AM EST

When I visited the US (Richmond VA, VA Beach and Washington DC) I was stunned by the huge number of SUVs on the road. They're always in the way - you try looking to your left to see if there's traffic coming, and there's the nose of a gleaming glittering big fat lifted SUV with extra wide tires, with no way to look over or around it.

Americans were screaming and shouting about the high petrol prices. Well, the petrol prices are four times as high in Europe. And if you still think petrol prices are too high, why drive a car that gulps petrol like Yeltsin does vodka?

The US are responsible for over 50% of the fossil fuel consumption of the world - thus also for over 50% of the pollution. While in the EU the various governments do everything possible to decrease air pollution by rewarding people for buying light and fuel efficient cars (or rather, by punishing them for buying heavy inefficient cars like vans and SUVs).

Most European cars, even the less fuel efficient ones like Volvo, BMW, Mercedes and Audi, have a very fuel efficient engine. Most of them have 3, 4 or 5 cylinder engines of 1k-2k cc, running at an efficient rpm. Most vans and SUVs have big assed gasoline gulping V8 or V12 engines running at an inefficiently low rpm because that sounds cool.

All that aside - I wouldn't want to drive a small European car like a VW Lupo, a Ford Ka or a Smart in the US. You wouldn't want to be caught in any collision with such a small car when there are so many SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and other huge cars around. That's another reason why so many people buy SUVs to use as family cars, because it feels a lot safer to be the same size as everybody else...

As for rollover risk... Remember the BMW A-class? :) [sorry for this 2nd post - made an HTML screwup in the other one. Should have used Preview...]

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

BMWs, rollovers, and fuel consumption (2.60 / 5) (#26)
by pete on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 07:30:10 AM EST

That was the Mercedes A-class, not BMW, and they redesigned parts of it after the Swedes rolled one in their moose avoidance test (no joke) a few years back. I'd have to guess that you actually see these around Europe now right? (We don't have them in the US.)

The US are responsible for over 50% of the fossil fuel consumption of the world - thus also for over 50% of the pollution. While in the EU the various governments do everything possible to decrease air pollution by rewarding people for buying light and fuel efficient cars (or rather, by punishing them for buying heavy inefficient cars like vans and SUVs).

Nothing is going to change here until the cost of gas drives the development or purchase of more efficient alternatives. That is, IMO, the way it should be. Which is why it pisses me off when we send the Secretary of Energy over to the Middle East to beg for more oil output.

And I personally hate SUVs, but I'm willing to accept them as one of the things I don't like but just have to live with. I hope it's a fad that passes at some point and people realize station wagons are much more practical (as the Europeans already do).


--pete


[ Parent ]
A Class (1.75 / 4) (#30)
by Refrag on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:19:18 AM EST

It was the Mercedes Benz A Class that rolled over when performing the moose test. No, no... it was the Mercedes Benz / Swatch SmartCar (that the A Class is based off of) that failed the moose test due to rollover.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

A Class not smart (none / 0) (#78)
by Dop on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 07:50:15 AM EST

No, it was definitely the Mercedes A-class that rolled over in testing. They redesigned it, lowered the centre of gravity and slightly widened the wheelbase, as I remember.
You see quite a few of them about. I believe there's a car rental company (and internet cafes, cheap airlines) called EasyCar (EasyNet, EasyAir) that solely hires out Mercedes A-Class vehicles.
The Smart Car's probably too small to fall over - unless you push it. You see the odd one or two beetling about London (cities being the ideal place for them, really) and they look like something out of toytown - like they're driven by the driver and passenger pedalling away!(Well, at least that would be green - and good exercise!)

Do not burn the candle at both ends as this leads to the life of a hairdresser!
[ Parent ]
Consumption / Polution (2.25 / 4) (#31)
by Refrag on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:22:15 AM EST

Also, we may be responsible for 50% of the fossil fuel consumption in the world (I don't know the actual figure, but it sounds right), however China is responsible for much more polution than us due to their extensive use of coal for heating purposes. I would assume there are quite a few third-world countries that also produce more polution than us as well, but that is just a guess.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Pedestrians (4.00 / 7) (#20)
by spiv on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:46:50 AM EST

Another problem with this sort of vehicle: pedestrians. The higher bonnet means that if you hit one, they don't tend to "bounce" off the bonnet and roll off like with a normal car - instead they'll tend to go under. And large bumper bars will tend to make this much worse.

