Daily driving in a city traffic makes me wonder about reasoning people use to buy certain cars. One would think the socioeconomic conditions and realities of daily commuting in a city would eliminate most cars that are bigger than mid-size family sedan. Choosing a small cheap car that is fuel efficient would be the most obvious decision for an average Joe that needs only a transportation to his boring job during weekdays and to a hockey game during weekends.
Many beefed-up pickups and full size SUVs rolling on a road that barely fits Focus makes me believe the common sense in motorization world is lost like a knowledge about roots of our civilization. With chrome wheels, skinny tires and shiny new paint those trucks were not purchased to drive off-road nor they will ever be used to carry construction tools or materials.
There are certain drivers who think they have good reason to drive one of those. Soccer moms with 2+ kids would perhaps find those cars useful for driving little Johny and Jane to hockey lessons, but for such purpose a minivan or bigger hatch (Mazda 5 comes to mind) would do the job very well…except minivans are ugly like a beer barrel. Safety freaks would think the sheer size and weight of SUV would provide protection when accident happens. This theory may (or may not) work in case of frontal hit, but on the other hand, tall SUV is prone to roll-over effect when t-boned or pushed hard through corners.
You would think that buying full size SUV or pickup is a bit more difficult task to accomplish since size and complexity of modern truck make it expensive to buy and to maintain, but you would be very wrong. In the world where credit card statement or hydro bill is beyond any comprehension for average Joe, possible after-effects of purchasing 3-tonne truck are left out of the scope. Overpriced SUVs are moved out of the dealership door by luring clients into 96-month installments. It does not matter how much the vehicle costs! It matters only how much I will pay bi-weekly! So that’s how we ended up with streets full of ugly monstrosities driven by credit-stretched Joes, who will never drive through mud in a fear of dents and scratches on a vehicle that may crumble before it is fully paid.
When I looked to buy a car couple years ago I visited one of GM dealerships in Ottawa to test drive Malibu. Though I don’t remember if I had plenty of time on my hand and I decided to waste it on driving a GM car, or if I was curious what car had to do or to look like to become a candidate for rental fleet, I do remember sales person offered me a black Escalade. I said, that I did not have parking spot for this thing but he replied “Oh, don’t worry, I will find a parking place for you and I will park it for you!”. Apparently Escalade comes with a personal valet that may serve as a parking navigation too.
Yes, I can drive Suburban, Yukon or F-250, spend 2 hours on searching parking place in downtown (if no valet comes handy) and take a credit line to pay for gas, but…. why should I do it?