Thursday, March 03, 2011

Car Musing I: On the success of "crossover" SUVs...

The success of the "crossover" car-based SUV-ette at the expense of the traditional truck-based SUV seems to have confused people. "It's not an SUV! It can hardly go off-road! It's just a tall station wagon!"

People buy crossovers exactly because they are “tall wagons”. They want room for stuff, AWD for bad weather, a bit of ground clearance (because they realized when they had that oh-so-fashionable 2WD Explorer or Cherokee a few years back that they liked being able to see over traffic and never having to worry about scraping the air dam on curbs,) and maybe they want enough off-roadability to get the ice chests to the picnic tables at the church picnic once a year.

What I don't get are people who buy full-on body-on-frame SUVs, slap on the Desert Duelers and the Warne winch and the full rack of KC Daylighters, all to get the ice chests to the picnic tables at the church picnic once a year.

Now, if you're actually taking your SUV off-road all the time, your priorities are different, just like mine are. I'm not terribly interested in wagons or SUVs or trucks or even sedans, because I don't care about hauling anything except ass. (Remember, I used a motorcycle for daily transportation for years, so to me, a two-seat roadster has amazing amounts of cargo capacity.) If I decided I needed something with some cargo space, it would be a wagon or a "crossover", because I prioritize on-road handling over off-road capability.


(Expanded from comments here.)

75 comments:

ZerCool said...

MrsZ upgraded from her ground-scraping Civic to a CR-V last summer. If I didn't go bouncing across cornfields and need to drive around a bloody carcass on an annual basis, something similar would absolutely be adequate for my needs. As it stands, a crew cab pickup is my choice.

24mpg, all-wheel-drive, room for four adults with luggage ... what's not to like?

The German marques never lost sight of the wagon market - for about 15 years if you wanted a true wagon, you were buying Benz, BMW, or Audi. It's a *useful* style!

Alan said...

That's why my 13 year old truck is only 2WD. I don't even off road to the picnic tables.

Don said...

I love my Aluminum Falcon, but my next car might be one of those tall wagons.
I gave up on the idea of a truck when I realized that I only drive on roads and a $200 hitch mount and a cheap flatbed trailer make my minivan the equal of most trucks (my little trailer is 4'x8'.)

Even more likely is one of the mid-size hatches, like a Mazda 3 or 5 or a Focus ZX5.

og said...

It's not so much "offroad all the time" as "I can afford one vehicle, and it has to be able to carry all my tools, four people, tow a trailer, and get me to my hunting cabin" it doesn't have to do all those things at once, but it has to do them all reasonably well. If I could afford two vehicles, one would be a small, agile car, and I'd get to use it about 30% of the time.

Yes, most people never even touch the capability of their big SUV, and I would imagine you could count on your fingers the percentage of Hummers that ever actually go offroad.

GreatBlueWhale said...

Most folks consider the Chrysler Pacifica a crossover, but Chrysler always descibed it as a station wagon. I bought mine for all the reasons you said, and one more. It has more room in the driver's seat than anything else I tried on.

Anonymous said...

You hit most of my reasons for going to the CRV as an Everyday vehicle. I still have the 4wd F-150 for the dead deer -hay run-horse hauling.

The little AWD Honda gets better gas milage then the Passport, nimbler and more fun to drive. It got pressed into mountain service and did well enough on snowy and mud logging and farm roads because I remembered it's a station wagon and not a Jeep.

I do laugh at all the Tahoes and Hummers that never, ever see the dirt.

Gerry

Tam said...

Og,

Which is why more and more people are buying big crossovers instead of big true SUVs. (And why even formerly serious SUVs are becoming a lot more car-like lately *coughGrandCherokeecough*...

Anonymous said...

My current ride is a 2005 Ford 500. There are two things I love about it.

One is the higher than average seat. I'm 36 and in reasonably good shape, but I occasionally have a hard time getting in and out of even the normal everyday Camcord.

And two, I can actually see out of it. It has a big windshield, tall side glass, and side mirrors that would not be out of place on a pickup truck. Compared to most modern cars, it's like driving around in a big greenhouse.

I suspect most car based SUV's (heck, truck based ones as well) offer these same advantages, and that accounts for a good deal of their popularity.

