Author Topic: How do you justify an SUV?  (Read 18614 times)

mtn

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #50 on: May 17, 2016, 10:20:58 AM »
(My family has owned 2 SUV's, and still has one)

I'll be honest, I don't really get the point of MOST SUV's. In general, they aren't more off-road capable than an AWD sedan. In general, they don't have more room than a wagon and almost always have less room than a van (mini or full size). They don't tow any better than a pickup. I feel like for whatever the situation, a sedan, wagon, pickup, or van is a better application. There are plenty of exceptions to this of course, but I generally don't like them.

That being said, I'm not against them because these days the big downside (mpg) isn't nearly as big as it used to be.

Fishinshawn

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #51 on: May 17, 2016, 10:29:30 AM »
My “want” is a new crossover SUV for safety and hauling reasons.

Can you specify more what your safety and hauling reasons are?
Safety wise I don't see how a crossover SUV is more safe than any other choice.

Hauling wise I also don't see a crossover SUV being a particularly smart or special case. If you have dedicated hauling needs, a pickup, van, or car with trailer seem more flexible and useful.

So don't drive it unless you need its full capacity....  Take your bike instead...  (Duh?)  I can't haul 500 lbs of free compost with my bike or a small car.

Let's not say things that aren't true. If you can move a BBQ or stove by bike, you can probably move compost.




Granted, I don't know how big a 500 lb pile of compost is, but we've moved a pile of free bricks in our sub-compact with room to spare:


Where there is a will, there's a way

Let me be clear -- there is no way I am putting a COMPOST PILE inside my car.   Big stinky pile of COMPOST.  Nope.  Not going to happen. Ever.   That is a pretty small pile of bricks, in your photos, too.   How do you get 4 x 8 sheets of plywood home?  14 ft + long building supplies?

A 500 lb pile of compost weighs a LOT more than a 170lb stove.   I need to haul compost with the utility trailer, and that thing does NOT attach to the subcompact car.  (see the other thread about unibody construction)

Kudos to you, though for even thinking to haul the stove on the bike.  That is awesome.   My bike trailer is too small for that, but now that we have a cargo bike, maybe an upgrade is in order....   I just use the trailer for groceries now..

Many SUV's including all jeeps except the wrangler use unibody construction, this includes subaru's and honda's and mazdas. You most certainly can attach a trailer hitch and trailer capable of hauling 500lbs to just about any vehicle. I had a hitch on a old grand am years ago and hauled plenty of things that were over 500lbs.   

You need to evaluate  the opportunity cost of buying a vehicle for 14ft long building supplies?  How often are you seriously going to need to haul 4x8 sheets of plywood and 14ft long building materials?  Which BTW I think you could fit 4x8 sheets of plywood in 4dr hatchbacks...Regardless though unless you are running a construction company, paying for home delivery or renting a truck to carry your enormous building materials will likely still come out cheaper then paying the mark up of SUV's, the added fuel, added insurance, and maintenance.

mtn

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #52 on: May 17, 2016, 10:56:49 AM »
I will say that my Miata with my utility trailer hauled more weight than my pickup ever did. But the pickup was used for bulky things.

JLee

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #53 on: May 17, 2016, 11:04:50 AM »
But my primary motivation for new (vs used) is because I am scared of getting stranded on the highway with absolutely no communication methods.

You buy a new car and drive it.  In 6 months to a year you will be driving a used car.   Will you buy a new car then so you don't have to drive a used car?

You buy a new car.  It is a lemon and breaks down all the time.   How is that different from buying a used car that's a lemon?

You need to stop surrendering to your fears.

Stop the useless attempt to PREVENT being stranded on the side of the road because you simply cannot prevent that.  You can't even prevent it if you walk because you can always trip and break your leg!

Instead, decide on the prudent way to handle getting stranded.  Once you have a good way to deal with it you don't need to fear it any more.  You just deal with it when it inevitably happens.

Then you can focus your brain on the logic of what your choice should be instead of making irrational decisions based upon fear.

I had a friend buy a new car because his 'old' car was approaching 100k miles and he wanted something reliable (he had a Lexus IS300, which has a ridiculously durable Toyota drivetrain).  He bought a brand new car that spent so much time in the shop, the manufacturer eventually bought it back.

My roommate bought a 2013 vehicle certified pre-owned and it spent 5 months (yes, months) at the dealer in the first year he owned it.

DeltaBond

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2016, 11:12:21 AM »
I owned a 2003 Chevy Impala - awesome car, no complaints, drove it till it was no more
2010 Honda CR-V - it felt very top heavy, I almost toppled over a guard rail, and I saw a sedan t-bone and flip a cross-over SUV so I don't personally feel they're very safe - the one I saw flipped by a sedan was a Subaru Forrester
2013 Honda Fit - Yeah, it was a hatchback but I was in a wreck and I'll never buy a car that small again, ever, ever ever. 2 years later and my neck is still messed up
2014 Honda Accord - yeah, big sedan, but it just didn't have the cargo space I felt I needed, plus I have dogs.

traded the Honda Accord for a 2003 Volvo wagon - and it is now my favorite car.  Big, safe, all wheel drive, loads of room for stuff and dogs, and it handles like a dream.  $4K

MountainFlower

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2016, 11:14:41 AM »
I live at 9000 feet elevation in Colorado and an SUV is pretty important if you want to get to work or get your kids to school.  The wind blows at 70+ mph pretty regularly in the winter at my house, so no, I'm not going to walk. 

Having said that, just know that EVERYTHING costs more on an SUV.  The price is only the start.  I'm not sure I'd have them if I didn't need them. 

