The Changing Purpose SUVs

2017-audi-q7-inline4

Sport utility vehicles entered the automotive scene as 4×4 alternatives to station wagons, sedans, and minivans. They quickly became the go-anywhere, haul-anything preference for families across the United States. These were the vehicles that allowed drivers to skip the Holiday Inn and venture deep into the woods if they so desired.

They were large, heavy, and capable rigs that rode high and gave drivers a commanding view and comforting presence in the midst of the surrounding Civics and Corollas. The fact that early V8-powered SUVs sucked gas fast enough to watch the fuel gauge drop didn’t matter, because gasoline was cheap and the economy was strong.

Then the bottom fell out in 2007 and the game completely changed. Large SUVs became symbols of excess and waste. Filling their gas tanks required a second mortgage. Falling sales inspired a new breed of SUVs, one that could still haul up to 8 people, but compromised some off-road ability for more civilized fuel economy numbers.

It’s an evolution that continues into this day and is embodied by the new Audi Q7.

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Own a Land Yacht? Get a Dinghy Instead

1988 Honda Civic

Three cars sat in the driveway, and there was only one that I desperately wanted.

We were high in the Sierra Nevada mountains somewhere just south of Lake Tahoe. My aunt lives in the area, and in her driveway sat a Lexus RX 350, an Audi Q7, and a 1988 Honda Civic.

The two luxury utes looked like behemoths next to the diminutive Honda, but that’s the one I would’ve loved to take home.

Here’s why.

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Dream of These Cars for Your 2015 Road Trip

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Like many of you, I’ll embark on a road trip this summer. My plans will take me from the plains of Eastern Washington down to Bend, Oregon, then on to Tahoe City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and back up north to Washington with passes through Arizona, Utah, and Idaho.

It’ll be my wife and me for most of the trip, and we’ll have some children on various legs, so we’ll take the SUV and sacrifice gas mileage for much-needed storage space. As much as I’d love to have a vehicle that delivers comfort and 30+ miles per gallon on the highway, it won’t happen on this trip.

Instead I’ll dream of my ideal car for road tripping while remaining thankful for the vehicle I do have. It sure would be nice to have one of these, though.

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Why the Lamborghini Urus Doesn’t Make Sense

Lamborghini Urus

Don’t kid yourself. You’re not going to buy the new Lamborghini SUV. You’ll be excited about it and eat up all the blog posts announcing its imminent arrival, but you won’t step foot in a Lambo dealership unless you’re just there to ogle.

Trust me when I say that Lamborghini dealerships don’t exactly smile upon oglers (I had a bad experience).

Yes, the Lamborghini Urus, or whatever its production moniker becomes, will sell out, just not to folks like you and me. And not because of financial reasons alone.

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Audi S4 Goes for Joy Ride: Would It Bother You?

2013 Audi S4

Remember the joyride scene in the 1963 Ferrari California Spyder from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”?

In the movie, a valet takes the classic Ferrari for an afternoon spin but has the car back in the garage before anyone notices it’s gone. The scene was a lesson in how to properly take a car that isn’t yours for the ride of your life.

Doing so in real life is wildly irresponsible, dangerous and illegal. But it happens, probably more than we know. Leaving your car and keys with a valet, mechanic or anyone else who doesn’t own it is an open invitation to “borrow” the car until you return.

One of the safest places to leave your car is with the dealer from whom you made the purchase, but a Canadian couple have found out even that can be risky.

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The Best Cars to Drive Every Day

subaru-brz

Just driving.

That’s a phrase that should never be uttered, regardless of circumstances. I called a friend yesterday, asked him what he was doing and he said, “Just driving.”

Oh.

That got me thinking. This is a world filled with two types of people: those who love to drive and those who have to drive. If you’re behind the wheel, and the phone rings, I hope you’re the kind of person who doesn’t even notice because you’re so in tune with your car and your driving.

I hope you’re NOT the kind of person who is able to fumble for the phone, turn on Bluetooth, answer and say that you’re “just driving.”

If you’re the kind of person who loves to drive, and has the opportunity to drive to work every day, here are some of the most fun cars you can take on your daily commute.

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Audi: Road-Trip Chariot of the Giants

2008 Audi Q7

Four giant 18-year-old boys. One coach. About four dozen assorted pieces of luggage. All surrounding yours truly in one car for a 9-hour ride to a state tournament.

At this point I’ll stop and ask: Which vehicle would you choose for such a task?

No, a school bus wasn’t available, nor was a Suburban or other appropriately large vehicle that could comfortably transport a bunch of 6-foot-4 rowdy high schoolers.

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What to Drive If You Want to Look Rich

1980 Porsche 911

A Kia will never make you look rich. Nor will a Ford Focus.

I don’t care how shiny and sleek it looks on the showroom floor, once it’s out on dirty roads and covered in grime and leftover road salt, you’re going to look like any other guy or gal in a value econobox. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheap Ford or Kia, it’s even a bit admirable, but don’t think for a second that you’ll be perceived as having a lot of money.

For some reason an article at Men’s Magazine included the Kia Soul and the Focus on their list of cars that make you look rich. The list sinks in quality from there.

If you want to look rich, you simply need to be seen in the brands that are perceived as “for the rich.”

Keep reading to find out how to really do it.

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