Rob

Blackwing1 said...

I just bought a Toyota Tundra this fall (4-door, 4WD), and use it continuously for 4 months (this year it's gonna be 5 months) of the year. The rest of the time I'm on the GoldWing, 2-wheeling around. I end up averaging about 6,000 miles per year on my trucks, and abouth 8,000 miles per year on the bike.

It's been off-road only a few times so far, but when you're hauling a fishing boat trailer out of a northern Minnesnowta "boat ramp" consisting of rain-soaked mud, that ground clearance and 4-wheel-low lets me pop that thing right out of the lake, rather than messing around with logs and rocks trying to retrieve my car and boat.

One of those improved station-wagons just wouldn't cut it for that kind of thing (besides, where do you toss the road-kill deer carcass you pick up? On the upholstery?).

Terry said...

"People buy crossovers exactly because they are “tall wagons”. They want room for stuff, AWD for bad weather, a bit of ground clearance (because they realized when they had that oh-so-fashionable 2WD Explorer or Cherokee a few years back that they liked being able to see over traffic and never having to worry about scraping the air dam on curbs,) and maybe they want enough off-roadability to get the ice chests to the picnic tables at the church picnic once a year."

Except for the church picnic part that's exactly why I bought my CRV over ten years ago.

Anonymous said...

SB: "What is life, Conan?"

Arnold: "To crush your enemies . . ."

SB: "No, wrong, you do spear drill 50 times! Life is moving gear around."

Old Teacher Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

I would like a full tracked, light armored commuter car. As I drive through Watts, mindful of past history, and consider my parking options, it seems eminently practical.

og said...

Shame about the grand cherokee, really. It used to be a real hardcore machine, and now it's got teh ghey cooties all over it.

Joseph said...

I'm single and own two vehicles. A pickup, since every homeowner will eventually need a pickup and a VW Beetle for around town.

Funny that I like driving them both for differing reasons, the V8 in the pickup has a very nice powerful feeling, nothing like say an Audi A6 with the TT4.2 V8, but it cost about 1/3 the Audi and hauls cargo. The Beetle has very nice handling for essentially an econobox, though not much power till you hit 4k on the tach and even then, it only makes you wonder if the connecting rod is going to come through the windscreen.

Anonymous said...

The tall version would be a M577A2

Tam said...

Og,

"Shame about the grand cherokee, really. It used to be a real hardcore machine, and now it's got teh ghey cooties all over it."

Shame about the Hummer H1, but it seems that nobody wanted to buy a supremely capable hardcore off-road vehicle with an interior that made the interior of Farmer Frank's office look like a Bentley, and so it got replaced by a Suburban with a codpiece that sold like gangbusters.

People don't want hardcore off-road trucks as daily drivers because they suck as daily drivers. But they do like vehicles that they think expresses something about their personality, which is why you see brush guards on 2WD Explorers and spoilers on Camrys...

Ray K. said...

"What I don't get are people who buy full-on body-on-frame SUVs, slap on the Desert Duelers and the Warne winch and the full rack of KC Daylighters, all to get the ice chests to the picnic tables at the church picnic once a year."

It's because they like it. Is any other reason needed?

Heather said...

Er, I suppose the older models might be different, but I can say with 100% certainty that the 2007 honda civic and the 2011 honda CRV have the exact same ground clearance, so if you upgraded to the CRV to get more ground clearance... yeah.

Adrian K said...

Dunno, Tam.

I drive around in an old-school mid-90s Ford Explorer. It's far more suited to tasks like motorcycle wheels and half-pallet skids to ship an engine block than a cross-over.

I don't expect it to be a Jeep Cherokee either. It _is_ built on a Ford Ranger frame, after all.

Nor do I expect it to be a zippy little thing with a tight turning radius and excellent handling either, like a cross-over. It needs to haul a goodly amount of stuff and up to 5 people through crappy, nasty sleet and snow at a reasonable pace and occasionally pull a 2,000lb trailer.

Aside from hauling around children, that's all it needs to do. The motorcycles get far more mileage than the truck most years.

And there's just no way I'd put a oily engine block in the cargo area of a Pacifica.

Tam said...