JLee

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2016, 11:21:31 AM »
I owned a 2003 Chevy Impala - awesome car, no complaints, drove it till it was no more
2010 Honda CR-V - it felt very top heavy, I almost toppled over a guard rail, and I saw a sedan t-bone and flip a cross-over SUV so I don't personally feel they're very safe - the one I saw flipped by a sedan was a Subaru Forrester
2013 Honda Fit - Yeah, it was a hatchback but I was in a wreck and I'll never buy a car that small again, ever, ever ever. 2 years later and my neck is still messed up
2014 Honda Accord - yeah, big sedan, but it just didn't have the cargo space I felt I needed, plus I have dogs.

traded the Honda Accord for a 2003 Volvo wagon - and it is now my favorite car.  Big, safe, all wheel drive, loads of room for stuff and dogs, and it handles like a dream.  $4K
Volvos are nice, but hope you don't have to repair it!

bacchi

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #57 on: May 17, 2016, 11:25:05 AM »
Buying a 4wd for snow is punch face worthy. It doesn't help. For going up a snowy hill, a car with chains works better than any 4wd without chains.

little_brown_dog

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #58 on: May 17, 2016, 11:30:42 AM »
I have a Rav4 and it makes sense for our family. We have a baby and large dogs, and we plan on having a lot of kids. Going anywhere together is like a comedy show, and we routinely all pile into the car on a weekly basis. The dogs take up the entire trunk. Monthly overnights or weekends away mean the rav is jam packed with our small overnight bags, the baby's bag, the dog beds, etc. We also use  it to haul things alot, like sacks of animal feed, renovation materials, etc. Could we do all of this in a sedan? Probably. Would it be as easy? No. Could we do it in a sedan once a second baby arrives on scene? No way. Can we easily afford our paid off SUV and does our frequent use of it make the extra gas worthwhile? Yup.

I really don't understand why people bash SUVs that much...it's very holier than thou. Some people just don't want to have to borrow or rent a truck multiple times a month, or like to have a foot of space in between their kids' carseats in case they need it to store a bag or two. Some people like traveling in one car as a family and prefer not to split up between two smaller cars for longer trips. It's not a crime, nor an indicator of financial ineptitude, if you find it easier to live life with an suv than a small car. Do I think a single person in a city needs an SUV? No. But if kids, animals, weather conditions, or any other factors come into play, I don't get the criticism.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 11:43:58 AM by little_brown_dog »

DeltaBond

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2016, 11:31:27 AM »
I owned a 2003 Chevy Impala - awesome car, no complaints, drove it till it was no more
2010 Honda CR-V - it felt very top heavy, I almost toppled over a guard rail, and I saw a sedan t-bone and flip a cross-over SUV so I don't personally feel they're very safe - the one I saw flipped by a sedan was a Subaru Forrester
2013 Honda Fit - Yeah, it was a hatchback but I was in a wreck and I'll never buy a car that small again, ever, ever ever. 2 years later and my neck is still messed up
2014 Honda Accord - yeah, big sedan, but it just didn't have the cargo space I felt I needed, plus I have dogs.

traded the Honda Accord for a 2003 Volvo wagon - and it is now my favorite car.  Big, safe, all wheel drive, loads of room for stuff and dogs, and it handles like a dream.  $4K
Volvos are nice, but hope you don't have to repair it!

Ah, I love a good loaded statement... yes, we've done some repairs, and we do those ourselves.  They were very minor, though, nothing major has even been needed.

JLee

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2016, 11:36:59 AM »
I owned a 2003 Chevy Impala - awesome car, no complaints, drove it till it was no more
2010 Honda CR-V - it felt very top heavy, I almost toppled over a guard rail, and I saw a sedan t-bone and flip a cross-over SUV so I don't personally feel they're very safe - the one I saw flipped by a sedan was a Subaru Forrester
2013 Honda Fit - Yeah, it was a hatchback but I was in a wreck and I'll never buy a car that small again, ever, ever ever. 2 years later and my neck is still messed up
2014 Honda Accord - yeah, big sedan, but it just didn't have the cargo space I felt I needed, plus I have dogs.

traded the Honda Accord for a 2003 Volvo wagon - and it is now my favorite car.  Big, safe, all wheel drive, loads of room for stuff and dogs, and it handles like a dream.  $4K
Volvos are nice, but hope you don't have to repair it!

Ah, I love a good loaded statement... yes, we've done some repairs, and we do those ourselves.  They were very minor, though, nothing major has even been needed.

My uncle's (same era) had a major (expensive) failure in the AWD system.  I was considering a Volvo for a while and decided not to due to repair costs (I do all of my own work, including complete engine rebuilds).  They are great cars and are coming way down in pricing, but for someone who is shopping for another car they should be aware of the potential longer term costs.

Hopefully yours will remain trouble-free! : )

JLee

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #61 on: May 17, 2016, 01:18:13 PM »
Buying a 4wd for snow is punch face worthy. It doesn't help. For going up a snowy hill, a car with chains works better than any 4wd without chains.
That's not entirely true.  It depends on the use case.  AWD/4WD doesn't help with stopping, but it does help you get moving in the snow.  Like getting up a snowy hill.  For someone who lives in a cold, rural, hilly/mountainous area and may have a driveway on a hill to contend with, it makes sense. 

Snow chains are fine, but they're not without their issues.  Their legality varies by jurisdiction and they cause damage to the roads.

Now snow tires vs. all-season tires, that's something I can get behind.  A set of those makes more difference than AWD/4WD does.

Not to mention the ridiculous hassle of installing and removing chains, the 20-30mph maximum speed, and the dramatically reduced traction once you're no longer on snow/ice.

Snow tires, absolutely.

galliver

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #62 on: May 17, 2016, 02:05:24 PM »
How do you justify an SUV?

To this forum? You don't. Someone will always jump on your case. SUVs are unacceptable, end of story, no discussion allowed.

To yourself? You look at what the particular vehicle (make, model, year) offers you and what it costs. Compare to suitable alternatives, down to the cheapest one ($1000 beater? 5yo Honda Fit?) and decide if the tradeoff of money vs features is worth it, FOR YOU. (Features might also include environmental impact, etc)

As far as reliability, it's worth being aware of the bathtub curve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve. It's entirely possible for new cars to have a higher failure rate than slightly "matured" cars due to undiscovered faulty components. These are often covered by the warranty period, but won't help you not be stranded should something break. On the other hand, owning something from the beginning of its life is basically the only way to be sure you know how it was treated; that no maintenance was skipped and consumables were replaced as needed. While I'm not a car expert, it stands to reason this would affect how soon things wear out, as with most things, and thus the usable lifetime of the car.

