The number of SUVs and crossovers in the United States has grown six times since 2010, with 7,466,545 new sales in 2020 alone. SUV’s have blasted upwards in popularity with now 40% of the world’s vehicle market share. Your neighbor has one, your neighbor’s mother’s poolboy’s dad has one. And here I come with a heavily unpopular opinion… no one needs one. They serve no purpose, they’re overrated, and for some reason we think we need them. To me, they’re simply a fad, since they’re so popular, people think they need to get one. But here’s why you don’t.
First, lets delve into why people buy SUVs. Practicality? They have a family? High off the ground? All are great reasons, but SUVs aren’t exactly the great at any of those. You can get the same practicality with a simple sedan. Exactly how much stuff is one hauling for them to justify buying an SUV? No one I know is hauling around sheets of plywood everyday, no one is packing up their entire house and moving every day, and certainly no one is driving the Addams family to and from school. If you want space, simply buy a wagon. The new RS6 from Audi has nearly 30 cubic feet of cargo space, and that’s with the rear seats folded up. A CTS-V wagon from nearly 10 years ago has more cargo room than a new Acura RDX. Even a sedan would easily be able to get the job done. Especially modern ones with rear seat passthroughs if you really need it. The cargo space in modern sedans is more than enough in most cases. In nearly all cases, the sedan is a much cheaper option than a high end SUV, plus you get nearly all the same features as you would with a SUV, I’m not getting it.
Recently there’s been a trend of making a “sporty” SUV, and while I understand that’s part of the name (Sport Utility Vehicle), it still baffles me. If you wanted performance, a SUV should not be anywhere close to where you’re searching. For the same price as a Ford Explorer ST, you could’ve bought an Infiniti Q50 Red Sport for much cheaper, a faster 0-60 time, better handling and performance, and nearly the same cargo room with the seats up. Some people may say, “the Explorer seats 7”, but… when do you really need that? How often are you carrying 7 people, if you have a family that large, invest in a minivan, much more room in the back, more amenities for people in the back, and more cargo space. Or simply, if you somehow have the need for more than 5 people, just simply take two cars. My issue is, how often is this situation happening for you to justify spending thousands of dollars more on an instance that may happen a couple times a year. For that same Explorer ST, or even a new Durango SRT, simply buy a sporty sedan or wagon, it literally is better.
SUVs are less aerodynamic, making them have lower top speeds and terrible launches. They’re taller and have a higher center of gravity, making them feel like yachts to handle. They’re clunky and heavy making acceleration a grind especially with low amounts of torque. The performance SUV is a gimmick, a facade to induce buyers into thinking it’s something comparable to a sedan or a hatch. News Flash. It’s not. There will never be any such thing as a “sporty SUV’, it’s an oxymoron, if you want performance, buy something actually worth your money like a sedan or a wagon.
What you pay upfront for an SUV is nowhere near to the hidden fees of owning one. While these costs come with any car, they simply are worse with an SUV. Gas. SUVs are gas guzzling machines, while they’re not at supercar levels, they’re pretty damn close. The Kia Telluride gets 20/26 city and highway respectively. That’s not too great, what need is one fulfilling to sanction that price? What’s wrong with a fast sedan, a practical hatchback, or a sporty wagon? If you truly have a need for massive amounts of cargo, buy a pickup truck. Those can offroad and tow larger amounts. SUV’s rarely ever see mud, and those that do are specifically geared towards that market. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but your mom’s Honda Pilot is not going to be able to take on the Rubicon Trail better than a Ford F150 can. In addition, that gas money adds up, with the money you save, when your family ACTUALLY does come into town, the money you saved from gas, can pay for a second car’s gas to use. The price pays for itself. Everyone loves to complain about electric cars and how they hate them, but buying an SUV only adds to the issue. The traditional car is dying because of SUV’s posting terrible MPG numbers and the need for better numbers is coming.
If you truly need something to haul a large family, and I’m well aware there’s a market for that, minivans have always been on the market. You get plenty more family friendly options and niceties in the back, such as power outlets, tablets, and plenty more things kids would absolutely drool over while sacrificing no fuel economy, and with most minivans, you’ll see a better MPG over a standard SUV.
For some reason, consumers think SUV’s are some sort of golden child, but in reality they’re simply the ugly duckling. SUV’s are overrated. They’re terrible, and serve no functional purpose of actually providing a useful service to consumers. They’re a facade, and marketing plays a huge role. When’s the last time you’ve seen an SUV commercial without a large family or something outdoorsy. It’s because that’s the image they’re trying to portray, but when’s the last time you’ve seen a Mazda CX-5 offroad? If you wanted to hit the trails you’d simply buy a truck, or an old-school SUV (those are beloved to my heart, we’re not talking about those).
SUV’s just don’t really have a purpose in today’s world, they’re useless and without base. I don’t need one and you probably don’t and never will either.