Ray K.,

"It's because they like it. Is any other reason needed?"

No.

Are they going to get all butthurt if make fun of what they like? Justice Alito will stick up for them if they do. ;)

genedunn said...

Brush bars... don't forget the brush bars... absolutely critical.

Oh, and don't forget the other use for SUVs, parking in the medians/greenspace at the mall when you don't want to drive into the parking garage, they are awesome for that.

PS: me and the mrs have a Nissan Murano (crossover) and we love it. It never goes off road (except at the range, but that is a dirt path... so it hardly counts), but it rides smooth, carries all our stuff, and the three dogs comfortably.

Buck said...

Tam, I think the Ozarks is the only place you would see a H1 taken off road. Hillbilly's will off-road anything.

og said...

"Are they going to get all butthurt if make fun of what they like?"

Making people butthurt for making fun of what they like is what I do.

I'm a professional. Kids, don't try this at home.

Tam said...

Og,

One thing that amuses me are folks that come here and cheer every day until it's their ox getting gored, and then all of a sudden they're all "Hey, you're being an asshole!"

Like they somehow hadn't noticed that "Being an asshole" is my entire schtick. ;)

og said...

"People don't want hardcore off-road trucks as daily drivers because they suck as daily drivers."

Not necesarily. Real jeeps are not as comfortable as Caddilacs, but you can drive one 1000 miles at a stretch and not be discomfited. My Exploder is certainly capable off road, and you know how long I've driven it. It's more an issue, I suspect, of "Why should I spend an additional $4k for all that offroad stuff when I'm just taking it to work on the highway?" An H1 is plenty comfy at highway speeds,(with the good seats) but it's also the cost of 4 two wheel drive Cheap Jerokees.

WV: guehepef. The sound of an H1 driver crawling over a big rock while digesting a taco.

og said...

"Like they somehow hadn't noticed that "Being an asshole" is my entire schtick. ;)"

lol.

Indeed. Ox-goring is one of my personal delights. Why the hell else come here?

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Walter Mitty ?

Jenny said...

Same reason people buy tricked out M4's when the likelihood of a full on suburban firefight is next to nil. ;)

1. There's a little Mitty in everybody. We weren't evolved/created/take your pick for deskwork.

2. Physical insurance feels nice. Same reason a full pantry feels good, even in times of plenty when the Trader Joes is full.

James family outpost, Iowa. said...

Like Blackwing said; 4x4 essential for pulling a boat up the ramp. The scene: Nags Head NC, July 4 2008. Queue of boats is about 9 deep waiting to use the ramp. Brother in law has 28' Grady White, twin 275 Mercs, and about $450 of gasoline in the boat's tank, pulling it out on a 3 axle trailer. That mutha is HEAVY on a wet and muddy boat ramp. F-250 is under pressure to git 'er done.
Low range 4x4 was needed.

tickmeister said...

I live on a farm 2 miles from pavement, haul dead deer, etc. but have never bought a 4WD pickup. You only really need 4WD 5 or 6 times per year, and you can generally get by. 1000 lbs. of wood in the bed and a set of chains takes care of snow. A 4WD will only get you stuck worse in soft mud. 4WD doesn't stop any better on ice. They cost more and have more stuff to break. Most of this I absorbed from my dad who also farmed, but I have found little reason to change my mind.

docjim505 said...

Tam - People buy crossovers exactly because they are “tall wagons”. They want room for stuff...

Pretty much why we traded my wife's Altima coupe (how I DETESTED that car!) for a CR-V. Oh, that and three dogs, which crowded even the backseat of my Civic, aka The Greatest Car Ever Built.

The Freeholder said...

Tam, you've nailed it (again). You ticked off exactly the reasons I bought a Subaru (who have been making crossovers since way before crossovers were cool) about a week ago when my previous car died.

As age came on, I found that a vehicle that sat a bit higher off the ground was much more pleasant to get into and out of. I can now carry *lots* of gun cases and range boxes. As was proven in a nasty little thunderstorm earlier this week, AWD rocks. And that Harman-Kardon stereo--well, it rocks too. :-)

I do have one of the monster trucks, a K2500 Suburban with the 8600# GVW package (which makes it a K3500 in all but badging). Set up to tow 17,000 pounds, it has the big block, 4.10 gears, 4WD, Detroit lockers fore and aft and every heavy duty goody GM could figure out how to install back in 1997. When I'm towing the camper at around 8800# up a 7 1/2 % grade, or dragging the boat up a slippery boat ramp, I bless that truck.