Essentially, these things are not a good idea for suburbia. Whether they are a good idea at all is something I'll let other people argue about... I don't drive, I prefer public transport and bikes where possible.

-Spiv.



Pedestrian turned crash test dummy.. (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by Dr Caleb on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:23:55 PM EST

that if you hit one, they don't tend to "bounce" off the bonnet and roll off like with a normal car - instead they'll tend to go under. And large bumper bars will tend to make this much worse.

This has actually happened to me. No fooling.

I was crossing the street, early evening at the bar. I ran out of smokes, and was crossing the street to go to the 7-11 to get more.

A Chevrolet Danali caught me in its lights. I only had enough time after I realized that the vehicle was not going to slow down to elbow block the hood. Elapsed time, roughly the same as between seeing the Blue Screen of Death, and realizing all your data is gone. I think that saved me from internal injuries, but I broke the arm and 2 ribs, and tore tendons in my leg. I also recieved, as a bonus prize, a large gash on my forehead where it hit the hood, and several scars on the back of my head on which I landed, 3m from the crosswalk on the pavement. Road rash I believe is the term.

I woke up 3 days later, a grade 2 concussion and didn't actually remember the incident for 6 months. I also have no memory of those 3 days.

Needless to say, I agree with you, except if you think you can bounce off the bonnet (hood), moonwalk up the windshield and land on your feet, you are mistaken. There isn't much time between the time you realize what is happening (if there is time) and the event happening. Like the song says, "Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug".


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Moonwalking up the windshield (none / 0) (#77)
by spiv on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 07:17:10 AM EST

<blockquote type=&quot;cite&quot;> Needless to say, I agree with you, except if you think you can bounce off the bonnet (hood), moonwalk up the windshield and land on your feet, you are mistaken. There isn't much time between the time you realize what is happening (if there is time) and the event happening. Like the song says, "Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug".

Hehe... no, I don't think you can bounce off bonnet and just walk up the windshield -- unless of course you're Jackie Chan...

Which is why, of course, not having a raised hood is important -- I don't like to think what condition you'd have been in if instead you'd been knocked under the vehicle. Ouch!

I'm sorry to hear about the accident though - hopefully next time you get to be the windshield... ;)

-Spiv.



[ Parent ]
SUV's represent what's ugly about America (3.85 / 7) (#28)
by DefCon on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:05:01 AM EST

<rant>Fat and arrogant. Bulging waistlines and 'me too!'. I hate SUV's with a passion, and I am sick and tired of dumbasses who drive them riding my bumper. I have been thinking dangerous ideas bout my key when I see a Ford Expedition taking up 2 parking spaces where there should be one, but for the grace of my unwilling to sink to their level, I have thus far restrained myself. I really do pray to see gas prices go through the roof, even at expense to myself, and watch the ensuing pandemonium as the me-too!'s scramble to ditch their gas sucking, haught boxes. Who is going to be impressed with them then? No one. Who is going to be laughing at them? Everyone. Piss on the SUV's and the smirky little faces that look down at you at stoplights, they've done enough damage to the environment and squashed more cute little raccoons under their heavy-duty Firestones, than they could ever possibly hope to be forgiven for. </rant>

I'm with you... (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by Ranger Rick on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:36:12 AM EST

I bought my car because it's cheap and gets good mileage. Raising the price of gas by a dollar brings my weekly fuel bill up by about, oh, $5. I can live with that, if it means raising SUV drivers' bills by $25. :)

:wq!


[ Parent ]
Another "I agree" (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by Nafai on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 03:43:38 PM EST

Millions of tie-wearing dads go to work and millions of soccer moms go to the store every day in their environment killing, rollover causing, road rage inducing urban assult vehicles.

I'd gladly pay $4/gallon for gas, happy in the knowledge that the environment would benefit and that SUV owners will get screwed 3x more than I will.

Just to start another conversation, which SUV houses the worst drivers?

I've noticed that Jeep Grand Cherokee's tend to have the worst of the soccer moms, while [The big Mercades, whatever it's called] tend to have arrogant, rich (looking) bald white guys.

