SUV's of today | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
  • Register Today It's free!

SUV's of today


Well-Known Member
June 16, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Va Beach, Virginia
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 XLT, 4wd, 4door
This is a report i did for my english class......just wanted to know what you guys think!

S.U.V.s of Today
Today’s S.U.V.s have longed past their days of rugged, off-road workhorses because of their lack of true off-road and working use, the creation of the “hybrid” S.U.V., and ever-changing demographic trends. From past trucks and S.U.V.s, carmakers have taken the high road for years. Developing more and more sophisticated S.U.V.s for today’s lifestyle. The S.U.V.s of today seem not to be like their previous counterparts and have transformed into the sleeky creations they are today.
Changing trends in the market have always sought out new designs and changes for cars. Most S.U.V.s have come along way to the looks and statements that appeal to most of them today. To understand the basics of today’s S.U.V.s, we must examine what previous generation trucks were built upon. Most first generation S.U.V.s were built upon truck chassis, which were rugged and mostly used for towing and off-roading (“S.U.V.s” 34). These S.U.V.s had higher ground clearances and a higher center of gravity, making them more vulnerable to rollovers (26). These vehicles also have low-range gearing used for more serious off roading. The image of these vehicles spelled out power and toughness (not found in too many cars today!), being able to be used in a variety of situations. These cars were originally sold on a small market and were intended for buyers of previous truck owners (34).
The creation of the hybrid marked the beginning of a new era between car and S.U.V. Manufacturers call them S.U.V.s, critics call them cute-utes, I call them just plain pathetic. These car-based S.U.V.s began with the unveiling of Toyota’s RAV4 in 1996 (Taylor 22). This was the only vehicle of that time that was a blend between S.U.V. and car. Its increasing sales success that year encouraged other automakers to bring out similar car-based models (“A” 56). The sparkling rise of sales for this car based S.U.V.s was it do-part to their ride and handling. Unlike other S.U.V.s, these hybrids had car based chassis, lower ground clearance, and a smoother ride. Hybrid vehicles are now becoming a major trend in today’s vehicles. Manufacturers are trying to duplicate older generation S.U.V. durability into these cars, but I don’t think its really working out. These vehicles have absolutely no off-road abilities, they lack the low range gearing, and they lack the power. The image of S.U.V.s is becoming plush and is moving away from its original roots. These hybrid SUVs are pushing for an outdoorsy image and a penchant for safety (Evarts 1). More examples of these new hybrid SUVs are the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Escape, the Acura MD-X, and the Pontiac Aztek (Evarts 11). Another sector of recent trend would also include Subaru’s line a “SUV wagons”. These all, of course, offer all wheel drive as a supplement for better handling on the road (“Smaller” 26).
There is however, an important reason why today’s SUVs are unlike their earlier counterparts: changing demographics that have progressed through this era. The different economy, as well as different lifestyles, contribute to images that manufacturers want to instill on their cars. A new view about today’s cars is that they are more futuristic. Having more flowing lines and rounded edges, instead of the boxy, rough edged cars of the good ol’ days. These cars appeal to a new generation of buyers, and the manufacturers are willing to make the adjustments to sell their cars in better numbers. One personal opinion is that cars are more feminine like, instead of a masculine appeal. The roughness and toughness image is gone and has been replaced by a soccer mom, drive around the kids around image. Some other reasons for change were the need for a smoother ride. People were tired of the bumpy ride associated with larger SUVs and trucks, so carmakers began designing new chassis and different handling characteristics for larger vehicles. As the need for larger trucks became less and less, the introduction of the hybrid breed was born as explained in the previous paragraph. People began to see these new cars as less invasive and friendlier vehicles (Collins 11). Lastly another reason for the success of SUVs, period, was that most people thought they looked cool in an SUV, as stated by Alex Taylor of Fortune Magazine.
Coming to an end, that’s the way I see S.U.V.s going to. They have gone so for from their original purpose, transforming into soccer mom cars, and soon the S.U.V. trend is going to come to a complete end. With gas prices still somewhat insecure, and further car trends in the market, the security of the S.U.V. era will begin to die. Most people will have no reason to buy and S.U.V., except the ones who think they look cool in them. The old school lovin’ generation like myself, will only become more frustrated with the manufacturers incompetent ways to produce a quality car, meant for off-roading and extreme uses. The die-hard Ford and Chevy fans will soon begin to loose their trust in the Companies, and their loyal support will be extinguished. I guess there is nothing I can really do about it but complain. This topic must be brought to the heads of the companies, making them realize what poor decision they have made in the past. They should get their act together and start making real cars, ones made for the abuse and punishment they receive out in the real world.