But, at 14 MPG on a really good day, it isn't ever going to be my daily driver while I have a 70 mile round trip commute. The Subaru at around 28-29 MPG so far, is a much better bet.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

I commuted by bicycle and foot-power for years; my econocar still feels like overkill. On the other hand, when trying to haul people and gear up to the middle pasture of the farm, my econocar makes frightening scraping and crunching noises, on the rocky, uh, cow path, and the amount of dirt and cow patties it glues to the underside is... impressive.

Calmer Half has a truck. I don't really like it because I'm not used to driving something that big, but when we need to haul a large amount of stuff or awkward-sized item (lumber, roll of photography background paper, half a side of beef)at least once a month, it's wonderful. And, if I'm not hauling two battling teenagers out to the farm, I just press gently on the gas pedal and watch out for cows coming down the path - no scraping, clunking, something spanging off the oil pan... though I do need to ride the inside of the curve, as it's almost wider than the path.

Anonymous said...

Once again, I'm convinced the blog ought to be free and you should charge for the comments.

Frank W. James said...

tickmeister is absolutely correct,but still I have 2 vehicles and my wife has 1.

Her is a Taurus station wagon and she loves it for all the reasons previously mentioned.

I have a 4x4 pick-up simply for wintertime driving because (a) putting chains on and off the rear tires is a pain-in-the-ass and (b) loading and unloading a truck bed full of firewood is a pain-in-the-ass.

My 2nd vehicle is actually a combination farm vehicle and assault van. The E350 extra length Van is a 'shop' vehicle full of tools during planting and harvest and serves double duty on my excursions to the feral hog killing fields and other things. It's not a very good 'off-road' vehicle, but that has yet to stop me. I just carry a lot of chains and one good long tow strap...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Bram said...

You nailed it Tam. My wife's Saab not-tall station wagon was destroyed in a highway pile-up and she decided she wanted a BMW (the nerve).

So I ended up with the next practical car - a Mazda CX-9. It gets up our long driveway before the plow arrives and fits the kids, the Mastiff, and our stuff for road trips. I'll probably never tow anything or do real off-roading in it.

At least I'm not driving a minivan.

aczarnowski said...

Now if the manufacturers could actually make some tall station wagons that would be nice. There is precious little that's actually useful out there. Take a look at the Juke's rear end. How much usable cargo space is actually there? Damn little. My golden retrievers would be hunched over every time they got in the back of that bubble on wheels. And everything in the niche is built like this.

At least frame on body SUVs and honest with themselves station wagons have useful rear cargo areas. Now, if our '02 outback would get around to holding its fluids inside the various passageways where they belong and our '99 Cherokee would stop rusting through every damn place I'd at least have one suitable option!

DirtCrashr said...

I have a truck so I can get my dirtbike to where it needs to go, the BMW is on it's last legs and won't be replaced in retirement because of the costs. Old retired people only get one car.

Crowndot said...

What I really don't get are the locals here in the 'burbs in Northern California who get a full size SUV and then slam it: lower the suspension, add low-profile tires, etc. What's that good for?! Then they drive the thing around trying to avoid gutters and speed bumps. Go figure.

Bram said...

aczarnowski - Let's face it, minivans are more practical and generally cheaper (even with AWD). You have to pay up for a Flex, CX-9, Pilot, or Traverse if you want significant space.

Tam said...

Bram,

Depends on how much space you need. A lot of folks don't really need much more than hatchback/wagon space.

Bram said...

Yep - When we got the CX-9, it felt like I was driving an empty warehouse. But the family, a dog the size of a pony, and their stuff barely fits.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Having just attended the Cleveland Auto Show this last weekend, I saw that the Auto Makers ( both Foreign and Domestic) have decided that all Americans need are overpriced Crossovers, overpriced small 4 doors, overpriced Pickups, overpriced Hot Rods, overpriced wheeled Cubes with room for 2 driveby Shooters and 5,000 Watt stereos, and overpriced Eurosaloons. Oh, and HIGHLY overpriced battery-powered People Carriers that will Save the Planet (and the UAW's Thug Leadership's jobs). Looks like the Minivan is going away, and True 4x4's Utility Vehicles are following along.