[ Parent ]
Uh huh... (1.00 / 1) (#70)
by tzanger on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:22:49 PM EST

Fat and arrogant. Bulging waistlines and 'me too!'. I hate SUV's with a passion, and I am sick and tired of dumbasses who drive them riding my bumper. I have been thinking dangerous ideas bout my key when I see a Ford Expedition taking up 2 parking spaces where there should be one, but for the grace of my unwilling to sink to their level, I have thus far restrained myself.

I tend to think poorly of people who judge others by the vehicle they drive...

Some of us SUV drivers actually use our vehicles for the purpose.



[ Parent ]
Yeah, but... (none / 0) (#74)
by djx on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 06:55:08 PM EST

Yes, some of us do use our ORV (Off Road Vehicles) for their intended purposes. However, the vast majority of SUV drivers seem to think that their shiny new [insert trendy SUV here] will handle just like a car. I've said it before and I'll say it again: These morons just don't think that SUV's are different from cars. How many times have any of you seen the idiot go flying past you on the freeway, only to see them wind up upsidedown a few miles down the road? I know I've seen it at least 4 times. And, since I'm not too far away from having an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician in case you didn't know) certificate, I get to be the first responder in most cases. That means that I'm one of the first to clean up the mess. I'm sick of it. People need to think about what they drive and how it handles before they go out and drive it.

However, there are a few SUV owners who know how to drive their vehicles. I am definately not bitching at them.


-<end of transmission>-
NO CARRIER.
[ Parent ]
"I'm Changing the Climate" (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by Refrag on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:27:17 AM EST

I thought some of you made be interested in this link.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

"Save the Earth" (4.50 / 2) (#40)
by interiot on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 10:05:08 AM EST

Or, on the lighter side, this link.

[ Parent ]
random ire (2.00 / 3) (#35)
by 3than on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:37:37 AM EST

I hate SUV's. I went to high school just when they were getting hot, and a lot of the kids at the highschool I went to had parents with enough extra loot to buy them brandy-new ones. In fact, there was a wintertime rollover accident my senior year. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt, but the ridiculous cost of the cars, along with the bad gas mileage and the 'coolness' factor really put me off them. They don't even have as much room as a decent minivan, in most cases. I just think it's ridiculous that these automobiles, most of which are clearly subpar on tarmac, are still so hot. I wish that people would be a little bit more economical, especially with gasoline.

Physics (3.85 / 7) (#38)
by schporto on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:51:19 AM EST

I saw the same report last night. I however found it sickly amusing that this poor guy had lost his brother in an accident and was saying "I wish someone had warned me that they would rollover." Sorry but any body who took physics and can read should know that. Common of course a SUV (big honkin truck yuppie mobile du jour) will roll over easier than a car. Just apply a little common sense. Its higher off the ground, the wheel base is about the same, and really it doesn't take much sense to see they're gonna roll over easier.

Oh and the final point - in the majority of rollover accidents that end in fatality the morons weren't wearing a seatbelt. Oh oh oh pick me mommy I wanna die too!

Yes I'm being mean. Yes I'm being a jerk. But if you play Russian Roulette then you should expect to get shot.



Not being mean, IMHO (3.25 / 4) (#44)
by csmacd on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:37:53 AM EST

I must agree, particularly about the seatbelt part. I've been in 2 major collisions, one a rollover. I walked away with only a bruised ego both times (ok, I did get a scratch from the roll, but that was because I was stupid). Seat belts help! Wear them.

Also, watch out for having big, heavy, pointy objects in the passenger compartment - When I had my rollover, I had a PC in the trunk. I'm VERY glad it was in the trunk (it didn't come out looking too healthy) and not on the back seat (I wouldn't have come out looking as healthy).

[ Parent ]
Idiots... null and void (2.50 / 2) (#47)
by CiXeL on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 12:02:22 PM EST

Did anyone else think the footnote about the fact that the majority of people who died in the accidents didnt wear seatbelts make the whole thing seem to appear null and void?
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
Right (2.00 / 1) (#53)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 02:16:55 PM EST

Environmental issues aside, the vehicles themselves deserve little blame in all of this. Driven properly, an SUV is a safe vehicle (both for passengers and fellow motorists). The problem stems from people who buy them as a status symbol but are unwilling to change their driving habits.

I live in a snowy climate (no I don't live in an igloo, and quit showing up at the border in July wondering where the nearest ski hill is). I'll bet money that the first car I see ass-end first in the ditch this December will be an SUV.

Oddly, the second is almost always a grey/silver Honda Accord. What's with that?

