Death of the body-on-frame SUV?

sddoc07sddoc07 Member Posts: 19
I wanted to start this discussion b/c I'm curious what other people think.

I used to own a 2001 Chevy Tahoe LS 4WD. While I loved it, after having to spend 50+ on every tank of gas, I opted for my new ride...

2003 Honda Pilot AWD LX. I must say that I have never missed the extra cargo capacity on the Tahoe, and like 99.999% of all SUV owners, I towed with the Tahoe less times than I have fingers and toes (nothing heavier than the Pilot could handle I might add).

I for one just cannot see how anyone can possibly buy body-on-frame SUVs these days! There is just no comparison. While some people need great off-roading, the majority of SUVs can't deliver on this. Cargo capacity and passenger capacity is also now clearly better in crossovers (see Acadia/Enclave/Outlook). Add to this $2.80+ gas and the better mileage and drivabiltiy of crossovers like the Pilot...man, stick a fork in body-on-frames!
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Comments

  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    IMHO you are experiencing the difference between a Mid Sized SUV and a Full Size SUV more than whether or not there is a frame under it.
    ..
    My Trooper's mpg is important to me. I get 16.7 around town which is just as good as our minivan which like your Pilot has no frame. (Pilot is a shortened version of the Honda minivan, given how nice that minivan is, that is a good thing) On the highway our minivan gets 24 to 27 mpg because it is aerodynamically shaped and low to the ground. On the highway my Trooper with a frame gets 21 mpg at 65 mph and 19.5 at 70 mph. I bet your frame less Pilot is within a mpg or two of my Trooper with its frame.
    ..
    If there will be the death of body-on-frame it will not be from MPG but from government regulations that specify that the vehicle has to crumble like a ball of aluminum foil if it is in a collision.
    ..
    SUV is just a tall station wagon. I think cross over is just a name for mid height station wagon. The future will hold "green cross overs" which will be low to the ground station wagons that get good mpg.
    ..
    Even though I tow and go off road infrequently, I like to drive a vehicle that can get me through those situations with confidence.
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    I can't think of any other vehicle on the road that can transport my family of 6 and 2 of my kids friends, ( 8 people), plus tow my 6000 lb boat to the lake and haul all my gear other than a Chevy Suburban or a Ford Expedition EL. As long as there are people out their who need to tow and haul people body on frame will live on.
  • atfdmikeatfdmike Member Posts: 414
    I think Boxtrooper is right! The unibody construction you seem to enjoy cannot withstand the punishment of load and time like a body on frame! GM took its' full size vans back to this architecture for just that reason. I think each driver has to look at their individual usage to determine whether the rated capacities they expect will be delivered through the vehicle they wish to use. The new SUV's mentioned are examples of crossovers that deliver on passenger capacity but passenger and towing weight can take them out of the running. One guys opinion.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    You're right...but most Suburbans/Expeditions I see driving down the road aren't towing anything and have one or two people in them. I just wonder how many people buy the big ones out of need or just desire to drive something big?
  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "You're right...but most Suburbans/Expeditions I see driving down the road aren't towing anything and have one or two people in them. I just wonder how many people buy the big ones out of need or just desire to drive something big?"

    We should consider that these large vehicles are expensive. If people have a legitimate need for periodic towing, it's possible that they cannot afford an "everyday" car in addition to the large SUV, so they buy the SUV and not a smaller car. And then they drive that large car all the time.

    However, many people want the safety of a large heavy vehicle in case a collision occurs. They are safest in a crash with most vehicles, provided the driver keeps in mind that they are top heavy and large. But most of the new trucks come with some kind of stability control.

    If you have some money, you could buy both the large truck and a nice hybrid, but most people are not in that class.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 17,469
    i like rwd, and most good suv's have a real 4 wheel drive system. i like to take mine where i fear to tread occasionally.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    To be sure, there are some out there who buy these large SUV's "just for show".
    A couple of points to condsider though. As another poster pointed out most people can't really afford an extra vehicle for limited use. I have done the math, you literally can't buy, insure, drive, and maintain a 3rd vehicle and save money vs. the cost in gas on driving the Suburban around daily. (the simple math, I spend about $100 in gas per month on my Suburban, a small car that averaged 30 mpg would cut my fuel bill in half to $50. Good Luck finding a car for $50/ month)

    I haven't towed my boat anywhere since October, as boating on frozen lakes tends to be a little tough. But come summer, I take the boat out 2-3 times per month for weekend outings.

