Jump to content

Rumored future of Buick?


Jstbcausd
 Share

Recommended Posts

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Jstbcausd</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Just found this online and if its true things could be looking up for Buick. Personally glad to see the Regal name coming back.

Here's the link-enjoy.

http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49050 </div></div>

YEEHAW!,let's hope it comes through!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The “Larger Plan” mentioned is a strategy to return Buick back to a up-market volume brand, with a relatively large model lineup. GM intends Buick’s forthcoming model lineup to take Buick sales back up into the 350k range. In this new plan, Cadillac and Buick are aligned more closely as Buick moves upmarket, with Cadillac being the striking, sporty brand, and Buick taking it’s place as a more conservative, “True Blue” luxury brand with a range of elegant luxury vehicles. The positioning statement “Wise with Wealth” fits right in with the intended Buick audience. More conservative then a Cadillac buyer, Buick wants to target the wealthy 35-45 segment, and that will be the focus going forward. Here’s the Buick lineup going forward, including all the inside information regarding each model. Enjoy! </div></div>

Great article...maybe I'll have to wind up buying a new car, although seeing that Red Jewel Tintcoat Enclave (same colour as Ruby) brought a smile to my face.

Regarding the above...does this imply that Cadillac will be the "banker's hot rod"? If they are after the affluent 35-45 (segment I fall into), I'm thinking a GN / Riviera might win me over, but Cadillac as the "sporty" upscale? That doesn't quite ring true to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If this is true-- its' about time they (the corporate bean counters) yanked their heads out of their butts and decided to breath some fresh air for a change. Fresh air smell probably has them dizzy with excitement!! The line up sounds exciting- Might be time to sell the current house as wife is hinting at and build that new one with an "over oversized" garage to hold the current collection and make room for another addition-- Riviera or GN ??? decisions, decisions, decisions!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest my3buicks

All great news! While I somehow can't see the Grand National name being used as Buicks Halo car, while the GN name conjurs up an awesome image, in my mind it's not the top of the line Buick image/name. I still think the Riviera needs to hold that spot. I am pleased to see the possibility of a smaller Buick SUV, while I LOVE the Enclave and it more than likely will be my next new Buick, I like the thoughts of having a smaller Buick SUV as an option since the Enclave is a little more vehicle than I need.

I guess what is most important, it does not appear that GM is ready to throw in the towel on Buick, but wanting to go the distance in the fight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just a few days ago picked up my new Red Jewel Enclave CXL, trading in a 2000 Chevrolet Venture. It seems that the local dealer sold the 8 he had in less than a week and the demand is much greater than anticipated. I was not even considering a new car, but was so impressed with the Enclave which I saw when I brought my LeSabre in for service. They are now quoting 4 months for a "new" order, but they expect more in soon, those that were previously ordered for stock, and will probably be sold before they are delivered. The dealer bought 2 Enclaves from a Florida dealer because he was so desperate for inventory. Not that the Florida dealer could not sell the Enclaves, but 9 LaCrosses came with the deal. I guess he wants to move those LaCrosses more than he wanted to keep the Enclaves.

Reported yesterday, the Michigan plant has increased the Enclave production allocation to 40%, with the balance being Saturn Outlooks and GMC Acadias.

As a long time Buick owner, it is nice to see Buick having a "hot" vehicle in their line-up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest my3buicks

One thing I see that is missing from the projected Buick Stable is still a convetible - if Buick is going to play in the land of Lexus and the luxury brands, then it needs a hot little convertible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That direction doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm in that hotly contested 35-45 demographic and absolutely want sporty performance with my luxury. I don't think I want "True Blue luxury" whatever the heck that is, and I can't imagine anyone even close to my age saying, "Nah, I'll take the lower horsepower, watered-down, not-so-sporty version. Can I get wire wheelcovers with that?" Uh, what?

"Elegant luxury" doesn't explain much about their vision, either. As opposed to what, "tacky luxury"? Sounds like Buick is still having an identity crisis. "We're moving forward by doing what we've always done: trying not to step on Cadillac's feet."

