Who Could Possibly Hate SUVs? This Guy...
Let me start by stating there are 2 types of SUV that are available. The first kind is the decommissioned war vehicle, like the original Jeep or Hummer. The Jeep was used during WWII and could be considered the original Sport-Utility Vehicle. It was designed to move troops quickly and safely over Europe's rocky hills, unpaved roadways, and war torn terrain. The Jeep perhaps gained popularity in the post-war era as it was driven by Elvis during his time in the military. The hummer was originally used during the first Gulf War. It's wide base and big wheels allowed it to travel over the dessert floor be it flat or over a dune, with slowing or sinking into the sand. After each war, returning soldiers who had become accustomed to driving these vehicles were unable to find anything else in the automobile market that could give them the same handling or feel.
When peace time came, both the Jeep and Hummer were decommissioned and granted permission to be sold to the general public. Rather than selling the design to an existing major company, the factories and workers simply went into production for themselves under their own name. Sure they would later join in with a bigger corporation, but they would keep their established names and original designs. Both models saw initial sales from the already built-in customers they had in the former soldiers who drove them in the war. Each model immediately saw problems when taken into urban areas, and later models would be redesigned to accommodate the smooth roads, and smaller parking spaces most people use.
Sales would also grow when established pop stars gave their endorsements of these vehicles. As stated before, the Jeep was driven by Elvis in WWI. The Hummer gained the backing of many rap stars of the 90's, and America being the nation of mindless sheep and automatons that it is has to imitate its latest pop sensation in every way. This meant buying Jeeps or Hummers, all decked out with the latest and greatest gadgets and features of its time.
Being that I did not enlist, and did not operate these machines in war time; nor do I follow pop culture or its latest trends, I have little use for these types of SUVs. That brings me to the second type, the kind that makes up almost all SUVs in use today, the Yuppie mobile.
SUVs that do not have a direct "bloodline" to Jeep or Hummer sprouted from a failed marketing ploy that somehow survived and unbelievably thrived. It all started with the Yuppie generation of the 80's. This new generation, as does every one before it and every one since, rejected the ways of its predecessor. Many of these 80's children had been raised by family oriented baby boomers. Their families growing up were large, and required a large vehicle to transport everyone at once. This was usually handled by a station wagon or van of some kind. To buck this trend, the newest generation of the time fell in love with sports cars. Fast, powerful, agile... these were nothing like the large family movers from years prior. Now normally this wouldn't be much of a problem, except these yuppies started having kids of their own. Camaros and Mustangs are not designed to safely hold a car seat, or young passenger of any kind. Unable to use their sports cars, but unwilling to give up the power or handling they have become accustomed to; the market demanded a new product.
Train of thought
Now I can certainly understand how the idea of a family friendly SUV would come about. Vans are not popular, so let's start with a truck. Well, first problem is there are not enough seats. No problem, let's close in the bed and add additional seating instead of cargo space. But truck engines are not nearly as fast as sports cars and have towing power, not racing power which is what people want. Again, no problem. Just remove the truck engine, and put in a sports car engine. Now we have the heart and soul of a sports car, but the functionality of a utility vehicle. What should we call it? A Sport-Utility Vehicle or SUV for short! Done, put it in production immediately!
Be careful what you wish for...
Problems with this design became apparent almost immediately. The engine, designed for smaller and lighter cars, was working over time to move these larger machines. This caused the engine to use more and more fuel, resulting in SUVs having horrible gas-millage. It also meant the engine was more prone to break downs, as the wear and tear was greatly accelerated. Also, in an effort to make SUVs feel less like a truck or van, they were given a narrower chassis. However the narrowing of the vehicle, along with an increase in speed, caused the vehicle to become top-heavy and prone to rollovers by people who still drove like they were in a sports car. It is these flaws, most of which have only begun to be corrected in the past 10-15 years, that have made me shy away from this type of vehicle.
So why a truck then? Well a bad back and two bad knees make it very difficult to get in and out of a car that sits lower to the ground, especially during the colder months. I have already ruled out SUVs so that leaves me with either a van or a truck, and based on nothing but personal preference I chose a truck. This will be changing shortly however, as my own growing family will require more seating options than most trucks can afford. Taking into account everything stated above, you can look forward to seeing your Social Media Saviour driving around in a minivan in the very near future.