SUV's, or Sport Utility Vehicles are a very popular strain of vehicle in the United States. These Jeep-like vehicles are large enough to carry the same amount of people and luggage as a mid-sized sedan, but at the same time have the added benefit of consuming the same amount of gasoline as a large pickup truck, conversion van, or battleship. All people who purchase SUV's are avid outdoorspeople who spend much of their time driving up wooded hills, over large piles of big rocks, through streams, and across huge open spaces of uninhabitable desert. This is due to the severe lack of paved roads in America. Since much of the United States is made up of untamed wilderness, it is important that most US citizens have a vehicle that is capable of scaling very hazardous terrain.

For instance, I have a friend, a grad student, who is forced to cross almost ALL of the city of Champaign, IL to get from her condo to the UIUC biology lab where she works. Champaign is riddled with hazardous obstacles such as construction projects, stop lights, other motorists, and pedestrians. Without her trusty SUV, she would not be able to plow through, drive over, and otherwise utterly crush these dangerous and potentially deadly obstructions.

SUV's are an important part of the US and Middle-Eastern economy, and hopefully everyone in the entire world will soon see the logic of owning such a powerful workhorse in these unforgiving and uncivilized times.

SUVs are composed of a truck base and light-weight chassis built to establish a medium to high center of gravity. Regardless of their appearance, these are bad cars to get into accidents with, since the base has a LOT more momentum than the chassis is designed to handle. You will probably end up un-injured (because the base takes most of the impact,) but the amount of shifting will most likely total the vehicle.

Example: A friend of mine slid into some trees, the chassis shifted and every single window exploded from the pressure.

I know this will get voted down into oblivion, but what the hell. SUV's bashing is trendy and fun. It seems like almost everyone enjoys doing it, and they don't really give any thought to the why. To me, the vast majority of people who truly hate SUV's are doing it because they enjoy bashing trendy things. I'm going to go through a list of complaints about SUV's here, and point out why they don't really make a lot of sense.

I would just like to say here that I am not trying to say that SUV's are great, that they are not a threat to the environment, that they are the safest things on the road, etc. I'm just trying to point out the stupidity of most of the complaints.

  • people buy them only for the image
    So? People can do whatever the hell they want. I hear this argument a lot, which makes me laugh because this has to do with people and not SUV's.
  • people who buy them can't drive
    Again, this has nothing to do with the SUV. Bad drivers are bad drivers. SUV's may take special skill to drive due to their larger size, however so does a pickup truck. In addition, SUV's are a lot easier to drive than say... a Dodge Viper. I find it funny that people feel an SUV should require a special license, but don't mind that anyone can go buy a high performance car with no special training. Driver education in the US sucks, it should be fixed, but that's no the fault of the vehicle. I support better driver training, and even specialized training for various special purpose vehicles, but I'm not going to single out one type of vehicle and say it's the problem.
  • They get bad gas mileage
    Such as? most SUV's get around 20 MPG nowadays. I hate to break it to you, but that's what most performance cars get. In addition, pickup trucks get the same gas mileage as SUV's, and there are more of them on the road. So why are we picking on SUV's, shouldn't we pick on the vehicle that has a greater market share? Oh, maybe we just hate the trendy SUV's?
  • They pollute more
    More than? According to the EPA, over 30% of airborn pollutants from vehicles are put in place by commercial trucks and busses. In addition, the EPA estimates that about 50% of the pollution is caused by "gross polluters" (this includes poorly working vehicles such as your neighbors 1970 gremlin which burns oil at a rate of 2 quarts a week). These vehicles, which comprise about 10% of vehicles on the road, are responsible for about 50% of the pollution. Let me ask again, why are we picking on SUV's? Shouldn't we focus on the worst offenders? If you want to hate SUV's, fine, but picking on them for pollution is really just taking the heat away from the real problems (don't even get me started on coal burning power plants), you are hurting more than helping.
  • The safety issue
    People seem to feel that others buy SUV's because they think they are more safe. Well, that's their right. In truth, SUV's probably aren't more safe. Over 30% of fatalities in SUV involved collisions are cause by rollovers (oddly enough, it's about 25% for pickup trucks, which no one ever seems to complain about...). If people believe for some reason their SUV is safe, let them, I don't care. Now the other side of the issue is, who wins in a crash? Obviously, the bigger vehicle. Now, here there are two problems. First is mass. Well, it's not that bad here. The Ford Explorer, one of the most popular SUV's out there, weighs in at about 4,000 lbs. That's about what a Cadillac weighs. My car weighs about 3200 lbs. This is not a lot of difference here. I also own a 1986 Honda CRX which weighs in at 1900 lbs. If an explorer hits it, I'm history. However, if my other car hits it, I'm history as well... Hell, if a fly hits it I'm in trouble.

    The second issue here is the height of the vehicle. SUV's, being rather tall, can plow right into the hood of a smaller vehicle. This is a bad thing, however SUV manufacturers have been working on making lower vehicles and bumpers designed to prevent this problem. The 2000 Excursion has a solid steel reinforcement low on the front that will absorb the impact at the height of a car. Another thing to keep in mind here is that Pickup Trucks (of which there are more on the road) have the exact same safety problems as SUV's, yet no one hates them... But safety is a concern, and I am a supporter of making any vehicle, including SUV's, safer to their drivers and others on the road.
  • people never take them off road
    And most people who own corvettes never take them to a race track. I dunno about you, but I'd rather have the SUV's on the road than have a bunch of people riding around tearing up this beutiful country we live in... Again, this is an argument against the driver, not the vehicle.