Buick: How about a convertible with 4 real, adult-sized seats? How about a coupe with the same 4 seats, both with RWD and an optional V8 (perhaps a softer, more adult luxury version of, say, the GTO?)? How about a real <span style="font-style: italic">wagon,</span> with AWD (think Audi A6 wagon), not a crossover/SUV/truck/whatever? Those are niches that GM isn't filling with any brand, and would be ideal places for Buick to make a stand--they have history on their side with those models I mentioned. And how about a highly luxurious small car--not a rebadged Cavalier, but an efficient car with a quiet interior, decent power and lots of lux features? With gas costing what it does and only going up, that might be an interesting segment in 5-7 years. BMW is bringing over their sub-compact 1-series, and Audi's considering importing their smaller-than-an-A3 product, too.

Love the Enclave, however. But how does it fit into this new strategy? Right now, it's a niche Cadillac doesn't play in so of course it's easy to make it a great vehicle. How will they build an exciting 4-door in the mid-$30K range that doesn't steal Cadillac CTS sales? Less power? V6 and/or FWD only? Bench seats? Whitewalls? The Enclave only shows that it's easy to hit home-runs when you're the only kid with a bat.

As my friend says, "I'll see it when I believe it."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Manufacturers seem to thinkanything with just two doors will not sell. It's hard, they say, to gain access to the rear seat.

My daily driver is a 2004 Pontiac Bonneville, nicely trimmed. But my family consists of myself, my wife and daughter. 85% of the time, it's just me. 10% of the time it's me and my daughter. On the weekend, the 3 of us might go out to supper, comprising the other 5%. I'm 43. I want a Velite or Riviera. Have a nice day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for rear access of a two-door, if you consider the soon-to-be-gone Monte Carlo, the placement of the A-pillar (and related door hinge mounting on the side of the cowl) makes for a much longer door than on my '77 Camaro, or most any other USA coupe of earlier decades. If you make the door long enough to allow some rear seat access, things get worse . . . at least in conventional wisdom.

I have a VHS tape of old car commercials. There is one with the first year Riviera in it, but the one that really talks to rear seat use and accessibility is for the 1958 Thunderbird. A convertible, too! Two couples of finely-dressed people are in the convertible, and then drive INTO the ballroom, under the massive chandelier, and then get out of the car. The men, in the front bucket seats, get our first, followed by their ladies. The front seat back lays forward and is completely flat, which allows unhindered access/egress for the rear seat passengers. It might be a little different on the 2-dr hardtops, but in that convertible, it's all open for everybody to see how easy it is to get out of the back seat.

Now, why is that seat back important? Well, starting in 2004 on Pontiac Grand Prix and in 2003 on certain Saturn coupes, they had (and still do, in a few models) a passenger side seat back that lays completely flat, with recesses in the seat trim to have a place to put the "active lifestyle" owner's laptop computer. The seat back is easy to operate, too! So . . . if rear seat access is that bad for a two door coupe/convertible, then THERE'S the answer . . . the "fold-flat" seat back that's already in use. To me, the real problem with rear seat room is in legroom rather than the seat back situation, though. With seatbelts in the seats now, dodging a hanging seat belt should not be an issue any more, either.

Add some electronics to automatically lower the windows when the rear seat back is released and the door openned, then raise them when the door is closed and the power locks are electronically activated. It's ALL doable!

It seems that in Europe, the "wagons" seem to sell pretty well, or at least well enough to pay for their additional expense in production and such. Over here, it seems to be a different story. Seems that everybody had some sort of small station wagon vehicle (fwd) in the 1980s. Some looked pretty neat, too. But it seems that most of the people I saw with them were "older than me", and had some need for utility functions. This was before the move to rwd SUV-type vehicles as something of a backlash against fwd vehicles. And, some were rwd, too, as in the '78+ GM A/G body cars (Malibu, Regal, etc.). It's possible that many of those owners later bought Jeep Cherokees, at least the ones that went camping very much, back then.

As I recall, the Audi Shooting Brake (?) is a neat looking car, but I suspect it fills a niche market in Europe that does not really exist in the USA. Even with Quattro equipment. And, it'd probably sell against things like Chevrolet Equinox, Pontiac Torrent, and the Buick Rendezvous. Seems like Saab's in that Euro-wagon mix too? Oh, and don't forget about BMW and DaimlerBenz with their "wagons" too!

