By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
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Re: “Tough Driving” [May 26–June 1]. Marc Cooper is my new hero. It’s such a relief to know someone out there feels the same as I do about those useless contraptions called SUVs. How it ever became hip to drive around in something that looks like a delivery truck, I’ll never know.
A year ago, I met a guy who told me he designs BMWs and Land Rovers. I asked if he’d ever considered equipping them with turn-signal indicators. To his credit, he not only got the joke, but told me the company had told him to design these things so as to appeal to the arrogant and narcissistic among us! On a recent trip to San Diego on the 405, to pass the time, my son and I counted how many SUVs signaled when changing lanes. The answer? One in five. That just about sums up the SUV driver’s personality profile.
As a rule, I hate bumper stickers. (Have you ever noticed that it’s always the angry person with the “Mean People Suck” sticker who cuts you off?) Well, I finally saw one I like, obviously a message to those Westside women in their SUVs, yakking on those cell phones designed to make them feel important: “Hang Up and Drive.”
Many thanks to Marc Cooper for articulating the hatred I have always felt for SUVs (which I call “suck-you-vees”). It’s always cracked me up that the effete-yuppie types who drive these abominations wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near dirt roads or wilderness areas, though supposedly that’s what the things are designed for. Presumably, they’re the same nimrods who live in the hills, but freak out when mountain lions wander near their manicured back lawns.
I drive a Honda Civic and take great pride (and, admittedly, great risks) in cutting off SUVs every damn chance I get. Inspired by Mr. Cooper, I will continue to do so with a sense of mission.
I’ve just finished Marc Cooper’s “Tough Driving.” This SUV slayer is an American Hero, and the Impala SS he drives is a real man’s car. All I can say is “Marc Cooper for president!”
Congratulations to Marc Cooper for his indictment of shameless SUV drivers, but shame on him for buying into the exact same type of irresponsible, car-based identity politics that he attacks. His sarcastic pride in his own wasteful vehicle and his chain of militaristic, confrontational analogies smack of the same type of stupid machismo he pins on the pseudo-cowboys in their four-by-fours. And as for his dismissal of the aesthetics of an old soap-bar Volvo, point well taken, but I would hazard a guess that most of my peers who inherited these safe and responsible cars from their yuppie parents prefer them to the faceless, gleaming pebbles of today’s “modern” look.
While I understand the intent of his piece, some of the “facts” Marc Cooper chose to bolster his objective were simply wrong. First of all, ironically enough, many in the media did indeed lash out at large rear-drive sedans such as the Impala because of their size and — as Cooper calls it — “gas guzzling,” but that was in the context of 10 years ago. Today, the 26 miles per gallon full-size sedans such as his Impala achieved on the highway (and that achieved by full-size sedans such as those the Ford Motor Co. continues to build) is five to 10 miles per gallon more than the typical full-size SUVs being used today to run down to the store to pick up a loaf of bread. And as far as weight goes, despite its length, that Impala weighs 4,200 pounds, not the 4,700 being quoted by Mr. Cooper, making it a good 1,000 pounds less than a typical full-size SUV today. In fact, the weight of his Impala is more in line with the typical small SUV being sold today, and yet it has more room, gets better gas mileage, and is faster and better-handling. Seems to me, if everyone who drove big SUVs today was driving an early-’90s Impala or Buick Roadmaster Estate station wagon, we could cut the smog and gasoline that their owners waste by at least 30 percent. Who would have thought 10 years ago that owning a Buick Roadmaster might actually make you environmentally sensitive?
In any case, I have now joined Mr. Cooper in protecting my own safety by welding a spiked, reinforced, CHP-style push bumper to the front frame of my 1998 Z/28 Camaro (capable of 28 miles per gallon, by the way). To paraphrase a line from Mad Max, see you on the road, Ford Excursion owners.