A Strange friend (her name is Kristin Strange) is moving from New York City to suburban Northern California. Recently she posted the following to Facebook:
I haven’t owned a car in 10 plus years, and all of the new advancements on cars are amazing, but do people really use them all? What are the must haves? Oh and do you love or hate your SUV?
Let’s begin with the last question first. I have loathed every SUV I’ve ever owned. Why? Because I’ve had those SUVs out of necessity. They’ve been cars that were meant to move many children many places and they got dirty. They were actually filthy. And things broke. Little feet kicked plastic parts to oblivion and little hands pried at buttons and levers until they succumbed to the inevitable.
I don’t hate SUVs because they are SUVs. I dislike the parts of my life where my vehicles were never permitted to stay clean or well maintained.
There are obvious pros to an SUV. If you have three or more kids you’ll need an SUV or a minivan just for the seating but they’re expensive. SUVs aren’t just expensive to purchase, they are expensive to own and maintain.
- The heavier a vehicle is the more often it will require brake pads. Just ask any owner of an Audi Q7
- Because of the heft of most SUVs the MPG is reduced
- It is more expensive to wash an SUV than a sedan or even a wagon
- According to Allstate SUVs typically cost more to insure than sedans
- SUV tires can be quite expensive, but to be fair so can tires for sporty sedans
Though having a hatchback can be terrific some of us really love a trunk. It’s nice to have items stored away where no one can see them and insulated from some of the sunlight.
If you have a child playing a gear intensive sport an SUV, CUV, or station wagon might be your best option. It’s a fool’s game to think that a lacrosse or hockey bag will fit in the trunk of your Mazda 3. Also, if you’re coaching a child’s sport you’re out of the sedan game unless you possess extraordinary organizing abilities. In which case, I salute you.
Most families are fine in a sedan. If you have two kids and just one of them is big enough to sit in the front seat everyone can have a playdate. Road trips up and down the Pacific Coast Highway or across the country via Route 66 sound romantic but let’s face facts, those trips were designed before the two car family, long commutes, and rush hour traffic that actually lasts six hours. Rent a car for road trips. Junk it up, put miles on someone else’s wheels, and travel without stress.
Were I getting back in a vehicle after having spent a decade as a passenger there is a long list of safety items I’d want in my car. With ten years of experience lost accident avoidance is key so my list would look like this:
Required Safety Equipment:
- Lane Departure Warning
- Active Park Assist (Ford will park for you)
- Rear Cross-traffic systems
- Active Cruise Control