My son David comes to visit me in the country with his two sons in his Jeep Cherokee. Son Doug comes up with his one son in a minivan. The stuff they carry is beyond imagination.
They are up for a day or two but they land like the 101st Airborne on a long campaign. That's why they like big vehicles.
My neighbors have boats or horses. They want to tow 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg). That's why they have V-8 body-on-frame SUVs.
And who goes into drifting snow or a rainstorm that doesn't want 4-wheel drive? I've been in some holes on country roads, and if it wasn't for 4WD, I might still be there.
So stop the psychobabble about SUVs appealing to some inner reptilian need to kill and eat other drivers, and all the other blather we've heard about why SUVs are so popular. Consumers have good reasons for buying these vehicles.
What we must understand is this still is a new market, morphing all the time as new vehicles come out. Once there was only the British Land Rover, Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Chevy Suburban. Now there's a new choice every month.
The climb in gasoline prices will hurt sales of the thirstiest ones, but don't worry aboutCorp.'s Hummer H2. I just drove one for a couple hundred miles in upstate New York. I haven't seen such admiration since I drove the new Thunderbird two years ago.
From the 16-year-old girl to the retired railroad electrician, people loved it. Quick GM, get out the H3 and the H4 to cash in on that look. It's the first really new SUV design since the Lexus RX 300.
Will the popularity of SUVs also cause the car world to morph into an all-wheel-drive world, where every vehicle will have it?
It's happening at the high end now. Mercedes is making AWD available on every sedan and it cut prices to be competitive with's AWD offerings. Lexus wants it on all its cars, and it's already an integral part of the Audi brand.
If I were designing the next Cadillac Seville or CTS or any Buick orLX sedan or Lincoln LS, there would be an AWD option for sure.
It looks like the new Seville and LX will, but what about the rest? Come on guys, don't get caught napping.
Do we need AWD on all cars? No. It adds weight, complexity, fuel consumption and cost. But with the market moving the way it is, you can make a case for making it an option on just about everything.
SUVs aren't going away, but they will improve. Electronic stability control, available on a growing number of models, should help with the rollover problem.
Fuel-sipping hybrid versions of SUVs will start debuting later this year, answering the fuel economy issue. One day we might see efficient turbodiesels giving even the biggest SUVs decent mileage.
Everything can work out. In the meantime, will someone please stop that psychobabble?
Jerry Flint is a columnist for, and former senior editor of, Forbes magazine.