    I would happily drive a more fuel efficient vehicle if the basic laws of physics didn't dictate that I need a vehicle with the size and power of a Suburban to do the job I need it to do.
  • suv4betsysuv4betsy Member Posts: 38
    You're on the mark catam.. We use the space in the back of our aging Passport all the time, how else are you going to haul 300 rolls of TP from Costco? ;) Seriously it is the trip to Costco, or weekend ventures to the ocean, kids haul all the toys in the back. We also need 4WD for the occasional snow storm to get to/from work. I didn't find many alternatives to 4WD with trunk capacity other than form of SUV. It is the most practical/utilitarian vehicle for us. I can't ever think of owning a typical sedan again.

    I don't know if anyone has looked at the 2008's coming down the line but they are getting larger again, bigger engines, and the new 2008 EPA estimating rules are going to drop mileage even more. There's a lot of heavy marketing baraging us every day on TV to have the biggest most powerful vehicle on the planet. I'd even say the market is still in favor of more and more truck sales as much or greater than SUV market.
  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    A friend has replaced her minivan with a nearly new hybrid Civic or something like that. The family's other car is a Tahoe. She says the switch is nice for lower cost of fuel, but she has to plan more carefully to swap for the Tahoe in anticipation of picking up her kids friends along with her own kids or for anything that requires more room. Her kids have to plan for only the things they need in the seat with them, other stuff has to be placed in the trunk.
    ..
    Her change to a hybrid was cost effective because of unforeseen circumstances that landed the hybrid in her possession, she had to decide to keep the minivan or the hybrid not both.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Member Posts: 5,238
    I don't think the body on frame SUV will go away entirely, but its numbers will decrease.
    One other thing to consider is that the body on frame vehicle is cheaper to build than a unibody SUV.
    So, the motor companies bottom line is enhanced by these trucks.
    Also, as others have mentioned, they deal with heavier loads and stresses better than unibody vehicles do.
    However,they are inherently less safe than unibody vehicles.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaMember Posts: 1,173
    yeah, but Toyota is getting ready to unveil it's Hybrid Minivan. that alone will flood the market with people who "gotta have it" and don't need it.

    Odie
    Odie's Carspace
  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    Odie, I like that name!
    Toyota has made an investment in Isuzu for diesel engine technology. I think an Isuzu diesel/hybrid minivan with an inline diesel designed to be easy to work on from the accessible side that gets 40+ MPG would suit a lot of people. Diesel has produces less "carbon footprint" than gasoline and gasoline less than ethanol fuels.
    ..
    I would go for the diesel even if not a hybrid, because simple is very good for reliability. The hybrid would give stop and go drivers excellent response and the diesel would be awesome over the open road.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    For those folks who use the towing capability a few times a month in the summer, then it does make sense to own something that can handle your towing needs. But I think it's unlikely that many of the soccor moms/dads driving Expeditions, etc in subarbia or on their morning commute do much if any towing.

    I think most folks (and I don't think folks on these forums are "most folks") buy the big SUVs strictly for image and style. No problem...it's their money. But since the huge body on frame SUVs are bought mostly for image/style, just as style's change, so will the number of folks buying this sort of vehicle if they really have no need...and the reduced numbers indicate this. But you'll always have a core group of folks (those posting here) that will always have a true need.
  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    My sister says she and her husband drive big SUVs for two reasons:
    ..
    1.) they have been in accidents where they were stopped and some other driver missed a turn or in some other way smashed their minivan and car at different incidents. The SUV on frame especially the largest of them, survive better when being crashed into, so they drive big SUVs for safety.
    ..
    2.) The second reason is that she is self employed and can get a huge discount / rebate from the federal government for buying a vehicle in excess of 6000 lb. GVW. So the big SUV costs her much less than a car or even a hybrid to drive. The federal discount is meant for plumbers and the like, but all that is needed to qualify is the 6000 lb.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    but all that is needed to qualify is the 6000 lb.

