Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

SUV vs Minivans



  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    Get with the times bob. :P Those saftey figures you linked to were from 2002. With vehicle stability control on the newer SUV's... they will be much safer.

    Also, do they use the same testing methodology on minivans as they do on SUV's? If a Kia Rio gets a 5 star safety rating...does that mean it's as safe or safer than a minivan or SUV? I doubt it.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    You're correct in that stability control will improve safefty for BOTH minivans & SUVs.

    My point was that the general concept that "of course SUVs are safer" isn't accurate. The fact that a Kia minivan is safer than a Chevy Suburban even in 2002 shows that. At least I have some facts here. I just did a 20 second Google search.

    As far as your second part, the Ford Escape is in the same category as the Chevy Suburban and still the Escape gets 5 stars versus 4 for the Suburban, which also shows that a big vehicle isn't necessarily safer than smaller ones in this example.

    One problem I've found with these forums is the number of people who think their opinions and personal experiences are more accurate than research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or some other organization, so next time try to get some facts before posting so people don't have to read a dozen posts like yours before finding some useful information.

    And to provide more useful information, here is the link to NHTSA ( where you can just put in any car for any year and can compare rankings for yourself, rather then listen to people's personal opinions:
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Those tests are good but only relevant if you are to have an accident with a like vehicle. If a Suburban runs into the side of your 5 star minivan you are going to get hurt. Most sights will tell you the bigger the vehicle the safer you are, with exceptions of course.

    I am not drawing any conclusions. If you need to haul 6 people and gear, there are some good minivans. If you need to haul 6 or more people and tow your boat. You need a Suburban like vehicle. As good as the safety rating is on my Passat, I get nervous on the Southern CA highways. You get lost in that sea of F350 crewcab PU trucks with 6" lifts. Tires that tower over my drivers window. More F series PU trucks were sold in July than Camry, Accord & Corolla combined. I don't feel safe in most vehicles under those conditions.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    get some facts before posting so people don't have to read a dozen posts like yours before finding some useful information.

    What makes your facts more credible than the Insurance Institutes findings on actual accidents. The NHTSA only shows controlled crash testing and rollover. That leaves a lot more questions than answers for most of us. I will take the word of the people that investigate the accidents over some lab technician.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    The fact that a Kia minivan is safer than a Chevy Suburban even in 2002 shows that. At least I have some facts here. I just did a 20 second Google search.

    Maybe you should do a longer google search to get the real facts. The Kia minivan in 2002 was WORST of the large minivans. So far behind the Suburban it does not show up on the radar screen. Here are the REAL facts from the people that count the dead & injured bodies in the cars.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Good post. Now people can look at several webpages of facts to compare. Better than opinions. Not that any are more "real" than others.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    One thing about insurance statistics is that they're not as scientific or objective as NHTSA because it's with different drivers, circumstances, etc, but they're another good set of stats to use. For example if there are a lot of teens driving Civics the fact that there are a lot of teens driving makes the Civic look like a dangerous car if you just look at the insurance stats. But this is just an example. I'd rather not drive a car with a 2 star rating just because a lot of safe people drive it.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,365
    will likely crush the little prius in an accident..... :-(

    as much as I like small fuel efficient cars....they are relatively unsafe on the roadways of america...or elsewhere...

    if you drive em....please try to stay away from the large trucks and large cars...

    someone here said they could not commute...cause they lived in SF bay area....did this person know that there are relatively many public transportation options in that area ?

    drive what you like..but drive safely....!!
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    What makes your facts more credible than the Insurance Institutes findings on actual accidents. The NHTSA only shows controlled crash testing and rollover.

    Good grief, the stuff I've been reading here. Yikes.

    First the usual silliness about how "it's the driver". Hey guys, when the same driver chooses a MV or an SUV, the difference is the vehicle, not the driver.

    Then this gross misstatement about the NHTSA. They have controlled test stats, yes, but the fatality and injury data at the NHTSA is based on FARS data which is an "actual accidents" database. The IIHS data is very similar, but different criteria is used. Both are valid.

    The bottom line is that SUVs are safer for their passengers in collisions (because most collisions are with cars, whose crumple zones are stolen) and less safe in 1 vehicle accidents.
  • li_sailorli_sailor Posts: 1,081
    ...small fuel efficient cars....they are relatively unsafe on the roadways of america...

    First, this topic is about MVs and SUVs, not small cars. Second, life is full of compromises and many folks only need and/or can afford a small car and that makes it the right choice.

    ...please try to stay away from the large trucks and large cars...

