52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Strange affliction wash over me...

This car is really beginning to cheese me off. Not just this car in particular, but all cars of this ilk. I freely admit that I know very little about cars, and have very little interest in learning about them. I realise that to truly be a man, I should be able to converse about cars freely and eloquently over a pint in the pub.... but I can't. What's more, I don't want to.

This particular model is a BMW X5.

What is it with these cars? They are ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE. Have you ever stood next to one of these things? Its wheels are about 4 feet tall and nearly as wide. It is far, far larger than can strictly be necessary for any road car.

And that's all it is - it's a road car. It will never be driven off-road. I believe the term is SUV - Sports Utility Vehicle.

I'll go further. It is almost certainly driven by a well to-do middle-aged, middle class person. Probably with one or two kids. They rationalise it as a family car. It's possibly a substitute for a little sporty-number. It's a practical substitute for a midlife crisis car, a compromise deal both you and the wife can be happy with.

It's a bloody menace.

Here are some stats (and so I'm not picking on BMW, I'll add in another couple of SUVs as a point of comparison):

BMW X5: £35-58k, 1 star NCAP pedestrian test, 15mpg
Porsche Cayenne: £35-70k, no NCAP pedestrian test, 10-18mpg
Mercedes M Class: £35-55k, 1 star NCAP pedestrian test, 20mpg

The NCAP pedestrian test looks at accidents involving cars travelling at 4okph (25mph) and examines the impact on leg, upper leg, child head and adult head. 4 Stars is the best rating you can get, and means the car is designed to minimise the damage to a pedestrian on impact.

Let's compare this with another family car.... one also capable of taking 2 adults and 2 kids, although certainly smaller.

Ford Focus: £10-18k, 2 star NCAP pedestrian test, 37mpg

What does this tell us? That cars are categorically not designed with pedestrian safety in mind (although I would far rather be hit by a focus at 25mph than an X5 - where your best hope is that the damn thing is so big that it will drive over you without touching)

Pedestrian safety is only one of my points though. Just look at the fuel economy.... think of all the fossil fuels being consumed and the greenhouse gases produced. Not only does most of the fuel you put in your tank become greenhouse gas emissions, but the carbon in the fuel combines with oxygen in the air, almost tripling the weight of the fuel itself. So driving a Focus is bad enough, but think that the X5 driver on the same mileage is pumping out THREE TIMES AS MUCH.

I know they have been driving things like this in the USA for years - petrol is so much cheaper, that engine sizes seem to start at 8.0 litres and fuel economy is a non-consideration. It used to be different over here though. Petrol is taxed so highly that we have generally driven smaller and more fuel efficient cars. What the hell has happened?

We should be reducing emissions, not bloody well raising them. Tax on petrol should go up, not down, whatever the bloody protestors say

Come to that, the Kyoto agreement doesn't go nearly far enough - The agreement aims to reduce emissions from industrialised nations only by around 5%, whereas the consensus among many climate scientists is that in order to avoid the worst consequences of global warming, emissions cuts in the order of 60% across the board are needed.

And the USA won't even sign that, and they have 4% of the world's population producing 24% of the world's carbon emissions.

Still, who cares what might happen to the global climate when you get that great "I can see over everyone else" feeling when you drive the kids to nursery?

Grrr !
Posted by Hello


  • At 9:14 am, Blogger The Num Num said…

    Totally agree with you 100% old chap. Where do I sign?

  • At 11:06 am, Blogger LB said…

    every single last sodding one of these monstrous 4x4 vehicles should be crushed into a small cube of scrap metal immediately. They are all entirely unnecessary and ridiculously pretentious.

    I am not really into cars either but more for the entertainment value of Clarkson I have begun to watch "Top Gear". And the bottom line is that you only have to show a BMW X3 a picture of a muddy field for it to pack up and refuse to start. Their off-road 4x4 ability is similar to that of a skateboard with two wheels missing.

    Which brings us back to the question of just how absolutely pointless they actually are, other than (as your readers correctly identify) to take little Portia and Charlotte to the nursery school before going to the garden centre for a latte and a croissant.

    The Mercedes M-Class has just been voted the worst car to own in a customer satisfaction survey as well. Ha ha ha ha ha.

    However, my car drinks petrol like nobodys business, but I do like to get home quickly down the 17 miles of country lanes to my house, and therefore that element of it I really am not that bothered about. It's all very well for you to say that petrol tax should go up when your commute to work is about 4 miles, for those of us that it isnt, leave us alone.

    Sitting outside the private school in West Bridgford whilst jodphur-ed middle aged housewives pull out in front of me in their sodding Volvo XC90 - then we have an issue.

    Excellent work my friend.

  • At 1:24 pm, Blogger The Num Num said…

    Here's where you go: www.wastemonsters.org.ukSaw this on London Tonight.

  • At 4:54 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    In California, they give you a tax break if your car weighs MORE than 6 tonnes (without you in it - it doesn't help to be a fat American), but they have also started banning vehicles over that weight from using certain roads deamed too small to accommodate them.

    The whole thing runs along the same scientific lines as the undeniable phenomena that can be witnessed when you get a bunch of people in a room. Some start talking, so others talk a little louder so they can be heard, then some others talk louder still so they can be heard and on and on it goes until no one can hear what anyone is saying anymore. With the SUVs, one person buys a bigger car, so the next person needs a bigger car still in order to feel like they'll come off best in the event of a crash.

    The logical conclusion has is all driving heavily armoured and armed tanks by 2017.

    And I work in this industry, so I know these things.


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