The SUV is taking a lot of negative press these days, thanks to a new book out called High and Mighty: SUVs — The World’s Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way. The New Repubic’s January 20th issue has a great critique/companion article on the book, and I just finished reading a humorous online article from SFGate.com. I can only hope this is the peak of the SUV craze, and it is all downhill for them from here on in.
Just as a matter of making things clear, as High and Mighty points out, SUV are more dangerous for their owners than all other cars except sub-compacts and pickups. Traffic death rates were falling until they flatlined due to the popularity of SUVs, despite the fact that safety features were added to all vehicles in that time. The cargo and passenger room in SUVs tends to be smaller than regular automobiles. And car manufactures spend little on designing improved versions of SUVs (except Ford after going through the nightmare of product recalls for poorly designed Explorers), making SUVs one of the cheapest vehicles to manufacture, but then they are sold for a premium and reap huge profits for auto makers. Guess that’s why they don’t bother to improve anything about them.