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

I love that!! (none / 0) (#65)
by Dr Caleb on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:55:43 PM EST

Seeing this brand new Navagator or Excursion wheels up in the ditch! Especially just after they pass you cause you were doing 80km/h; Bad snowstorm out there!

I think the grey Accords are driven by people who haven't saved up enough for the SUV's yet.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

No sympathy. (none / 0) (#64)
by Dr Caleb on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 09:52:16 PM EST

I have none for people who can't read instructions. It's in the owners manual! What else are you going to do for a half hour while the S.O. runs into the store "Just to get something quick! Be right back!". The book is in the glove box, what else do you have to do?

I used to have a little Suzuki Sidekick (great little off-roader!) and it had pasted on the door (in full view of the mirror) a little warning that went like.."This vehicle has different handeling characteristics than a car...avoid sudden turns and quick maneuvers...always wear your seatbelt...". and I'm glad I did! I flipped that sucker into an icy ditch one icy winter, and the belt kept me in the vehicle (convertable) and the roll cage kept the coconut from becoming wonder Jell-O. And why some nut-job would buy a convertable in northern Canada, I'm still trying to figure out ;-)

Had it been a car, however, I don't think it would have rolled.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Bad Statistics (3.00 / 3) (#42)
by xrayspx on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:18:45 AM EST

I noticed they had a statistic for % of SUVs that rollover in an accident compared to the % of regular cars. They didn't have a statistic for % of people who die/are seriously injured in an accident though. I don't necessarily care if my SUV rolls if I live through it. That said, I drive a Jeep Cherokee Classic (the little boxy Cherokee), which I consider to be downright tiny in comparison to Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Expedition etc... And had a Ford Bronco II before that, which was a HUGELY rollover-prone vehicle. The key here is that most people using these are not savvy enough to treat them differently from an economy car. If something happens directly in front of you, and you cut the wheel for all you're worth, you will roll over, probably roll over right into whatever it was you were trying to avoid. If you practice SENSE, leave space to react, you'll probably be fine. Last bit of advice to my girlfriend before falling asleep in the passenger seat in Pennsylvania at 2am "If a deer jumps in front of us, do us both a favor and just hit it, I don't feel like waking up upside down".
"I see one maggot, it all gets thrown away" -- My Wife
Jeep Cherokee vs. Grand (none / 0) (#71)
by tzanger on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:28:56 PM EST

I don't necessarily care if my SUV rolls if I live through it. That said, I drive a Jeep Cherokee Classic (the little boxy Cherokee), which I consider to be downright tiny in comparison to Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Expedition etc...

I used to have a dark gray 87 Jeep Cherokee... I actually prefered most of it over my 94 Grand Cherokee. It (the 87)'s a little smaller but the look is a lot better if you ask me. Throw on the rear opening window that the 98+s have, make the instrument cluster and dash in general look like the grand and you've got a winner in my eyes.

I can't stand the new (99, 2k, 2001) Grand Cherokees. It looks like someone put their lips around the exhaust and blew the thing out; all pillowey and bubbly... ewww.



[ Parent ]
They've gone the way of the market. (none / 0) (#79)
by Narcischizm on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 10:30:30 AM EST

Went with a friend on some trails nearby, he in his new '00 Grand (his family-style upgrade from an old CJ7) and my in my 97 Grand (also a family-style upgrade) The new ('99-'01) Grands are just not built for off-road abuse. He was shattering plastic and losing parts all the way down the trail, and not even from direct hits. They are built like the luxury SUVs, comfort and speed were obviously priorities in the design, and off-roading wasn't even on the list.

[ Parent ]
Grands offroad? (none / 0) (#81)
by tzanger on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 04:29:23 PM EST

I don't think they're built for offroad, period. The TJ/CJ/etc and the Chrokee itself, sure, but not the grands...

Mind you there was a pretty significant feature in the differentials on the new Grand Chrokees: the differentials have electronic clutchpacks in them; you can get traction on one wheel if the other's completely free. Normally you need a little bit of traction on the "free" one in order to shift power ot the one with the majority of the traction.