    No, that's not all. You must also use the vehicle for business - plumbing or otherwise.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    SUV on frame especially the largest of them, survive better when being crashed into,

    If you're sitting in an big SUV or a small sedan and you're car is hit in the side by a big SUV, the small sedan being lighter may move upon impact and absorb some of the shock, where the heavy SUV will just sit there and take the impact.

    Then you have to look at the door design to see which one absorbs the impact better. I don't know if you want a lot of heavy steel pushed into the passenger cabin.

    Bottom line is that weight is only one factor and not necessarily an advantage in every type of crash situation.

    What was the outcome of your sister's two previous accidents? Any serious injuries? I would think that folks in accidents tend to overcompensate, sort of like someone who has a friend who died in a plane wreck, so now they'll will never fly. Or they'll never let their kids play football because they heard about a kid dying from a freak football injury. Or they'll never eat food X because they heard on the radio that food X causes cancer in rats.

    If we take safety to the extreme, everyone would be living in their basements eating organic rice every day and never leaving their house. To me, everyone driving giant SUV just to "be safe" is just as extreme.
  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    I think the safer feeling in the big SUV comes from the frame for strength and the height, so the sedan will go under or crush its hood to absorb the energy. Just this afternoon I saw the aftermath of a mid to smallish Japanese brand car rear ending a Yukon. I looked like the Yukon might have scratches on its plastic bumper cover while the car needs a whole new front end, and is definitely not drivable.
    ..
    I think there are people out there in little cars that want to do away with big SUVs for fear of being run over.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Member Posts: 1,106
    I think there are people out there in little cars that want to do away with big SUVs for fear of being run over.

    I don't worry about them running me over. But I do care about not being able to see around them. :mad:
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    Sometimes, the worse-looking damage to the car equals less damage to the occupants.
  • nbxnbx Member Posts: 28
    My problem with BOF SUVs out of Ford these days is excessive weights that have crept into Explorer and Expedition models. When you reach say about 5,000-5,200 lbs curb weight in a BOF 4wd SUV, moving the thing around becomes a chore. 5,800 to 6,100 lb curb weights for 2007 Expedition and EL in 4wd are major turn-offs for me even though I have been a full-sized SUV driver for 27 years. Even though the newer 4.6 and 5.4 L powered rigs are actually somewhat nimble, why not engineer out 500+ lbs per model and still have a BOF vehcile that does the hard working jobs.

    Back in about 1995, a Ford dealer manager pointed to a Ford Bronco and said that it was the best new vehcile value on the lot. An over statement, but you still see Broncos hard at work in forests and firehalls and police special units and in private use by hunters, boaters, outdoorsmen. The rugged drivetrain, BOF, H/D engine and tranny, etc.,allow for many years and hundreds of thousands of miles of use with repair, rehab and replacement. This is especially true if the model in question had lockout to allow 2wd high when 4wd was not in use. So there is a demand for such a BOF at least in the short wheelbasees or else these units would no longer be in such active service.

    No argument at all with your unibody and points about the excellent Pilot. Very popular vehicle with high resale value. Well done Honda. That's just that market.

    But as long as there is adequate fuel at suitable prices, there will be a demand for heavy boat and trailer SUV towing, large family and cargo moving, and tough SUV jobs to be done. The BOF SUV simply is nowhere near dead.

    ..the auto companies study and refine these various markets constantly..when the sales fall the companies respond..
  • matador33matador33 Member Posts: 1
    Just commenting on the idea of driving a second car for the daily commute and then having an Expedition (or other) for when it's needed. I tried this for about two years and gave up. Yes, the cost of insurance alone on the second car is more than the extra gas of driving a large SUV every day but the bigger issue for me is that I had to plan my days around what vehicle I had. Finally I just admitted defeat. With two dogs and two kids and bikes and skis and all the rest I'm impressed and jealous of anyone in a similar situation who is efficient enough to survive with a small SUV / sedan.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    Since you probably put the skis & bikes on the roof and the dogs behind the 2nd row, you could get something smaller like a Subaru Forester and fit what you're talking about.
  • sddoc07sddoc07 Member Posts: 19
    I had no idea that so many people would contribute to this topic - thank you for your thoughts!