If you go back and look at the Chrysler Citadel concept, which was basically an AWD wagon version of what came to be Chrysler 300M, it pretty much fits the same mold as the Buick Centiemme (sp?), but the Buick looks really neat and hasn't been modified for production and the Citadel became Pacifica (with its heritage on the minivan platform rather than the 300M platform). But we did get Dodge Magnum "wagon", for what it's worth, in all of its road-hugging weight (and 3.90 rear axle ratio to compensate for said weight!). Maybe there's hope afterall?

Enjoy!

NTX5467

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, in the A4 and A6 ranges, Audi sells about 40% wagons out of production totals of 342,540 A4s and 233,169 A6s (2006 figures). That's a lot of wagons, not a niche market, and that's just one of the smaller brands that makes wagons (their high-performance 425 HP RS4 was, for a time, available <span style="font-style: italic">only</span> as a wagon). The new breed of wagons aren't Mercury Colony Park clones and there's no wood in sight.

I was just thinking that with everyone doing a <span style="font-style: italic">"me too!"</span> SUV crossover, of which Buick now has a fine example, a big truck-based SUV and a 4-door luxury sedan, how about going places where nobody else in America is playing and where they won't be stepping on other GM brands? Plus, with gas prices pretty much nailed down around $3/gallon and only going up, the SUV's days are probably numbered. And I heard the GMC Arcadia weighs nearly 4500 pounds! That's a truck, and there's no way something that large, boxy and heavy will be good with gas, no matter what it's called (with the revised EPA estimates coming out next year, I'd be surprised to see a highway mileage number above 20 for these "smaller" and "more economical" crossovers).

A wagon can probably haul just as much and still get 8-10 MPG better mileage with superior performance in every way. They just need to be hip, cool and fun to drive. The "cool factor" is what started the migration from minivans (now maxivans? they're getting pretty big, too) to SUVs. Make wagons cool again, and see what happens.

Obviously, I'm a big wagon fan, and think that if they're done well, they can sell to upscale buyers. No, the low-end buyers don't want them, but Buick doesn't want low-end buyers, do they? A Hyundai wagon probably will struggle. But a $35,000 Buick wagon with AWD and the corporate 260 HP DOHC 3.6L V6 would land right square in my sights. Go ahead and build it on the CTS platform (Cadillac has already done the leg work on a CTS wagon but has apparently decided to go with a 2-door coupe/convertible instead). Why should Cadillac get all the choicest segments and the best engineering and design?

I'm shopping for a new AWD wagon now, and will probably end up with an Audi A4. In fact, in snow country where I live, virtually every one of my neighbors has an Audi wagon, a Volvo Cross Country wagon, a Mercedes Benz 4Matic wagon or a BMW 328 xi wagon. Not SUVs, not Chevy or Pontiac or Ford or Japanese crossovers, not Cadillac STSs with AWD, not near-luxury sedans, but hot-rod wagons that cost $35-60,000. I'll double check the production figures on the European wagons. Call it a niche, but I'd also call it a market where Buick could run with the ball and not worry about being tripped by its own brothers. Just make sure it's as good as the Enclave.

My basic point is that if Buick wants to find a way forward that is unique to Buick, it has to be with something other than semi-luxurious 4-door sedans and SUV/crossovers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Plus, with gas prices pretty much nailed down around $3/gallon and only going up, the SUV's days are probably numbered. And I heard the GMC Arcadia weighs nearly 4500 pounds! That's a truck, and there's no way something that large, boxy and heavy will be good with gas, no matter what it's called (with the revised EPA estimates coming out next year, I'd be surprised to see a highway mileage number above 20 for these "smaller" and "more economical" crossovers).

</div></div>

A visit to the US-DOE site fueleconomy.gov is always interesting. Use the side-by-side comparisons for best efficacy. The 2008 Buick Enclave is rated 16 city/22 hwy mpg, with an overall average of 18 mpg. The Audi A4 Quattro is rated 19/27 mpg, with 21 mpg overall. If that doesn't sound like much difference, at the end of the year it amounts to $330 in added fuel costs, or about one extra car payment every year.

Matt, the Audi A4 is noted for a particularly weak and expensive to repair front end. I have a friend in PA (another snow belt commuter) who got badly burned by his 2003 A4 that way (thou$ands to fix!). He bailed and bought a Honda Pilot, much to his later $3/gal. regret. Two good alternatives are the Subaru Legacy AWD wagon (20/28 mpg) and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid AWD (27/25 mpg), both in the same price and size range as the Audi and both using even less gas per year by several hundred dollars.

