What do I like about my SUV? Lots of things. What do I not like about my SUV? The gas mileage. Allow me to qualify my remarks.
I move around the country on an average of every 6-7 months. My employer pays me 95% of what they would pay a moving company if I move myself. I make money on the deal. My SUV, 1999 Jeep Cherokee Classic 4x4 with a 4.0L straight 6 engine, has a rated towing capacity of 5000 lbs. My Class 3 tow hitch allows for 3500 lbs with a tongue weight of 350 lbs. This allows me to move myself with a medium-sized U-Haul trailer.
Parking at some of my job sites is sometimes "off-road" in a muddy field, where I have to drive over a curb to get through a drainage gully and then up a mild embankment to the muddy field. I park in the field, go to my job, and then drive out when the day is over.
Before I bought my Jeep, I owned a 1986 300ZX. I damaged my front airdam, along with a driving light when I tried to move from the asphalt to a field similar to the one I park in right now.
What does this have to do with anything? I'll admit, not a whole lot. I'm one person in the crowd. My Cherokee gets about 20mpg highway, which allows me to drive 400 miles on a tank of gas. The Cherokee's nickname in some circles is the "Iron Deuce." It's been around since the early 1980's. It got that nickname back then, I didn't give it. City-wise, I get about 12-14mpg due to the gearing of the vehicle. It's pinion-gear is set for towing power and torque, not highway mileage.
If you wish to increase the mileage of an SUV, cut it's balls off and gear it for highway driving, i.e. a more conservative gear ratio. It'll allow the engine to turn at lower RPMs while at highway speed. It should also theoretically increase the top-end, not taking into account aerodynamics. Cherokees are basically shoe-boxes with a big 6 crammed under the hood.
It's the shoe-box design that I really love the most though. I drive an SUV that's smaller than a Ford Ranger pickup truck derived Ford Explorer, and I get more benefit from it. I like the ride height, I like the fact that blown tire treads laying in the middle of the interstate will pass under the vehicle without causing damage to the undercarriage.
I've rambled enough though. Let's get down to brass tacks. Do I feel concerned about rolling my Jeep? No. I took a driving course for Jeep products before I bought my vehicle, and I know it's limitations. I also know I can't take turns like I did in my 300ZX. I recognize the fact that it's big, ugly, and uses more gas. My point is: I don't give 2 shits what the left-winger in his Yugo is thinking about me. I take great comfort in knowing that I have a better chance of surviving a crash in this thing. In a world where a crackhead would sell her own child to buy some more rock, I must admit, it's better him than me in a wreck. My driving style makes it almost 100% certain the wreck is caused by the poor schmoe in the Yugo. I don't take wild risks, I don't drive like a bat out of hell. I signal all of my lane changes, and I look left, then right, then left before crossing a road.
I am a very considerate driver. Unfortunately, most assholes down here aren't. 50% of the drivers in Corpus Christi, TX do not have licenses, nor do they speak English. 75% of the drivers down here don't have auto insurance. I'm loaded for bear down here, all I need is a bull-bar for up front, a winch, and some nerf-bars. Oh yeah, one more thing I need for my SUV. I need some baby seal-skin seat covers and a pair of fuzzy dice. I'm accepting contributions.
What's my plan for my next vehicle? I'll move to something better for the environment- a Ford F-250 4x4 with the turbocharged Powerstroke Diesel. At least the by-products from diesel combustion mix with atmospheric air to produce CO2. Much cleaner than a gasoline burning engine.
You can think anything about me you want. Am I an asshole- sure. Am I not concerned about this debate- you bet your sweet ass. Am I safer than you in your 60mpg weenie car- hit me and find out.
My name is Cogg, and I drive an SUV