    Right, they should stay home. Good suggestion :=)
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Again, any statistics using real people are not as scientific as the controlled crash dummy test. All I'm saying is that unless anyone here has dug deeper into the statistics to examine all of the variables, then it's harder to compare vehicles using insurance stats. It's easier to compare vehicles using controlled crash tests, and anyone's opinion here beyond that is just their opinion regardless of the words they use. I'd rather point people to that stats and let them read the facts, but then I'm in the minority on this forum. I'm sure I'll get some replies from people who are convinced one way or another, but that's okay. This is an open forum, but again, trust the facts and just laugh at the opinions you see here. And ignore those who say that these facts are better or worse than those facts, or this is the "real" information, or this is the "bottom line" This stuff is more complicated than these one-liners.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Actually, most of these posts sound like (maybe not, but that's what it sounds like to me) people trying to justify their buying an SUV. They're trying to use the "safety" issue as the reason they buy one, so they feel justified when driving it, and they'll only look at the statistics or facts to support their view. But I guess that's the point to this give SUV owners something to say when they're asked, "Why did you buy THAT" Minivan owners don't get those sort of questions. Or to help SUV owners when they ask themselves, "Why did I really buy this huge SUV?"
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    If a minivan runs into the side of your Suburban, you are going to get hurt TOO. Let face, minivan IS safer than suv. Have you finished reading the test results?
  • occaroccar Posts: 2
    Has anyone else had problems with the new Mercedes ML 350?
    On a pricey luxury suv, I have had white marks on the inside (plastic) door panels that are clearly due to bad workmanship in assembly (stress marks), bad materials or both.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    You need to get your facts straight Bob. I never implied that "SUV's are safer". I wrote that in the hands of someone with some common sense an SUV is one of the safest vehicles on the market. Your information about the Kia Sedona being safer than a Chevy Suburban is wrong also. It is my opinion that you may need to read my posts and your own posts/links a little more carefully to ascertain what is fact and what is opinion.

    FYI...I own a minivan. :P
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Nice try, it won't fly. If you read the NHTSA test results for the 2005 KIA Sedona with the great 5 star rating, there is a disclaimer. Those frontal test crash results are only valid if the vehicle it crashes into is in the same weight class + or - 250 lbs. The Sedona has a curb weight of 4802 lbs and gross weight of 5959 lbs. The Chevy Suburban 2500 is 6000 lbs at the curb with a GVW of 8600 lbs. No crash tests are done on the 2500 Suburbans so we have no real reference. If you think in a head-on collision that you will fare better in your 5 star Sedona, good luck. To further make my point the Suburban is a light weight compared to the Excursion with a curb weight of 7230 lbs. That is a mismatch of almost 2500 lbs. That is the makeup of road warriors you are competing against for your life.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    "....the difference is the vehicle, not the driver."

    Do you have a study showing drivers who own both a SUV and a Minivan...and shows that these drivers are more likely to become involved in an accident in their SUV than in their minivan? If not...then it's just another opinionated opinion. We're suppose to only deal in facts here...right bob? ;)

    I would say the majority of the difference is.. yes...with the driver. Again...look at how SUV's are advertised as opposed to minivans. What kind of individual does the SUV market go after? The bold ... adventurous types...ones who like a good challenge and meets life head on. Or, that you can become this type of person if you buy an SUV. The message is clear...these SUV's are tough, strong vehicles that can and should be driven aggressively. So, if there is an accident...lets do what everybody else in todays society does, lets be like lil sailor and put the blame somewhere else. Let's blame the vehicle and their manufacturers...not the individual.

    Then compare that to the minivan commercials...take it slow, safe cautious...relax...leave the driving to us. People are easily influenced by what they see on t.v and in magazine ads. They see these SUV go over mountains of rock and take corners as if they were sportscars. Oh, the manufacturer will throw in a disclaimer saying these were professional drivers and not to try this at home. But, by that time the prospective owner is already salivating like Pavlovs dog with check in hand.

    The SUV "stealing" of crumple zone position is ridiculous.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Try the MB M-Class Owners: Problems & Solutions discussion Occar.

    Everyone else, it's easy to discuss the merits of the vehicles without having to claim that someone's position is ridiculous.