    Bobw3 - I totally empathize with your points on safety of BOF SUVs. My dad, a Suburban disciple, has driven one since 1988 and has had a number of serious crashes (mostly not his fault =)) that he has walked away from with not so much as a headache. In contrast, the cars that run into Suburbans look devastated. That being said, he doesn't drive the thing like a racecar and when people do, they tend to flip.

    I have a question for everyone - why is GM so ancient with its refusal for rear IRS and thus non-rear folding seats? Is there an advantage to their solid rear axles?
  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    solid rear axles have been the most efficient drive, independent axles take more gear changes and each change is a loss.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    My dad, a Suburban disciple, has driven one since 1988 and has had a number of serious crashes (mostly not his fault =)) that he has walked away from with not so much as a headache. In contrast, the cars that run into Suburbans look devastated.

    No offense, but I wouldn't want to be driving anywhere near your dad on the road, especially after the comment, "mostly not his fault" I wonder how many accidents he could have avoided if he wasn't driving such a big vehicle?
  • dificadifica Member Posts: 9
    Well, there has obviously been a lot of new unibody crossover SUV's coming lately, and obviously those are the choice who want to use an SUV for just commuting and running errands.

    But for those people who really use BOF SUV's off-road and towing abilities, it's just basically a crew cab pickup with a bit shorter bed and a bed cover as standard, and if they weren't available, they'd be using those, but SUV's are simply more user friendly with their one pull opening rear hatches and various other small things, such as the slightly smaller size (crew cabs are hugely long) and the more luxurious interiors of many SUV's compared to pickups.

    If i were to buy a towing vehicle now, i'd go for a regular cab pickup (live alone, no need for four doors), but as a combined family and recreational towing and off-road vehicle (i doubt too many SUV's are used in only work conditions, companies apparently tend to use pickups), there aren't many options.

    So, the BOF SUV isn't going anywhere in a long time.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 17,469
    rwd. jeep grand cherokees are unibody plus rwd. not sure how many others.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT
  • candyinnccandyinnc Member Posts: 2
    I am the exact opposite....I did away with the small car for the SUV because I was run over. My Subaru Legacy was totalled last June because a Dodge 2500 truck ran a red light and nearly T-boned me (hit just in front of the passenger door). I felt like I was on the end of a whip. I still have effects from that wreck. No question about what to buy to replace the Subaru. I'm in an Expedition now.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 17,469
    off road capability and towing capacity.
    for a while bof rwd suv's were better than the alternatives, for many people.
    the circumstances have changed.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    SUVs and trucks? BOF ones?

    Isuzu Buying Alabama Land for Plant (Auto Observer)
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Interesting. I haven't heard anything from the Isuzu camps on new trucks. We shall see!

    -mike
  • boxtrooperboxtrooper Member Posts: 843
    Thank you for that post, I would very much like a diesel Trooper with the increased mpg.
  • sagalibasagaliba Member Posts: 31
    BOF SUVs are not less saf than unibody. They tend to be heavier though.
  • bammbamm65bammbamm65 Member Posts: 2
    i think you are misrepresenting a given fact while unibody suv's have more crumple zones this only helps the other veh inwhich you are involved with. as the crumple zones absorbe more energy. however framed suv's survive much better than the rest and i think that is something alot of people are looking at when it comes to safety.
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Well yes the framed vehicles themselves survive better, however I'm pretty sure that the impact is transfered to the occupants more in framed vehicles than non-framed as a general rule of thumb. With large trucks however there are still crumple zones and thus still safe.

    Interesting thing happened over the weekend at a road race my team was involved in. Our car weighs 3100lbs and a competitor driving a 1700lb car tried to knock us off the road course in a turn, unfortunately for him he bounced off our car and spun off the track, we continued on w/o issue. So weight does play a factor.

    I also don't see the frame on SUV going away, they are quite useful in towing and hauling applications.

    -mike
  • jim314jim314 Member Posts: 491
    A BOF vehicle is more rigid than a unibody vehicle. In the parlance of the "crash research" community, a BOF vehicle is stiffer. A unibody vehicle has a deeper and more controlled crumple zone and gives more in a crash. If the intergity of the passenger compartment is not compromised, a unibody vehicle protects its occupants better than a BOF because the unibody vehicle spreads out the crash forces in time and reduces the peak crash accelerations experienced by the occupants.