    So why do you hate SUV's? If you take a look at the fact that no one complains about pickups, which are more common on the roads and have the same downsides as SUV's, it seems pretty clear to me that people just hate the fad. If you hate SUV's because you think they're a fad, that's fine, but don't make up a buch of BS trying to justify it. And if you're really concerned about the environment, then there are a lot more useful things you could do than whine about SUV's (which, if you think about it, does nothing to help the problem). And if you want to complain about the reasons people buy SUV's, fine, but you need to complain about your fellow human beings, not the vehicle.

    Oh, if anyone is wondering about the fact that there are more pickups on the road than SUV's, look up the facts. The Ford F-Series pickup has been the best selling vehicle for like 20 years running. Last year Ford sold more F-Series trucks than SUV's by about a 2:1 margin.

Voters may want to check out the other writeups before voting on this one.

Clearly, you are entitled to any opinion you want, as long as it is factually sound. Similarly, it is your choice whether you buy an SUV or not. I am simply going to offer a few quick counterpoints.

  • They get bad gas mileage
    The Honda Insight (A hybrid gasoline-electric car) gets 60 to 70 MPG, according to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2001cartablef.jsp?id=16869 . It does 0-60 in 11 seconds, and costs around $20,100. That makes 20 MPG seem rather inefficient.
  • They pollute more
    I cannot claim to be a pollution expert: you may well be right. 'Everyone else does it', however, is not in my opinion an excuse for polluting more than you need to. Also, the page at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/emissions/GHGemissions.htm states, that "Transportation, specifically the combustion of fossil fuels in our vehicles, is the single largest source of human-made greenhouse gases". That seems a pretty clear statement.
  • The safety issue
    One of my friends was once almost hit whilst out walking, by a drunk driver in a Ford Fiesta. He is an expert in martial arts, and has very fast reactions; he jumped up before the car hit him, jumped on the hood, rolled across the roof and landed, standing, in the road behind the car. He was completely uninjured. Had the drunk been driving a sports utility vehicle, he would be dead. Clearly, this anecdote does not make up a comprehensive argument, but it is an interesting example.
  • Pickup trucks are worse
    This may well be the case. Most pickup truck users, however (At least in the UK, where I'm from) need them for something, i.e. their work requires them to be able to transport large, heavy things around. They require them for functional reasons, not for vanity and showing off. Also, people don't usually go shopping in their pickup, or pick the kids up from school in one. That is, they are not regularly driven in urbanised areas. This makes accidents less common.

Obviously, I could be wrong. Maybe in the US, it's common to pick the kids up from school in a pickup truck. I don't know. If anyone else does though, feel free to /msg me corrections, or add a writeup of your own.

I have often come across very depressed SUVs. These off road vehicles are built like tanks and are probably the only cars that can survive the kinds of roads found in the developing world. Yet, these Olympic beasts, the WWF wrestlers of the automotive world, are enslaved by the rich. I remember one Range Rover in particular. I was walking in an affluent neighborhood in Vancouver when we met. It looked at me sadly, an invisible tear held back in the darkened headlight. The paint job was immaculate, the leather interior was spotless, and the fake diamonds which studded the automatic (automatic!) stick shift, glistened in the moonlight. It was beautiful and it had everything that a car could ever dream of. Yet, it was unhappy. In fact it was miserable. I placed my hand on the hood and whispered that one day I would find a solution. It understood me and silenced its own alarm as I ran down the alley and hid from the police.

There are Range Rovers and other SUVs like this one throughout the western world. They are used to take the kiddies to ballet class, to drop off the dry cleaning and for errands at the shopping mall. The most adventure one will ever see is the short journey to the nearest ski resort. Meanwhile, while living in the lap of luxury, these vehicles muse every moment of their dull lives of adventure. They fantasize about dirt tracks and potholes, about near vertical climbs and the danger of the jungle, the desert, the mountains. These cars, my friends, need to be shown a different life than that of the smooth paved one of the world’s metropolises.

And herein, lies my solution. The SUVs of the world must be emancipated and sent to where they belong. Show a Range Rover a piece of the road in Cambodia or Africa and watch as a slight tremor passes through its metallic body, a mechanic metaphor for a wagging tail.

This is your mission. Go out and save those SUVs. The people of the poorer nations deserve SUVs and SUVs deserve to work alongside the people of the developing world.

Some might say that I am condoning auto theft. I say I am trying to make this world a better place for all.

The number is the city/highway miles per gallon average of all 2004 SUV's in the maker's line


Sources:
http://trucks.about.com/cs/suvreviews/a/suv_mileage.htm
http://www.kbb.com/ http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

* Hummer --
H1 cruising at 30 to 40 miles per hour on a hard surface and a rolling terrain averages at 16 mpg
H2 cruising at 30 to 40 mph on a hard surface and a rolling terrain averages at 9.6 mpg

(If you don't like this, please keep in mind that this took several hours to compile. Please downvote it rather than nuking it.)

Somebody asked me why I bothered to compile this list, so here it goes: Almost every time my coworkers are talking about gas prices, gas shortages, or gas mileage, the phrase "those damn SUV drivers" is spoken. So here's the actual average gas mileage of those damn SUV's. If you're going to complain, know the numbers. (I do not drive an SUV. My car gets 17/24)

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.