Personally, a 5 year old used Jaguar looks better every day.

Jay G said...

Let me be perfectly honest for a second.

I drive a 345 horsepower Ram because it makes hippies cry.

That is all.

B.S. philosopher said...

People started buying full frame SUVs because CAFE regulations made full size station wagons an endangered species. There was nothing else to replace it.


If you wanted something that had the same cargo area as my mom's '77 Vista Cruiser in the mid-late 90's your choice was a minivan or an SUV.

Minivan = uncool soccer mom mobile. With the SUV you could at least pretend that you were an edgy off-roader.

Mark Alger said...

I first got into the Cherokee because I was tired of the Corolla's excuses. It wanted me to bend more than in-half to get in and out of it. Meanwhile, my gut was growing in a direction opposed to such contortions.

Then I discovered I could strap 4-5 sheets of 3/4" plywood to the top and Katie-bar-the-door.

It has sufficient head, elbow, leg, and ass room. But as I get older and stiffer, I'm finding IT asks me to bend too far getting in and out.

So now, I'm eyeing bigger vehicles. (Surprising how SMALL a Cherokee is when compared with the rest of the pack.)

I'm with Og, though. The primary reason it's my main ride is because I can't afford a second. Otherwise, I'd have a Crossfire or a Miyata (or a Z4) or something for get-around-town and only take the Cherokee out to go to the hardware store or when it snowed.

M

Dr. Feelgood said...

I need the space. I have four kids, all still in car seats and boosters.

For now we're stuck in minivans. But that doesn't mean I can't wish for an AWD minivan with a TDI engine and manual 6-speed. Add a tow package and I'd be in suburban soccer-dad heaven.

Anonymous said...

Back in the '70s I used a '71 Torino 500 sedan for off-roading. We called it "The four by four" as it had 4 wheels, each one with a tire. With tire chains I'd take it where many a Jeep CJ driver would not go. I also used it to haul gravel for making the concrete floor of our second shop. Sure, the leaf springs bottomed out - so go slow. You want to haul lumber, you tie it on top. Go slow.

Later I used a '65 Mercedes 190Dc "taxi cab" to haul road gear for the band. What's not to like; it had four large doors, a low pan, and a very large deck. Sure the suspension would bottom out, so don't go off-roading with 1,000 pounds of cargo.

I only use an actual 4 WD now because I've become lazy and don't like to shovel, push, or install/remove chains.

Anonymous said...

Marko's meme from a few days ago asked commenters to name their top five cars to cream for...I mean to dream for.

Not having or being likely to have the change for anything on his list which included the obligatory Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and a badass Caddywagon pumping out 550 hp's, I altered it a bit to list my (actually my wife's) last five rides...bottom-of-the-line of premium brands that are not only affordable but allow me to scratch the itch of car-tradin'. Here was my description of the second on the list of five:

"Went Jap again for the new millenium with a peanut-shaped 2000 Lexus SUV that was the forerunner of today’s “crossover”, the RX300. We were back and forth from Fla to the North Georgia mountain cabin a lot then, and with AWD this thing could carry a ton of stuff and the whole family up and down those gravel and mud roads with ease. And while perhaps uninspiring, it was flawless; never had to return to the dealer with a problem in the two-and-a-half years we owned it."

For all of the reasons you enumerate, it was a fine compromise vehicle for us at the time. Who knew we were cutting-edge early adopters? I'll never get her back into one of the new crossover versions, though, or any other SUV for that matter; she has since discovered a taste for gerry-built sport sedans...the last three on the list were an '03 A4 Quattro, an '05 325i, and her current '08 C300 Sport...all cheaper than one of those new Grand Cherokees you ripped on, and a hell of a lot more fun.

Oh, and don't be trying to move in on my gig...I've proudly embraced the "asshole" banner for lo these many years...soundtrack by D. Leary.

AT

theirritablearchitect said...

