All-wheel drudge

Sport-utility vehicles have some advantages: they hold a lot of stuff, generally, and you probably have a neighbor or two who bursts into tears whenever she sees one. But Tam gets to the heart of what’s really wrong with these four-wheeled tanks:

The Forester is pushing the limits of the amount of sheet metal I care to herd around on a daily basis, any more than that and driving starts to get a little too close to work for me to really enjoy it. Plus, you can’t convince me that big, tall stilty vehicles don’t just tip over occasionally for no reason whatsoever, like, while they’re sitting in parking lots and stuff.

I note with no small amount of sadness that the little Screwbaru, despite all that whirry stuff to turn both sets of wheels, is about 200 lb lighter than my own oversized — but not stilty — ride.


  1. Jeffro »

    1 February 2013 · 7:41 pm

    OTOH, I cannot bend enough quickly and comfortably enough to even fit in the doorways of most small vehicles – and that includes mid sized SUVs as well. I never could, but I did lean the seat back and have it as far rearward as possible – then I could survive in ’em. These days I am just not that flexible. It was a disappointment when I found I couldn’t fit in a new Mustang or Camaro as well – they were among the possibilities for a replacement for the current ride.

    But put me in a big ol’ resource hoggin’ pickup, and I’m Brer Rabbit in the briar patch. Stepping out of a tippy hawg is far easier than unfolding from a small set ‘o wheels.

  2. McGehee »

    1 February 2013 · 8:45 pm

    My wife, who is 5’1″ on tiptoe, recently complained about climbing in and out of her Civic — and reminisced about her previous vehicle, a ’93 Isuzu Rodeo which was the perfect height for her to get in and out.

    My Bronco trundles around on three-inch lifts, which causes me to be cautious on wet pavement because I have this notion that when the rubber-road interface is offset too much from the center of mass like that, any excessive control input in the wrong conditions can blow out the traction and lead to UDIT (uncontrolled drivng into trees).

    Having seen so many 4x4s in the ditch on snowy mornings in Fairbanks may have something to do with aforesaid notion.

  3. CGHill »

    1 February 2013 · 10:14 pm

    Car and Driver, incidentally, is now including center of gravity (in inches above the pavement) in its test-vehicle spec sheets.

    My abundance of torso and lack of leg — 6’0″, 28″ inseam — gives me problems in lots of different vehicles.

  4. McGehee »

    2 February 2013 · 8:45 am

    My wife’s proportions are effectively the opposite, her legs are unusually long for such a short person.

  5. CGHill »

    2 February 2013 · 11:22 am

    So she’s constrained by legroom, or the lack thereof; my issue is with headroom, or the lack thereof. Either way, things get complicated.

  6. Charles Pergiel »

    2 February 2013 · 4:34 pm

    “bursts into tears”? Is this envy, or fear? Or something I cannot begin to comprehend?

  7. CGHill »

    2 February 2013 · 5:05 pm

    It’s the reaction of a self-proclaimed saint to the actions of a previously designated sinner.

  8. Charles Pergiel »

    2 February 2013 · 5:47 pm

    Oh. Or maybe I should say OMG!

  9. Tam »

    3 February 2013 · 8:46 am


    OTOH, I cannot bend enough quickly and comfortably enough to even fit in the doorways of most small vehicles – and that includes mid sized SUVs as well.

    Isn’t it great that they sell all kinds of vehicles? :)

    (I don’t suppose everyone shares my taste in ice cream flavors or pizza toppings, either.)

  10. Baby M »

    5 February 2013 · 8:18 am

    A Forester isn’t all that big. It’s less an SUV than it is a station wagon that works out on the Bowflex machine and has ambitions to be a truck someday.

  11. CGHill »

    5 February 2013 · 8:45 am

    On the other hand, if what you’re used to is one of those Teutonic rocket sleds, any Sube is going to look Way Tall.

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