As far as safety, SUVs have a higher center of gravity which makes them more prone to roll-overs. And in a crash situation, from what I understand the larger car in many cases has a safety advantage; so a compact SUV may not have a significant advantage over a similarly sized sedan...not sure about the effect of sitting up higher, or the construction (e.g. do SUVs have more rigid cabins?). I would say definitely worth looking into before giving the SUV too much credit in the safety column.

CanuckExpat

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #63 on: May 17, 2016, 02:46:14 PM »
SUVs are unacceptable, end of story, no discussion allowed.

Thank you. I'm glad somebody understands.

More seriously though, if OP wanted that, OP would have just bought one. Given that she posted here, it seems to indicate she might want to evaluate the pros and cons of the decisions. Perhaps that's a wrong assumption?

tobitonic

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #64 on: May 17, 2016, 03:18:33 PM »
How do you justify an SUV?

To this forum? You don't. Someone will always jump on your case. SUVs are unacceptable, end of story, no discussion allowed.

To yourself? You look at what the particular vehicle (make, model, year) offers you and what it costs. Compare to suitable alternatives, down to the cheapest one ($1000 beater? 5yo Honda Fit?) and decide if the tradeoff of money vs features is worth it, FOR YOU. (Features might also include environmental impact, etc)

In the hiker circles, there's a saying - Hike your own hike.

The dogma makes a lot more sense when you consider that the forums are centered around a blog that regularly trashes folks for not living like the blogger. This isn't exactly a live-and-let-live kind of site.

CanuckExpat

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #65 on: May 17, 2016, 03:40:52 PM »
The dogma makes a lot more sense when you consider that the forums are centered around a blog that regularly trashes folks for not living like the blogger. This isn't exactly a live-and-let-live kind of site.

Though for the sake of argument, is it "live-and-let-live" when a set of choices tend to involves uncompensated negative externalities?

It funny enough even used as an example in a set of undergraduate course notes: http://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/course131/externalities1_ch05.pdf (page 11 on the slides)

galliver

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #66 on: May 17, 2016, 05:45:56 PM »
How do you justify an SUV?

To this forum? You don't. Someone will always jump on your case. SUVs are unacceptable, end of story, no discussion allowed.

To yourself? You look at what the particular vehicle (make, model, year) offers you and what it costs. Compare to suitable alternatives, down to the cheapest one ($1000 beater? 5yo Honda Fit?) and decide if the tradeoff of money vs features is worth it, FOR YOU. (Features might also include environmental impact, etc)

In the hiker circles, there's a saying - Hike your own hike.

The dogma makes a lot more sense when you consider that the forums are centered around a blog that regularly trashes folks for not living like the blogger. This isn't exactly a live-and-let-live kind of site.

That aspect almost turned me off MMM when I first started reading, actually. But then I read more and read deeper and I saw the other message. "Live mindfully. Think about your decisions. Don't complain about the consequences you brought on yourself. But if your life doesn't look exactly like mine, because you tried it and found you really couldn't live happily without X, or you valued something differently, that's ok. We're all different. Just try first." And that message I could get behind.

Adopting any kind of dogma stops us considering the choices before us critically is harmful to making good decisions, whether that's "used cars are death traps" or "SUVs are useless gas guzzling stupid-machines". Compact SUVs from the past couple years can get MPGs into the 30s, and in many other respects (weight, price, etc) are also comparable to mid-size sedans. Now, how anyone sane justifies an Escalade, I still do not know (they scare me, honestly). Maybe someone can enlighten. But a CRV or a Rav4 or a Subaru? Instead of going straight to a (truly) gas-guzzling minivan? Maybe that's worth some consideration.

galliver

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #67 on: May 17, 2016, 06:15:31 PM »
One more thing. While, on the whole, I agree with the concept that "safety is an expensive illusion," I think there's something to be said for the fact that in the case of a phobia or trauma (like the OPs), genuine fear and possibly panic can be a potential response to a similar situation; and one that can be distracting and therefore actually (ironically) dangerous on the road. Therefore, in such a situation, I could see the sense of security in a vehicle being a valid feature to consider, if it calms that fear/panic (whether or not said sense is statistically justified). Kind of like, IMO, reasonably comfortable seats are not a luxury in a vehicle; a driver who can barely see over the wheel, whose back is cramping, and whose arm is falling asleep is not a good, or safe, driver!

horsepoor

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #68 on: May 17, 2016, 06:53:07 PM »
I *feel* (can't prove that I am) quite a bit safer sitting up higher and being able to see better.  Also just straight-up easier to drive

Thank you for saying this. This is how I feel too. I still can't drive a car without being white knuckled right now. I've been doing OK driving work trucks and SUVs though.
Wow, I have the exact opposite preference.  I love our giant old ugly station wagon because it can haul cargo like a truck/SUV but it still drives like a car and doesn't put me way up in the air.  But its also an older car which tend to have far better visibility at the outset.

Yes, everyone has their preferences.  I should say that the Juke sits very nominally higher than normal sedan, and doesn't seem to have the body roll of a larger SUV.  I'd guess I sit about 1" higher than my husband's Subaru Outback, and I think the CX-3 was a touch lower.  I frequently drive large SUVs (Ford Explorers and Expeditions) for work, and don't find much added utility in terms of view, and they do feel more prone to rollover in an accident (particularly the Expedition; the new Explorers are fairly low/wide without much clearance).  The very low seat position of the CR-Z with poor rearward visibility is what made me uncomfortable any time I had to pull out past a larger vehicle because I couldn't see over the hood/truck bed at all.

kimmarg

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #69 on: May 17, 2016, 06:58:46 PM »
I'd look for a 2003-2009 Toyota 4Runner.  These trucks last forever.  I have a 2004 that has 160k miles on it that has never had a problem.  You can pick up a well-maintained used one for around $10k right now.  I get 21 mpg on the freeway with a V8 and 4WD.  And the heated leather seats are awesome in the morning after surfing.