    But here's what is not sometimes understood: the less stiff vehicle protects both its own occupants and the occupants of any vehicle it crashes into.

    In a head-on crash between a BOF and a unibody, the crumple zone in the unibody reduces the peak crash forces experienced by the occupants of both vehicles. This is the case because in a two-vehicle crash the vehicles exert equal but opposite forces on each other. This is one of Newton's laws relating force and motion.

    The forces are always equal in magnitude, but if one of the vehicles is more massive than the other, the effect of the forces on the vehicles will be different. Remember that F = m a, so a = F/m. That is, the crash acceleration of the lighter vehicle will be greater than that of the heavier vehicle because the F is the same for both vehicles, but m is different, and this is in the denominator.

    The injury to the occupants of a vehicle is strongly related to the peak crash acceleration that the vehicle experiences.

    Consider a head-on crash between two Suburbans, identical except that one is red and one blue. Each is travelling at 30 mph relative to the ground. High and identical peak crash forces are transmitted to the occupants of the two vehicles

    Now consider the same crash except that a serious but lightweight engineered crush zone 4 ft in depth has been attached to the front of the red Suburban. That is, the two Sururbans are still the same mass. The result will be lower peak crash accelerations to both vehicles.

    The crumple zone strapped to the red Suburban has protected equal benefit to the occupants of the blue one.

    If both vehicles had had the same 4-ft crumple zone, then the peak crash accelerations would be even less because there would be a total of 8-ft of crumple zone. If each vehicle had had the same design 2-ft crumple zone it would be the same as either one having a 4-ft crumple zone.
  • sagalibasagaliba Member Posts: 31
    BOF and crumple zone are not mutually exclusive. Framed vehicles can have crumple zone built in them as well. In fact, the concept of the crumple zone is often combined with providing a more rigid structure encompassing the passenger space. Mercedes has been using crumple zone technology since the late '50s.
  • jim314jim314 Member Posts: 491
    Within the limits of what people can afford, every attempt should be made, and presumably is made by the manufacturers, to make the passenger compartment as rigid as possible. You don't want the passenger compartment to deform, nor do you want anthing to "intrude" into the passenger compartment. Clearly intrusions are potentially extremely injurious. It seems to me that both BOF and unibody designs could have equally rigid and strong passenger compartments.

    But it also seems to me that a unibody would be less stiff than a BOF design outside the passenger compartment and so would protect from the other source of crash injury to vehicle occupants--the high peak g-forces of the passenger compartment due to the sudden change in velocity (the "delta-V") that occurs in a collision.

    I personally am attracted to the idea of a body-on-frame design because I drive conservatively and I "don't think" I'll be in a crash. I am sure that I must underestimate my risk. I value strength and durability in a vehicle. At my age, early 60s, I enjoy imagining that the car I'm driving (2004 base V70) will be the last car I'll buy.

    My ideal vehicle would be a BOF "minivanoid" with relatively high seating position (comfortable leg angle), 3000-lb curb weight, powered by a small gas or diesel engine (120 hp max) and a 6-spd manual. It would be rated to tow up to 2000 lb. It would have a variable height suspension to get best fuel economy on pavement, but be able to go on rough roads when necessary.

    But when I awaken from my dreaming I find that in the real world a unibody design will best protect me from crash injury at a price I can afford.
  • sagalibasagaliba Member Posts: 31
    >> But it also seems to me that a unibody would be less stiff than a BOF design outside the passenger compartment

    Less stiff does not necessarily translate into better crumple zones. On BOF vehicles, crumple zones are strategically placed in front and rear portion of the frame (often appear as tiny waves), so that when enough force is applied (i.e., when vehicle is hit hard), the frame will bend at certain points, and in certain directions. In other words, the way it "crumples" is controlled, and not by relying on the random way the metal may fold.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Member Posts: 877
    I'm hearing a lot of misunderstanding on this forum. Maybe some actual crash pictures of a BOF will help, compared to a unibody crash.

