Editor’s Scratchpad

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Why baby a
big, tough SUV?

The other day, some guy in an oversized SUV was behind me as we were leaving Ko Olina. As we got on H-1, he roared past me on the left, then swerved off the right side of the road to avoid the rumble strips intended to warn motorists to watch their speed. This person spent upwards of $30,000 for a sport utility vehicle and avoided going over the little white bumps in the road.

Can anyone explain this to me? Why would you buy a massive, high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle and avoid driving over half-inch-high bumps on the freeway?

I grew up with what people today call SUVs. My family had horses, skied every weekend in the winter, drove over deeply rutted dirt roads in the summer. We put our bird dogs in the back and went for hunting trips every fall. We carried loads of hay, lumber, ski equipment, trash for the dump. We did it all without four-wheel-drive, because if you know how to drive in snow, ice and mud, you don't really need it.

If you're driving an SUV to haul the kids around, or the groceries, or because you think it makes you look macho, but you never actually use it for what it was intended, please be honest and call it what it really is -- a station wagon.

--Nancy Christenson McNamee

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