(All mpg figures are using the new 2008 "real world" EPA estimates. By way of comparison my Prius is now rated 48/45 mpg, of which the city figure is on the money and the highway figure is a few mpg low compared to my personal averages.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest my3buicks

I could be very interested in a high end Buick AWD wagon versus a Buick SUV - it would have to be more than many of todays wagons though that are no more than an exended roof on a sedan. I would need a wagon that has a little meat to it's bones, I guess a cross between an suv and wagon. I sure would pay the $330 difference in fuel cost between driving an Enclave and an Audi A4 wagon - what the Enclave would do that the A4 couldn't isn't even compairable. I would just have to give up any one of my wasteful habits and have that $330 recuped. I know, i will turn my home A/C from 69 to 71, that should do it : )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I sure would pay the $330 difference in fuel cost between driving an Enclave and an Audi A4 wagon - what the Enclave would do that the A4 couldn't isn't even compairable.</div></div>

If you need the difference in capability. Few do, <span style="text-decoration: underline">at best</span> a quarter of SUV buyers, less than that by GM's own count and far less by most others. 30 years ago less than 4% of people "needed" an SUV. Now about 40% of people think they do.

If you're not part of that small minority who drives off road or tows heavy items regularly, all you're buying for your $330 is an extra 2,151 lbs of CO2, or 17,436 cubic feet--enough to fill an average home. (<span style="font-style: italic">That's what you get when you burn 110 gallons of gas!</span>) Raising your thermostat 2 degrees helps, but not that much. smile.gif

Of course there's also the $330 added to the National trade deficit, and the added part of the skim of oil costs taken indirectly by Al Quaeda, et al, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand Canada is the largest oil exporter to the U.S. - I hope you're not implying anything Dave wink.gif

The big problem I have is that we went and had 3 kids. It's pretty tough to downsize when a Pontiac Torrent doesn't do the trick for them. We had minivans (2 x Montana)...the boss got tired of them, but liked the ride height. Our weekly groceries fill more than a lot of today's car trunks. Even a lot of the cars wouldn't be that comfortable with three growing concerns in the back. So, a reasonably fuel efficient vehicle that comfortably seats 5 and has greater ride height than a car...oh look, Enclave may just be the answer...better fuel economy would be nice, but that's life.

The other thing to keep in mind is that all the numbers being put out are strictly related to if you get the fuel economy they state and you drive the mileage they predict (or is average). It makes a huge difference if you aren't driving a one hour commute each day. I've got something like 22,000 kms on my truck (2 years) - say 14,000 miles. Similarly, even though it is the wife's daily driver, the Rainier has lower mileage than is considered average.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> We had minivans (2 x Montana)...the boss got tired of them, but liked the ride height.</div></div>

So being "tired of minivans" but still wanting to sit up high is enough of a reason to burn all that extra gas?

The Dodge Caravan has almost exactly the same mileage rating as the Audi A4 wagon, and seats the same number of people as the Enclave--all of them in grown-up seats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Dave@Moon</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> We had minivans (2 x Montana)...the boss got tired of them, but liked the ride height.</div></div>

So being "tired of minivans" but still wanting to sit up high is enough of a reason to burn all that extra gas? </div></div>

With the real world driving we do (mostly city), the difference in fuel economy isn't drastically different with the Rainier as compared to the Montana. When we approach our new vehicle purchases, we do look at needs first, then wants, and weigh the balances. We did begin by looking at smaller SUVs with better fuel economy, but found the seating insufficient. Also, we do occasionally tow the boat - right around 2000 lbs., so we do need something that will pull it. Frankly, I'd rather tow with a full frame vehicle than a car-based unibody - that is personal preference, but far too many people are trying to tow too much with vehicles that are ill-equipped to do so.

Now, back to the Rainier...if my wife gains confidence from the better visibility she gets from sitting up a bit higher, that is an intangible safety consideration that I refuse to take lightly...if she is less likely to get into a collision as a result of having better visibility, I rank it higher than most of the "wants".

