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To not understand the obsession with SUVs/4x4s?

(967 Posts)
GinDaddy Tue 10-Sep-19 13:56:39

I'm genuinely curious to hear people's views below. Nearly every parent I know in my area has a 4x4 car of some sort. That's dozens of folk. The car parks at our local supermarket are covered in the things.

My AIBU is to ask, what is the obsession with these things? Why are they the "default" choice for parents now, considering so many folk can't park them properly, and our roads aren't set up for them?

I watched in amused horror yesterday as a lady with a Vauxhall Grandland X ( neither) tried to park head-first in a bay in our local supermarket. The width of the thing was the issue, but once "parked", the rear of the car was practically touching the front of the neighbouring vehicle.

It was just absurd. Why is this car any better than an Astra estate, or in the same price category, a Skoda Octavia estate, both of which are narrower and better on fuel, and the Skoda which has extraordinary amounts of luggage capacity and legroom?

I think the answer is simple, it's an image thing. People feel their life is more exciting with DCs if they're in something that looks like it could climb a mountain at the weekend.

Only problem is, my DW and I find public car parks absurd at the moment as I find more and more of these hideous things parked terribly at every juncture.

The beauty of living in a capitalist economy is the prerogative of choice, helped by dollops of PCP finance handed out by every car dealer, meaning anyone can get into a boxy car on stilts.

But for goodness sake can people learn how to drive and park these things if they're going to be bought by everyone? Driving down streets with parked cars on either side is a game of "my car is bigger than yours, so move over", which is just embarrassing.

NOTE: I have no issues with envy here; we have a 6-year old estate car from a well known Bavarian marque with a three letter acronym. I don't ride 2mm off people's bumpers, and it serves our family's needs well.

Didntwanttochangemyname Tue 10-Sep-19 14:01:05

I drive a big 4x4. I live in the country, I use it for towing, collecting firewood, doing the school run, shopping etc. I am perfectly capable of parking it, and I own it outright.

I'm not sure why it is a big deal for you, why do you think you care so much?

I know you claim not to be envious but your post reeks of it.

IWouldPreferNotTo Tue 10-Sep-19 14:01:25

I have an older SUV and I got it because

1. It's got 7 seats for when I need it which tends to be once or twice a month
2. While the boot space could be a bit bigger in an estate there is tons of space
3. The rear is huge and comfy for adults and we give adults lifts quite a lot
4. The front is huge and comfy

Finally where we live we can end up with snow for 4-6 weeks a year and the 4wd combined with snow tyres and chains works for us.

However, if I were to replace it I'd be looking at the new Skoda Scout which is a 4x4 Skoda Superb Estate.

GinDaddy Tue 10-Sep-19 14:02:38


That sounds like an appropriate use for it and fair play to you guys.

It's not a big deal to me, and I'm not envious (see my note at the bottom of my post, perfectly happy with my BMW estate, could afford all manner of things but choose not to. )

So how does my post "reek" of envy?

Dirtyjellycat Tue 10-Sep-19 14:03:41

There is actually only 2mm difference in the width of an Astra Estate and a Grandland X! Lots of SUVs are no bigger than a standard car of the same length, they are just higher up which gives them the appearance of being much bigger. Your irrational hatred of them is misleading you grin. They are not normally wider. I have a Kia sportage and I like it because I have back problems so it’s easier for me to get in and out of because its higher up. When I sit in the normal car now I feel like I’m sitting on the floor.

GinDaddy Tue 10-Sep-19 14:04:33

I get the feeling this is going to attract the exact people who aren't actually the issue here, in the sense that they're country dwellers who use 4x4s for as they are intended.

AleFailTrail Tue 10-Sep-19 14:05:11

At least three people I know have bought SUVs recently because their road is potholes to buggery, full of speed bumps, and sometimes speed bump and then pothole immediately. What it was costing to keep suspension and bearings fixed on their normal cars....felt it was better to get an off road vehicle to handle it

superram Tue 10-Sep-19 14:05:59

We haven’t got one but looking at a Nissan x-trail-why? It has 7 seats, no other reason. I’ll like being higher up but essentially my Honda Civic can’t fit everyone in.

Dirtyjellycat Tue 10-Sep-19 14:06:47

And btw, while I’m not sure that your original post reeks of envy, it does sound rather angry! Read it back, it clearly sounds a big deal to you.

GinDaddy Tue 10-Sep-19 14:07:21


If you're going to post facts, at least let them be factual:

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer (so the estate) is 1,809 mm in width

Vauxhall Grandland X is 1,856 mm

Maybe they're the same mirror to mirror, but the body dimensions are what was flummoxing the person in my example.

Didntwanttochangemyname Tue 10-Sep-19 14:07:50

@gindaddy yes, I read your disclaimer in your OP, but reading between the lines I get a strong message that you have a problem with all these SUV drivers because you feel that they think they are better than you.
They don't. They don't care. It's you that cares.

