This is “Why Your Car Sucks/Rocks,” a place where we examine the pros and cons of a particular automaker, with a dash of hyperbole in either direction. If you have reasons why a particular make and/or model sucks and/or rocks, please drop us a line.
On this episode of “Why Your Car Sucks/Rocks” we’re going to take a bit of a different direction. Instead of focusing on one car, we are going to broaden our scope to an entire genre. Consider that tomorrow and Saturday, the Northeast will be bearing down for a massive snowstorm. What vehicle would be ideal for this weather? Crossover? SUV? Snowareg? Since this is storm is shaping up to be the worst since the Blizzard of 1978, we’re going to look at a vehicle segment that did not exist then…the crossover.
Why Your Car Sucks:
If not keeping score in youth soccer games is emasculating the youngins’ , than so does the crossover. What was once a rich, macho selection of body-on-frame SUVs, has become a market of high-riding wagons. The big, brawny SUVs of the past are just that. In their place, we have all-wheel drive minivan things. The SUVs could handle anything. They could go off road, and had space for days.
Crossovers on the other hand, do “just enough.” Their all-wheel drive systems are made for road use, and thus could not tackle the gnarly setting of a mountainous trail. Combined with the lesser ride height and more all-around-use tires and you have a crossover that may be “versatile,” but is certainly not “capable.” The list of places where a crossover cannot go is larger.
Crossovers have changed our buying habits too. In addition to converting SUVs from a sales monster to a niche market, it gave minivan buyers a vehicle that they actually wanted to drive. Many minivan shoppers bought those vehicles because they NEEDED the space, but the notion of moving to a minivan is a fear shared by young couples everywhere– especially men. To purchase a minivan is to say goodbye to your youth, virility, and any shred of dignity.
Now those buyers can opt for cars that are not embarrassments, thus hiding the fact that they would have otherwise lost their masculinity.
Why Your Car Rocks:
Do you know why those people moved from SUVs to crossovers? Because they didn’t NEED a vehicle with that much capability. It’s always been comical to see a short person in the drivers seat of a large SUV. SUVs get crap fuel economy in moving the large, heavy unit. Crossovers are far more fuel efficient, and are knocking on the door of 35 MPG in some places.
Also, some may argue that market has corrected itself, and the SUVs has become a niche vehicle, because driving off road is a niche activity. It’s nice to have a car that can drive into a washed out section of road, but something like that happens so infrequently, it seems illogical that can handle that all the time.
Far better it is to have a car that is best suited for the majority of the driving that one does. The cars are essentially wagons with a little bit of added capability, because odds are the amount of time you are driving you will not need that capability.
The crossover then is the answer to the question: What does a car look like that than does all things well rather than one thing perfect? The crossover is it, and for most drivers, that is all they need.