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SUVs? a regional phenomena

What is the basis for the highly emotional conflicts regarding SUVs? It appears to be quite regional. Although I see the Escalades and Navigators are somewhat exagerated exercises in conspicuous consumption the more rational models are just station wagons and here in northern Mississippi the SUVs hold their value quite well.

Regional? I’m not aware of a regional difference in opinions about SUVs, but I don’t travel much. If we posit that the people who are most opposed to SUVs (too big, too inefficient) are the same people who want to outlaw incandescent light bulbs and toilets that use more than a gallon of water, then SUV hatred would be concentrated on the coasts.

I have to agree with SDW. With few exceptions, there are those who want SUV and those who don’t.

As for any regulation, I hope it is not by direct regulation. Rather if an SUV does $5,000 of damage during it’s life, then I would suggest $5,000 tax. Better yet would be further up the food chain. Tax the oil based on the cost to society. Let the market be the enforcer.

Well, I am on the east coast, albeit in an affluent suburban/rural area, and it is more like an SUV love-fest here. I don’t see any concerted SUV hatred in this area.

Colorado has the highest percentage of SUV/trucks of any state. Living in the mountains or skiing every weekend may justify one. Living in Denver, however, AWD is rarely a necessity. I’ve been driving RWD BMWs for the 30+ years I’ve lived here with real winter tires and have never gotten stuck. When I lived in the mountains west of Boulder, almost every vehicle that went off the road was an SUV. They may accelerate a bit faster than a 2WD vehicle, but they cannot stop or steer faster. I’d rather drive a RWD vehicle with four real winter tires than an AWD vehicle with all (read three) season tires. When I need a Jeep, I’ll rent one for the weekend. I’ve owned a couple of SUVs and have no emotional feelings either way – if you like it, drive it.


There is a need for an suv, in many circumstances, I used to call them urban assault vehicles. Then I needed one to tow the boat and kids and dog and cats. Many times it was a matter of why the heck does a soccer mom need one, other than a symbol of prestige and ability to pass us 2wd vehicles in the snow only to get in an accident or rollover in a ditch farther down the road. Mine gets 23 mpg highway, and new car gas mileage does not seem that impressive for many vehicles. The 2010 lexis gets 27 on the highway!
Impala gets 29 mpg highway so I do not see a great gas savings greenness.

When the history of the 2000s first decade is written, I suspect the driving of a Hummer to Starbucks in the suburbs will be the prime example of waste and foolishness.

I’m no tree hugger by any means, but I am for being conscientious and responsible with what I spend my money on and the lifestyle I live.

It’s amazingly liberating when you can stop caring about what people you don’t even know think about the vehicle you drive.

Vanity is such an expensive vice, ledhed. It was a luxury that I never could seem to afford. I often pass a home with a circular front drive and a large garage in the rear. The husband owns and operates heavy equipment and drives a well worn 1 ton pickup that he is admonished to keep out of sight in the garage while the wife keeps her MB convertible at the front door. I’m so proud that no one in my family ever felt embarrassed to be seen with me in one of my trucks when I left the shop after a long day. I always took my boots off at the door though.

I own an SUV and it is very useful. It pulls a horse trailer, a boat, and handles some pretty rough dirt roads at times. I also own a convertible, primarily for fun, and a Honda Civic for economy. I get to choose the “tool” best suited for the job. The Civic gets the most yearly mileage and is best for running errands, except on a beautiful sunny day.

Living in NJ suburbs I saw many SUV’s that never saw snow, didn’t haul a trailer, and were the general family vehicle. Many people moved into SUV’s which became “cool” when mini vans became passe. There isn’t anything wrong with SUV’s. They are just fuel inefficient vehicles for suburban errand running.

When gas prices go up, SUV popularity goes down. As soon as gas is cheap again, the SUV’s come back in popularity. They haul stuff, are comfortable, and keep the kids a decent distance from the adults adding to dad’s sanity on long trips. The only real downside is poor mpg.

However, when gas gets scarce poor mpg can be a significant downside.

I have traveled in all but 2 of our 50 states (Vermont and Hawaii). The SUV is everywhere. They are very versatile and some can carry several adults. Fuel economy is their only drawback. They are better than a station wagon but not as good as a truck in most cases. I say drive what you like.

I do not believe it is a regional thing. I do believe the bias against suv’s are instigated and fueled by 1, those with a way to mass project thier opinion to others and 2, those who base thier opinions on emotion and not facts.

suv’s are not bad or evil. they have been around since the late 40’s or early 50’s (jeepster or carryall) and they will be around for a long time. wait a while and some other vehicle will be given the scarlett gas cap and be the scapegoat of americas problems

I say drive what you like.

