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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: bikerhikergirl on May 15, 2016, 08:53:22 PM

Title: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bikerhikergirl on May 15, 2016, 08:53:22 PM
What do you drive and why? For those of you have compact SUVs, how do you comfortably justify it? I am thinking about trying to using this program http://www.nationalbenefitsprograms.com/2010/05/vehicle-purchasing-program/ (http://www.nationalbenefitsprograms.com/2010/05/vehicle-purchasing-program/) to purchase a new vehicle (face punch?). Has anyone ever used it? I currently don’t have a vehicle; I walk to work and to the grocery store. I gave up my car 3 years ago after being in an accident as a passenger.  I lost the majority of my hearing in the accident. I’m 30F, single, based in SoCal. I’m torn between a crossover SUV and sedan. And I’m torn between new vs used. My “want” is a new crossover SUV for safety and hauling reasons. The “logical” side of tells me a used sedan. I decided to get a vehicle to pursue speech therapy and maybe take indoor cycling (outdoor cycling still scares me right now). I’m scared of getting a bad used vehicle and not being able to call AAA or a tow truck when it breaks down. For reference, I currently live in SoCal but expect to transfer to snowy upstate NY in about 18 months. During my remaining time in SoCal, I expect to drive it 900 miles a month. Speech therapy and cycling are 30 miles away.  My driving habits in upstate NY are unknown. I definitely plan to put a hitch on the vehicle to carry a bike. I need to get more exercise and would like to bike on off road paths. Thank you for your thoughts! I’m looking at the Mazda Mazda3, Mazda CX-3 and Mazda CX-5. A friend recommended the Mazda safety features which is very important to me right now.
Finances:
Salary 90k
TSP 50k
Roth IRA 5k
Cash 20k
Investments 30k
It took me a while to get my finances under control, but I’m regularly saving about 2k every month, usually more. 
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JLee on May 15, 2016, 09:05:39 PM
This (http://i.imgur.com/dwP0P1Z.jpg) is how I justified mine, but I've moved to just-outside-NYC so I'm selling it this month.

My roommates have a CX5 - it's nice, albeit a bit on the expensive side.  I would probably look into something like this (http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/cto/5587449731.html) or this (http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/cto/5575246674.html).
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Paul | pdgessler on May 15, 2016, 09:15:38 PM
Trigger warning: facepunches incoming.

OK, so you've gotten by for 3 years without a vehicle. Great! Assuming you actually should buy one (and I don't think you need to yet), it probably doesn't need to be new and it probably doesn't need to be an SUV.

You state yourself that it is a "want", not a need. Strike one!

Whether your vehicle is new or used has literally zero impact on your ability to "call AAA or a tow truck when [if] it breaks down". Strike two!

There are many styles of bike racks, some of which fit on non-SUVs (gasp!) and even some of which fit on vehicles without receiver hitches (double gasp!). Strike three!

You're outta there!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: zinethstache on May 15, 2016, 09:19:27 PM
we use an SUV. DH owns rentals and puts all sorts of crap including his mower in it. I use it to go to side gig events. I load it so full I can barely fit in it as a driver. We've had it forever.... YMMV
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: lbmustache on May 15, 2016, 09:22:07 PM
Modern CUVs (CR-V, etc.) are comparable in fuel economy to a sedan so it's really up to you what you want. I personally would never buy a sedan again - they are horribly impractical to me. Give me hatchbacks or give me death!!!

With that said, a Mazda3 hatch is a good choice - a Mazda CX-3 is REALLY SMALL. Only recommended if you NEED awd but IMO good snow tires solve most people's problems. Most modern cars will be relatively safe, but unless you're going for a Land Cruiser (aka something massive) I think all of them are kind of similar safety-wise.

I have a Honda HR-V (smaller than CR-V) and I really like it. I honestly could've gone up a size because I use all the space inside - but I really like it. Good MPG, good room, small footprint, can be had with AWD. Didn't care about depreciation and face punches ;)
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bikerhikergirl on May 15, 2016, 09:43:42 PM
Modern CUVs (CR-V, etc.) are comparable in fuel economy to a sedan so it's really up to you what you want. I personally would never buy a sedan again - they are horribly impractical to me. Give me hatchbacks or give me death!!!

With that said, a Mazda3 hatch is a good choice - a Mazda CX-3 is REALLY SMALL.