I try to do what I can environmentally speaking, but we have to be able to make it work. We had a '91 Nissan Sentra which got 45 mpg on the highway - great little car, but with child #3, it became too small with all the car seats. We had no choice to go bigger. I accepted a move to the downtown office in part because it is a mile from home - I walk to work...burn less fossil fuels than that, I dare. The entire argument about environmentalism among old car folks loses a lot of its lustre when we drive hobby cars that may only get 10-15 mpg...and then we drive them across country to big meets. Go figure. However, that in and of itself isn't enough to get me out of the hobby...even the prospect of declining values in my fleet due to rising fuel prices isn't yet enough to get me out of the hobby...since it is a hobby.

The reality is that we are in tough shape pollution-wise so long as people are willing to commute an hour to get to work. Moving closer to work, mass transit improvements, and other similar ideas are what need to happen.

That all being said, to get closer to back on track, the next question after Buick products generally, is when will Buick get a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The entire argument about environmentalism among old car folks loses a lot of its lustre when we drive hobby cars that may only get 10-15 mpg...and then we drive them across country to big meets. Go figure.</div></div>

That's actually the good news. Our hobby is pretty much immune to these pressures because (at worst) we drive our cars accross the country for meets <span style="font-weight: bold">once</span> (or <span style="font-style: italic">maybe</span> twice) a year. Most of us are limited to 2500 miles/yr either legally or by insurance, which environmentally speaking is nothing. smile.gif The guy next door with the 15 mpg overdressed pickup (what most non-crossover SUVs really are) driving the typical 15,000 miles/yr is doing vastly more damage to the planet than anyone else.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Now, back to the Rainier...if my wife gains confidence from the better visibility she gets from sitting up a bit higher, that is an intangible safety consideration that I refuse to take lightly...if she is less likely to get into a collision as a result of having better visibility, I rank it higher than most of the "wants".</div></div>

If you read the Insurance Institute saftey data, SUVs (especially truck based SUVs like the Ranier) are less safe then minivans and large cars. SUV accident rates and death rates are akin to mid-size cars at best, despite all that extra bulk.

The reason is that the "better visibility" comes at the cost of a high roll center. Combined with the huge disadvantage of a the 4WD's heavy/unsprung suspension's inertia, the resultant single vehicle roll-over accident rate defeats any other advantages the typical SUV enjoys. Single vehicle roll-over fatalities in fact account for almost 10% of total vehicle fatalities annually in the U.S., despite the fact that this accident type is virtually unknown outside of SUVs. (They account for a little over 1/3 of all SUV fatalities.)

A LeSabre or a Caravan is measurably safer to drive than any SUV.

================

As for advanced automotive design (hybrid drivetrains--a.k.a. "modern" drivetrains) and to a lesser extent alternative fuels, Buick's currently stated "traditional" market niche is about the least ammenable to advanced design imaginable. Sadly I'd be willing to bet Buick is the last GM division to get either a hybrid drivetrain or an alt-fuel car, and E85 vehicles excepted it may be the last "American" brand of any kind to get either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I'm in my '64 cruisin, I remember what Buicks were. The same feeling applies to me when I'm in my '50 or '54. My '63 Riv was one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Sorry, but modern Buicks do nothing for me. Go ahead, send me hate mail, but, Roadmasters, Invicta's, Wildcats, Riviera's, Electra's, etc.,.....those were great cars. I mean Lucerne? 'cmon, that's not a Buick. I recently bought an '03 Century for my aging Mother. Yes, a nice car, but not a Buick. Just a car. Now, a '58 Roadmaster Limited, that was a Buick! Grand Sport, not Grand National. Modern Buicks, like most all other cars, have no style. Am I showing my age here? They may be good cars, but they have no style. Not a Caddy guy, but they do have a lot more style. I'm still amazed that the company that produced these cars great cars made the Pontiac Aztec. Now mind you, I have two Vettes and a Silverado. Love 'em for what they are. But, the old Buicks were GREAT cars. Modern counterparts have ABS, EFI, etc, but they just are not the same. It's a shame. And by the way, GM needs to bring back a real Wildcat convertible. But then, it's just my opinion. Sorry if I offended any of you modern Buick guys!