4Runners are great vehicles but they do suffer from severe rust problems (per a good friend who does body work for a living, it's often in places you can't see). I wouldn't recommend buying one in a salt state without a thorough inspection.

This is a good point. Whatever you do, buy it in SoCal and drive it to NY where it will rust in about 10 min.

Knapptyme

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #70 on: May 17, 2016, 07:41:49 PM »
I would not and cannot justify purchasing an SUV.

That being said, I happen to have one and drive it once, maybe twice, a week. It was used when we got it as a wedding gift. Selling it would not yield much, and replacing it with a higher efficiency car would take somewhere between five and ten years to begin paying off the investment. My current SUV runs, for now, hauls a bunch of stuff when I need it to (think 1500+ lbs of free pavers), and my kid thinks it's amazing (a joy for me when he wants to go with me on trips just because it's in that vehicle).

The next vehicle I purchase will be a car, unless we have lots more kids (already have two), in that case it would be a van, and it will definitely be used.

JAYSLOL

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #71 on: May 17, 2016, 10:04:12 PM »

Let me be clear -- there is no way I am putting a COMPOST PILE inside my car.   Big stinky pile of COMPOST.  Nope.  Not going to happen. Ever.   That is a pretty small pile of bricks, in your photos, too.   How do you get 4 x 8 sheets of plywood home?  14 ft + long building supplies?

A 500 lb pile of compost weighs a LOT more than a 170lb stove.   I need to haul compost with the utility trailer, and that thing does NOT attach to the subcompact car.  (see the other thread about unibody construction)

Kudos to you, though for even thinking to haul the stove on the bike.  That is awesome.   My bike trailer is too small for that, but now that we have a cargo bike, maybe an upgrade is in order....   I just use the trailer for groceries now..

Yeah I wouldn't put compost in my car either.  Why can't you haul a trailer with a unibody sub-compact?  For many years I frequently hauled a 14' fishing boat with 2 motors, down riggers, anchor and chains, batteries and loads of other fishing gear in a trailer along with 3 adult passengers in my old toyota tercel (unibody) that had a 1.5l engine with less than 100hp and a 4 speed manual.  I kept up to everything on the highway no problem and even hauled the boat up rough unpaved forest service roads to get to remote lakes.  I did bash my muffler up pretty good a few times doing that, but the car pulled the trailer just fine.  Even the clutch made it to 310k before it finally gave out.

mtn

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #72 on: May 18, 2016, 08:47:22 AM »

Let me be clear -- there is no way I am putting a COMPOST PILE inside my car.   Big stinky pile of COMPOST.  Nope.  Not going to happen. Ever.   That is a pretty small pile of bricks, in your photos, too.   How do you get 4 x 8 sheets of plywood home?  14 ft + long building supplies?

A 500 lb pile of compost weighs a LOT more than a 170lb stove.   I need to haul compost with the utility trailer, and that thing does NOT attach to the subcompact car.  (see the other thread about unibody construction)

Kudos to you, though for even thinking to haul the stove on the bike.  That is awesome.   My bike trailer is too small for that, but now that we have a cargo bike, maybe an upgrade is in order....   I just use the trailer for groceries now..

Yeah I wouldn't put compost in my car either.  Why can't you haul a trailer with a unibody sub-compact?  For many years I frequently hauled a 14' fishing boat with 2 motors, down riggers, anchor and chains, batteries and loads of other fishing gear in a trailer along with 3 adult passengers in my old toyota tercel (unibody) that had a 1.5l engine with less than 100hp and a 4 speed manual.  I kept up to everything on the highway no problem and even hauled the boat up rough unpaved forest service roads to get to remote lakes.  I did bash my muffler up pretty good a few times doing that, but the car pulled the trailer just fine.  Even the clutch made it to 310k before it finally gave out.

Yeek! I'd be scared towing a trailer that long with the short wheelbase of a Tercel.

doggyfizzle

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #73 on: May 18, 2016, 08:54:55 AM »
Spartana: I had to do a double-take at your pictures.  At first I mis-took the Fiero (or whatever the top car is) for a DeLorean with roof racks and I was ready to dump my 4Runner.

Goldielocks

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #74 on: May 18, 2016, 11:54:19 PM »
Quote from: Fishinshawn link=topic=55572.msg1089260#msg1089
Many SUV's including all jeeps except the wrangler use unibody construction, this includes subaru's and honda's and mazdas. You most certainly can attach a trailer hitch and trailer capable of hauling 500lbs to just about any vehicle. I had a hitch on a old grand am years ago and hauled plenty of things that were over 500lbs.   

You need to evaluate  the opportunity cost of buying a vehicle for 14ft long building supplies?  How often are you seriously going to need to haul 4x8 sheets of plywood and 14ft long building materials?  Which BTW I think you could fit 4x8 sheets of plywood in 4dr hatchbacks...Regardless though unless you are running a construction company, paying for home delivery or renting a truck to carry your enormous building materials will likely still come out cheaper then paying the mark up of SUV's, the added fuel, added insurance, and maintenance.

First of all,  there is no point purchasing a trailer / towing capacity of only 500 lbs.  I don't think anyone would go there unless it was for a very specific single purpose. (Motorcycle camping?).

Towing with unibody is something I stay away from, due to wear at pressure points/ hard braking / loads involved.   I don't want to rehash the other postings made to the trailer towing with a car thread.   500 lbs may be fine, but see the note above.   An older (1985?) Grand Am sounds like it may have different construction than a Honda, Mazda, etc.

