Them: “I need a large vehicle; an SUV/truck.”
Me: “Oh, do you have multiple kids?”
Them: “No, I just need something bigger for all my stuff.”
Me: “Oh, so you travel a lot by car?”
Me: “Oh, well do you own a house and do a lot of yard work?”
Them: “No, I rent an apartment.”
Me: “Do you move about every year?”
Them: “Nope, I’ve been in my current place for a while now. I love it.”
Me: “So then do you have hobbies like buying and refinishing furniture?”
Them: “Oh no. I’ve always wanted to do that, though.”
Me: “So you do a lot of outdoor activities, like kayaking or camping?”
Them: “Not really, no.”
Me: “Do you drive a lot of people around?”
Them: “Naw, it’s rare that I’m the designated driver.”
Me: “Do you tow stuff around?”
Them: “Haha, no… I’ve never towed anything in my life.”
Me: “So then what do you need an SUV/truck for?”
Them: “I just like to sit up high and have room for when I need it. Plus, they’re, like, safer and all.”
Me: “Well room for what, then? And no, SUVs aren’t always the safest on the road.”
What you read is an amalgamation of various conversations that I’ve had over the past five or so years. It literally just happened the other night with one of my wife’s friends. Every time it’s a real head-in-hands moment when I’m done talking to that person. It’s interchangeable between many SUV and truck buyers.
Stop, just stop. Most of you reading this do not need an SUV or a truck. You want an SUV or a truck. And that’s fine, it’s your money and you can spend it how you want. Whether I agree with it or not is pointless. That being said, don’t give me this shit that you need something large enough to tow a planet or hold a bunch of children and their school and sports stuff. You’re a single person.
Now if you tell me you want an SUV I will automatically assume you actually want a crossover and just don’t know the difference. That’s fine, I usually ask what vehicle they want, and if it’s a crossover I let them know that that’s different from an SUV and share the reasons why. I’m always polite.
When you tell me you want an SUV so you can be safer in an accident, that’s really not the total picture. As Consumer Reports talked about in 2013, yes, larger vehicles are technically safer, but really only in a full head-on collision with something smaller. Yes, you can fare better in a larger vehicle, but you can also have less maneuverability in a large truck or SUV when trying to avoid accidents. Larger vehicles also usually stop in longer distances than cars because of their overall mass. A crossover, however, that’s not necessarily the case, since they are based on cars and are usually a good bit lighter than a truck or actual SUV. Anything larger hitting something smaller head-on is typically going to win.
Funnily, almost everyone who tells me they need a larger vehicle always has a car that they’ve beaten to absolute shit. Their front bumper is falling off; all four tires do not have the same amount of air in them; and there are tons of dents, dings, scratches, and weird smudges of paint from something they have either hit or rammed their door into. Am I saying these people are bad drivers? Some of them are, yes. Way too many people that tell me they need a bigger vehicle I have either seen drive or been in the vehicle with. Watching them just try and change the fan speed of their air conditioning while driving gives me nightmares.
There are also the people that think everything that sits higher than a car is an SUV. For these people I have to remind them that what they’re think of is a crossover. For instance, the conversation I had the other day went like this:
Wife’s friend: “I really need an SUV because I hate my car. I know it’s a nice car, but I just like sitting up higher.”
Me: “You want a Tahoe?”
Friend: “No, not really something that big. But something bigger and taller than what I have now.”
Me: “Well then you’re talking about a crossover. SUVs are typically built on truck platforms. So you want something smaller than a Tahoe?”
Friend: “Well, an SUV but not necessarily as big.”
Me: “Right, then that’s not an SUV, it’s a crossover. Crossovers are based on cars and just have a lift and larger bodies. That’s okay if that’s what you want, I’m just trying to understand what you want.”
Friend: “Well, yeah, it’s basically an SUV, though.”
Me: [looks very confused and just moves on from the conversation] “Okay.”
Now this person I was talking to previously had a Ford Escape before getting a car. So, it’s fine that they want a crossover again. It seems what they’re used to. However, I encounter so many people like this that have no idea that they’ll be paying hundreds more a month just for a car loan on an SUV or large crossover. And by hundreds I mean north of $500, and possibly even over $700 for an actual SUV or truck, depending on new or used, options, trim levels, etc. And don’t forget the insurance premiums on some larger vehicles. You should also start crunching the numbers on fuel, too. A truck or actual SUV is going to have a 20-gallon or larger fuel tank. That’s awesome in terms of overall fuel mileage per tank. But that can also mean $100 to fill it up every single time. And if you’re driving primarily in city traffic, aka non-highway driving, forget it. You’ll be spending more to fill up your large truck or SUV than the loan of a normal sized car.
Let’s say what you actually meant to tell me was that you wanted a crossover. Okay, cool. Most of them getting reasonably good fuel mileage, are comfortable, and a good size that is easy to park and put shit in. There are a ton of great options, from the Mazda CX-5, to the CX-30, the Toyota RAV4, Venza Hybrid, or maybe something much larger and closer to an SUV, like the Toyota Highlander. But let me say this: do not buy the vehicle for what you think you may need in 3-5 years. Buy the vehicle you need for now. That is, unless you’re genuinely just getting married in the next 6 months and want to start kickin’ with some damn babies immediately. In that case, go buy what you’re about to need now. If you’re a single person and you think you need a Tesla Cybertruck to keep up with all of the other truck buyers out there, just don’t talk to me… ever. If you want an F-150 because you haul and tow some shit, cool, you do you. Just don’t tell me a load of horseshit about how you need something to fit a lifestyle that you watch on YouTube and don’t live. That’s like me watching Ozarks and thinking, “I need a safe house, a really good getaway vehicle, and I need to learn fighting and gun drills.” No, I don’t.
Cut the shit.
Hypocrisy alert: I say all of this and I drive a 2017 Shelby GT350 that I have not, as of yet, put on a race track. I’m going to do it, though. My doing it, though, is a lot less like you wanting to buy a jet ski and a lake house. My car has 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque. It will go from 0 to 60 mph in 4-seconds. I don’t do that regularly, and I do not use all of my horsepower and torque daily. I try, to, though.