Is the Mazda CX-3 smaller than the Mazda3 hatch?
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bikerhikergirl on May 15, 2016, 09:44:16 PM
Just wanted to say thank you for all of the responses so far! I welcome further thoughts!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Goldielocks on May 15, 2016, 11:15:06 PM
We have a toyota Highlander, SUV and a MAZDA 3.   They are not the same functional vehicle. 

We went down to one vehicle when the old one died, for over a year, and could not hack it.  (the mazda3).  If the mazda had died, the larger vehicle would be fine.

Why?

1.  added hauling capapcity inside -- camping trips, home renovation runs, etc.
2. trailer hitch for utility trailer and bike rack.  Can't take bikes easitly with a smaller car.
3.   I agree about snow tires, but we actually used 4 wheel drive at least for 1 week a year....   visiting rural relative, and then camping int he backcountry along forestry roads at free sites.
4.  Hauling ski gear for 4 or 5 persons. inside.  with people.
5.  Back seat has enough leg room for teenagers on very long car drives.    Mazda 3 does not,  only good for city drives, because the front passenger / driver needs to put the seat far back.

 6.  Some versions have 7 seats.   some people use this.

7.  higher up so DH with bad back can get in  / out more easily.

Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: trix76 on May 15, 2016, 11:24:19 PM
I had a Subaru Outback for 5 years. Great car in snow and on logging/4WD roads (to access mountain biking trails) and on sand (to access kiteboarding spots). Good mileage and tons of room for people (even tall people in the backseat) and gear. I even slept in it a few times. I sold it when my SO and I dropped down to one car, but that was definitely the perfect car for me. Outbacks hold their value pretty well, so you won't get a screaming deal on a used one, but if you look around, you may find a bargain...
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Goldielocks on May 15, 2016, 11:32:21 PM
I had a Subaru Outback for 5 years. Great car in snow and on logging/4WD roads (to access mountain biking trails) and on sand (to access kiteboarding spots). Good mileage and tons of room for people (even tall people in the backseat) and gear. I even slept in it a few times. I sold it when my SO and I dropped down to one car, but that was definitely the perfect car for me. Outbacks hold their value pretty well, so you won't get a screaming deal on a used one, but if you look around, you may find a bargain...

Trix,  we almost bought an outback, too, but the Highlander was 20 percent cheaper -- it all depends on what is available at the used car lots when you look to buy...   Glad to hear it is a great car.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: obstinate on May 15, 2016, 11:50:37 PM
Most people who drive SUVs don't bother justifying anything. They think "ooo, pretty," then buy it. As far as I'm aware, 99% of SUVs are used for nothing that minivans or cars couldn't do better and more efficiently.

But humans aren't optimal, and some are less optimal than others, and that's all you can really say about it.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: obstinate on May 15, 2016, 11:56:08 PM
Modern CUVs (CR-V, etc.) are comparable in fuel economy to a sedan
Yeah, you could compare them. And you'd find the sedan gets significantly better fuel mileage. :) Civic goes ~30% further on a gallon, even an Accord goes ~10% further.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Goldielocks on May 16, 2016, 12:03:58 AM
Modern CUVs (CR-V, etc.) are comparable in fuel economy to a sedan
Yeah, you could compare them. And you'd find the sedan gets significantly better fuel mileage. :) Civic goes ~30% further on a gallon, even an Accord goes ~10% further.
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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: sjc0816 on May 16, 2016, 06:43:33 AM
We own a 2008 base model Toyota Highlander. I don't need justification. I have to have the third row to carpool with many children...and I PREFER having a 4WD to cut through the snow. I know everyone on here says 4WD makes no difference in the snow than FWD...but my DH has a FWD Camry...and there's a huge difference. He takes my car to work when we have snow days.

Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: VaCPA on May 16, 2016, 06:50:35 AM
What do you drive and why? For those of you have compact SUVs, how do you comfortably justify it?

