SUVs to the Rescue


Hmm. Maybe those bastards aren't so selfish after all.

NEXT: Silent Treatment

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  1. (Sarcasm On)Oh, of course they’re selfish and rude. They just did this for the good press. (Sarcasm Off)

  2. Just because something excessive and self-indulgent proves useful once in a blue moon doesn’t completely redeem it. I still hate SUVs and think they are foolish vehicles for people with low self-esteem.

  3. Well, this justifies the purchase of any large SUV, for any reason, in any state. I’m sold.

  4. Hey: Ordinarily, I hate the things too. But here in blizzarded Baltimore, I’m suddenly very glad they’re out there.

  5. Why would anyone bother wasting their life energy hating a somewhat more attractive mini-van as a concept? Very sad.

  6. Tommy can you hear me,

    Sooo, people who drive small, fuel-efficient, earth friendly(?), owl hugging, cars are what? Pretentious? Haughty? Are they crowned martyrs of the highway?

    Why is America the only country worried about offending people with their cell phones?


  7. Who hates concepts, PLC? I hate any specific, concrete thing that blocks my vision while I drive: SUVs, minivans, pick-ups — you name it, I’ll waste my precious life energy hating it, just as surely as you’ll waste yours being sad on my account.

  8. How is hating vehicles larger than your own going to improve your life, or your vision of the road for that matter, in any way? Wouldn’t it be wiser to simply pass the vehicle in question, or to allow more following room?

    Perhaps you ought to seek some professional anger management therapy, to help with these irrational choices.

  9. SUV’s, minivans, pick-ups, fire engines, ambulances, horse-drawn carriages…the enemies list gets longer and longer 😉
    I have a pre-SUV, what used be called a UT (S-10 Blazer). That 4-wheel drive has gotten me out of mud and snow and steep slopes many times over the years. I just wish it got better than 14 miles to the gallon :{

  10. Passing people … allowing more following space … holy moly, PLC, I never thought of that. Your provident words have saved me from a life of pointless anger, and I have nothing but appreciation for your wise, thoughtful, and in no sense smug or irony-challenged comments.

  11. Jesse, I hated SUVs too, until my wife bought one. Then I realized what wondrous vistas they open up. Especially of the skirt in the Miata convertable next to me.

  12. Hating a SUV driven by an idiot is like hating a gun for being used to shoot someone innocent. SUV’s are wonderful tools when used reasonably for a function that requires a vehicle with an SUV’s particular advantages.

    But when I see some 4 foot nothing soccer mom with her 7 year old son in the front seat and nothing else in the vehicle I just shake my head.

    If I didn’t have the capacity to differentiate between a tool and some of the idiots that use it, I might screech about the evils of SUV’s too.

  13. While I do think the SUV came into its own due to federal CAFE regulations that gave automakers an incentive to sell what were formerly utility vehicles as large luxo-barges, I don’t think that now that the can of worms is opened that they will go away even with a repeal of the CAFE law. People seem to like the view they get from sitting up high, and all the extra cargo space. Most of what distinguishes the ‘crossover’ vehicles from the traditional station wagon is the ride height, even if their ground clearance and center of gravity is lower.

    I haven’t read White’s study yet, but I’d like to if I can find it. In any case I suspect some of the less favorable things one might find on common SUV usage is that a lot of the vehicles are less safe because of how people drive them. Having four wheel drive helps you maintain traction in snow and wet weather, however it does not make you invulnerable. Some people forget that – hence the Jeep ‘tits up’ in the median. The difference is I can get out of my driveway with the Jeep while my RWD car sits and spins.

  14. Well, I was all ready to set Ted straight and then Jesse went and did it for me. Thanks.

    Oh, one thing.

    Ted, the user is, in most instances, more or less person-shaped while the tool is typically, well, kinda tool-shaped.

    Follow this rule and you too should have no trouble keeping them separate in what passes for your mind.

  15. Hey Garrett,

    I basically agree with your posts above, but how do you know that the 4-foot soccer mom with one child in the car and no stuff doesn’t need the vehicle based on a single sampling of her usage? Are you making a hasty judgement or are you stalking some poor woman to prove she made a bad vehicle choice? How do you know that she doesn’t have more children, or doesn’t frequently haul large cargo or a lot of stuff in it, or use it to tow a boat or RV on weekends and holidays? Or maybe she volunteers to coach soccer or help out with school field trips and occasionally has all seven seating positions filled?

    I have myself sometimes pondered the incongruousness of short people driving large cars, but hey, if you can barely see over the wheel of your Honda Civic, then maybe you’ll be a safer driver sitting atop a Yukon that lets you see the pavement 20 feet in front of you.