Yeah, we're looking at finally replacing my well worn '96 Hardbody with something much larger and thirstier, in the full-size truck line...but it's the Krauter who's going to be driving that. She's become such an American.

I'm rather content, then, driving the Outback, and DAMN, it's just fun to drive..

That reminds me, the Mustang needs de-winterization.

tomcatshanger said...

I like my wagon. It's not even a tall wagon.

Thud said...

As a second home owning Brit I get to hire several vehicles a year on my biannual trips to America. i have enjoyed driving most vehicles but the infiniti fx crossover was truly a great drive.

Anonymous said...

I made the mistake of looking at an official county map and noticing that some of those things that look like long driveways from the road were in reality public rights of way.
And not just legal roads, but legal roads that made pretty direct lines from where I was to where I wanted to be, without pussyfooting down the river valley to the nearest pass and then back up the next valley.
Trouble was, they were really jeep trails, with deep ruts and a big hump in the middle. However the track width of a Chevette is perfect for one side's tires to ride the hump and the other's to ride the edge. I've surprised a number of quad-bike and 4x4 drivers on those roads over the years. A few have been closed off now because of fears that the presbyterians might use them for access in plans to poison the reservoir, but I still use the rest in a small low 2-seat sportscar. The secret to off-road driving is not to go where you will get hung-up or stuck. Even in Akemas, I was able to find angles to crawl my way across washouts in a rented Micra...

aczarnowski said...

Bram, I salute the minivan as a solution to many problems but I don't want one.

And I live in the midwest which has shown us more than a couple times this winter that ground clearance really is a necessity if you want to get out of the alley. Which is why the older, square and therefore useful, CRVs won't work because they have a civic under body with lower a-arms hanging down at Fast-N-Furious clearances. Like every time I'm behind a new Ford Escape and wonder WTF they were thinking with the suspension design.

Not that I'm frustrated and bitter with cars these days or anything...

Robin said...

I had an '86 Jeep Grand Wagoneer for several years. The ultimate SUV.

I got that thing into some godawful jeep trails with stock suspension and light duty truck tires. Drove it through thick snow, mud, and once towed a Chevy Yukon 4x4 out of a tough trail. Paid $2200 for it, drove it for four years both as a daily driver and a hunting truck until it threw a rod. Then parts it out to the local full-size jeep club for almost exactly what I paid for it. If I could find another in decent shape, I'd buy it today.

Anonymous said...

I vastly prefer to drive a 1/2ton pickup not for it's capabilities, but for it's qualities (being high up and very smooth ride...that torsion bar suspension does ride well). The humongous engine compartment is a boon when it comes time to work on it, too. It ain't as simple as a mid '70s pickup truck, but at least I can still get to everything. The cab is sized exactly right for me, and the seat fits me very well...a roomy cab is something that even the land yacht size cars seem to lack.

Now, 4WD is the part I use very seldom, but it is very useful for getting unstuck in soft areas or for the occasional winter storm. I don't intentionally take my truck offroad...despite being 4WD, your typical road legal vehicle, no matter what's it appearance, is really not meant to do any serious offroading, as several of my friends have discovered to their misfortune with blown engines, shot transmissions, torn up drivetrain components and so on. If I wanted an offroad vehicle, I'd build or buy something specifically for it. Oh, wait, I did. It's called a tractor, and it's a thousand times more useful than anything else when it comes time to leave the pavement.

Anonymous said...

Dodge 2008 Power Wagon. Why? I need to be able to get to places that are well off the dirt roads. Working in the oilpatch, I have to tow heavy loads, transport tools and such, mostly all over the Colorado Rockies. Yes gas mileage sucks. Autos are like a toolbox. You get what you need for the job. And that warn winch up front comes in handy when folks in crossovers and the like think they can traverse offroad.

DM

Will said...

"Shame about the Hummer H1, but it seems that nobody wanted to buy a supremely capable hardcore off-road vehicle with an interior that made the interior of Farmer Frank's office look like a Bentley, and so it got replaced by a Suburban with a codpiece that sold like gangbusters."