    Steve, Host
  • tireguytireguy Posts: 200
    I started reading the first couple pages of this post, back when it was a rational discussion of the pros and cons of SUVs v. MVs. I've got a little time on my hands, deployed on the USS Kearsarge (sound familiar?), but not enough time to read all 969 posts. So I jump ahead a couple dozen pages. My how things have changed. It's gone from a useful comparison to no-holds-barred SUV bashing.
    All this talk about SUVs being unsafe is nonsense. How can anyone say that the safety of the mobile population is based on the gross weight of the vehicles on the highway, with drivers of small unibody minivans being the victims and those at the helm of large SUVs the villians? In my garage sits a VW Jetta (my third one), and the biggest 4x4 SUV the General makes. So where does that put me? Am I a safety conscious, tree-hugging philanthropist when I drive the VW and a reckless menace to society when I drive the Yukon XL? No, I'm the same driver, with 20/13 vision, no alcohol on my breath, my seatbelt on, and the situational awareness of a military pilot. I've had to pass an annual flight physical and prove my coordination skills through years of flight training. And I know the performance capabilities of my vehicles. If I run a red light in either vehicle at 55mph and T-bone you, we're both dead, whether you have a VW or a GMC branded in your shoulder is of no consequence. Fortunately I'm a safe and alert driver, and which ever vehicle I'm driving, I will stop. If you think I'm unsafe, based solely on the fact that I'm at the wheel of a 5,500 lb SUV, you're a moron.
    I spent a little time in college working in a tire shop (thus the name). During that four-year period I observed quite consistently that people who drive the more expensive, high-performance or high-utility vehicles are passionate about their rides, and take their operation and upkeep a bit more seriously. People who drive lesser throw-away vehicles, with the economy engine, standard wheel package, base trim level... look at their vehicles as a means to get around while exerting as little effort as possible beyond spinning the steering wheel and kicking the pedals. Minivan tires are cheap, but with the MVs' light duty steering components, they're more susceptible to having the alignment thrown off by a pothole. That coupled with front-wheel-drive means tires burn up quickly. Yet most minivan owners (generally not car guys) rarely seem to notice they've been driving on bare shoulders or God forbid, bare steel belts, for months. All the while SUV owners usually replace their tires before they even need to, though their tires cost twice as much. That's because they care about their vehicles and their mechanical soundness, having made a significantly larger investment. These are just generalizations, just like all the posts before. Whether backed up by subjective studies or personal experience, they're equally arguable, and there are always exceptions. Of course the type of vehicle you drive doesn't determine how responsible you are about preventive maintenance. But there are not as many owners of minivans who take such pride in their vehicles, as with SUVs. It's the result of owning a vehicle which is cool versus a vehicle which is not cool.
    That's my take on the safety of the drivers. But on the safety of the designs, when you're talking about a vehicle built to transport a substantial payload, rugged and overbuilt is synonymous with safety. You can fit seven people or 150 cubic feet of cargo in either a minivan, or a full-size SUV. The difference is the minivan is now being driven at the limits of its suspension, brakes and engine; whereas the SUV's driver information display is asking "where's the boat?" Now you're talking about a huge safety factor. The minivan now takes twice the distance to stop or get going, bottoms out over large bumps, and the tall body rolls like you disconnected the sway bars. Did the operator think to max out the tire pressure in order to get the maximum weight capacity? With little minivan tires, it's an essential step when the vehicle is loaded to capacity. Almost nobody does it.
    In the big SUV you hardly notice a difference. Just load it up, strap it down, and go.
    Which brings me to the whole justification argument. So many talking heads in the media and forums like this demand that SUV owners "justify" the purchase of that massive vehicle. Nobody justifies buying an SUV in my world. People who need one, buy one. People who don't, drive cars. People who drive minivans make excuses about how they didn't want or need an SUV, though nobody asked. Why in the world wouldn't someone want a vehicle which has power and capacity to excess, luxury and durability? Maybe if you were spending someone else's money you'd have some explaining to do. But how is the way I spend my hard-earned cash anyone else's business? I hear people who don't have the budget for a new Land Cruiser or Discovery trying to point out how frivolous a purchase it is for one who doesn't venture off the pavement. But you can't tell me a minivan is even comparable to a full-size SUV when it comes to doing the job it's built for--hauling people or stuff, or people and stuff, comfortably.
    Big SUVs burn a lot of gas, that's true. Well, if you're able to pay $40-50,000 for a vehicle, it's probably not going to kill you to pay $70 to fill the tank. And as soon as ethanol is available in my town I'll be there filling up with it. GM trucks with the 5.3L V8 are flex-fuel capable. Is your minivan?
    And then there's the image thing. Driving a minivan will not improve you image. An SUV will. People are attracted to the image of strength, agility, athleticism and affluence--even if that's not them. So what? That's their right as Americans. Do you have to be Mario Andretti to buy a Porsche? Granted I've seen the people driving H2s in SoCal with the clevis hooks dangling from the bumpers and the dual locking differentials sourced even though they don't even know what they are or what they do. I'd say they over bought, but that was probably intentional. How are they any different from the successful professionals driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis at the speed limit? Those vehicles get the same gas mileage, yet they don't get near the bad press. The vehicle doesn't make the man, but it does play a part. Just like your job, your home, your clothes, your relationships, your religion, etc. all make up who you are. Not the car itself, but the fact that you chose that car, happens to be one of the foremost clues people pick up on when trying to figure out who you are. And everyone knows how important first impressions are.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Where ever you are deployed I welcome you and thank you for your service. I wish you nothing but the best and a safe trip home to your family...

    I also liked what you had to say
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    I am glad you like what tireguy said. He did not say suv is safer than minivan as you had said.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Hey Chris, it was interesting (ok, a bit unnerving) reading your missile post yesterday and then reading the story on the news.