When we had our first child we got a compact SUV(Nissan Rogue) for my wife. Honestly the Rogue isn't even any longer than my Altima was but it was higher up and she said she felt it was much easier putting the infant carrier into it because of that. The AWD provided some peace of mind although it's been proven AWD doesn't really help much with handling in snow, it's really only helpful in accelerating(i.e. not getting stuck). For most people an SUV is just a convenience so you have to decide for yourself if it's worth it.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JAYSLOL on May 16, 2016, 07:11:52 AM
3 years ago I moved from a 20+ year old Toyota compact to a 7 year old Hyudai Santa Fe.  Although I admit it's not mustachian, I bought it because my wife needed a vehicle to learn to drive for the first time, at the same time that we had a newborn baby.  If we lived in town, I would have kept the old tercel and got around by bike (as it is I don't commute by car) and so would she, but we get such a deal renting 10 miles out of town that it covers all my vehicle costs twice over.  And thus, SUV it was.  Now that she is a good driver and kid is a toddler rather than a newborn, we are on the hunt for a small Toyota hatchback again.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: horsepoor on May 16, 2016, 07:17:15 AM
This is my first time confessing to the MMM crowd that I got rid of my Honda CR-Z hybrid and bought a 2015 Nissan Juke.  There are tons of trucks and SUVs in this part of the world, and 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, and I have yet to test the AWD, but expect it to be better when we do get some snow.  Since I also own a pickup truck, cargo space wasn't too important to me, but if it had been, I would have bought the Honda HR-V instead.  It isn't as fun to drive as the Juke, and I was able to get 0% financing and a pretty big reduction from sticker price on the 2015 Nissan, which is what swayed me away from the Honda.  After 1,300 miles, I'm averaging 31.9 MPG in mixed city and highway driving, which I think is pretty reasonable, as I'm not being particularly light on the pedal.  I love that it is still a compact car footprint that it easy to park anywhere, but feels more solid and has that slightly higher profile.  I did test drive a Mazda CX-3 as well, but wasn't very impressed with it, and it was a distant 3rd on my list after the HR-V, which surprised me, because I used to have a 2005 Mazda3, and it was my favorite car ever.

A Subaru Outback would be a great choice as well.  My husband has a 2011 that he takes to the mountains in the winter and it does great with just regular all-season tires in all kinds of conditions.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: crispy on May 16, 2016, 07:25:48 AM
What do you drive and why? For those of you have compact SUVs, how do you comfortably justify it?

When we had our first child we got a compact SUV(Nissan Rogue) for my wife. Honestly the Rogue isn't even any longer than my Altima was but it was higher up and she said she felt it was much easier putting the infant carrier into it because of that. The AWD provided some peace of mind although it's been proven AWD doesn't really help much with handling in snow, it's really only helpful in accelerating(i.e. not getting stuck). For most people an SUV is just a convenience so you have to decide for yourself if it's worth it.

I just bought a used 2012 Nissan Rogue last year.  A taller vehicle was the number one priority for me since I had been rear-ended three separate times in my Mazda5.  It ended up totaled the last time. I liked the Mazda5, but I swear it had an invisibility cloak around it. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the gas mileage in the Rogue is actually somewhat better than the Mazda5 which is something I did not expect. 
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: ReadySetMillionaire on May 16, 2016, 07:45:23 AM
My fiance is also a speech therapist. She does home health quite frequently and has to travel around the boons of our area. The roads are bad (commonly unpaved in the winter) and they truly are in the middle of nowhere.

Before we met, she basically had the same mindset as you: I need a reliable SUV because making a living depends on it, and I need to feel safe when I'm driving on these crappy roads.

It's been three years now and she loves her Toyota Rav 4. But man does she hate that car payment. It's something like $375 per month and she's going to pay on it for another three years or so.

When she next needs a car, she is going to buy used. No doubt.

So I understand your want for an SUV, but don't make my fiance's same mistake. There's a middle ground between a beater and brand new. Buy something that is maybe three years old and save yourself the aggravation of close to a decade of enormous car payments.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: ketchup on May 16, 2016, 08:56:04 AM
Our "SUV" is a '92 Buick Roadmaster Wagon.  It gets SUV gas mileage (20MPG highway) but mostly drives like a car so it still has a low center of gravity and doesn't feel like you're driving 10 feet up in the air.

Our "justification" is that we can't travel with multiple dogs without it (which we do often).  It can fit four dog crates unfolded in the back to safely travel with up to four dogs (and less safely travel with more).  It can also play pickup truck and carry 1000+lbs of sod home for when we redid part of our back yard.  And it can fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood flat with the back closed.  Or carry a bigass couch strapped to the top.

It was also only $700 and we've already gotten 40,000 miles out of it without issue.  The free bigass couch alone probably pays for most of that.