    First, note how in these pictures BOF Example -- click on this..., the frame is low, and is still extending out, and has actually penetrated the barrier, representing another car. This is because the frame, with engine/suspension mounts is very stiff and tough, and will skewer the occupants of other, lower vehicles if the BOF hits on a door. Very dangerous. What Ford has done on the above late-model F-150 is to secure the cab to the very tough frame to keep it from collapsing, although the protruding frame doesn't make a great "crumple" zone at all.

    Now compare that to Unit body crash click here... where the front end is much flatter, with no protruding tough frame to stick out and through the barrier.

    Conclusions: The frames on pickup trucks and SUVs protrude and can enter a unibody structure. The frames are very stiff and don't collapse much when hitting a unibody vehicle.
  • whiskey62whiskey62 Member Posts: 9
    MY wife and i were in a 6 car pile up about 2 years ago, our doge was in the front and only took the rear bumper out the chevy taho be hind us and ours were the only ones to drive away and the only ones not having to go to hospital, the other 4 were totaled, we heat with wood and haul it in the durango we camp, and haul frinds around in car pool would not change even if some one gave me something els for free!!
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    I'm glad you made it through that ordeal!

    What will you do if we ever get to the point where no one is making them anymore and your Durango is on its last legs?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    Your safety probably had more to do with you being in the front of the pileup than anything else.
  • whiskey62whiskey62 Member Posts: 9
    Thats not a prob. in this area, i am a shade tree mec. but have rebuilt motors trans. and body work! i have about 30 junk yards that are in driving distance and i take good care of what i have. I do plan on gettin some donors so i have parts . the thing about me being in the front i had to keep my doge out of the back of a jag.
  • motorhead15motorhead15 Member Posts: 11
    The most important safety feature on any vehicle is the driver. The most important thing in a two car accident is the weight of the vehicle. Heavy = Good! After that comes safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes etc. Please do not be fooled into thinking a five star front crash rating for a Honda Civic is the same as a five star front crash rating for a Ford Expedition. The Expedition weighs more than twice as much as the Civic and in a head on collision between the two, the person in the Civic is approximately 10 times more likely to die than the person in the Expedition. Oh yes, I know... Some bright person with an econo-box will be quick to jump in and say that an SUV is more likely to roll over than a Honda Civic. Yes this is true. According to government tests, the Civic has a 10% chance of a rollover and an Expedition has a 19%-21% chance of rollover depending on whether it is a 2wd or a 4wd. When was the last time you saw a rollover accident? I live in a huge metroplex and the last time I saw a rollover accident was about two years ago. The average accident that I see everyday is someone running into the back of someone, someone running a light etc. I realize my vehicle (Expedition in case you haven't figured that out yet) has a higher center of gravity but guess what? I drive with that in mind. It's not a sports car and I don't drive it like one. They even have decals on the driver's sun visor warning you that the vehicle has a higher center of gravity. Duh! When shopping for a vehicle, I want the heaviest full frame vehicle I can buy with the most safety features I can get. I weighed my Expedition (2008, 2wd, standard length) when I first got it. The vehicle with a full tank of gas in it, me and no gear scaled at 6,000 pounds. Now I could have got a Ford F-350 pickup that weighs between 7500 and 8500 pounds depending on how you get it equipped but I don't even think you can get side air-bags on one of those. The Expedition has front air-bags, side air-bags, canopy airbags and a host of other safety features because Ford considers it a family vehicle. Do I really need an eight passenger vehicle? Heck no! I'm single with no kids unless you count the dog. She enjoys having her own seat and her own air-conditioner. Sometimes I have me, the dog and the girlfriend in there and let me tell you there is plenty of room. Now on to crumple zones. It is easier to control the rate of crumple zone deformation in a unibody vehicle than a BOF. Now I appreciate the fact that when I hit a unibody car that it is going to soften the blow to me but the Expedition has pre-stressed points or dimples in the forward portion of the frame to buckle/deform at a controlled rate under an extreme impact. There is also about eight feet of crumple zone between me and the front of the Expedition. I don't worry about low speed impacts as much as I do high speed impacts or impacts with heavier vehicles. I am fully aware that if a 70,000 pound semi hits my Expedition, the airbags will do nothing more than provide me with a cushy, comfortable death. At the same rate though I am not going to put myself in something that weighs 2,700 pounds just to save a few dollars in gas. My Expedition when driven very easy gets 14-15 mpg in the city and up to 26 mpg on the freeway at 55 mph. At 12,000 miles a year, a Civic should burn about half as much fuel as the Expedition, which is roughly $700 for the Civic and $1,400 for the Expedition at current gas prices. That means an extra $58 a month it cost me in gas. But wait, what about the environment? Doesn't that big ol' 300 horsepower V8 engine put out more emissions? Probably so but one of my favorite meals is a heapin', hot bowl of spotted-owl soup (YUM YUM!) so that's not a big concern to me. Cars burn so cleanly these days that I really consider this to be a non-issue. I appreciate all of you people out there saving gas in your 30 mpg cars, that will increase my survivability rate in an accident and insure an ample supply of fuel for my vehicle for years to come. I wouldn't worry about the safety aspect of your econo-box though. As long as you don't collide with anything bigger than a butterfly, you'll probably be alright. Well that's about all I have for now. I have some spotted-owl burgers cooking on the grill and it's time to go flip them over. Happy motoring! ;)
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    By your logic everyone would be driving big rigs...then your SUV would seem small! Luckily everyone is not selfish and actually thinks more about then just what they see in the mirror. Of cource that's one of the good reasons we have a government...to protect against selfish people who only think of themselves...happy motoring
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Heard on the radio this morning that one of the GM plants to be closed this Fall makes full sized pickups. Not SUVs, but I'm assuming most of the pickups were body on frame rigs.