I agree. There is a wonderful scene in the play “No Time for Sergeants” where the backward country draftee, Will Stockdale is being given a psychological test. The psychologist tries to make Stockdale angry by saying, “I would rather live in the worst pigstye in Georgia than a mansion in your home state”. Stockdale doesn’t react. The psychologist then says, “Doesn’t my insulting your state make you mad?” Stockdale replies, “No. Where you want to live is your own business”.
Well, I’ve always figure that what kind of car a person wants to drive is his or her own business.

In my opinion, suv s are the response to the fwd craze initiated by the 70s gas crunch. FWD cars are so inadaquate in load carrying/towing and high capacity use, it’s natural that rwd/4wd suv or wagons are filling the void. Some look at them as status symbols; I use ours to carry 7 people on trips, tow boats and ford 1 to 2 ft snow drifts. They ride better than trucks and give you that great compromise vehicle. I like the car based and the truck based and the HD car based like the Pilot which blurs the differences between the two…long live them !
"I’d rather drive a RWD vehicle with four real winter tires than an AWD vehicle with all (read three) season tires. "
So “twotone”…what’s wrong with awd with winter tires ? So that’s not an option ?

FYI, “phenomena” is plural. The singular version is “phenomenon.”

To which “highly emotional conflicts” are you referring? SUVs are popular everywhere, red states and blue states. For large families, they do quite a good job.

I too own a SUV…very very useful…camping/towing…skiing…visiting relatives in Pulaski NY during Christmas…

I will agree that there are people who own one who don’t need them…And many people just buy one that is far far far bigger then what they need. My neighbor has a H1…uses it to tow his 20’ fishing boat (which MAY weigh 2000 lbs with trailer).

I don’t think it’s that simple. I think to make anything meaningfull out of it you need to corrolate proportional variations in vehicle type with some other variable such as per-family income distributions. There may even be subcategories such as vehicle cost within each vehicle category. Average family size may even be a factor.

To illustrate, it may be that areas with average per-family incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 with a family size of three to four living in the midwest tend to buy a higher proportion of SUVs priced between $35,000 and $45,000, while families with an average income over $75,000 and families in the southern California region buy SUVs priced above $45,000 (the fancy ones).

It may also be that families over four tend to buy minivans instead of SUVs and that the upper midwest has a greater proportion of families over four.

Trying to simplify buying trends by region alone may not tell the story. My guess is that the marketing fellas and gals in the manufacturers’ corporate suites have this data down to the lowest common denomination.

“Snow drifts” caught my eye. How about ice? In a different post you referred to the Honda CRV. When a vehicle increases in size, is it harder to control in snow and ice, or do the features you’re mentioning, like AWD, compensate – or, better yet – make handling better? I’m a long-time Honda Accord driver (FWD), and my little Honda frequently stayed on the road and plowed through drifts – where I saw a lot of SUVs in the ditch. Thanks. (I live in the Midwest.)

I got mine because I lived in the country. It pulls horse trailer and hay wagon great. It even holds 8 bales of hay. 2 years ago i lost the farm and now live in town but have gotten so used to the burban, I can not give it up. I can fit a full 4X8 sheet of plywood in the back. It is invaluable for hauling garden supplies groceries and everything else. It addition it is very comfortable for long trips. Much better than my saturn.

SUVs are a “necessity” where I live…if don’t want to drive a truck all the time. The SUV for many became popular when the gas crunch eased after the 70’s and there were few big body on frame wagons that could tow and handle heavy loads. Forget the 4wd, it’s just as important to have some elevation if you’re willing to give up some handling. They handle curbs, potholes deep snow and soft trails better and in car based form, give little away to sedans.
Long live the SUV and SUV “wannna be”. Now the line is blurred between the minivan and the SUV and the station wagon and SUV.

No vehicle can be all things to all people, but the modern SUV comes closer than any other class of vehicles.

Should the owner of a SUV recieve a “credit” if he uses it too help someone who needs the capabilities of a SUV but does not have one? It could be looked at that this SUV owner is mitigating the “cost to society” imposed by his SUV. We want to keep things fair here.

Better yet, you do your thing and I will do mine and no one will be the judge on our postive or negative impact on society caused by our choice of vehicle, there are bigger fish to fry, like artillery rounds being exchanged by the Korea’s (still).