And I don't commute in it, because that would be dumb.  Most days it sits and rests.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: boarder42 on May 16, 2016, 08:57:53 AM
i have a ford escape hybrid i got from my company fleet with 150k miles on it in 2012 for 4800 bucks.  it gets 40-45 MPGs in months above 40 degrees and 35 in months sub 40 degrees. 

pretty easy to justify it with those numbers. 
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: infogoon on May 16, 2016, 09:03:52 AM
I would also like to vote for a Subaru Outback -- drives like a car, hauls like a truck. And the AWD is very useful in a Western New York winter. My last car was a Subaru Legacy wagon, and I didn't even look at anything else when it was time to change.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: lbmustache on May 16, 2016, 09:08:54 AM
Modern CUVs (CR-V, etc.) are comparable in fuel economy to a sedan
Yeah, you could compare them. And you'd find the sedan gets significantly better fuel mileage. :) Civic goes ~30% further on a gallon, even an Accord goes ~10% further.

I am talking about comparable fuel economy with more (or at the very least, more easily utilized) cargo room. Of course because of dynamics, weight, etc. the sedan will almost always beat the blobbier, taller, utility vehicle. :)

CR-V 37.2 cu-feet w/ seats up, 70.9 seats down
Accord 15.8 cu-feet
Civic 15.1 cu-feet

The best fuel economy + utility combo is going to be a hatchback. But if the added ground clearance or additional space is necessary, the average CUV is not the monster some make it out to be.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: doggyfizzle on May 16, 2016, 09:12:46 AM
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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JLee on May 16, 2016, 09:18:01 AM
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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: MerryMcQ on May 16, 2016, 10:42:04 AM
Whether your vehicle is new or used has literally zero impact on your ability to "call AAA or a tow truck when [if] it breaks down". Strike two!

The age of your vehicle may not impact your ability to call AAA/tow truck/emergency services, but as a Deaf driver, it is prudent to limit the risk of being stranded without the ability to call anyone. The OP is mostly deaf. Therefore, there are some considerations that a hearing person might not think about - like what would you do if your car breaks down?

Whatever vehicle you choose, (as a fellow late-deafened adult), I'd suggest you get one with really, really good visibility. In this case, something that sits a bit higher (rather than a sedan) may give you a better field of view and make you more comfortable driving. Also, have an emergency contact you can text who is hearing - they can call AAA on your behalf. Some 911 centers are now text enabled, so check in your new town if they are, and don't feel bad about texting 911 if you have a roadside emergency. Also, keep a notepad & pencil in your car with you in case you need to communicate with someone.

If you haven't driven since your accident, you may want to look into a drivers ed refresher course, because you may find driving without hearing requires a different level of attention than when you drove with hearing. You can also get things in your car that will flash when really loud noises are near by (like sirens), to alert you to sounds you may miss.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on May 16, 2016, 10:54:33 AM
I have a 2014 Nissan Rouge and love it.  I bought it used w/ less than 20k miles on it and got a STEAL.  Got a good amount of money on my trade in and super low interest loan.  My Rouge frequently gets 36 miles to the gallon on the highway, better than my husband's sedan.  We use mine like a truck.  Last weekend we were hauling mulch, soil and plants.  My only complaint is mine is designed more for comfort than use.  My prior SUV had hard plastic on the back of the seats which made me less concerned with getting them dirty.  This one has carpet.  The rear row can be pulled forward against the driver's seat too maximizing hatch room.  My husband is 6'5" and the fit is still a little tight.  He wishes he could push the chair back just a bit further than it will allow but he can still ride in it.  There are some sedans he cannot safely ride in.  (Head touches roof or knees press on where airbag would come out.)  We weren't going to move up to a larger SUV for another inch of leg room because this was workable.  I live in a snowy state and court is not closed for snow.  I need something that can safely get me there.  I've driven a stick shift sedan without 4wd in the snow just fine but I haven't found an automatic that drives as well as my SUV in the snow.  I have a million other reasons it is worth the money for me but I gotta get back to work!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Paul | pdgessler on May 16, 2016, 10:56:09 AM
Whether your vehicle is new or used has literally zero impact on your ability to "call AAA or a tow truck when [if] it breaks down". Strike two!

The age of your vehicle may not impact your ability to call AAA/tow truck/emergency services, but as a Deaf driver, it is prudent to limit the risk of being stranded without the ability to call anyone. The OP is mostly deaf. Therefore, there are some considerations that a hearing person might not think about - like what would you do if your car breaks down?

