SUVs, or Chelsea Tractors, are a ubiquitous, fuel guzzling lifestyle choice. They mainly say about you, "I have no life, no imagination, and no pride. But I do have money"

Not many deserts in New York.

The Origins of the SUV

The origin story of the SUV is hotly contested, with both the British and the Americans eager to take the blame. What is agreed though, is that after WW2, there were a shitload of military surplus 4WD Utility Vehicles, Jeeps and Landrovers mainly, available for roughly the price of a pint of beer - two bottles of lukewarm piss in the USA.

This image brought to your courtesy of lukewarm piss.

Farmers, being horny handed, tightfisted bastards, spotted a bargain and bought and bought. Logical and sensible, the vehicles were doing what they were designed for - all terrain workhorses. Soon they were covering rural areas thicker than shit on a sheep's arse.

The shit gets pretty deep in Wales

Then along came the 70s. Farmers didn't want to give up the practicality of a good off road vehicle, but had become accustomed to such luxuries as seats, or roofs, or suspension that actually did something in their cars. They also had pots of ready cash, thanks to farming subsidies and soil bank payments. They started looking for the same luxurious touches in their 4WD vehicles.

At first it was just a few upper class twits from the landed aristocracy

Landrover, being sensitive to its customers needs and, like all British firms frequently and steadily going bankrupt, introduced the Range Rover. 100mph on the road, 60mph off road, and with actual padding in the interior. It sold - despite being about a zillion dollars in todays money - well. Well enough that other companies scrambled onto the bandwagon in a hurry.

The farming and hunting community are not big enough to justify a production line running 24/7, so the age of the tackily stereoytyped ads we know and detest was born, to sell SUVs to people who think milk comes from the Korean corner store.

Why the Hell Do People Buy Them?

There are plenty of reasons not to buy an SUV - they look like bricks on wheels, corner roughtly as well as a derailed train, have a fuel consumption that makes a jumbo jet go "WTF dude, slow down!" and the opportunities for offroading in the city are slim.

So why do people buy them?

They need the pulling power.

Most SUVs can pull over 2500lbs, AKA 3 average Americans. Great for towing your boat to the lake! And with heavily uprated suspension, you never have to worry about your SUV leaning when Fat Jim from Accounts joins your carpool.

Fat Jim, Certified Accountant and MacDonalds reviewer.

Sounds valid enough, although any car above compact size can pull the same weight using less fuel.

They need the capacity.

Seating between 5 and 7 normal sized adults, and with a large cargo area, SUV's look like a no brainer here. Fit the family, the dog and the shopping in one vehicle? That is a great idea!

The typical daily shop.

Well, no. The cargo area looks bigger because it is taller. Station wagons actually have more carrying capacity than nearly all SUVs. And are a hell of a sight cheaper to buy, insure and run.

They feel it is safer.

The higher driving postion, the sheer mass of metal and the fact that SUVs look like fucking tanks anyway make them much much safer to do the school run in.

This is solid reasoning if you make a habit of running into other cars, or like to park by hitting a tree. For most drivers though, the key to avoiding accidents is being able to stop in time. And SUVs are not known for their ability to stop on a dime and give you a nickel back.

Not that Nickelback.

And of course, their high seating position gives them a nice, high center of gravity. So they have a tendancy to roll over if someone breathes too hard in their direction. Again, not hugely safe.

They drive a lot in snow.

SUVs are popularly supposed to be good in snow. About as good as any 4WD vehicle, and generally slightly worse than a front wheel drive with proper snow tires.

Oops! Note just who is towing who?

So yeah, if you are in Alaska they are useful if the engine block doesn't freeze solid. For the rest of the world, they mean that you are the only one who makes it into work in a snowstorm apart from your boss. Who creepily watches you all day and finds out just how much time you normally spend goofing off here and on Evony instead of working. Smooth move.

They want the offroading capability.

Did you know that most SUVs suck at offroading? They are not actually designed for it, despite the name. The manufacturers can justify this rather bizzare decision by pointing to statistics. 98% of SUV owners will never offroad in their life, apart from crashing on the highway verge. So why waste money building in a capability you will never use?

"Haha, oh sorry! You wanted to offroad your Hummer ...."

They are just plain stupid.

The number one reason is "I want one.", brought to you courtesy of the Madison Avenue asipration factory, and cunning product placement.

Pavlov moved into human experimentation early.

Ironic considering most SUVs are advertised with a strapline advising you to be an individual and your own man.