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Old 04-01-2007, 11:02 AM
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The Accessorized Car - Europe's Active Lifestyle Vehicle

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As I’ve been spending the past two weeks in Europe, I have notices many differences in automotive culture. One thing in particular stood out however. This is the way Europeans accomplish very active lifestyles, without the need of what I, as an American, consider a proper accompanying vehicle.

This became evident as I journeyed from Germany
to the ski town of Scladming, for a weekend on the mountain. During the six hour trip, as I got closer to my destination, I noticed that, like in the US, more and more of the vehicles around me were also destined for ski weekends. However, unlike in the
US, I didn’t notice a single SUV. Instead, passenger cars like my Opel were doing duty of transporting their occupant and gear through Alps. I also noticed that they were all loaded with accessories suited for such duty. Roof top ski racks and roof top cargo torpedoes were stylishly fashioned to almost every single vehicle. I also noticed that most every vehicle was fitted with appropriate snow tires.

This lifestyle of accessorization results in the ability to own a much more lean, efficient vehicle, which is better suited for daily life, with absolutely no sacrifice to flexibility to accommodate activities such as skiing. If you’re a skier like myself, you know that you don’t need a large vehicle to carry many sets of skis. In fact you prefer them to be outside, where thy won’t wet soil the interior. Also, if you’ve ever driven with snow tires, you’ll question the need for any vehicle to have all wheel drive. Snow tires provide amazing grip in the absolute worst of road conditions. I learned from interviewing several Germans that snow tires are required by law during certain months and road conditions. Everybody there switches to them for the winter season.

So you have a region of people who are probably more active than the average American, but they don’t drive vehicles that we buy for that purpose. Yet they still get along just fine traversing The Alps and other treacherous road conditions. They still carry 4 – 7 adults on these journeys and all their gear. They drive with confidence, safety and security. This leads one to ask, “Why the difference?” Well, it’s complicated, but let's say that most of it is attributable to fuel costs. Fuel in Europe is two to four times more expensive than in the US. However, there are still lessons to be learned even for those of us who don’t bear the burden of expensive fuel. If we want to lead more responsible lives, there are other options besides driving a vehicle that is way too large for daily life, in effort accommodate less frequent activities. I say, right size your vehicle, then accessorize it for living.

Besides the many functional benefits that come from the outlook of accessorizing, there are also financial benefits. On average, an SUV in any given segment carries about a $3000 premium over it’s car counterpart. That does not include all wheel drive, which is about another $1500. Then add in the extra operating expenses such as fuel, and you’re easily talking about a $6,000 premium to own and SUV in the United States. Compare that to about $800 for a top-end Yakima roof rack system (which still give you that active look) and $500 for a set of winter wheels and tires. That’s $4700 in savings and you’ll have a vehicle that is more fun to drive, better for the environment easier to maneuver and more comfortable. The choice is clear. For real life driving and living, we should learn a lesson from the Europeans and live right size, then accessorize.
Source:
http://uh2l.blogs.com/realitydriven/...s_active_.html
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2007, 11:06 AM
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Agreed. SUVs are silly vehicles.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2007, 11:24 AM
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I've tried arguing that point before, when people - typically Americans - defend their "need" of an SUV for certain activities.

They never seem to fully engage with the fact that millions of people across Europe manage to undertake the same activities without "needing" an SUV.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:09 PM
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This proves what I have known for a long time: Americans are by and large stupid and as a culture we have a belief that everything needs to be larger.

We can get by with smaller cars but we have been buying huge cars and SUVs for so long we view anything smaller as unsafe and poorly made, thus it will be very hard for this habit to break.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:11 PM
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There is surely no need for SUVs anywhere it is just that in the States they are feasible. Roads are larger, the lifestyle is different, and people for whatever reason want to sit up high and have the ability to put alot of stuff in their car and be all safe and big - I don't know exactly why - it seems like a waste of cash to me. Buy a stationwagon. Oh yeah, those are out of style...
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:13 PM
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Drakkie, why do all your threads carry the same theme?
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
Drakkie, why do all your threads carry the same theme?
My favourite: http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/forum...ad.php?t=28908
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:09 PM
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Bah your just jealous because SUVs don't fit on ur tiny roads

Also try fitting 5 people, a dog, and camping supplies in freaking 206 or whatever you guys drive over there.