As a BMW driver I'm sure you get your (un)fair share of shit from other drivers. I think it would all just be so much easier if we just live and let live.

Gillian1980 Tue 10-Sep-19 14:08:03

I live in a city centre and drive a 4x4 and worry people must think I’m one of those “Chelsea Tractor” mums.

However, for work I go right out in the sticks and on farms etc. I’ve had to use the 4 wheel drive several times. My last car got written off due to me being a bit too ambitious with what it could manage 😣

I don’t park stupidly though!!

Wtfdoipick Tue 10-Sep-19 14:08:27

Rural here, up a big hill with a lot of snow and ice in the winter. We need the 4wd and the ground clearance to be able to guarantee being able to get anywhere in winter. However you wouldn't know that if we were shopping in the local town supermarket.

GinDaddy Tue 10-Sep-19 14:09:04


It's such a lame tactic from some posters on here, to attempt to dismiss an entire argument by claiming the OP is "too impassioned"...I see it so often it's silly now.

I'm not impassioned, or "over invested", I'm just curious.

Swellerellamoo Tue 10-Sep-19 14:09:36

I think you make a good point

I like the fuel efficiency and the look of the peaugeot 3008 though and that will most likely be my next car with PCP as it's reliable and cost effective for me and the DC

Dirtyjellycat Tue 10-Sep-19 14:10:01

This is the information I used. It was factual.

Drogosnextwife Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:08

I drive an suv. I need a car with 7 seats. It's not top of the range, it's what I need and I refuse to drive a people carrier.
Most estate cars are just a as long if not longer than an suv or 4x4. I don't see why the height of the car matters.

Frouby Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:17

I own a pick up. Use it for the school run, shopping, taking the dcs places. We also have horses, an allotment, a construction business, dcs likely to need kayaks taking places next year.

We need a pick up/4 x 4. Lots of people actually do need them. You can usually tell one that is used as it should be by the amount of mud, dog and horse hair and kit in the back.

But I also like it because I can see further as I am high up, it's easy to drive in the dark as the visibility is fab, I feel safe in it and it's probably safer than a smaller car if someone went into us.

Of course you should be able to park what you drive, but parking spaces are getting smaller and smaller and tighter and tighter. New out of town shopping centre near me is absolutely ridiculous. Tiny, narrow roads, tiny, short parking bays and DH struggles as much in his astra estate as I do in the truck. He refuses to even drive the truck there.

And I am a good driver and can get it in anywhere a normal sized car can get, but it might take a couple of manoeuvres to get it back out sometimes.

But no one has the moral high ground for driving a smaller car. My 4 x 4 is necessary for various reasons and you don't know if other people need them based on what the car is doing on a Wednesday morning. It might be up a mountain at the weekend. Lots of people do stuff that needs a bigger vehicle.

Boobiliboobiliboo Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:26

I live semi rurally, so having an option to go from 2wd to comes in handy.

I also have much better road visibility than I do in my other car, which is AWD and lowered.

Also can fit pretty much anything in it without breaking my back by bending down.

Swellerellamoo Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:35

Basically.... For me , quite a novice with Cars I'd prefer to buy something with lots of assurance ie PCP for me is safer, and safety features as well as roomy, fuel efficient and drives really well.
It would be more risky for me to try and buy a used BMW estate and basically I couldn't afford it anyway smile

GinDaddy Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:41

"yes, I read your disclaimer in your OP, but reading between the lines I get a strong message that you have a problem with all these SUV drivers because you feel that they think they are better than you."

Agh, this again?

I think many of them are shit drivers with ego problems who bought a car for looks, and can't drive it.

My job, my life and my car are all things I'm very happy with - I don't feel a tinge of envy.

If I so chose, I could rock up to a dealership today and walk out with one of these things on a nice PCP rate, it's not a big achievement.

I just wish folk would be honest instead of going "it snows 1-2 days a year.."

What were we doing 25 years ago when the only real 4x4s were Land Cruisers and Range Rovers/Discoverys etc, and people just drove sensibly in hatchbacks and saloons?

Yogurtcoveredricecake Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:51

I pondered this when I pulled into our toddler class last week. Most parents only have one child (it's just a class for PFB really!), we live in a town with great rail and bus links so why does everyone else have a massive SUV?!

I used to drive a lot of hire cars and absolutely hated 4x4s/SUV, so difficult to park.

Drogosnextwife Tue 10-Sep-19 14:11:59

Oh and mine isn't pcp.

AleFailTrail Tue 10-Sep-19 14:12:16

Also after we’ve just had to repair the entire rear suspension assembly, both front swinger arms and all 4 bearings on our 13 year old car thanks to the speed bumps round here my DP is keen on getting a XC range Volvo (probably the XC40). Not rich at all and itd be second ah d but it’s needed with the state of the roads by us

Boobiliboobiliboo Tue 10-Sep-19 14:12:36

Bought mine new in cash. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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