I definitely have trips that can not be used with a 5 door hatchback at least once a week.   This past 2 months, I have bought a tree, rented a large rototiller, purchased fencing materials, hauled compost, hauled to the dump, taken kayaks to the river, hauled cargo bicycle to/from the shop (does not fit on rack) 3 times, etc.   We complete a lot of home handiwork and construction materials figure prominently.   14 ft long materials are surprisingly common, and difficult logistically at times, which is why I mentioned it.   It is difficult with anything but a pickup with rack.. but can be done carefully with a regular pickup, trailer, or if thin, crossing through the middle of a van or SUV.   4x8 sheets definitely do not fit inside a hatchback (are you blowing smoke? I think 3x5ft is the limit)

When completing maintenance projects on weekends, time is very short, so renting or paying for delivery is not  usually an option.   I mean, why even have a vehicle, if you wanted to do this, just go carless.    Deliveries / rentals start around $75 here for half day and go up.


csprof

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #75 on: May 18, 2016, 11:55:00 PM »
How do you justify an SUV?

To this forum? You don't. Someone will always jump on your case. SUVs are unacceptable, end of story, no discussion allowed.

To yourself? You look at what the particular vehicle (make, model, year) offers you and what it costs. Compare to suitable alternatives, down to the cheapest one ($1000 beater? 5yo Honda Fit?) and decide if the tradeoff of money vs features is worth it, FOR YOU. (Features might also include environmental impact, etc)

As far as reliability, it's worth being aware of the bathtub curve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve. It's entirely possible for new cars to have a higher failure rate than slightly "matured" cars due to undiscovered faulty components. These are often covered by the warranty period, but won't help you not be stranded should something break. On the other hand, owning something from the beginning of its life is basically the only way to be sure you know how it was treated; that no maintenance was skipped and consumables were replaced as needed. While I'm not a car expert, it stands to reason this would affect how soon things wear out, as with most things, and thus the usable lifetime of the car.

As far as safety, SUVs have a higher center of gravity which makes them more prone to roll-overs. And in a crash situation, from what I understand the larger car in many cases has a safety advantage; so a compact SUV may not have a significant advantage over a similarly sized sedan...not sure about the effect of sitting up higher, or the construction (e.g. do SUVs have more rigid cabins?). I would say definitely worth looking into before giving the SUV too much credit in the safety column.

+this, a thousand times this.

I'm rabid about energy efficiency and horribly opposed to inefficient cars, and think that most of the people I see driving Ford Expeditions with no passengers are #@*ing morons.

But galliver's got it right.  To abuse The Matrix:  "There Is No SUV."  There are many, many different cars, and it's important to look at the actual statistics of a specific model.  That includes safety.

To the degree that you can translate more-abstract fear into an expression of your tradeoffs, you'll help immunize yourself from being marketed to.  "I'm afraid of getting in an accident, so I want an SUV" sets you up for advertising to make up your mind for you.  On the other hand, "I'm risk-averse and it's worth up to $50/month more in total costs to have a car that's received both a 5-star NHTSA safety rating and is an IIHS top safety pick+" gives you a much more actionable basis for your decision.

What's interesting about phrasing it that way, of course, is that it's a bit more likely to point you to a midsize car, in terms of the overall safety numbers.  But there are small SUVs that do it too.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/TSP-List/2015
and
http://www.safercar.gov/

Note that by that criteria, you don't want a new Mazda CX-5 -- the 2016 only gets a 4 star rating.  The 2015 meets both of those criteria, though (5*, TSP+).  As does the 2014 subaru forester.  Your Mazda 3 option does too.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 12:14:07 AM by csprof »

mwulff

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #76 on: May 19, 2016, 12:28:44 AM »
@bikerhikergirl:

As a scandinavian (i.e. lots of snow driving experience) I think you should consider how much you will be driving if the weather turns really bad. There is a weird tendency for many US residents to associate even the tiniest snow-flake with an absolute requirement for AWD/An SUV.

Here are some facts to consider:

1. AWD systems are complicated mechanical things that most likely will break, and they cost a fortune to repair.
2. A tall vehicle will handle worse than a low vehicle. This is due to a higher center of gravity. It will also flip over more easily.
3. Modern winter-tires are really really good.
4. The only advantage an SUV has is ground clearance when the weather gets bad.

So some questions to ask yourself before choosing a new car:

1. Will you have to drive anywhere if the weather gets really bad?
2. Will you feel better sitting higher (knowing it's potentially worse for safety) up?
3. Will buying a new car vs. a used give you more peace of mind, even though a 3 year old car is just as good as a new one wrt. reliability?
4. What are your cargo/passenger carrying needs?
5. Will you ever drive off-road/deep snow/mud/across rivers/into deep forests?

In my opinion you should answer yes to at least 4 of these questions before buying an SUV. Otherwise I would pick up a nice used 2-4 year old car. Could be a VW Golf, Toyota or maybe a Honda (Hondas are built like tanks, they last forever).

In general most SUV's are toys that handle worse on the road than a car and can't do any real off-roading anyway.

But considering your accident I would recommend that you buy what makes you feel most comfortable, it's not always about the money.

galliver

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #77 on: May 19, 2016, 12:50:24 AM »
How do you justify an SUV?

To this forum? You don't. Someone will always jump on your case. SUVs are unacceptable, end of story, no discussion allowed.

To yourself? You look at what the particular vehicle (make, model, year) offers you and what it costs. Compare to suitable alternatives, down to the cheapest one ($1000 beater? 5yo Honda Fit?) and decide if the tradeoff of money vs features is worth it, FOR YOU. (Features might also include environmental impact, etc)

As far as reliability, it's worth being aware of the bathtub curve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve. It's entirely possible for new cars to have a higher failure rate than slightly "matured" cars due to undiscovered faulty components. These are often covered by the warranty period, but won't help you not be stranded should something break. On the other hand, owning something from the beginning of its life is basically the only way to be sure you know how it was treated; that no maintenance was skipped and consumables were replaced as needed. While I'm not a car expert, it stands to reason this would affect how soon things wear out, as with most things, and thus the usable lifetime of the car.

As far as safety, SUVs have a higher center of gravity which makes them more prone to roll-overs. And in a crash situation, from what I understand the larger car in many cases has a safety advantage; so a compact SUV may not have a significant advantage over a similarly sized sedan...not sure about the effect of sitting up higher, or the construction (e.g. do SUVs have more rigid cabins?). I would say definitely worth looking into before giving the SUV too much credit in the safety column.

