Do I Need an SUV 1

Do You NEED An SUV In The Midwest?

Now you never have to ask this question again. You're welcome.

By: Anthony Fongaro | January 2016

They’re everywhere. You can’t go more than two feet in suburbia without bumping into one. They’re hard to ignore and more popular than a boy band in the 90s. Yes, we are talking about SUVs/crossovers. High driving position and four-wheel-drive is appealing but brings us to a question that literally no one has ever asked me: “Do I need an SUV in the Midwest”?

Ford Edge

While it’s nice to have an SUV, thinking that it’s necessary to own an SUV just because white powder falls from the sky for a few months is ridiculous. Yes, driving in the snow can be a pain in the ass but driving with some of the current SUVs or crossover vehicles does no difference. Why? Because you are recommended to get one with all-wheel-drive. Basically, an SUV with front-wheel-drive only is just a tall car – which is what a crossover is anyways – and a rear-wheel-drive SUV will let you have a lot of fun in the snow.

But that’s not all! SUVs and crossovers are more expensive compared to their sedan or hatchback counterparts. Case in point: a Ford Escape crossover is based on the Focus sedan/hatchback platform. Option-for-option, the Escape owner will have paid at least $5,000 MORE! Mind you, that’s before you give the Escape the bigger engine and all-wheel-drive. Many regular cars can have all-wheel-drive, which defeats the purpose of buying an SUV simply because we occasionally get a flurry.

Then we go to what a vehicle eats. Quiz time! When you have a larger vehicle with a larger engine and a lot more weight, will it have:

  1. Better miles-per-gallon than a regular sedan or hatchback
  2. Worse miles-per-gallon than a sedan or hatchback, or
  3. The same miles per-gallon-as a sedan of hatchback

Not surprisingly, an SUV will have a much lower MPG than a sedan or hatchback. You can get a diesel but in the United States, diesel is usually more expensive than regular gasoline (unless it’s a Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche which you can’t buy at all, so you shouldn’t even look at them for diesel SUVs).

back seat

I can only see two reasons why you would need an SUV: towing and space. Instead of buying a pickup truck, you can get a vehicle that can tow items worth towing and haul all your groceries and kid’s various toys they probably never play with. There is another notion that SUVs are more practical than a regular car and – this is somewhat correct.

So at the end of the day, is it necessary to get a vehicle that could be large, not very fuel-efficient, and expensive? Maybe. But I would rather have a regular hatchback with winter tires with the possibility of all-wheel-drive.

TL;DR: Answer: Not really. Go buy something you’ll actually enjoy. 

Images courtesy of Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, and Volvo.

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