    Just a thought.

  16. Interesting… We can tell all about people just by looking at their vehicles. Well, Madison Ave would have us believe that.

    I drive a pick-up truck precisely because the things I need to carry are not shaped like people, and don’t fit well in passenger seats. But I guess if you have two kids, and the law requires them to be in child seats, and you need to carry clean diaper bags, dirty diaper bags, and a double stroller too, since you can’t leave kids in the car, perhaps you do need a land yacht to go anywhere. If kids are no longer allowed to roam the neighborhood, but must instead be driven to supervised play, then I guess the chauffeur needs an SUV to carry kids and gear. Maybe SUVs weren’t so common when kids weren’t so damn precious?

  17. Here in Minnesota sometimes I’m creeping along in the sleet, snow and muck, being passed by speeding SUVs and 18 wheelers and my wiper fluid is about out. I see a Jeep, tits up in the median. I smile.

  18. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating….All you smug, self-righteous SUV-haters are welcome to kiss my ass. Especially you Lefty, what with all that liberal “tolerance” you have.

  19. National Propaganda Radio (NPR) had a difficult time with this storm that hit the east. How does one admit the utility (the U) in SUV?

    But even better were two separate news stories that I couldn’t help but link together. NPR was gloating over the number of people who normally drove to work, but now had to rely on mass transit. That story was followed by one where over 100 people were killed in a mass transit arson attack.

  20. So a tiny fraction of a percent of SUVs actually get to be used to their capabilities for a couple days, and now we’re all supposed to like them? I suppose it does provide some support for the theory that people buy vehicles to cover 99% of the scenarios they can imagine instead of 99% of the driving they actually do (in which case everyone would use a single-seat vehicle with just enough cargo space for a single bag).

    PLC: “Slightly more attractive minivan”? I dare you to tell me that a Pontiac Aztek is more attractive than any minivan. Go on. I double dog dare you. (Gotta love PopeAlien’s auto reviews: “Objects in front of the Avalanche are clearly visible as long as they are over five feet high or 20 feet away. Objects behind the Avalanche are not visible…”)

  21. Everyone in the state of Florida should RIGHT NOW go out and buy an SUV, because at some point in the next 100 years there might be more than 2 inches of snow.

    I enjoyed listening to the increasing count of SUV spinouts as the smug asses who drive them would believe that road clearance = maneuverability. 15 by 7:30 AM.

    Of course as soon as the plow came, my girly-man tree-hugging AWD sedan could maneuver around all the spun out SUVs, so that’s been a laugh as well.

    That being said, I’m glad that less than 1% of SUV owners demonstrated some responsibility in the 24 – 48 hours they held an advantage in city driving.

  22. Bravo to Ted for correctly assuming that anyone who dislikes SUVs must think he has “the right to help me decide what I should be driving.” I look forward to his next comment, declaring that behind every negative movie review lurks a censor.

    A second bravo for understanding that this item, which links to a piece praising SUVs for their utility in blizzards, is in fact fierce anti-SUV propaganda.

    After all, it’s completely inconceivable that someone might dislike SUVs yet still defend people’s right to drive them, or find them obnoxious in some situations but commendable in others.

  23. In the end, Robert A. Heinlein had it right.

    “. . . There are really only two kinds of people in this world. Those that want to control everyone else and those with no such urges. The latter make better neighbors.”

    Jesse and all those others that think they have the right to help me decide what I should be driving, including Garret who thinks he can tell the tool from the user,

    Boy, am I glad none of you are my neighbors.

  24. Just in case anyone might be interested.

    I do NOT drive an SUV.

    But, those SUV drivers in the blizzard, they may be my neighbor any time they want.

  25. Let’s either fix or dump the federal rules that favor SUV’s in the first place, then there won’t be so many of them and they’ll be more likely owned by people who know how to use them and have more use for them.

    Dumping the rules in favor of gas taxes (offset by other tax decreases) as Virginia Postrel recommends is my own favored route, but unfortunately, attempting to fix them might be the only politically viable possibility. Alas, this would probably lead to brand new problems for us all to bitch about, but at least new problems are more interesting than old ones…….

  26. In the summers up here in the north, the mosquitos(es) are horrible. When out on the patio sipping cocktails in the evening we like to find a nice, plump toddler, wearing only a diaper, and place him 20 feet away. We truly value those little guys.

  27. EMAIL:

    DATE: 12/11/2003 01:24:43
    It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.

  28. EMAIL:
    DATE: 12/21/2003 02:58:28
    For every action there is an equal and opposite government program.

  29. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/19/2004 09:18:55
    Underestimation is a two-way street.

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