+this, a thousand times this.

I'm rabid about energy efficiency and horribly opposed to inefficient cars, and think that most of the people I see driving Ford Expeditions with no passengers are #@*ing morons.

But galliver's got it right.  To abuse The Matrix:  "There Is No SUV."  There are many, many different cars, and it's important to look at the actual statistics of a specific model.  That includes safety.

To the degree that you can translate more-abstract fear into an expression of your tradeoffs, you'll help immunize yourself from being marketed to.  "I'm afraid of getting in an accident, so I want an SUV" sets you up for advertising to make up your mind for you.  On the other hand, "I'm risk-averse and it's worth up to $50/month more in total costs to have a car that's received both a 5-star NHTSA safety rating and is an IIHS top safety pick+" gives you a much more actionable basis for your decision.

What's interesting about phrasing it that way, of course, is that it's a bit more likely to point you to a midsize car, in terms of the overall safety numbers.  But there are small SUVs that do it too.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/TSP-List/2015
and
http://www.safercar.gov/

Note that by that criteria, you don't want a new Mazda CX-5 -- the 2016 only gets a 4 star rating.  The 2015 meets both of those criteria, though (5*, TSP+).  As does the 2014 subaru forester.  Your Mazda 3 option does too.

Thanks, csprof. I really liked your point that using abstract ideas to guide decisions makes us more susceptible to marketing. But in the interest of objective and thorough analysis, I did want to point something out regarding the bolded portion...per the iihs website (http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/ratings-info/frontal-crash-tests), emphasis added:

Quote
Frontal crash test results can't be used to compare vehicle performance across weight classes. That's because the kinetic energy involved in the moderate overlap and small overlap frontal tests depends on the speed and weight of the test vehicle. Thus, the crash is more severe for heavier vehicles.

Given equivalent frontal ratings, the heavier of two vehicles usually offers better protection in real-world crashes. In 2009, IIHS demonstrated this principle with a series of tests in which small cars were crashed into larger cars, all of which had good frontal ratings in the moderate overlap test.

A test score is only as informative as the test itself. From the standpoint of physics, you're probably the best off driving a semi or some variety of tank; the more vehicle mass you have to absorb the inertia of the tank-driving bozo who ran into you before that energy gets to you, the safer you are (IIHS ratings being equal). But it's quite clear that driving a semi everywhere has tradeoffs; so instead, we must optimize, per our own requirements (I stand by that). Keeping in mind that by "sizing up" in car to increase safety, we are contributing to an arms race (the more bozos in tanks are on the road, the higher the risk of being hit by one, the more sense it makes to get your own tank...)

Does anyone know of an agency that does crash tests between different size vehicles? I haven't heard of one.

tobitonic

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #78 on: May 19, 2016, 06:49:05 PM »
Keep in mind, too, that there are a number of small vehicles that, statistically, have much lower death rates than a number of much larger vehicles.

galliver

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #79 on: May 19, 2016, 07:49:05 PM »
Keep in mind, too, that there are a number of small vehicles that, statistically, have much lower death rates than a number of much larger vehicles.

I had(have) complaints about the article (see below) but the original report/data set is fascinating!!! http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/iihs-status-report-sr5001.pdf.

Although it does show some fairly anti-MMM trends. If you accept "low death rate" as an indicator of overall "safety" you can, for example, say that overall SUVs are in fact safer than sedans, luxury vehicles are safer than similarly sized non-luxury (surprised me! though I guess they're usually heavier), and 4WD is safer than 2WD. However, no one buys a generic SUV or car, people buy specific cars. And once you narrow it down to specific cars, it's clear that there are good and not so good choices in EVERY vehicle category. Which goes back to: evaluate individual vehicles!

One thing you cannot say, however is "It was safer to be a driver in a Prius both in single vehicle crashes and in multiple vehicle crashes than it was to be a driver in a Suburban," (from the article) because in order to evaluate the conditional probability (safety in a Prius IF one is in a crash) we also need the probability of being in a crash while in a Prius. The overall death rate is dependent on at least two variables: how protective X car is of the driver in case of crash and how likely a driver who buys X car is to get in a crash--maybe due to driving habits, maybe due to car handling. If you'll pardon the speculation, I would *guess* sports car and pickup death rates might be affected more by habits, and mini and small car death rates are affected more by car design (/crash physics). End nerd.

tobitonic

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #80 on: May 19, 2016, 08:06:24 PM »
Keep in mind, too, that there are a number of small vehicles that, statistically, have much lower death rates than a number of much larger vehicles.

I had(have) complaints about the article (see below) but the original report/data set is fascinating!!! http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/iihs-status-report-sr5001.pdf.

Although it does show some fairly anti-MMM trends. If you accept "low death rate" as an indicator of overall "safety" you can, for example, say that overall SUVs are in fact safer than sedans, luxury vehicles are safer than similarly sized non-luxury (surprised me! though I guess they're usually heavier), and 4WD is safer than 2WD. However, no one buys a generic SUV or car, people buy specific cars. And once you narrow it down to specific cars, it's clear that there are good and not so good choices in EVERY vehicle category. Which goes back to: evaluate individual vehicles!

One thing you cannot say, however is "It was safer to be a driver in a Prius both in single vehicle crashes and in multiple vehicle crashes than it was to be a driver in a Suburban," (from the article) because in order to evaluate the conditional probability (safety in a Prius IF one is in a crash) we also need the probability of being in a crash while in a Prius. The overall death rate is dependent on at least two variables: how protective X car is of the driver in case of crash and how likely a driver who buys X car is to get in a crash--maybe due to driving habits, maybe due to car handling. If you'll pardon the speculation, I would *guess* sports car and pickup death rates might be affected more by habits, and mini and small car death rates are affected more by car design (/crash physics). End nerd.