Gary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Dave@Moon</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Now, back to the Rainier...if my wife gains confidence from the better visibility she gets from sitting up a bit higher, that is an intangible safety consideration that I refuse to take lightly...if she is less likely to get into a collision as a result of having better visibility, I rank it higher than most of the "wants".</div></div>

If you read the Insurance Institute saftey data, SUVs (especially truck based SUVs like the Ranier) are less safe then minivans and large cars. SUV accident rates and death rates are akin to mid-size cars at best, despite all that extra bulk.

The reason is that the "better visibility" comes at the cost of a high roll center. Combined with the huge disadvantage of a the 4WD's heavy/unsprung suspension's inertia, the resultant single vehicle roll-over accident rate defeats any other advantages the typical SUV enjoys. Single vehicle roll-over fatalities in fact account for almost 10% of total vehicle fatalities annually in the U.S., despite the fact that this accident type is virtually unknown outside of SUVs. (They account for a little over 1/3 of all SUV fatalities.)

A LeSabre or a Caravan is measurably safer to drive than any SUV. </div></div>

I never stated that the Rainier is safer than a minivan. The better visibility does come at a cost, but if the visibility is better, there are some things you can avoid more easily than if you sit lower to the ground. I have gone from driving the truck to the '62, which is quite low to the ground and you can't even see as many of the road irregularities as in the truck. And if high centre of gravity is the only factor, then why isn't my truck a death trap compared to an SUV? It's considerably higher off the ground and 4x4 to boot. I would suggest that it is the manner in which they are driven - medium duty trucks are probably more likely to be used as work trucks, hauling and towing and not the soccer mom minivan replacement.

I'll have to dig up the statistics, especially since, in doing my master's degree, I took more statistical classes than most folks see in a lifetime. Every time I look at quoted statistics, it raises more questions than they answer. For instance, does the IIHS look at city driving as well, or just highway? A rollover at highway speed would seem to be much more likely than at lower speed, not to mention a more serious incident. At what speeds do these rollovers occur? What were the drivers doing? I walk a mile to work these days and on a daily basis see red lights run and come close to being hit at least once a week. I'd say at least 90% of the drivers going through red lights are on a cell phone. As to our Rainier, the vast majority of the time spent driving is in the city on roads where the speed limit is 50 or 60 km/h (roughly 30-35 mph). Granted, more miles may be put on highway driving simply because you go further in the same amount of time than in the city. So, perhaps the issue is really with urban sprawl / long commutes, not to mention poor driving habits, and possibly insufficient driver training. My father was a farmer. The first vehicle I ever drove was a pickup truck and in the 20 years of driving, there has only been 1 or 2 years where I haven't had regular use of a truck. Perhaps that makes me a better SUV driver than someone who does there practical exam for a driver's test in a compact, then perhaps graduates to a minivan, and perhaps moves to an SUV without ever having previously driven a truck before.

So perhaps it is simply that SUV drivers, as an aggregate, are poorer drivers than those who drive other vehicles. Then again, I've seen many folks who think their sub-compact requires more room than my K2500.

A LeSabre may have a better accident record than a Rainier, but has less cargo space, and may be nominal for passenger space. Today's so-called full size cars are what I would have called a mid-sized car growing up (we had a Mercury Zephyr for instance). I think rear seat space of my baby Buick would compare favourably with many of todays "full-size" cars. As for a Caravan, one of the reasons we went away from minivans is that we had trouble on two consecutive Montanas with electric doors - manual doors are harder for the kids to open than a swing-out door like the Rainier or Rendezvous. We chose the Rainier because it is more able for towing, since we occasionally need to press it into service for that.

In conclusion, statistics are not infallible - they are an aggregate experience, which tends toward a lower common denominator. Humans are fallible, and those who consider a driver's license a "right" need to have their privilege revoked. Finally, any vehicle driven improperly is unsafe (at any speed? grin.gif ). If used properly, they can all be relatively safe. Defensive driving could save a lot more lives than design changes in my opinion. There are also times that the accelerator is your friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Finally, any vehicle driven improperly is unsafe (at any speed? grin.gif ). </div></div>

And thus the point of the argument. An SUV isn't designed for the same use as a car, thus it's use as one is (literally) "improper". They're just not optimized for the kind of handling, especially in emergency situations that <span style="text-decoration: underline">cannot</span> be anticipated <span style="text-decoration: underline">or</span> avoided, as a car. (The fact that virtually all of them are rated to haul <span style="text-decoration: underline">less</span> weight than a similarly sized car/wagon is proof. The manufacturers know that these vehicles are marginal handlers, and overloading them doesn't help! shocked.gif )

Deer darts in front of SUV....Mom tries to avoid....Mom winds up upside down in ditch. This is a rare occurance in cars. It happens comparitively frequently (about 25-50 times as much) in SUVs.

