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The Plague Of Under-Powered SUV's!


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#1 Captain Jack

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 04:45 AM

So I've been shopping around for compact SUV's and more so Cross-Overs. After looking at pretty much everything in my initial fact finding, I've found that most are severely under-powered. I haven't looked into luxury brands since they don't interest me. Primarily my search is for more utilitarian functionality. I don't want to buy a Mercedes SUV to be my work horse for the winter.  So after looking at such popular models as the Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and the smaller Subaru Crosstrek, and Honda HR-V, I'm rather under-whelmed with the lack of power. Sure, they'll get you to point A to point B, but the thing is, you need horsepower, and even more important, TORQUE to get you over the rough stuff. And you'd be surprised how weak some of these are. See the video below for what appears to be minor obstacles that the HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 fail to overcome. The Subaru has a more hp and  torque (along with a smarter AWD system) that enables it to be the only test model to succeed in the challenges.

And I get it; it's all about improving MPG. But at what cost? What's the POINT of having what is marketed as an all-season vehicle that can conquer foul weather when it's thwarted by it's own lack of power? And yes, other factors are in play, like the AWD/4WD systems, traction control, etc. I understand that. But at the core, a vehicle's engine is also a major factor. It doesn't need to be a rocket ship, it just needs to be powerful enough to get out of its own way. I find it tormenting having to hear an engine struggle to generate the power needed to get to speeds needed to merge onto a freeway. Just my 0.02 cents worth in thinking out loud. :)


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#2 Orpheus

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:25 PM

SUVs came into existence for one reason: they were officially pickup trucks (frames) and were exempt from some passenger safety regulations.

SUVs became popular because they towered over everyone else, but were basically sedans on the inside.

Crossovers came into existence as a pure marketing move: to make a cheaper, smaller --but equally marketable-- SUV alternative. They have NO design merits. They aren't "cross" anything. They are lifted and puffed-out station wagons -- and not even full-size station wagons.

I've always owned at least one "practical car" for hauling wood, helping people move, transporting projects and large groups, etc. I've owned and loved some station wagons, vans and even a few particularly well-designed hatchbacks. I have a minivan right now (a long discontinued model) that is tiny on the outside, big enough on the inside (I've carried server racks, 4x8 plywood, 10-ft cast iron pipe), sips gas, and has all the power I want -- which may not be as much power as some would prefer, but it bops right up on the freeway effortlessly, fully loaded).

But station wagons, minivans, hatchbacks ere practical, not sexy. At the mall, my minivan is towered over by SUVs that couldn't carry a brace of 2x4s, or even HALF-sheets of plywood. They're all wasted space, from the flared fenders to the curved sides, to the thick hollow doors.

Why do so many SUVs/Crossovers suck? Because they're all show and no go, built for people who want that. Come the winter snow, and the breakdown lanes on both sides of Boston's expressways are littered with SUVs whose owners thought they could drive on attitude and altitude alone.

Subarus are highly regarded in Boston and NH/VT/ME. You probably wouldn't go wrong with one of those, but I remember their older designs, so to me their SUV/Crossover designs seem all 'show' and little 'stow' (admittedly, they still have Subaru 'go')

If you want transport, I suggest a well-designed station wagon (if they still make those) or better: a minivan with an upgraded engine (they often cheap out on the base unit). Fold the seats down (or unclip the middle row, if the model doesn't have folding middle seats) and you'll never look at SUVs again. If you need to carry passengers, fold the REAR row back up instead of the middle row, and it's like a freaking limo. Or fold all the seats up to carry 7 adults. The minivans I've driven are easier to park than SUVs, and can enter some tight height-restricted garages that SUVs often can't. After spending some time with a short-nosed minivan, you'll wonder why long-hooded cars are still made.

Edited by Orpheus, 09 October 2017 - 02:33 PM.


#3 gsmonks

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 12:17 AM

American woman to British woman: "My car has 850 horsepower. What has yours got?"