[ Parent ]
Yep, Offroad! (none / 0) (#82)
by Narcischizm on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 11:32:08 AM EST

The '99-'01 generation are NOT for off-road use, there are not even any aftermarkets anyone I know would trust. The pre-'99 Grands are very capable, just not recommended for going gonzo at Moab. But we don't have any off-road spots like that on the east coast. Of course, I mean normal hill climbing and trail running, not serious mud bogging or rock climbing. The off-road magazines have been running articles on Jeep owners 'growing up' to the Grand, since used ones can be had inexpensively (got my 3y.o. in great condition for $15k) and are quite capable off-road, stock, with as many aftermarket parts as for the Cherokees, since they are actually quite similar, except my wife feels comfortable in this one.

[ Parent ]
new grands (none / 0) (#83)
by tzanger on Tue Nov 14, 2000 at 10:04:14 PM EST

The '99-'01 generation are NOT for off-road use, there are not even any aftermarkets anyone I know would trust.

Hmm... I wonder if it is possible to mod the old ones to accept that new differential... Probably not since it also requires the electronics to drive the clutchpacks. dammit. :-)



[ Parent ]
They've gone the way of the market. (none / 0) (#80)
by Narcischizm on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 10:30:31 AM EST

Went with a friend on some trails nearby, he in his new '00 Grand (his family-style upgrade from an old CJ7) and my in my 97 Grand (also a family-style upgrade) The new ('99-'01) Grands are just not built for off-road abuse. He was shattering plastic and losing parts all the way down the trail, and not even from direct hits. They are built like the luxury SUVs, comfort and speed were obviously priorities in the design, and off-roading wasn't even on the list.

[ Parent ]
Deer. (none / 0) (#72)
by tzanger on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 12:32:02 PM EST

If something happens directly in front of you, and you cut the wheel for all you're worth, you will roll over, probably roll over right into whatever it was you were trying to avoid. If you practice SENSE, leave space to react, you'll probably be fine. Last bit of advice to my girlfriend before falling asleep in the passenger seat in Pennsylvania at 2am "If a deer jumps in front of us, do us both a favor and just hit it, I don't feel like waking up upside down".

forgot to comment on this bit. :-) This is yet another reason you won't find me driving a Miata or small car. (regular size sure, so long as it's on the border of regular size - big car size): In Ontario and especailly to the north, you *do* run into deer and the like. I've heard of and seen quite a few accidents where the little cars just crushed by the animal (or the poor bugger hammered on the brakes and the deer ended up goring him). It's like I told my brother when he took the wheel up in the Ottawa Valley: If you can't miss him safely, speed up.



[ Parent ]
jealousy (2.60 / 5) (#43)
by gregholmes on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:29:53 AM EST

Sorry, but most of these rants here seem to be pure jealousy.

It is a sick will to power that makes you want to control what I drive.

Get over it. If you want a larger car, buy one. If you can't afford one, work, save up, get a loan. Don't try to use laws (yes, that is what is coming) to stop me from having an SUV.



Jealousy. (3.75 / 4) (#48)
by Alarmist on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 12:36:10 PM EST

Sorry, but most of these rants here seem to be pure jealousy.

(snicker)

(chuckle)

(guffaw)

Um, right. That's it. Yeah. I'm jealous that I only have to pay $14 to fill my tank and you have to pay $50 or more. I'm jealous of you because I can't fill an entire parking space and one on either side with my vehicle. I'm jealous of the fact that my car won't roll over in an accident and yours may very well. I'm especially jealous that you spent $40k or better on a SUV and I will spend at most $12k on a car. Let's also talk about how I'm green with envy that you get 8-12 MPG (sometimes as high as 15-17 under optimal conditions) while I get 20-30 MPG.

Yeah. I'm jealous.


[ Parent ]

Check your facts. (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by Narcischizm on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 03:45:00 PM EST

'Check your facts' before talking about stuff you only have a 'feeling' about. Why don't you check the highest and lowest sellers in the SUV market? Could it be that the lowest sellers are also the ones with the worst MPG? What about normal compact-midsize cars as a comparison of gas mileage, any similarity there? How about emissions, did you check on that kind of comparison?

As for a$$holes on the road, they drive everything from Ford Festiva's to 18 wheelers, its not really a skill that they taught us in 'How to Drive Like an SUV Owner' class.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (3.66 / 3) (#54)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 02:23:50 PM EST

Sorry, I don't see much jealousy here. Most of the posts have been serious environmental/safety issues. I have no problem with people buying SUV's, as long as they don't drive them like dipshits. Too many do just that. Slow down and back off.

