Sports utility vehicle/Talk

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Huge bias can be added, or removed, by small changes. In newspapers, for instance, bias is often very subtle, conveyed by the addition of a half-dozen words here and there, and the omission of some relevant fact that could be stated in one sentence--that sort of thing. What you did in the original article is essentially write an argument (admittedly, supported :-) ) against the use of sports utility vehicles. That's not what an encyclopedia is for. I think the article still has that problem, actually, but I'm not sure what do about it. --LMS


I agree with Belltower. The many negative comments of the SUV are all true. LMS may find the article bias because there was nothing good about somegood that the American fell in love with, but that is just the truth in my opinion. If anyone can add some good comments about the SUV, the article may be balanced a bit. But I think that would not be a easy task. A friend of mine was involved in a rollover accident when the SUV first came out couple years ago. His wife was badly hurt and he swore he would not drive a SUV again. By the way, he was a good driver. His car was rolled over just because he was trying to dodge another car to avoid an accident.

Since most folks buy an SUV for (let's face it) image reasons (lumped with a few rationalizations), it may be hard to not seem biased against them. I added a bit about their towing ability, which is another reason people buy SUVs. We might even add a bit about more recent Minivan designs and marketing, which have tried to present a less-stodgy image for those vehicles. --Belltower


I have no problems whatsoever with including a lot of information in the article that makes it sound as if SUVs are bad vehicles to own. I do have problems with articles that actually seem to draw conclusions to this effect, though. Look, the point of the article is not advocacy. We aren't in the business of trying to convince people that SUVs are bad--even if they are, and even if an article that includes many relevant facts about them will lead many to conclude that they are. But people should be left to draw that conclusion for themselves. If you disagree, why don't you start your own "advocacy wiki"? I actually wish someone would, so that those of us who want to write encyclopedia articles can get on with it. --LMS


I have to agree with LMS. In its present form, the article reads like a piece of advocacy rather than an encyclopedia entry. There's nothing wrong with the facts in the article (though there are lots of points missing about the utilarian origins of the vehicles and so on), but it needs restructuring. Robert Merkel


I strongly disagree that most people buy SUV's for reasons of image reasons. The article hints at what I think is the primary reason for the popularity of SUV's, but doesn't do so in the right section. Let me explain.  :-)


Someone might want to add a bit about them being capable of travelling in snow where other vehicles get stuck, helping transport emergency service workers, etc.

Except that I know personally numerous people who have gone the SUV route simply because they needed a capacious vehicle and couldn't stand the idea of driving a minivan. Heck, the aesthetics of the Toyota Previa -- still, to my eyes, the best-looking minivan -- were at least part of why I bought one. Cafe may have killed the large powerful sedan, admittedly. --Belltower

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards have essentially killed the traditional American large car, of which the traditional station wagon is one of the more notable examples. If you want a large station wagon of the traditional style, you can forget it, teh automakers are unwilling to offer them in the face of the CAFE penalties.

So, there's the SUV loophole. Automakers, restricted by regulation from offering what the consumer really wants, respond as best they can by offering and marketing the SUV to the public as the big safe family car alternative. It might be instructive, and I am not the right person to answer this question, to consider how the artificial car/truck distinction may regulate away the possibility of safer (lower center of gravity) SUVs -- would they then legally become cars, and subject to CAFE standards?

I don't deny, by the way, that there are image considerations at work. Many young parents, struggling with the emotional transition from carefree youth to the responsibilities of adulthood, may wish to avoid the image burden of the minivan. The SUV speaks to us of outdoor adventure, camping, offroading, not of hauling the kids to the shopping center.

As for me, I'm an automotive enthusiast. Notice that automotive enthusiasts almost universally disdain SUVs. I certainly do, for my own use at least. But I am hesitant to engage in unsupported emotional attacks on people who do have reasons for having an SUV, or who at least think that they have reasons. It's a free country, and I want people to be able to buy what they want to buy.

Indeed, if I may be permitted a bit of political commentary on this talk page, I would love to see the CAFE standards eliminated as being entirely unjustified, so that we could, ironically enough, see a resurgence of more fuel efficient and safe station wagons. That governmental regulation has some unforeseen and unintended and undesirable side-effects should come as no surprise, eh? --Jimbo Wales

I agree about CAFE. A person who buys a Rolls-Royce and drives it 500 miles a year pays a huge premium, whereas the guy who buys an Excursion and commutes 100 miles each way a day pays nothing. It produces distortions of the market which don't achieve its goals. Higher gas taxes would come closer, although such taxes have the disadvantage of not being an up-front cost and thus they don't really affect purchasing decisions. Perhaps combining such taxes with (government-provided) discounts for efficient and low emissions vehicles would produce a the right effect. --Belltower

OK, I've taken out some of the "structural bias" out of the article. Is my rewrite a little fairer? For the record, I am also a critic of the explosion of SUV's clogging our city streets, but the article in its previous form was a propaganda piece rather than an encyclopedia article IMHO. Robert Merkel