British woman to American woman: "Adequate."
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#4 Captain Jack

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 04:15 AM

View PostOrpheus, on 09 October 2017 - 02:25 PM, said:

SUVs came into existence for one reason: they were officially pickup trucks (frames) and were exempt from some passenger safety regulations.

SUVs became popular because they towered over everyone else, but were basically sedans on the inside.

Crossovers came into existence as a pure marketing move: to make a cheaper, smaller --but equally marketable-- SUV alternative. They have NO design merits. They aren't "cross" anything. They are lifted and puffed-out station wagons -- and not even full-size station wagons.

I've always owned at least one "practical car" for hauling wood, helping people move, transporting projects and large groups, etc. I've owned and loved some station wagons, vans and even a few particularly well-designed hatchbacks. I have a minivan right now (a long discontinued model) that is tiny on the outside, big enough on the inside (I've carried server racks, 4x8 plywood, 10-ft cast iron pipe), sips gas, and has all the power I want -- which may not be as much power as some would prefer, but it bops right up on the freeway effortlessly, fully loaded).

But station wagons, minivans, hatchbacks ere practical, not sexy. At the mall, my minivan is towered over by SUVs that couldn't carry a brace of 2x4s, or even HALF-sheets of plywood. They're all wasted space, from the flared fenders to the curved sides, to the thick hollow doors.

Why do so many SUVs/Crossovers suck? Because they're all show and no go, built for people who want that. Come the winter snow, and the breakdown lanes on both sides of Boston's expressways are littered with SUVs whose owners thought they could drive on attitude and altitude alone.

Subarus are highly regarded in Boston and NH/VT/ME. You probably wouldn't go wrong with one of those, but I remember their older designs, so to me their SUV/Crossover designs seem all 'show' and little 'stow' (admittedly, they still have Subaru 'go')

If you want transport, I suggest a well-designed station wagon (if they still make those) or better: a minivan with an upgraded engine (they often cheap out on the base unit). Fold the seats down (or unclip the middle row, if the model doesn't have folding middle seats) and you'll never look at SUVs again. If you need to carry passengers, fold the REAR row back up instead of the middle row, and it's like a freaking limo. Or fold all the seats up to carry 7 adults. The minivans I've driven are easier to park than SUVs, and can enter some tight height-restricted garages that SUVs often can't. After spending some time with a short-nosed minivan, you'll wonder why long-hooded cars are still made.

And that's the thing, it's mostly a statement now when owning an SUV. Crossover's were created because Americans wanted to be pampered with a more car-like ride. So Auto companies came up with basically what you stated as a tall station wagon. Only these days, the term "station wagon" is taboo. Car companies prefer to call the either "crossover SUV" or "5-door" for the regular cars. My family once had a Ford Taurus wagon, and it was extremely practical and saw quite a bit of use/ It wasn't a rocket but it had respectable acceleration, which is more than I can say for perhaps 90% of the crossovers out there today. Minivans are all but extinct, with only a handful of manufacturers still making any, and traditional station wagons are pretty much forgotten at this point. There are a lot of Subaru's in the Pacific Northwest, too. And surprisingly, they're pretty good. I'm actually considering their new 2018 Crosstrek. I don't need something as large as a Forester, but it too is on my short list. Both have the same ground clearance and AWD system. At the same time, I'm seriously looking into trucks. Sure, I have to sand bag a truck bed for the winter, but they've got genuine hp and torque, a versatile bed for hauling, and come in 4-door models that can fit 5 adults. Best of all, no CVT and they're more than just show, they GO! :)

View Postgsmonks, on 10 October 2017 - 12:17 AM, said:

American woman to British woman: "My car has 850 horsepower. What has yours got?"

British woman to American woman: "Adequate."

Oh, yes indeed! Quite so. Jolly good post, man. Marvelously clever.  ;)
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