How would the OP's course of action as a mostly deaf person change if her new vehicle broke down on the roadside vs. her used vehicle broke down on the roadside?
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Fishinshawn on May 16, 2016, 11:00:49 AM
You don't need an SUV  or AWD in the winter unless you live in a remote forest service cabin on a road that doesn't get plowed. Those are all just justifications that people tell themselves to feel better about their decision and to feel more mustacian. Snow tires, snow chains, studded tires on a front wheel drive hatchback will work fine for 95% of us. most 4door hatchbacks have plenty of room to fit 5 grown adults.  As was pointed out the cargo capacity on a 4dr hatch is fantastic, and what you don't fit inside can easily be towed in a small trailer or in one of those plastic carriers people put on the roofs.

It matters not to triple A how old or new your car is.

I'd also like a puff of whatever the person is smoking who claims their V8 4runner gets 21 mpg on the freeway. The EPA on that vehicle is 14-17 and the user average is 12-18, so maybe you got 21 coasting downhill?

Either way with the kind of miles you are wanting to travel your goal should be a vehicle that is getting 30-40MPG.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: ketchup on May 16, 2016, 01:03:33 PM
You don't need an SUV  or AWD in the winter unless you live in a remote forest service cabin on a road that doesn't get plowed. Those are all just justifications that people tell themselves to feel better about their decision and to feel more mustacian. Snow tires, snow chains, studded tires on a front wheel drive hatchback will work fine for 95% of us. most 4door hatchbacks have plenty of room to fit 5 grown adults.  As was pointed out the cargo capacity on a 4dr hatch is fantastic, and what you don't fit inside can easily be towed in a small trailer or in one of those plastic carriers people put on the roofs.
+1

I only know one person that is somewhat justified in having a AWD SUV, and she lives in the middle of nowhere, Michigan, and has a 0.8 mile gravel driveway.  She used that as an excuse to buy a $50k brand new SUV, but getting an AWD SUV of some kind was probably the right idea.

99% of other cases, good snow tires on a FWD car of any kind will be all you need.  I don't even have snow tires here in Illinois, and plenty of people consider Illinois to be "snowy."
It matters not to triple A how old or new your car is.
Also true.  The only times I've called roadside assistance or AAA (or been with someone that did) were completely unrelated to the age of the car.  One collision, one road-object-flying-up-under-car-and-busting-open-fuel-tank, and one dud of a battery in a three year old car.  Oh, and a friend that locked his keys in his car once.  A car "breaking down because it's old and/or crappy" is pretty far down the list of reasons to have roadside assistance available.

I mentioned my giant station wagon "SUV" previously, but my primary vehicle is a '99 Metro that gets 45MPG in the summer, 40MPG in the winter.  That car gets driven every single time that my girlfriend or I don't need the hauling/cargo abilities of the big car, which is most of the time.  Having my primary vehicle be an SUV would be madness.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: neo von retorch on May 16, 2016, 01:08:08 PM
I had a Mazda CX-5, bought brand new for $20,500. Got 31 MPG - http://www.fuelly.com/car/mazda/cx-5/2013/xxaaqq/135807
The most popular Accord (2.4L) gets about the same, 30 MPG - http://www.fuelly.com/car/honda/accord/2013 (and probably costs more to purchase.)
But you don't need to buy an Accord. You can buy a Civic or a Fit or a Mazda3, and in most circumstances, it's the better choice. Especially since you can buy 3-8 years old easily, whereas you'll have a tough time finding a base FWD CX-5 for sale. They are, at this point, hitting the 3-4 year point where you might find them used, but they've held their value so you can expect to spend $16k+ even for one of those. So it's still not a better buy than a 3+ year old hatchback (that will get 33-40 mpg).
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: begood on May 16, 2016, 01:18:41 PM
Since you've been through a traumatic experience in a vehicle, I don't recommend looking at the Honda Fit or the Mazda CX-3 - I predict they will feel too small for you.

Look at the Honda HR-V - you might even be able to find one used already. It's bigger than the Fit, smaller than the CR-V, but it still sits "up" off the road, has AWD, and has all the safety bells and whistles.

