Random Thoughts from TasT
Published on September 27, 2003 By TasT In Consumer Issues
Some of you will remember the days when the family piled into the Impala, Vega or maybe even the Pinto Station wagon for the family vacation. Today these vehicles have been replaced by the SUV, these generally large gas guzzling vehicles are quick becoming the vehicle of choice for a family in the US replacing the sedan’s and station wagons of old.

I ask myself why is this? The original SUVs weren’t designed to replace the station wagon. Jeeps, Broncos, Suburbans, Blazers, Landcruisers and the like were designed to haul and tow people and things through nasty terrain where station wagon and cars could not go. Today though I see large SUVs everywhere and almost none of them are navigating treacherous terrain, hauling or towing anything.

I live in the US Midwest and when I ask why people own these vehicles I usually get the answer that it snows here and they need the 4-wheel drive to get around. I generally laugh. We do get snow but any halfway decent driver in a front wheel drive Geo Metro can get around just fine and many of us make it just fine in rear wheel drive trucks. Our biggest weather hazard is the occasional ice storm and as we all know it doesn’t matter how many wheels are pulling on ice it’s hard to get around. Not to mention the automatic 4-wheel drive system used on most of these luxury SUVs is not quick enough to make any difference on Ice and packed snow. I have twice been witness to the direct effect of this watching the vehicle slide into the ditch before the front wheel tried to catch traction.

The Standard bigger is better theory has won out and the oil companies are making a killing. Just remind your friends that pull up in that SUV that has never had its trailer hitch used or even seen a dirt road that they are really driving a Glorified Station Wagon.
on Sep 27, 2003
as a driver of a small car, i hate suvs. i can't see around them when i'm behind them, they are high enough that their headlights bounce off my side mirror into my eyes (my rear view has a nifty switch that darkens the brightness so you can only see their headlights at non-blinding power), and if one of them rams me i'm dead.

the one thing i like about suvs is that when gas prices rise, i don't get too upset. sure, it costs me cash, but thinking about how screwed suv owners are makes me consider it money well spent.
on Sep 28, 2003
I can totally relate russellmz2. I too own a small, front wheel drive, fuel effective car. I drive a good 100 miles a day and reason that it's cost and practicality that make my automobile selection so simple.

An interesting thing is, I live in Michigan, where the Winters get... well.. Winter like. The snow falls and we get a few inches. No big deal. Any person living in the area for a few years or so learns how to deal with it... or at least they should. What's funny though is the fact that I personally know several friends of mine who own SUV's for driving in the winter... But why?

What's so funny too is the fact that most of my friends are not married, have no children and don't own anything that could be towed, nor do they car pool, but rather choose to “meet you somewhere”. I love it in the summer time when they complain over gas prices and wonders why they get 8 miles to the gallon.

Poeple these day... sheesh!
on Sep 28, 2003
Our minivan gets 20MPG. The same as my 2003 Bonnaville.
on Sep 28, 2003
I drive a fairly heavy and solid car, the Ford T-Bird; it guzzles gas but thankfully not as bad as the oil tanker a day consuming SUV. Those trucks get irritating when I can’t see where my car is parked because one or two of those moving roadblocks is obstructing my view of where it is, and the Lights are blaring and white hot in my eyes from those trucks too, what’s the sense in blinding the people on the road?
on Sep 28, 2003
I love my Blazer and the Jeep Classic I had before that. Couldn't stand the frilly Liberty, so I went with a Blazer instead.

Do I haul things with it every day? No. But when I have moved furniture or stuff the car full of wholesome food from Chicago to fill my freezer in Michigan, that I find it invaluable.

And for people who scoff at "winter weather", I submit that depends greatly on where in the country you are. The northern portions of Michigan are by no means the south. Of course, they can't manage to plow roads other than the highways around here, so it may as well be further north.
on Oct 05, 2003
When I drove a SUV and it was in 2 wheel drive mode I had a hard time controlling it in the snow in NYC. I have drove a car in the snow before and while the front wheel drive is pretty good it doesn't help when the front of the car is on ice or your trying to go up a uptown Manhattan hill or the Bronx and its hills.

The Mitsubishi Montero I rented during the blizzard a few years back drove great in the snow. I am not sure why people say there is no difference between 2 wheel and 4 wheel drive in the snow. Of course ice doesn't matter BUT if the ice is on the front wheels you still have the back wheels. And when your going down that unplowed road you'll be glad your a few inches above the road as opposed to normal car height.

for me, if I get an SUV, it will sit in the garage most of the time unless I go camping, its snowing or I have allot to move... maybe if I just want to get to point A to B on the highway (best mileage) but that would have to be a short distance.