Friday, October 17, 2003

I was SUV, When SUV Wasn't Cool.

I’m really getting tired of hearing the whiney-butts complain about SUV owners. I can remember before I could drive I wanted a Ford Bronco. My Dad was a Chevy man, and he owned a Blazer. When I finally got my license there was no way that I could afford my dream car, so I settled for a 1965 Ford Falcon Ranchero. That was a sweet little ride, but this article is not about my little ranchero, so I’ll save that for another day.

Why did I want a Bronco? My Dad took us four-wheeling in Northern California when we were young, and I was hooked. He was in a four-wheel drive club and they went on outings, campouts, and road rallies, and did all sorts of fun things.

My first SUV came along when it was apparent that my little ranchero could not navigate the unplowed roads of the Rocky Mountains. I found a cool little Jeep CJ-7 hard top with a sunroof. That was another fun vehicle to own.

I joined the Rocky Mountain Jeep club and went on outings and road rallies just like I had always wanted to do. Since I had dropped a Wagoneer 360 into it, the gas mileage became an issue. Not so much as how much it consumed, but more that I had moved 21 miles from work, and it had a little gas tank.

A Bronco II, which was a bit tipsy and mechanically a piece of junk, replaced my CJ-7. After a short time with the Bronco II it was apparent that soon it would need a new engine. I traded it in for a 1989 Jeep Cherokee. We still have this Cherokee and it has been a great vehicle! It even got us through eight years of living in Fairbanks Alaska.

My wife began driving the Cherokee in Alaska, and I went through a 1974 Blazer and a 1981 Bronco until I finally got a nice full-size 1991 Bronco that I still drive. My dream vehicle, and it only took me about 15 years to get. If nothing else, I’m persistent.

Enough about the lineage of what I have driven, the focus here is on why. The main reason we still drive SUV’s, is that we live where it snows, we have three kids, and we haul a lot of stuff around. Most SUV’s are nothing more then trucks with an enclosed back-end, but I don’t hear anyone abusing truck owners. I can transport more people then a truck can as well, so an SUV is much more practical.

Even in suburbia there are a lot of reasons to own an SUV. I see many of them taking the kids to school, driving around the sports teams or scouts, hauling a ton of groceries. Heck, when I load in all of my scuba diving equipment I know it won’t all fit into some tiny car. Come to think of it, I barely fit into a tiny car!

If you want to drive a little clown car, and don’t have a lot of children or items to haul, then that’s fine. All I ask is that you shut your face complaining about people who own and drive SUV’s. Let’s cover some issues that annoy you the most.

SUV’s drink a lot of fuel. Many SUV’s get the same, and some better, gas mileage then large luxury cars. Most run about the same as trucks that tend to be everywhere on the road as well. And don’t get me started on these hugs land-yacht motor homes. Talk about your gas-guzzlers!

SUV’s are more dangerous. I’m fully aware that a high-centered vehicle can roll over easier then a low-centered one. This is why you won’t see me taking mountain roads like I’m an Indy racer (like you people driving little rice-burners do). I’m willing to bet that many of the so-called roll-over deaths from SUV’s were caused by some little zippy car cutting them off while driving like an idiot painting their nails, brushing their hair, and talking on their cell phone.

People hit by SUV’s stand a greater chance in dying. Buy an SUV! Why do you think I like them? I’ve discussed the survival of the fittest rule in other articles; the same applies on the road. Heck, if a semi hits you you’re a pancake too, should we outlaw all the big rigs so you’ll feel safer? Riding a motorcycle is even more dangerous, that’s why I don’t ride one anymore. I read one complaint that people driving smaller cars and getting hit by an SUV are four-times more likely to be killed. So, this means I should go buy a smaller car? Doesn’t this sort of trump the previous argument that SUV’s are not as safe as smaller cars?

The final straw is that people buy SUV’s for some macho trip. This is idiotic and so wrong. There are some who buy Hummers for the same reason they buy a Corvette, for the status symbol and feeling insecure. Some people buy those cars though, because dang it, they can! So what if they do! A Corvette is just plain cool, fun and a blast to own. Hummers, well okay, they’re not really practical for much of anything, but if someone has the bucks, and wants to own one for fun, let them!

I drive SUV’s because they fit my large stature, and I need to lug my dive gear, camping gear, photography equipment, family, etc… all over the place. It’s the best vehicle for my family and our lifestyle. If you are single, have no life, go nowhere, and do nothing, then of course you don’t need an SUV. Do everyone else a favor and get off your high horse about saving the environment, people’s lives, fuel, and the entire planet.

We’re moving in the direction of alternative fuel vehicles. Once they are more practical, I will be one of the first in line to upgrade to an alternatively fueled SUV.

Until I stop diving, and the kids have all grown up and moved away, you better not drive like an idiot near me, or the accident you cause just might be your last!

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