Yes, you could buy a Civic and put snow tires on it. That's another way to go. Me, I like to sit up a little. I've driven CR-Vs since 1999. The 2015 model had a vibration issue, but you could look at a 2013, 2012, 2011 CR-V, depending on your budget, and get a great small SUV that should hold you for years.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: crispy on May 16, 2016, 01:59:10 PM
I have a 2014 Nissan Rouge and love it.  I bought it used w/ less than 20k miles on it and got a STEAL.  Got a good amount of money on my trade in and super low interest loan.  My Rouge frequently gets 36 miles to the gallon on the highway, better than my husband's sedan.  We use mine like a truck.  Last weekend we were hauling mulch, soil and plants.  My only complaint is mine is designed more for comfort than use.  My prior SUV had hard plastic on the back of the seats which made me less concerned with getting them dirty.  This one has carpet.  The rear row can be pulled forward against the driver's seat too maximizing hatch room.  My husband is 6'5" and the fit is still a little tight.  He wishes he could push the chair back just a bit further than it will allow but he can still ride in it.  There are some sedans he cannot safely ride in.  (Head touches roof or knees press on where airbag would come out.)  We weren't going to move up to a larger SUV for another inch of leg room because this was workable.  I live in a snowy state and court is not closed for snow.  I need something that can safely get me there.  I've driven a stick shift sedan without 4wd in the snow just fine but I haven't found an automatic that drives as well as my SUV in the snow.  I have a million other reasons it is worth the money for me but I gotta get back to work!

I, too, am amazed at the gas mileage on the Rogue.  We get much better fuel efficiency than what is actually advertised. 
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Laserjet3051 on May 16, 2016, 02:24:49 PM
We own a 2008 base model Toyota Highlander. I don't need justification. I have to have the third row to carpool with many children...and I PREFER having a 4WD to cut through the snow. I know everyone on here says 4WD makes no difference in the snow than FWD...but my DH has a FWD Camry...and there's a huge difference. He takes my car to work when we have snow days.
4wd makes no difference in the snow (compared to fwd)? I would heartily disagree with this. My 4x4 Cherokee eats snow, including drifts, ice, and slush, like a champ, all done at a good clip. I've  never driven a fwd that could even come close in performance on snow.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: neo von retorch on May 16, 2016, 02:34:15 PM
4wd makes no difference in the snow (compared to fwd)? I would heartily disagree with this. My 4x4 Cherokee eats snow, including drifts, ice, and slush, like a champ, all done at a good clip. I've  never driven a fwd that could even come close in performance on snow.

This is half true. Odds are, you didn't use the same tires on the 4x4 as you did on each FWD, but either way, the 4x4 will have better forward traction. (Unfortunately, that does nothing for braking or steering!)
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: CanuckExpat on May 16, 2016, 03:04:18 PM
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.
(http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/barbecue.jpg)
(http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/old_range.jpg)
 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/06/23/how-to-carry-major-appliances-on-your-bike/)

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:
(http://i2.wp.com/www.fi35.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015-04-26-11.35.44.jpg?resize=640%2C480) (http://www.fi35.com/fun-and-adventures-with-a-honda-fit/)

Where there is a will, there's a way
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Rural on May 16, 2016, 04:52:56 PM
I "justify" my 4wd SUV by going off-road at least twice a day - unpaved steep road to the house. On days like today, when there's a wreck blocking the state highway, add ~10 miles of unpaved national forest road over the mountain and two fords (rather than bridges), in order to go around. And I don't need it; I want it. I lived here for years and drove the same commute and same private road with a little 2wd car. When there was a highway wreck, I waited, and when there was a big storm, I hiked in to the house. In the rain, which sucked, but I did not melt.


If you want it, decide if you can afford it (a used one, of course - no one in their right mind would buy a new SUV). But don't try to justify it. Unless your situation is considerably more extreme than mine, it's a want, and you should consider it on that basis.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bikerhikergirl on May 16, 2016, 06:54:59 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bikerhikergirl on May 16, 2016, 07:02:50 PM
Whether your vehicle is new or used has literally zero impact on your ability to "call AAA or a tow truck when [if] it breaks down". Strike two!

The age of your vehicle may not impact your ability to call AAA/tow truck/emergency services, but as a Deaf driver, it is prudent to limit the risk of being stranded without the ability to call anyone. The OP is mostly deaf. Therefore, there are some considerations that a hearing person might not think about - like what would you do if your car breaks down?

Whatever vehicle you choose, (as a fellow late-deafened adult), I'd suggest you get one with really, really good visibility. In this case, something that sits a bit higher (rather than a sedan) may give you a better field of view and make you more comfortable driving. Also, have an emergency contact you can text who is hearing - they can call AAA on your behalf. Some 911 centers are now text enabled, so check in your new town if they are, and don't feel bad about texting 911 if you have a roadside emergency. Also, keep a notepad & pencil in your car with you in case you need to communicate with someone.

