Guess SUVs have ticked off Chris Pirillo, who says he doesn’t care what an SUV driver’s reasons are for owning a “gas-guzzling tank.” I kind of had to smile at the irony of the Google ads just below his post, where one of the paid links is hawking Honda CR-V SUVs.
Ah, the CR-V. That was the first SUV we owned. We went for it specifically because it was not a gas guzzling vehicle but actually pretty good on the mileage and also useful for hauling things around.
Chris, you’re a good guy and while you say you don’t what to know the reasons behind why someone would get one of these, I’ll enlighten you on my end.
First of all, you don’t have kids. You go get two or more kids and try cramming them into a small compact car. Now go cram some of their friends in alongside. Oh, and go to the supermarket and do the weekly shopping. Toss in one or two of the kids’ bikes while you’re at it. Also be sure to do this when they are young, so you can get the added pleasure of car seats sucking up more of your decreasing room. You’ll want a bigger car. OK, maybe you don’t need a Ford Excessive or whatever the latest giant E-named model might be. But there are SUVs that are roomy, good on the mileage and not pushing compacts off the road.
Second, you don’t live in the country. I do. I’m in the middle of Wiltshire driving on country roads where having four wheel drive is nice. I’m right up on the Salisbury Plain, where when the army isn’t driving tanks and lobbing artillery shells across it (makes for fun watching and nice night time booms), there are a number of dirt roads that are great to go out on. I’ve even gone cross country to get around accidents when the police have closed the regular roads for miles. The British police love nothing more than to close 15 miles of roadway and detour people for miles whenever there’s an accident.
Third, my wife does gardening work. She hauls around a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of room in an SUV for that. People do have cars for good reasons that you may not be aware of.
Fourth, let me talk about our current SUV, which is a Volvo XC-90. We went for it because it seats 7 people, plus it gets around 25 miles to the gallon, which is good. That’s especially good because I’m paying about $5 per gallon for my petrol, versus your $2 per gallon of gas. Believe me, I’ve got no incentive to have a gas guzzler. Hence those seven seats. When we’ve got family over, I can easily get everyone — sister-in-law, her two kids plus the four in my family into one car, rather than having to take two. Same when my wife’s carpooling kids. We use the SUV wisely, taking it out for when it makes sense to use.
By the way, when we’re not out in the SUV, our other car is a Mini — which I’m sure won’t give you any hassle on the road or in the parking lots. The Mini is our workhorse, and we use it far, far more than the Volvo.
Postscript: Cool, I found a guide to how green various SUVs are. I’m just above average. Hard to tell, since manual diesel 2.4L Volvos aren’t rated — but I know that combination is the best mileage you can get, because that’s why I went for it. Would have loved a hybrid, but they simply haven’t come much to the UK