    GM Closes 14 Manufacturing Plants; Three Service Parts Operations (AutoObserver)
  • tclarketclarke Member Posts: 3
    We are suppose to give up our safety because you choose to purchase something that is inferior in an accident. My wife was in a 72 car pile up during a winter in Michigan and I'm very glad she was driving a Cheverlot Full size truck. Nobody in her vehicle was injured. I cannot say the same for the people who chose less safe vehicles. Agaiin a choice we make.

    I would not be real quick to let our government decide what we drive. You may not like what they decide to regulate next.
  • motorhead15motorhead15 Member Posts: 11
    Hi Bob,

    It's not logic, just simple physics. The following quote is taken from the government document
    document


    "Consider Vehicle Weight
    All other things being equal, a heavier vehicle will generally better protect you in a crash. This is particularly the case in two-vehicle crashes. NHTSA research historically has shown that occupants in passenger cars are at a greater risk of being fatally injured when struck in the front or the side by a heavier and higher-riding light truck (such as a pickup) or SUV. Improved energy-absorbing front ends and safety technologies such as head-protecting side-impact air bags can help lower this risk to vehicle occupants."


    I had also read somewhere that if a 6,000 pound vehicle has a head on collision with a 3,000 pound vehicle, the people in the lighter vehicle are eight times more likely to die than the people in the heavier vehicle. This seems to be inline with the government quote above.

    One more thing Bob. Not that it matters even one iota but I work for the government and I'm quoting data collected by the federal government on their public website. Using their website www.safercar.gov was one of the main tools I used in my decision making process to purchase my Ford Expedition. I don't consider buying an Expedition "selfish" but if that's what you choose to believe go right ahead. You might also want to educate yourself on the subject at hand before you start hurling insults at someone. The free government publication I mentioned at the start of the post might be a good place for you to start.

    Steve,

    Yes the pickup trucks have a real frame and GM has been using hydro-formed rails on their trucks for sometime. Although I'm not an expert on hydro-formed rails I believe some of the advantages the hydro-formed rails have over a standard solid frame are increased strength, lighter weight and fewer welds.

    I had read that GM is closing one of their pickup truck plants because of over capacity. By that I mean that they have the ability to build more pickups than they need and/or are selling. Pickups are definitely a big part of GM sales just like the F-150 is a big part of Ford's bottom line. What GM is going through now is bad for everyone and will just push unemployment higher. I wish them all the best.

    TClark,

    Glad your wife was not killed. Being in that truck that day probably saved her life or at the very least prevented a serious injury.

    Happy Motoring! :)
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