I have driven since the accident - only in SUVs and trucks at work. You are right, I do like the increased visibility of SUVs that sedans do not allow for.  I'm trying to gain back some independence by getting a vehicle right now. But my primary motivation for new (vs used) is because I am scared of getting stranded on the highway with absolutely no communication methods. Losing my hearing indirectly forced me to become isolated due to switching communication methods. I'm becoming a little agoraphobic which is unnecessary. I guess if I get a used car, I don't really have a way of knowing how well the vehicle was taken care of before I purchase it.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: tobitonic on May 16, 2016, 07:26:14 PM
We've got a pair of minivans because they gave us the safety features we were looking for while costing less and using less gas than most comparable SUVs. An '07 Odyssey, for example, cost us ~9k; the equivalent Pilot would have cost us ~10k while offering poorer mileage. However, we'd have gone with SUVs if we'd found ones competitive with the minivans we were scouting. When we bought the Ody, for example, we were also considering a Santa Fe and an Accord of similar years.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bikerhikergirl on May 16, 2016, 07:37:16 PM
The other reason why I'm leaning toward new is because the certified vehicles from Autotrader show SUVs between 2010-2015 start at 15k minimum. Getting an SUV for 18k seems like a good deal to me to have it from odometer reader of sub 1000.  I'm planning on taking an automechanic class this summer if I can get an interpreter to understand vehicles better in general. I tried to teach myself using youtube but it is very difficult to find captioned videos.

Thanks again everyone for their responses!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Goldielocks on May 17, 2016, 12:47:28 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.
(http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/barbecue.jpg)
(http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/old_range.jpg)
 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/06/23/how-to-carry-major-appliances-on-your-bike/)

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:
(http://i2.wp.com/www.fi35.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015-04-26-11.35.44.jpg?resize=640%2C480) (http://www.fi35.com/fun-and-adventures-with-a-honda-fit/)

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..
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: CanuckExpat on May 17, 2016, 01:03:34 AM
To clarify, it was MMM moving the stove by bike, in this article (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/06/23/how-to-carry-major-appliances-on-your-bike/)
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: lizzzi on May 17, 2016, 05:25:05 AM
When my husband started needing a walker and wheelchair, and then I also had the three grandchildren in boosters and/or car seats, I just needed something big. I also have a harp that needs a harp-mobile at times, and a dog that needs a vehicle with enough room for his crate. I paid cash for a mid-level  2012 Toyota Highlander at the end of 2011 (I had driven one once as a loaner from a dealership--so knew I liked it and that it fit in our garage). I expect to drive it forever. My new thing is to start using it for car camping. I don't feel the slightest need to justify this purchase. I love this vehicle.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Mr. Paws on May 17, 2016, 06:45:46 AM




 I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the gas mileage in the Rogue is actually somewhat better than the Mazda5 which is something I did not expect.

What kind of mileage do you get with your rogue?  I have a 2011 and I only average about 22mpg but it is AWD.  The vast majority of my driving is on city streets and not highway.  I bought it used and the people before me were averaging about 24mpg. I like it alright but I am planning on selling it soon.  I found MMM after I bought this car.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Blonde Lawyer on May 17, 2016, 08:35:23 AM




 I have been pleasantly surprised to find that the gas mileage in the Rogue is actually somewhat better than the Mazda5 which is something I did not expect.

What kind of mileage do you get with your rogue?  I have a 2011 and I only average about 22mpg but it is AWD.  The vast majority of my driving is on city streets and not highway.  I bought it used and the people before me were averaging about 24mpg. I like it alright but I am planning on selling it soon.  I found MMM after I bought this car.

I have a 2014 Rouge.  I tend to drive MPG conscious.  I don't brake unnecessarily, I take my foot off the gas going downhill, etc. I do have a tendency to drive around 70 in the highway though.  I get better MPG going 55-60.  On rural two lane highways with 50-55 speed limit, I get 35-36 MPG.  On the regular highway going 70 I get 30-34.  Around town I get about 25-29 depending on the type of trip, number of red lights, etc.  There are rare occasions where I get under 25.  I'm going on what the dashboard tells me at the end of the trip.  When I turn the car off it gives me the MPG for that trip.