    My minivan is sort of comparable to a full-size SUV when it comes to doing the job it's built for--hauling people or stuff, or people and stuff, comfortably. Except I think it drives more like a car, which I prefer. I haul more stuff than people though and my hobby stuff tends more towards bulk than weight.

    Good point about having a rational discussion of the pros and cons of SUVs v. MVs, but we've since had some spill over from the I Don't Like SUVs discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Wow...real insight here!

    Quoted from above(The Evolution of a Discussion by tireguy):
    "Driving a minivan will not improve you image. An SUV will. People are attracted to the image of strength, agility, athleticism and affluence--even if that's not them. "

    If there are some scientific tests proving SUVs are safer than minivans, just send me the URL. Until then, keep giving us your opinions because they're pretty entertaining!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Big SUVs burn a lot of gas, that's true.

    And one of the reasons the U.S. has a large, powerful, well-equipped Navy with competent personnel is to protect the oil supply and to keep sea lanes open for commerce.

    Well, if you're able to pay $40-50,000 for a vehicle...

    Thank goodness we're all able to afford that navy and thank you for being willing to serve! :)

    tidester, host
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    If there are some scientific tests proving SUVs are safer than minivans, just send me the URL.

    The only way I see doing that is to drive your favorite minivan head-on into my favorite Suburban and see how the dummies fare. You want proof that an SUV is or is not safer than a minivan. Too many variables. using the NHTSA crash test results to draw that conclusion is about as unscientific as you can get. Those tests are a comparison of Like vehicles. And meant to be used in that sense. If you feel you want a minivan in the 4500 lb class you can use that set of tests as a good indicator of your chances in a crash. If you are trying to use them as a cross reference you are not reading the disclaimer on every test they have.

    Now if you want to compare a Lexus RX330 to a KIA Sedona they are closer in weight. I suppose the minivan may be safer.

    More scientific studies from the IIHS:

    The 2005 Volkswagen Jetta received the best score ever in a side-impact crash test performed by an insurance group.

    In the institute's side-impact crash test, a barrier strikes the car at the height of an occupant's head, which it said simulates the kind of crash that happens when an SUV or pickup hits a car from the side.

    The Toyota Camry with a side curtain airbag was the second best car model in the side-impact test, while the Honda Accord with the side air bag was third. The Mitsubishi Galant, also with a side airbag, also got a "good" rating overall in the side test. But the Camry without the side airbag received an overall "poor" rating from the institute's crash test.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I didn't see the URL...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Berekley Lab Friends of Science (pdf file)

    Berkeley Lab Science Beat (text version of above, sort of)

    LA Times

    Oops, that's three. What was the question again?

    Steve, Host
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    "Why did you buy THAT"

    Because I did not want the huge minivan. Why should I spend $5000 extra (the difference between comparably equipped Highlander vs. Sienna at the time of my purchase) to get a minivan that is 500lbs heavier than my SUV, and nearly 2 feet longer, getting in the way of parking and garaging. The SUV is perfectly-sized for my requirement.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Berekley Lab Friends of Science (pdf file)

    Thank you for bringing up that report again. Check out page 28 of that report, the RX300 poses less risk to drivers of other vehicles than any Minivan on page 12; the RX300 posese less risk to drivers in vehicle than any Minivan on page 12. In fact, with the two numbers combined, RX300 is the safest vehicle in that entire anti-SUV report. RX and its platform mate Toyota Highlander combined represents one of the most popular SUV platforms sold today. It goes to show the erring ways of some posters around here who would like to broad-stroke all SUV's as being evil. The term "SUV" happpens to cover a broad range of vehicles. Some are indeed dangerous and fuel guzzling; others are not only among the safest vehicles but also viable economic alternatives to minivans.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    It may sound counter-intuitive, but increasing fuel economy actually exacerbates foreign oil dependency. The reason why we import oil is not because we do no have enough oil in this country, but because at low oil price point few want to do oil exploration in this country and increase production. The lower priced producers overseas pick up the slack. If fleet fuel economy improve, oil price drop (inflation adjusted), the per centage of import will increase, not decrease because domestic producers will go out of business requiring more importation. That's precisely what happpend in the early 80's, as fleet fuel economy improved, numerous domestic oil companies went out business.

    Ironicly, just in keeping with the political tone of your post, as people switched from gas guzzling cars to Civics in the early 80's, domestic oil companies went out business, import per centage rose, and the US Navy indeed underwent the largest expansion in peace time, not to keep the gas guzzler running (as they were being laid up en mass), but to keep the oil at low price point available for the new fuel efficient vehicles.

    That being said, of course, there are many selfish reasons for saving fuel: it saves money, for example. And as we know, selfishness is indeed a good thing ;-)
Sign In or Register to comment.