I think the article is just putting the numbers into words. If the single and multiple vehicle fatality rates of Prius drivers were lower than the equivalents in the Suburban, then it was safer to be a Prius driver during those years (in terms of your odds of being involved in a fatal crash) than it was to be a Suburban driver. You can speculate about whether that safety difference was more due to the vehicle or more due to the driver, but that doesn't change the numbers themselves. And the probability of being in a fatal crash while driving a given vehicle is exactly what the death rate estimates are--the number of estimated driver fatalities if, say, 100,000 people drove the same vehicle for 10 years, or 1 million people drove said vehicle for 1 year, etc.

galliver

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #81 on: May 19, 2016, 08:57:50 PM »
If the single and multiple vehicle fatality rates of Prius drivers were lower than the equivalents in the Suburban, then it was safer to be a Prius driver during those years (in terms of your odds of being involved in a fatal crash) than it was to be a Suburban driver.

It was absolutely safer to be a Prius driver during those years; that is exactly what the data measures and says. However, the causality is not evident: if you took all the Prius drivers and all the Suburban drivers and forced them to instead drive Suburbans and Priuses respectively (switch their cars), would the numbers be exactly the same? Answer: not definitive but probably not; while the type of car you are driving may affect some of your decisions and abilities (e.g. maneuvering) on the road, your personality also affects your driving style, and also affects what car you choose.

[T]he probability of being in a fatal crash while driving a given vehicle is exactly what the death rate estimates are--the number of estimated driver fatalities if, say, 100,000 people drove the same vehicle for 10 years, or 1 million people drove said vehicle for 1 year, etc.

Yes, it's the probability of being in a crash AND dying (in the crash).

P(dying in crash while driving) = P(crash while driving) x P(dying if in crash) [see, for example: http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/math/algebra/apr3/lconditional.htm]

We know P(DIC while driving Prius) = 16/1000000 and P(DIC while driving Suburban) = 60/1000000. But we don't know what the P(crash) and P(dying) are. Could be Prius, 1/1000 and 16/1000 and Suburban, 10/1000 and 6/1000, in which case the statement in question (Prius is safer than Suburban in a crash) would be untrue. And P(crash) could be vehicle related (blind spots, braking distance, maneuverability) but could also be driver-related: a vehicle preferred by a group predisposed to risk, drunkenness, sleep deprivation, etc would be a less safe group of drivers. I expect P(crash) is available to at least IIHS itself, not sure if it's published, but I cannot see how you'd reliably extract the driver and car factors from P(crash).

I don't actually think people should drive Suburbans. I just wanted to present a grain of salt for taking with the statistics. Bonus: look at the 95% confidence intervals; for some of the vehicles they are very large.

Little Nell

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #82 on: May 19, 2016, 09:14:01 PM »
We bought our 2001 Toyota 4Runner in 2010 because the '89 Volvo wagon could handle some but not all of the logging roads we drive. (Forestry is a hobby and a calling). The 4WD capacity of the 4Runner was most appreciated two years ago, when some ice and snowstorms brought our PNW city to a halt, and it conveyed fellow horse owners, as well as water (pumps froze), to the stable when a 2WD vehicle could not have handled the roads or the load.

The Volvo having (finally) died, the 4Runner is now the primary logging truck, although it does not have the capacity for wood the Volvo had. The mileage is not great, but it goes to the woods only once a week.

tobitonic

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #83 on: May 19, 2016, 09:17:51 PM »
If the single and multiple vehicle fatality rates of Prius drivers were lower than the equivalents in the Suburban, then it was safer to be a Prius driver during those years (in terms of your odds of being involved in a fatal crash) than it was to be a Suburban driver.

It was absolutely safer to be a Prius driver during those years; that is exactly what the data measures and says. However, the causality is not evident: if you took all the Prius drivers and all the Suburban drivers and forced them to instead drive Suburbans and Priuses respectively (switch their cars), would the numbers be exactly the same?

I don't think anyone is saying that the correlation is causality; I think the article just pointed out the correlation, and for that matter, speculated (and I agree) that the differences were most likely due to the drivers rather than to the vehicles.

Quote from: the article
This, to me, is the most important–and interesting–question: why did the Prius do so much better at keeping its drivers alive than a plethora of large cars, mid-sized and large SUVs, large pickup trucks, and minivans, especially when dwarfed in weight by so many of them?

To me, it comes down to the drivers, rather than the vehicles themselves. Nearly all of these vehicles featured ESC as a standard feature, and nearly all of these vehicles featured side airbags and good frontal and side crash scores. However, the way we drive is often influenced to a large degree by what we drive. Beyond that, different kinds of drivers tend to choose different kinds of vehicles. Male drivers are less safe than female drivers at every stage of life, and male drivers are more likely to drive large SUVs and pickup trucks than female drivers. Male drivers are also less likely to use seat belts than female drivers and more likely to speed, drive aggressively, and drive drunk than female drivers, which contributes to their higher death rates.

Prius drivers (or rather, hybrid drivers), however, overlap a number of safer demographics. They’re more likely to have college educations (a survey indicated they were twice as likely as the average car driver), which means they’re more likely to engage in safe driving behaviors like driving while sober and while belted, they’re more likely to be older (remember that drivers in their 60s are actually the safest drivers on the road, despite what the media would lead you to believe), and they’re also less likely to drive aggressively since they’re more likely to be invested in obtaining better fuel mileage.

Am I saying you’d be better off sitting in a Prius than in a Tundra if the two were about to meet in a head-on collision? No. I am saying you’re less likely to drive in a way that leads you to get killed if you’re in a Prius than in a great many vehicles on the road, including many (e.g., all of the above) that weigh thousands of pounds more than a Prius.


Fishinshawn

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #84 on: May 20, 2016, 12:40:15 PM »
Quote from: Fishinshawn link=topic=55572.msg1089260#msg1089
Many SUV's including all jeeps except the wrangler use unibody construction, this includes subaru's and honda's and mazdas. You most certainly can attach a trailer hitch and trailer capable of hauling 500lbs to just about any vehicle. I had a hitch on a old grand am years ago and hauled plenty of things that were over 500lbs.   