The only thing I dislike (and I'm curious if anyone else has this issue) is that when my vehicle is cold, it doesn't always shift right if I get on the highway right away.  The RPMS will be way too high for the first 5 minutes or so and it struggles to get over 60 mph.  When that happens, my MPG for that trip are inevitably low.  I asked the mechanic about it and he said its likely just the CVT.  Since it performs better than most other times, I'll put up with that on rare occasions.  I live in a cold climate and it doesn't happen all the time.  It still worries me though and if it is going to need work, I'd like to find out when it is under warranty.

I've read online about some people having issues with long road trips with the CVT.  I'll be driving from New England to South Carolina this summer so hopefully that doesn't happen to me!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: SwordGuy on May 17, 2016, 09:35:11 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.


Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: BFGirl on May 17, 2016, 09:42:08 AM
I bought a new Ford SUV pre-MMM while I was still married.  It is paid for and is 7 years old and only has 79,000 miles on it.  I've considered selling it and buying something smaller, but I need it to haul displays and inventory for several trade shows a year for my side gig.  I've looked at the cost of renting a U-haul for these trips, but financially it isn't worth it.  I ride the train almost everyday to work, so I am putting minimal miles on the vehicle each year.  With the current gas prices, the cost of my train pass is about equal to the gas I would spend commuting.  However, I don't have to drive in stressful situations, I save wear and tear on my vehicle and I get 1.5 miles of walking everyday I ride the train.

Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: ketchup on May 17, 2016, 09:52:21 AM
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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: MerryMcQ on May 17, 2016, 10:11:17 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. Losing my hearing indirectly forced me to become isolated due to switching communication methods. I'm becoming a little agoraphobic which is unnecessary.

Being stuck somewhere without anyway to communicate with the hearing world is one of my fears, too. :) And it is a reasonable fear. When you have sudden hearing loss, it requires a lot of energy and mental strength to learn how to interact with people and situations. And it requires a lot of planning. :)

Here's some suggestions of things that can help in the "stranded" fear...

* Hamilton CapTel (for the cell phone). It is an app, free to use for the Deaf/HoH community. I had the Sprint version but they closed it down. You do have to be able to speak to use it. You should probably practice with it with patient friends, because there is a serious delay in the captioning service and many people will hang up on you. (Try saying "I am deaf and using a captioned phone. Please be patient as the captioner takes some time to type what you are saying" as soon as someone answers...)

* If you need to call 911 on a non-captioned phone, just keep repeating: "I need help. I am deaf. I am at XYZ address." Don't stop saying it until the emergency responders arrive. That's what the emergency responders told me is the most useful and will get you help the fastest.

If you don't have cell phone connectivity, then you're in the same situation as a hearing person... :)
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: mtn 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Fishinshawn 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.
(http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/barbecue.jpg)
(http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/old_range.jpg)
 (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/06/23/how-to-carry-major-appliances-on-your-bike/)

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:
(http://i2.wp.com/www.fi35.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015-04-26-11.35.44.jpg?resize=640%2C480) (http://www.fi35.com/fun-and-adventures-with-a-honda-fit/)

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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: mtn 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JLee 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: DeltaBond 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
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: MountainFlower 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. 
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JLee 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!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: bacchi 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: little_brown_dog 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: DeltaBond 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JLee 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! : )
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JLee 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: galliver 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 (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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: CanuckExpat 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?
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: tobitonic 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: CanuckExpat 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 (http://www.economicsandethics.org/2013/09/a-rant-against-big-suvs.html)?

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)
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: galliver 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: galliver 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!
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: horsepoor 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: kimmarg 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Knapptyme 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: JAYSLOL 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: mtn 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: doggyfizzle 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Goldielocks 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.

Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: csprof 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 (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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: mwulff 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: galliver 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 (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 (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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: tobitonic 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 (http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/2016/01/small-car-safety-the-safest-are-safer-than-large-suvs.html/).
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: galliver 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 (http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/2016/01/small-car-safety-the-safest-are-safer-than-large-suvs.html/).

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 (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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: tobitonic 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 (http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/2016/01/small-car-safety-the-safest-are-safer-than-large-suvs.html/).

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 (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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: galliver 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 (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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Little Nell 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: tobitonic 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.

Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Fishinshawn 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.
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Tyson 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. 
Title: Re: How do you justify an SUV?
Post by: Goldielocks 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.