There are a lot of facts that make the SUV an unwise purchase: 1. Profit margin A look at my Poseur's Clone list will show you that any 4x4 truck + station wagon body = $10-20,000 profit for the manufacturer. Even "suv.com" admits that each Ford Expedition sold delivers an estimated $10,000 profit per unit. J.D. Power and Associates estimates that SUVs now account for 15 percent of sales (rising every year), but they yeild a whopping 60 percent of industry profits! Yet Ford announced the highest sales ever for SUVs, with Expeditions selling at or above list price. Are people really this dumb? Evidently so, because Ford just introduced the Lincoln Navigator (Instead of Eddie Bauer, will there be a Netscape edition?) at $43,300. This is basically an Expedition with a huge honkin' grille. Profit margin on this model must be near $20,000. As if this were not enough, Ford is now planning an EVEN LARGER one, based on the E350 1-ton truck chassis! It is tentatively named the Challenger. Unfortunately, it probably won't explode. 2. Inferior Safety Most people think that the hefty weight and sheer mass of SUVs benefits their safety. This is a total myth: #1. High weight and a high center of gravity means that the SUV is much less adept at accident avoidance maneuvers, which of course is the best means of preventing injury. #2. The NHSTA (the highway crash statistics agency) registers higher instance and severity of injury among SUVs than comparable size cars. Insurance companies are starting to catch on and are raising rates on SUV owners. #3. SUVs are statistically far more likely to roll over than cars are, though the problem is over-inflated by the media and consumer magazines. #4. The stopping distances of these porkers are lengthened by their excessive weight and primitive brakes. The poor tanks can't stop fast enough to avoid falling off cliffs! I don't know if that is good or bad! SUVs are also subject only to U.S. standards of trucks, not cars. This means they have inferior crash-test requirements and do not require safety features like airbags, side impact beams, and impact absorbing bumpers. My only point in all this is that if SUVs are not up to car standards, SUVs shouldn't be replacing cars as daily drivers and mall runners. 3. Inferior Technology Here is some technical/factual information about the inferior technology that makes most SUVs as incompetent off-road as they are on-road: Question: Why are SUVs inferior on-road and off-road? Answer: Primitive 4WD vs. Modern AWD A friend of mine recently traded in his 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd (4WD) for a 1997 Chrysler Town and Country AWD minivan, and this winter the minivan PROVED AWD is superior to 4WD. Of all things, you would THINK a Jeep would give better traction in the snow that a minivan....... You would think, but you'd be incorrect. It's just too bad that the superior vehicle had to be a minivan. 4. Better Alternatives As big as most SUVs are, there is not much room inside comparatively. Every SUV that I've ridden in (Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Explorer, Tahoe, Jimmy) has an uncomfortable, short rear seat backrest and minimal legroom. When combined with the bucking bronco ride, my comfort level goes from uncomfortable to unbearable VERY fast. I have also driven a new GMC Jimmy and it reminded me of driving the Chevy delivery van I drove for a job a few summers ago...Ugh! Why is this? Most SUVs are common work trucks with a station wagon body built around them, and those that aren't are just raised up station wagons. It's amazing how many people don't realize this. My friend has a Toyota 4Runner (I call them MallRunners :) and I commented to him, "Nice Station Wagon". He then informed me that it was a 4x4 and not a wagon. I seriously think that most companies are going to start offering fake wood siding on SUVs soon, like those old mom & pop Country Squire wagons from the '70s. I've already seen some Jeep Grand Cherokees with a fake wood kit on them. The Family Truckster returns! (from the classic 80's flick "Vacation") There are much better choices than an SUV that will give you more value and comfort for your dollar. If you live in a place with a lot of inclement weather and need a four- wheel-drive vehicle, consider the following: Audi Quattro Series (the 1.8 Turbo Quattro is only $25,990) Volvo V70 AWD VW Passat Syncro Wagon (not here yet, but soon to come!) Subaru Legacy and Impreza AWD cars and wagons. Chrysler Town and Country AWD Minivan And if you want to go camping or off-roading, pick up an old, rusty, beat-up International Scout or Jeep CJ for $1000 or so. Now I'm not saying SUVs are useless, but how many SUVs sold are actually taken off road, AND how many of them can handle the challenge of off roading?? 5. It's a trend that will end... ...and you can help it! DON'T BUY ONE!!! My god!! I hope people start getting minds of their own! Here's a good idea: Let's buy a vehicle based solely on the fact it's "cool", "in", and "all the rage". Never mind the primitive construction, the safety concerns, the extravagant cost, and the pretentious attitude involved in the purchase! You want to see rage? Buy one, and you'll see just that!! Before the SUV rage, I thought minivans were a pest! At least minivans CAN serve a purpose besides annoying me.
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