Until then us north americans will continue to buy large cars, ruin the environment and laugh at your sub 1 litre engines.

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Old 04-01-2007, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Canuck View Post
Also try fitting 5 people, a dog, and camping supplies in freaking 206 or whatever you guys drive over there.
See what I mean?

Of course millions of people fit 5 people, a dog + luggage into their vehicles - I've done it on many an occasion.

Never actually "needed" an SUV though...

Do all American's like this think that people in Europe never go on vacation, take people with them, carry large objects around, etc, etc?
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coventrysucks View Post
See what I mean?

Of course millions of people fit 5 people, a dog + luggage into their vehicles - I've done it on many an occasion.

Never actually "needed" an SUV though...

Do all American's like this think that people in Europe never go on vacation, take people with them, carry large objects around, etc, etc?
One must question the seriousness of the Canuck's post. Surely, after reading your first post in this thread, he only wanted to provoke you.
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Last edited by Mr.Tiv; 04-01-2007 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:11 PM
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All this proves is that the Germans are weird, just go for a drive anywhere in germany and you'll see people staying around 2 seconds apart (unless there is heavy traffic), using the correct lane, paying attention and not cutting eachother up.

What a bunch of freaks.
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Canuck View Post
Bah your just jealous because SUVs don't fit on ur tiny roads

Also try fitting 5 people, a dog, and camping supplies in freaking 206 or whatever you guys drive over there.

Until then us north americans will continue to buy large cars, ruin the environment and laugh at your sub 1 litre engines.

Believe me, I have seen that on the road ! Agreed, the cars were equipped with "roof boxes" and completely filled, but it is possible

Plus we rarely havely sub 1 liter cars nowadays.. Even my own car has an incredible 997 cc

Not talking about the comfort though..
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coventrysucks View Post
See what I mean?

Of course millions of people fit 5 people, a dog + luggage into their vehicles - I've done it on many an occasion.

Never actually "needed" an SUV though...

Do all American's like this think that people in Europe never go on vacation, take people with them, carry large objects around, etc, etc?
i dunno about americans, but we keep a 4X4 around for when we have to tow the boat, trailer, car trailer plus car, or just drive in a westerly direction.
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:21 AM
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That's a very good blog, drakkie.

Overall, many Americans and Australians love large cars and SUV's. Every day, I see dozens of Japanese, Korean and European SUV's. For example, today I saw 5 Porsche Cayenne's, 3 BMW X5's and countless Japanese Toyota Landcruiser's and Honda CRV's. I believe SUV's account for approximately 20% of all passenger vehicle sales in Australia and more than 20% of all passenger vehicle sales in the United States of America.

By the way, the vast majority of Australians refer to a SUV as a large four-wheel drive or a luxury four-wheel drive if they are referring to a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML500 etc...

At the end of the day, the simple fact is Americans and Australians have a different attitude in relation to SUV's and large cars... compared to Europeans.

You won't find many diesel passenger vehicles in America or Australia either.
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Last edited by john14; 04-02-2007 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:22 AM
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I have a legitimate need for an SUV. *shock horror*

Yesterday I took the Discovery, 5 guys and 4 bikes (two outside two inside) and went off-roading. I'd like to see the little 206 go on rock crawls and carry the amount of bikes/gear that we had.
I do not carry a trailer behind the car because I am not experienced enough to drive for periods of time with a trailer, plus it wouldn't handle the off-road. I didn't carry the bikes on the roof because - being a tall car already - off-roading through a forest, you come across trees which hang low and would knock the bikes off the roof.

There is simply no way that 5 people, 4 bikes, body armour, helmets, camera gear, backpacks, food and change of clothes would fit in your every day car. Even if it were outfitted to the specific needs of the owner.
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