Tam,

If you are talking about the H2, turns out it is a very capable off-road 4x4. Around '03-04, I was invited to attend a Hummer "jamboree" put on by a south bay Hummer dealer. This was held at an off-road riding area that included purpose built obstacle courses/stages. Close to a hundred Hummers, of which maybe 5 were H1's. (before the H3/tahoe)

Dealer brought one of each model demonstrators. We were using the stage that had a row of telephone poles (or tree trunks?) mostly buried in the mud, with rocks and boulders in water just ahead of them. I only saw one Hummer get through without having to stop and retry/reposition when they hit the poles. This was a woman driving her personal H2. She got a standing ovation from the crowd!

Might have been the same woman, but the stage next to it was a water trough with a ramped exit. Reminded me of the chase scene in "Bullet". This H2 was jumping out of the chute with maybe 3ft of daylight under all tires. Must have been fun, since they did it more than once!

Ground clearance of the two Hummers was within 2" of each other, IIRC. Like 12" and 14"?

The H2 was near $60k, the H1 near $120k.

It appeared that more than 1/2 were owned by women. They all raved about their Hummers.

You can take a 2wd truck almost anywhere a 4x4 truck can go. You just have to drive faster to keep from getting stuck.

og said...

As this post drifts off the page, I'd like to reminisce for a moment about the EPA whose restrictions forced Ford to make ten gazillion pintos in order to be able to sell one LTD, and for all intents and purposes killed the Station wagon, once the ubiquitous "Big family" ride. The fact that trucks were exempt from those reglations is what caused the SUV boom in the first place; Americans like big cars. And nobody wants their kid driving a Geo Metro when his first moment of driving inattention gets him tapped by a dump truck. My daughter's first ride is most likely going to be a big green Explorer. MY first ride was a Plymouth Valiant with enough iron to make two new Explorers.

Buzz said...

We have a word for those buy 4WD vehicles and slap all manner of lights and welded jewelry on them, yet never see much more than a mucky jaunt across the pickanick grounds: posers
My special favorite is the bull bar that seems to be ubiquitous in Cali, but has infiltrated its way back to here, where serious offroad players are often terbacky-sucking rednecks that have a plastic scrotum dangling from the rear underpinnings of their 1-ton diesels.

My Jeep? I had to take out the carpet, since too many times with water over the sills from the Badlands orange trail led to a gawd-awful stench that wouldn't wash out. It's much easier to hose the bare metal.
Admittedly, I've seen some actual Jeepers that got a bit crazy on the lighting.

And I agree about the Grand: In my not so humble opinion, if you can't take off the top AND doors for a direct blast of highway wind on your sweaty crotch parts in the summer heat, it's not a Jeep.

I take no offense to the comments and agree with them, just make sure I know it's you in the Zed, so I don't neglect to pull you out of a ditch some snowy winter you're up here to go shooting. Wave a gun or something.

Tam said...

Og,

"As this post drifts off the page, I'd like to reminisce for a moment about the EPA whose restrictions forced Ford to make ten gazillion pintos in order to be able to sell one LTD, and for all intents and purposes killed the Station wagon, once the ubiquitous "Big family" ride."

Two gas crises helped with that as well.

All Americans aren't as stoic and unflappable as you are and want to sell the Hummer and buy a Prius (or vice versa) every time the price of gas moves more than 50¢ in either direction.

But yeah, CAFE regs helped create the light-truck-based SUV, and it didn't hurt that Detroit realized the profit margin on the pickup-platform ones was, like, a jillion percent better than having to gin up a whole new unibody platform for a sedan or wagon...

The problem is the market's panicky sensitivity to fuel prices: Part of the Big Detroit Crisis of '08 was the nosedive in SUV sales caused by the fuel price spike; Dodge had even dumped their steady-selling Neon compact for the Caliber truckette just in time for gas to hit $4/gal... (Not that the Caliber got horrible mileage, being compact car-based, but it looked like a truck and people weren't buying trucks.)

Matt G said...

My plan is a tall wagon with a decent hitch, and a 9'X5' trailer to keep behind the shed at the house. I miss a pickup only when moving things, and I can do that with a small trailer.

I'm with you on this one, Tam. And I've been a man in love with his 4X4 Jeep, and a man in love with his HD pickup.

og said...

Indeed. And we're about to have the same BS handed to us/jammed in us writ large, by the president that made Carter look reasonable.

