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Thread: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    The media really is composed of know-nothings.

    People who think a semi-automatic rifle is a dangerous "assault weapon" ... because of how it looks. And: People who use "SUV" to describe vehicles that are just high-riding cars.

    An example of this just cropped up in the form of reporting about crash test scores. According to the Associated Press, "four small sport utility vehicles received top scores in crash tests" and this is "a sign of improvement compared with SUVs built earlier in the decade."

    Only they didn't - and it isn't.

    Not really, anyhow.

    Because the four vehicles in question - Ford's Escape, the Nissan Rogue, Mitsubishi's Outlander and the VW Tiguan - are not really SUVs. They may look like SUVs, but all of them are built on passenger car undercarriages. They are - functionally speaking - high-riding station wagons.

    None of them have body-on-frame construction or offer truck-based four-wheel-drive systems with 4WD Low gearing - the attributes that define an SUV.

    Or used to.

    Today it's hard to know what's what - because the term, "SUV" has been applied very sloppily to describe vehicles that really aren't as well as those that still are. None of the four vehicles mentioned in the AP report could go seriously off-roading. Their light-duty, car-type FWD and AWD (and in the case of the Nissan, RWD/AWD) drivetrains aren't set up for it. Their car-type frames would get hurt - quickly. None can tow - or carry - more than a fraction of what a real, truck-based SUV can tow or carry.

    The point being: It's ridiculous to tout the crash test performance of these cars-in-disguise as in any way relevant to the crash test performance of SUVs "built earlier in the decade."

    Because "earlier in the decade," SUVs were (mostly) still based on trucks, not cars - and comparing a truck-based SUV (for example, an '80s-era Ford Bronco II) with a current-year SUV look-alike such as the Ford Escape is completely meaningless.

    For the comparison to be worth something, we'd need to look at vehicles like the Nissan Xterra, Hummer H3 and Jeep Liberty.

    Those are small SUVs.

    It would, indeed, be interesting to take a look at the crash test performance of modern compact SUVs like those and see whether they do better than the small SUVs of the past. In all probability, they would - as vehicles of every type and class are safer than their predecessors, often considerably more so.

    But it's not informative to compare apples with oranges - which is precisely what the AP story (and other news reports) routinely do.

    An illustration of this point is made by the AP story itself. It discusses the not-so-great crash test scores of the Jeep Wranger (which is a small SUV) and contrasts its performance with that of the Jeep Patriot - which did much better.

    But which is also a car in drag.

    The average consumer could be led to believe the Wrangler is shoddily built and/or dangerous - while the Patriot is much better. But what's missing from the equation is that these are profoundly different types of vehicles built to different standards - and for different purposes. The Wranger is a 4x4 SUV engineered to excel at off-roading. The Patriot is a car built to look like it might excel at off-roading. The Wrangler may be somewhat compromised in terms of both on-road handling dynamics and crashworthiness - but the Patriot is compromised as an off-roader.

    People need to know the difference. And it's supposed to be the job of the media to explain it to them.

    Good luck with that one... .

    Vehicles like the Escape (and the Rogue/Outlander/Tiguan) ought to be identified as "crossovers." This is a recent neologism (just as "SUV" was circa the late 1980s) used by the industry to describe just what we have been discussing: car-based, wagon-like vehicles that ride higher than passenger cars but which are fundamentally still passenger cars.

    But many within the press continue to call them "SUVs" - even though they have as much in common with real SUVs as a semi-automatic hunting rifle has with a full-auto military assault rifle. Bayonet - or "4WD" badging notwithstanding!


  2. #2
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    So you concede that "real" SUVs have crummy crash test performance?

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    So you concede that "real" SUVs have crummy crash test performance?
    Well, we'd have to get specific. A full-size dreadnought like the Escalade is probably a lot safer for its occupants than, say, a Camry....

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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    This article has been posted on the main site with pictures:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...8&Itemid=10898

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    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    :P As I read this story, I'm amazed at how little people do know about their choices out there. And the media is no help what so ever. Once they seem to get into a "TAG", nothing can or seems to be able to change their mindset. As I watch and listen to our local news, everything from a JEEP to a small all wheel drive vehicle is considered to be an "SUV". And I like their "Pump Patrol" as they report the price of fuel. Did you know that when a report is being broadcast, that all vehicles are "Gas Powered"? They don't understand the difference between Diesel and Gas powered vehicles. Seem like the more money that is spent on education, the dumber they get. (The student, and or the teacher). :

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM
    :P As I read this story, I'm amazed at how little people do know about their choices out there. And the media is no help what so ever. Once they seem to get into a "TAG", nothing can or seems to be able to change their mindset. As I watch and listen to our local news, everything from a JEEP to a small all wheel drive vehicle is considered to be an "SUV". And I like their "Pump Patrol" as they report the price of fuel. Did you know that when a report is being broadcast, that all vehicles are "Gas Powered"? They don't understand the difference between Diesel and Gas powered vehicles. Seem like the more money that is spent on education, the dumber they get. (The student, and or the teacher). :
    This annoys me also.

    Even a little research will reveal that a car-based FWD "crossover" is no SUV.





  7. #7
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    Could be. But these talking heads would not know where to go, or start, to do any research. It's not like they have to find the facts before they report. Heaven forebid, that's to much like work. And I'm not getting paid for that.. :

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM
    Could be. But these talking heads would not know where to go, or start, to do any research. It's not like they have to find the facts before they report. Heaven forebid, that's to much like work. And I'm not getting paid for that.. :
    Yep!

    And the car industry is guilty, too. They have deliberately muddied the waters to make car-based crossovers look (and sound, in terms of names and advertising hype) very much as if they were sport utility vehicles. For example, several refer to their car-based AWD systems as "4WD." I realize that's technically accurate as all four wheels do "drive" - however, in popular use and historically speaking, "4WD" meant a truck-based system with a two-speed transfer case and 4WD low range gearing. AWD doesn't have that and isn't designed for serious off-road work, etc.

  9. #9
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    : And just think, the insurance company's just loved it. They now had a new product that was easily wrecked, could be totaled out, and they could charge like 'RIP' for.

  10. #10
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    I don't remember where I saw it, but a few years ago I saw some crash stats for large SUVs that weren't very favorable. I think that, in deaths per mile travelled, and injuries per miles travelled, they were one of the worst motor vehicle classifications.

  11. #11
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: "SUV" crash test scores that weren't

    Ford had a great piece of negative publicity that darn near put them in the slow lane. Remember the Firestone Tire blowouts that had Ford Explorer doing flips out on the roads? I believe most was caused by improperly inflated tires. Causing the side wall to over heat from flexing, and them creating a tire failure. Ford was quick to redesign the Explorer, their F-150's 4x4, they have a tippy problem to, I have one of those. It seemed that all of Fords '97 through 2005 4x4's had some serious stability problems. Of course Ford denied every thing. Kinda sounds like those clowns in the Capital Building, huh? ???

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