Thursday, September 09, 2004

Why an SUV?

Does anybody really know why people would buy an SUV? Do they people who buy them really know why they are purchasing such an unhelpfully large vehicle?

I can understand them for people who really do have the SUV-commercial lifestyle. Rock climbing in Yosemite. Skiing in the Sierras. Rafting down the…uh…big wet thing. But it’s odd. I actually do know people like that and they have pickup trucks. Not even the big-ass, hay-hauling kind either. Just a Toyota big enough to throw a tent and some rope into.

So why the SUVs? Please don’t give me the “I’ve got a bad back,” argument. I’ve heard that one. Guess what? I have a bad back. I just got through two rounds of physical therapy for it and not once did my therapist recommend I shell out an obscene amount of money to purchase a monster larger than my garage.

And don’t say, “We’ve got kids.” My folks had 5 kids and managed just fine with a station wagon.

So what’s the point? Why do people actually want something that gets 15 mpg when gas is over $2 a gallon? Why will people voluntarily drive something that is nearly impossible to park? (Note: You know those parking spaces labeled “compact car only?” THAT MEANS YOU, IDIOT. If you’re not in a small car, go park in one of those spaces at the other end of the lot. And don’t complain about having to walk – it’s good training for all those camping trips you must be taking because you have an SUV.)

People are spoiled. And car companies (hell, every company in the world) panders to that. Now I’m not going to get all “in my day” over you, but I do recall doing just fine growing up in a station wagon that did not have cup holders, 5-disc CD changers, a DVD player, individual climate control, or any of the other conspicuous options that people feel they need. And tell me, what’s the point of having kids if you won’t even talk to them while they’re in the damned car with you. Road trips were not meant for the kids to be watching Shrek in the back while mom and dad talk to each other – they’re supposed to be about family bonding. Remember the stupid license plate game from your own childhood? Teach it to your kid. Sing silly songs. Count cows. Yeah, there are boring stretches filled with “are we there yet?” But they are more than made up for by the fact that you will actually be interacting with your children, not just keeping them busy.

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