Cybrludite said...

As I've said before, I drive a full-sized GMC pick-up because every other summer, I have to throw my worldly possessions into my vehicle & haul ass for higher ground. I lost too much when I relied on the Rodeo's cargo capacity for Katrina. For Gustave, I took everything but my furniture in the pick-up

Tam said...

Og,

You mean Nixon and Ford, right? The EPA and CAFE are the GOP's baby.

og said...

No, I meant pretty much exactly what I said. I wasn't trying to link Carter to the EPA or CAFE, just saying he was superior to wingnuthead- though not by multiple inches.

I was driving to High School in my dads pickup, dreaming of graduating and getting a job and buying a brand-new fire breathing 429 cubic inch pony car. When I did graduate, the mustang had an anemic 2.2 liter fourbanger nad was built on a Pinto floorpan. I am all too painfully familiar wiht the morons who put that iron boot on th neck of my dreams.

Tam said...

Ouch.

The Mustang II was an abomination. Even the 302 smog-motored "Cobra II" would barely pull a greased string out of a cat's ass...

og said...

yeah. Imagine my disapointment. I bought a beat up rusted out Valiant and trudged off into the sunset, tail between my legs, hopes and dreams in the shitcan of history.

staghounds said...

Trailblazer and Wrangler work fine as daily drivers for me. I'm never going back to low.

Will said...

Og,
The Explorer had the highest rollover rating, next to the Bronco II. Iv'e seen them rolled in parking lots, and the roof wasn't very strong on them. (that parking lot incident put them in the hospital) Although I haven't seen any figures, I'm not impressed by the Tahoe's stability. I've seen a bunch of them flipped on the freeway.

My '71 Mustang with the 429 SCJ and Fairbanks modded auto (factory equip) and 4.11 Detroit Locker (ditto), got 5mpg in town. Double that for the freeway.
Gas hit $2.+/gal in the second gas shortage. '79?. Driving across country, I discovered that I could run it on "regular", due to hitting an area taht had no hi-test available. 11.5-to-1 compression, but a cam with lots of overlap, apparently.
Worst front/rear weight bias I've ever seen, next to a friends 289ci powered Pinto.


Just paid $4.05/gal of gas last night.

og said...

"The Explorer had the highest rollover rating, next to the Bronco II."

No. The morons who drive them &etc.

It's not a lambo, don't try to corner like it is. In (now)396,000 miles, my exploder has not been on it's roof yet. And I have driven it a bunch offroad, in a lot of pretty technical situations, for a bone stock truck.

Will said...

Og,
Found an Explorer that turned too late for an exit in my patrol area. She went pavement-dirt-pavement-dirt-pavement-dirt before stopping, facing the wrong way. Tracks indicated she did at least 540* rotation, and she was half-way to the cross-street. Going a little fast, speed limit was 65. She was standing, looking at the tire tracks when I arrived. She commented that it was the scariest, most exciting thing she had done in a long time. Didn't flip it. I was impressed.
Usually the Explorers needed to trip over an edge or something to flip, as opposed to the tahoes. Those would fall on their side just changing lanes on the freeway.

og said...

lol! Yep. or have the tire blow, which was what the "firestone exploding tire recall" was all about. Uhaul was involved in that too, which is why to this day you can't rent a haul trailer to be towed behind a Sploder.

hell, the WORST vehicle was supposed to be the Barbie car (Geo Tacker) but the rock crawlers love those things.

Gewehr98 said...

All have their reasons for what they drive. I'm getting ready to trade my GSA flex-fuel S-10 in on a Toyota FJ Cruiser. I loved the economy and simplicity of the S-10, but it appears the winter roads up here see considerable plowing delay during blizzards, forcing me to borrow Mrs. G-98's Grabber AT2-shod Jeep Liberty too often during the shorter days of the year.

And, of course, gas is pushing towards $4.00/gallon as I make the transition...

Will said...

I don't recall how the data was collected, but it was stated that only 3% of 4x4 trucks/SUV's ever (intentionally) left the road here in CA.
Got a friend who had me check his Benz ML320 and Toy Sequoia's off road gearing before they ran out of warranty (gravel parking area). Wonder how many never even got that much use?