That should tell you something that rationalizing or marginalizing the data can't erase.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up driving in the country with many deer around. I've hit one with a pickup - I slowed down and went into the far lane hoping it would stay on the side of the road...it didn't. My point is that in deer country, particularly near sunrise and sunset, drivers <span style="font-weight: bold">should</span> be anticipating deer.

There is no such thing as an event that can't be anticipated or avoided. It is just that most of us will assess (not necessarily numerically) the risk and probability of an occurrence, and drive accordingly. Some don't. Deer aren't unavoidable. The above situation could have been avoided had I braked more aggressively rather than hoping it wouldn't try crossing.

Tractor operators don't care - they'll just hit the deer. The SUV rollover rate may decline if people would take that attitude - that it is better to hit the deer and have the vehicle fixed than to wind up upside down in the ditch. Again, it comes down to driving habits / skill / experience.

I'm not arguing the fact that an SUV will tip more easily than a car. I'm saying that, if driven appropriately, and recognizing the limits of the vehicle being driven, they are all relatively safe.

Things would be different if we could each have half a dozen or more vehicles and choose them appropriately to the type of driving we are going to do on a specific day (i.e. fuel efficient compact commuter for in the city, truck for hauling / towing, etc.). The reality is that most people can't do that (affordability and space), so compromises are made.

My choice of vehicles is just that - my choice - and I won't be choosing any of today's cars until they start making the interiors a bit wider again. My boys are distracting enough in the back seat, but if they have to cramp into each other, either there's a fight in the back seat (unsafe), or the driver loses it (also unsafe).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welll . . . if "is" can be defined, we should also put a more distinct definition on "SUV"! It seems that that particular term is used incorrectly in many situations as a type of vehicle with no consideration of whether it is "truck chassis based" or "car chassis based", or even a "cute ute" economy car variant.

A friend went through a driving school deal with his company truck--a Ford F-350 cab/chassis with an oil field service bed (including winch/hoist and other things he'll need on the jobsite with natural gas compressors). In other words, not something you'd think about being worth a dang on a handling course, but he said the instructor who rode with him wanted to hear "tire noise" as they drove the course. My friend said he was really impressed with what the truck would do, much more than he ever suspected. The whole exercise was to make the drivers aware that they could steer around obstacles on the roadway rather than plow over them (due to a perception that that's all they could do).

If you consider the lack of compliance in a HD truck chassis, the stiff sidewall tires, and huge sway bars (now, generally), that's all "race car" stuff of old. Not to forget about 4 wheel disc brakes! They might not be sports cars by any stretch, but they also have the makings of being able to do some things that you might not expect. What works against them is the (generally) long wheelbase, higher center of gravity, and weight. AND, in some cases, driver inexperience with driving the vehicle in any condition other than "normal". It might also be noted that driver education in the USA typically has lacked any real evasive maneuver training over the years.

So . . . if we're going to talk about a generic "SUV", that's fine, but there are now many variations of vehicles termed to be "SUV" now, so more distinct specificity is now necessary.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">So . . . if we're going to talk about a generic "SUV", that's fine, but there are now many variations of vehicles termed to be "SUV" now, so more distinct specificity is now necessary.

</div></div>

It's all just varying gradations of "BAD" in this department. A wagon at car height (think Dodge Magnum as it is the last "domestic" left in the category) will run rings aroud any vehicle with pretentions of off-road capability. In 1974 British Leyland took an excellent sports car (the MGB) and jacked the body up just under 2" in order to meet bumper height requirements as cheaply as possible. Afterwards almot any car on the road could be compared to it favorably. Pinto wagons were famously faster and better handlers.

You buy a tall vehicle, you buy it's limitations as well as it's benefits.

The rest is just pretending that "<span style="font-style: italic">it can't happen to me</span>".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...