Research – Goodbye to the SUV I say!

29 04 2009

Why SUVs Suck and Why Do So Many People Buy SUVs

Pro or Con SUV arguments could only occur in rich nations, like the good old USA. In other parts of the world, arguments for or against SUVs would never occur because most of the earths population is too poor to afford a car let alone an SUV.

One side of the debate we have the pro SUV crowd that feels that the larger size of the SUV is a measure of safety, and that it is anti American to tell others what they should or should not drive. Arguments for SUVs include the fact that they have lots of room for people and cargo and have the potential to go out into the wild.

And on the other side we have the anti SUV crowd that feels that the taller stance of the SUV makes them more prone to tipping, and that the larger size of SUVs makes them less fuel efficient and more accident prone.

There is some truth to both arguments, but on balance SUVs suck for many reasons including the fact that SUVs are just another dumb fashion fad, just like disco music and pet rocks from the ’70’s era!!!! In order to substantiate why SUVs suck, and answer the big question why do people buy so many SUVs, one needs to look at the big picture.

The United States leads the world not only in the number of inefficient vehicles such as large SUVs but also in the largest amount of retail space per person.

FACT OR FICTION: Are SUVs sexy and safe?

Whats  so sexy about a big box on wheels? Victoria Secret models are sexy, a Ferrari has sleek sexy styling but the styling of all SUVs is based on a box, just like a mini van! The only thing an SUV is suppose to have is 4×4 capability which is useless in urban settings and for the most part SUVs on the market lack a true low gearing ratio, solid axle and ladder frame, sliders, etc. necessary for true outback vehicles. The H2 has a number of features necessary for taking it into the bush, but it was built because marketers figured the tonka toy styling appealed to wanabe explorer soccer moms (or dads) who if really taken out into the bush would not last more than a day or two at most.

All too often I’ve seen SUVs on the interstate blast past me at 80+ MPH. If people want a fast, safe luxury ride there is nothing like a 700 series BMW blasting down the freeway at 100+ MPH (which is not even taxing the design), or for a more unpretentious ride try a Mercedes Benz station wagon. SUVs are not optimized for high speed cruising since they have barn door aerodynamics which results in poor fuel economy, a higher than average center of gravity which results in poor handling and on average blind spots behind an SUV is much larger than that of a car (which means there would result in a greater probability for an accident in an SUV).

So much for convention wisdom about big cars being safer than small cars. It should be noted that there is a wide disparity among small cars like the front-of-the-pack Jetta and Civic and the relatively risky Ford Escort and Dodge Neon, the bottom line is good vehicle design is more important than sheer mass in terms of occupant safety. The full report can be found at

One major problem of SUVs is that some drivers tend to contract SUV syndrome, which manifests itself by aggressive behavior. Infected individuals mistakenly reason that the sheer size of the vehicle suddenly makes them supreme road worriers.

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