Personally, I'll never own one. They just don't appeal to me. I can get so much more bang for my buck with, say, a Nissan Maxima than a Pathfinder. My new Maxima next spring will be a tribute to my carefree pre-parental days in 300ZX's. Driving fast down curvy roads, there's nothing better.

------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

emotional reactions (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by gregholmes on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 04:56:55 PM EST

It is the emotional content of the posts that drew my attention. If one is an environmentalist, fine (though I might disagree). The emotional tone of so many of the posts though tell me that something else is going on.

Unless my region is unusual, SUV drivers are no better or worse than any others. So I can only suppose the visceral reaction some of these people are having is due to jealousy.



[ Parent ]
A fair point (none / 0) (#62)
by Phil the Canuck on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 06:50:45 PM EST

I don't necessarily disagree with you when you say SUV drivers are no better or worse. There is a tendancy among SUV drivers (I'm speaking generally here, I know there are plenty of careful SUV drivers) to drive their new road tanks like the small cars they've driven all of their lives. With the added size and weight, this is an accident waiting to happen (or one that's happening all of the time, depending how you look at it).

If you want to be an SUV driver, it's not good enough to be "as good" as the guy in the car. That kind of destructive potential demands a greater standard, that all too often isn't met.

To be fair, sports cars have a similar problem. People get in them and immediately drive as fast as they can. I like sports cars. I like driving fast. I've also studied advanced driving techniques and limit my fun to empty, clear sited stretches of road or racing tracks.

As for emotion, it's understandable. When the guy in the Suburban refuses to move more than three feet off of my back bumper, he's taking my family's life in his hands. That gets me emotional, and has nothing to do with jealousy. Yes, it gets me mad when non-SUV's do that, but the SUV poses a greater risk (and we're back to the start of my post...).


------

I don't think being an idiot comes with a pension plan though. Unless you're management of course. - hulver
[ Parent ]

DJX, you are not a suv owner...... (3.50 / 2) (#45)
by unstable on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:44:55 AM EST

You are an High performance offroad vehicle owner.

Today in america SUV[1] has come to represent yuppie, poser, moron. I am tired of seeing shiny SUV's sitting in the mall parking deck with the 2.5 kid yuppie scum[2], who cant even drive the damn thing right, taking up 1 1/2 spots.
First off trucks should be one color only... mud. second I drive a dodge ram w/ extended cab and 8foot bed, a good 3 feet longer than many SUVs, and I CAN fit it into a parking space[3]. third I bought my truck because I have a need to haul a lot of crap around.. not because of looks (although IMNSHO it does look cool )

and now everyone has a SUV on the market... I heard a rumor that Saturn is developing one. Thats almost as bad as the Lexus's crap-mobile.

oh well
</rant>

1: Sport Utility Vehicle... or Stupid Useless Vehicle
2: Complete with Baby on board sign.
3: except parrallel parking.. the truck is longer than the spaces themselves




Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

I agree. (none / 0) (#61)
by djx on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 05:39:42 PM EST

I hate it when people confuse my truck with an SUV. One of the first things I say is "It's not an SUV, there ain't nothing 'sporty' about it." That, and that it was built with off road travel in mind.

Most SUV's are not even capable of true off road conditions. I can't even think of how many cute-utes and SUV's (even the 4WD ones) that I've had to jerk out of the mud with my Ramcharger, and it's only 2WD.

Yes, most SUV's wind up living the life of your average minivan with one exception: they drink more gas. I really can't stand to see ORV (Off Road Vehicles) being phased out of production for crappy, useless SUV's that can't do anything but run on the road. Yeah, their commercials show them playing in the mud and climbing mountains, *but* that's about as viable as me shooting the moon down with an air rifle.

