SUVs for Beginners
by Stephen Phillips
I'm the proud owner of small car--a Fiat Punto, actually. It's rather slow, as 54 of its 55 horses are lame, but I love it. When I initially moved here, I realized that I didn't need a huge vehicle; just something small, compact, with good gas consumption that was great for whipping in and out of city traffic. Hence the Punto.
I know that there are people out there who own different vehicles that better suit their own needs: family cars, station wagons, rocket-powered sports jobs, even 4x4s. But would somebody please explain why certain individuals need those enormous SUV's? The type that could quite easily cope with a leisurely drive through the Amazon rain forest? Vehicles that would not look out of place at a Monster Truck Rally? Means of transportation that have more pulling power than Ricki Martin at an all-girls' school?
Now, before anyone gets on their high horse and tells me that their particular 4x4 is great for this area, due to the inclement weather, and that it's perfect for that weekend in the Alps, I'm not disputing the fact that they are wonderful if you're a regular outdoorsman, or spend every winter weekend rubbing shoulders with the well-heeled in Klosters.
But why do people feel it necessary to own a motorized colossus if the only adventure it goes on is a weekly shopping trip to the grocery store? And why, when people buy them, do they have them outfitted with:
* All those extra lights that shine so brightly they can be seen from outer space?
* Huge cow pusher bars bolted onto the front? (Funny, I haven't seen many cows ambling through town lately.)
* Satellite navigation systems that cause my TV to lose reception every time one passes within a mile of my house. (Did you forget the way from your garage to the post office? That's why there are road signs on 90% of highways here--so you can find your way.)
These big, gas-guzzling brutes were not designed for urban socialites, but for folks who live in wide-open spaces. They hog the roads, theyre a menace to cyclists and pedestrians, theyre almost impossible to overtake, and I can pretty much guarantee that when I'm looking for a parking spot, one of them will be there, taking up two spaces.
To sum up whats wrong with SUVs, The Simpsons TV show got it right in an episode that poked fun at a vehicle called the Canyonero. I'm particularly fond of the advertising jingle:
Can you name the truck with four-wheel drive?
Smells like a steak and seats thirty-five!
Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down,
It's a country-fried truck endorsed by a clown!
Canyoneroooo! Yeah, Canyonero!
Twelve yards long, two lanes wide,
Sixty-five tons of American pride!
Top of the line in utility sports,
Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts!
She blinds everybody with her super-high beams;
She's a squirrel-squashing, deer-smackin', drivin' machine!
(c) COPYRIGHT 2002 STEPHEN PHILLIPS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.