You need to evaluate  the opportunity cost of buying a vehicle for 14ft long building supplies?  How often are you seriously going to need to haul 4x8 sheets of plywood and 14ft long building materials?  Which BTW I think you could fit 4x8 sheets of plywood in 4dr hatchbacks...Regardless though unless you are running a construction company, paying for home delivery or renting a truck to carry your enormous building materials will likely still come out cheaper then paying the mark up of SUV's, the added fuel, added insurance, and maintenance.

First of all,  there is no point purchasing a trailer / towing capacity of only 500 lbs.  I don't think anyone would go there unless it was for a very specific single purpose. (Motorcycle camping?).

Towing with unibody is something I stay away from, due to wear at pressure points/ hard braking / loads involved.   I don't want to rehash the other postings made to the trailer towing with a car thread.   500 lbs may be fine, but see the note above.   An older (1985?) Grand Am sounds like it may have different construction than a Honda, Mazda, etc.

I definitely have trips that can not be used with a 5 door hatchback at least once a week.   This past 2 months, I have bought a tree, rented a large rototiller, purchased fencing materials, hauled compost, hauled to the dump, taken kayaks to the river, hauled cargo bicycle to/from the shop (does not fit on rack) 3 times, etc.   We complete a lot of home handiwork and construction materials figure prominently.   14 ft long materials are surprisingly common, and difficult logistically at times, which is why I mentioned it.   It is difficult with anything but a pickup with rack.. but can be done carefully with a regular pickup, trailer, or if thin, crossing through the middle of a van or SUV.   4x8 sheets definitely do not fit inside a hatchback (are you blowing smoke? I think 3x5ft is the limit)

When completing maintenance projects on weekends, time is very short, so renting or paying for delivery is not  usually an option.   I mean, why even have a vehicle, if you wanted to do this, just go carless.    Deliveries / rentals start around $75 here for half day and go up.

There is absolutely nothing in your list that could not be accomplished by an average 4 door hatchback. Kayaks,bikes, trees, all sorts of construction materials can be hauled in a trailer or on a roof rack. We used to haul all kind of crap behind my wifes 1998 Grand am. Unibody construction is solid and nothing to worry about. You seem just bound and determined to get yourself an SUV so just go get one, stop attempting to seek approval from the forum and just do it.  Or you know just continue to ignore the common sense posted in this thread till you get enough people too agree with you and make you feel guilt free enough to buy your beast.

Tyson

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #85 on: May 20, 2016, 01:00:48 PM »
I bought a 7 year old SUV 3 years ago, before I found MMM.  So its grandfathered in!  Haha.  Seriously though, I keep it for 3 reasons.  First, I hardly ever use it, because I pretty much bike to do everything since MMM.  Second, it's paid for and now 10 years old, so registration and insurance costs are low.  Third, we do go to the mountains in the winter regularly, with extended family.  It's nice to be able to fit everyone into a single vehicle and make the trip together. 

Goldielocks

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Re: How do you justify an SUV?
« Reply #86 on: May 20, 2016, 10:06:08 PM »
Quote from: Fishinshawn link=topic=55572.msg1089260#msg1089
Many SUV's including all jeeps except the wrangler use unibody construction, this includes subaru's and honda's and mazdas. You most certainly can attach a trailer hitch and trailer capable of hauling 500lbs to just about any vehicle. I had a hitch on a old grand am years ago and hauled plenty of things that were over 500lbs.   

You need to evaluate  the opportunity cost of buying a vehicle for 14ft long building supplies?  How often are you seriously going to need to haul 4x8 sheets of plywood and 14ft long building materials?  Which BTW I think you could fit 4x8 sheets of plywood in 4dr hatchbacks...Regardless though unless you are running a construction company, paying for home delivery or renting a truck to carry your enormous building materials will likely still come out cheaper then paying the mark up of SUV's, the added fuel, added insurance, and maintenance.

First of all,  there is no point purchasing a trailer / towing capacity of only 500 lbs.  I don't think anyone would go there unless it was for a very specific single purpose. (Motorcycle camping?).

Towing with unibody is something I stay away from, due to wear at pressure points/ hard braking / loads involved.   I don't want to rehash the other postings made to the trailer towing with a car thread.   500 lbs may be fine, but see the note above.   An older (1985?) Grand Am sounds like it may have different construction than a Honda, Mazda, etc.

I definitely have trips that can not be used with a 5 door hatchback at least once a week.   This past 2 months, I have bought a tree, rented a large rototiller, purchased fencing materials, hauled compost, hauled to the dump, taken kayaks to the river, hauled cargo bicycle to/from the shop (does not fit on rack) 3 times, etc.   We complete a lot of home handiwork and construction materials figure prominently.   14 ft long materials are surprisingly common, and difficult logistically at times, which is why I mentioned it.   It is difficult with anything but a pickup with rack.. but can be done carefully with a regular pickup, trailer, or if thin, crossing through the middle of a van or SUV.   4x8 sheets definitely do not fit inside a hatchback (are you blowing smoke? I think 3x5ft is the limit)

When completing maintenance projects on weekends, time is very short, so renting or paying for delivery is not  usually an option.   I mean, why even have a vehicle, if you wanted to do this, just go carless.    Deliveries / rentals start around $75 here for half day and go up.

There is absolutely nothing in your list that could not be accomplished by an average 4 door hatchback. Kayaks,bikes, trees, all sorts of construction materials can be hauled in a trailer or on a roof rack. We used to haul all kind of crap behind my wifes 1998 Grand am. Unibody construction is solid and nothing to worry about. You seem just bound and determined to get yourself an SUV so just go get one, stop attempting to seek approval from the forum and just do it.  Or you know just continue to ignore the common sense posted in this thread till you get enough people too agree with you and make you feel guilt free enough to buy your beast.

Hey, I am not the one asking about SUV's.

OP is.

I am just replying to your posts. I agree that an SUV is not required. Really, the minivan was a much better volume hauler, with the trailer, and definitely cheaper than an SUV.

I just utterly reject the hypothesis that a 2000 and newer hatchback is a good construction vehicle on a regular basis.