OTOH, the Jeep Wrangler is still (for the most part) an off-road-able vehicle. Hummers are good for it too (as if we can afford one). Some (not all) 4x4 trucks are good for offroading these days, but I wouldn't give you $5 for any 4WD vehicle being sold as "offroad" that doesn't have 2 solid axles. I have had more problems with CV joints and off road driving than I can count. I've seen even more. Give me 2 solid axles and a decent size body-on-frame truck, and I'll be happy. (Or any Ramcharger.)

djX
-<end of transmission>-
NO CARRIER.
[ Parent ]
What a waste (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by Mantrid on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 11:55:35 AM EST

The typical SUV is a waste of materials, and a persistant waste of gas. I don't see how people who own such vehicles ever have the right to complain about gas prices. The only way gas prices will ever come down significantly is if we start using less gas. Even the SUVs with relatively fuel efficient engines still waste fuel because of the amount of drag. I just don't get them myself- i mean sure I guess if you need a truck or whatever go ahead and get one, but these SUVs just seem like stupid primary vehicles for must of the owners. I guess style is a factor - i mean i could get even better mileage going from my Escort down to an Echo, (or an Insight for that matter), but those things are too ugly (and too small). Still SUVs seem like a huge waste of resources.

To SUV or not to SUV... (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by greyrat on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 12:50:11 PM EST

...I say let Darwin sort it all out. You might be killed in a compact car or an SUV. It's up to your abilities and your sense of responsibility in defensive driving and passenger safety. It container you're in is less important than you and what you do.
~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

An interesting point to be made... (2.50 / 2) (#52)
by TheLocust on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 02:02:05 PM EST

was about the gas shortage in the late '70s here in the US. And in turn, the car companies began pushing the "sport truck" and then the SUV as an alternative. Not only do they cost more than cars (which means more revenue, and probably more profit), but they are less fuel-efficient, and the car companies don't need to spend money fitting their station-wagons and family cars with fuel efficient engines.

Oh, and you mention stability in the title, but only hint upon it. Most of the Dateline report focused on the fact that makers of these SUVs have KNOWN, and the government of the United States has KNOWN about rollovers, and they seem either reluctant or powerless (respectively) to do anything about it.

I don't usually agree with Dateline's style of media, but for as much as I abhor SUV driving suburbanites, I think this issue is deserving. Frickin' cock toys are all they are.

.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

SUV-Haters Listen up kids, time for class! (2.33 / 3) (#55)
by Narcischizm on Wed Oct 25, 2000 at 03:17:59 PM EST

Being that kuro5hin seems to be filled with reasoning, thinking people, I'd like to inject something Here. Its a little game called determine the gas mileage of gas-guzzling SUVs compared to gas guzzling mid-size imports and domestics!

Now to continue our fun little game, I'd like to put three vehicles up for inspection, all automatic transmissions using regular (87 octane) fuel

Toyota Camry Solara 20/27 city/hwy, 22 combined, 3.0 liter/6cyl
Volkswagen Jetta 19/26 city/hwy 21 combined 2.8 liter/6cyl
Jeep Cherokee 17/22 city/hwy 19 combined 4.0 liter/6cyl

I know what you're thinking, WOW that Cherokee really swallows the gas!! How can anyone stomach those kinds of differences in gas mileage! To be fair, I pulled real data to suit my own purposes. The problem you SUV-bashers face, is your data is one-sided. You can choose to use the lowest selling SUVs upon which to base your comparisons (Excursions, Expeditions, Land Cruisers/LX470's and Land Rovers), but it becomes inaccurate data when you are using it to bash us for driving gas-guzzlers. In a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0L(along with the Cherokee Sport are among the highest selling SUVs), with a few aftermarket bolt-on parts I am getting better mileage than a Jetta (similar without bolt-ons). It frequently sees dirt, rocks, bikes, two dogs, lumber, gear, etc.

I could have bought something with better mileage, maybe next time I'm in the market, I'll look at a Jetta. ;-)

Oh yeah, one more thing. Last month I had to go for my yearly vehicle safety inspection. Light Trucks are automatically exempt (like the PT Cruiser based on a Dodge Neon), but I requested a free test anyway, since I was planning an air filter upgrade that is reported to increase gas mileage, power and improve emissions. I passed well within the limits of any normal vehicle.

When you rant about an issue, take a look at the facts, doing actual comparisons first. Now go complain to the Camry drivers.

It's all in the driving people. (2.50 / 2) (#73)
by h0tr0d on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 04:46:15 PM EST

Thanks for some good comments on this issue. One of the things that I am most tired of reagarding this topic is that no one is telling all of these wannabe SUV drivers that they can't drive their shiny new SUV the same way that they did their Beemer. It's just not possible.

I'd also like to touch on a comment made by TheLocust. "Not only do they cost more than cars (which means more revenue, and probably more profit)..." You are absolutely correct. SUV's (for the Big 3) have the highest profit margin of all of their vehicles. Why else do you think Ford would announce that SUV's are the worst thing for the environment when it comes to pollution and then go on to build the biggest, filthiest SUV out there(the Excursion). All for the money and bottom line.

To validate djx's comments about the strength of the sidewall and the affect that the inflation of the tire has on it, he is correct. I was formerly involved with the ride and handling development of the General Motors full size SUV line-up for 2000-4 production. While there are many things that appalled me about the process of designing vehicles the all important factor of comfort over safety amazed me the most. There were always two things that took precedence to safety. The first being money, the second being comfort. It never failed to amaze me at the amount of time we would put into developing the right combination of tires suspension on the 4x4's to have things changed to make them more comfortable. Needless to say, we had one rollover that I personally attribute to a poor choice of tires/air pressure.

Aside from all of these complaints my biggest is that these damn SUV drivers have to learn how to drive an SUV, not a freakin' Miata!

Thanks for listening.

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

hell yeah. (none / 0) (#75)
by djx on Thu Oct 26, 2000 at 07:03:47 PM EST

I will agree that somebody needs to tell anyone who buys an SUV that they need to drive it different than a car. However, it should be common sense that it will handle differently. Most people are able to look at an SUV and recognize that it is more topheavy than the average car. Now, the question of realizing what this means is another story all together.

On another note, thanks for the backup on the tire issue. I went through 5 different tire types before arriving at one that I felt was acceptable on my Ramcharger. I finally found the right combination of tread pattern and sidewall strength with BFGoodrich's Radial Long Trail. I also know that their Radial All-Terrain and Radial Mud-Terrain are good for tread life and sidewall strength on big heavy trucks.

Since I'm on the topic of tires, why is it that some idiots believe in putting their trucks on hugeass tires with shockingly large lift kits? All this accomplishes is raising the center of gravity even more without adding too terribly much to ground clearance. Even 44" tires (yes, I've seen it too many times to do anything but laugh) don't give you much more than 18" of ground clearance by the time you add in the differential housing on the rear axle. This makes very little sense to me, especially since you can get enough ground clearance with 36" tires. And, just to add to making me laugh at these people, most of them wouldn't even dare to take their trucks offroading because they might scratch their $11gazillion paint jobs.

Well, as y'all can see from my comments and the article, I feel fairly strongly about this issue. But, I'm done until someone else posts something that gets me going again.


-<end of transmission>-
NO CARRIER.
[ Parent ]
Nonsense about transportation (none / 0) (#76)
by Asperity on Fri Oct 27, 2000 at 02:38:52 AM EST

<i>most of them wouldn't even dare to take their trucks offroading because they might scratch their $11 gazillion paint jobs.</i>
<p>
Not really related to the SUV discussion, but just a general point of confusion for me: I really don't understand folks that are just annoyingly concerned with the cosmetic appearance of their vehicles. One of my old roommates was a very nice, very dumb woman who paid frightening amounts of money to have her whole car repainted every time she got the tiniest scratch on it. I don't get it. She did this more than once for damage I probably wouldn't even notice, much less fret over. And I'm not even driving a rusty clunker like I used to, where it wouldn't matter in the least.
<p>
Oh, SUV-related thing: I've never been able to stand them since some guy in a Suburban rear-ended my dear little '88 Honda Civic. It was a 4-door, and those things actually hold up fairly well in accidents (my passenger and I weren't hurt), but no matter how well-designed it was, physics tells us that Civic was doomed. I was stopped, the Suburban was going maybe 15 mph, and of course the compact got totaled. I somehow managed to drive it a few blocks down the street to my mechanic. Goodbye, good gas mileage.
<p>
Nowadays I drive a '93 Eagle Vision. It's a bit large for my taste, and the gas mileage lately has been increasingly bad. (Must check into that.) It's stable on the street, though, and is quite comfortable for long drives. I don't like having to make such wide turns as I do with it, but that's the price one pays for lots of room.
<p>
I drive a lot more than I used to around town, though. Some jerks stole my bike, which I foolishly left unlocked. I can't complain too much -- I got my bike a few years back out of somebody's trash. Somebody threw it away because it had flat, rotten tires. No real financial loss, except now I've got to pay for gas, which is pricier than food. When will somebody invent a car that runs on ramen?

[ Parent ]
SUVs, stability, tires & the media | 83 comments (75 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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