My first car was a 1987 Bronco II. It was awful. The rear hatch was broken and it overheated regularly, probably because it spewed coolant at random intervals like a freshman on his first weekend at college. But I was allowed to drive it. Well, I was if my dad didn’t want to that day. It was great.
I must say, though, that the Bronco II had pretty horrible flight characteristics, in my experience. It tended to want to nose over if you got it airborne. I think we can forgive Ford that oversight. And also let’s not tell my dad.
Those grievances aside, at least it looked more or less purposeful.
You young whippersnappers today, though, are forced to drive mid-size SUVs that look like they’re terribly, terribly sorry for being so big and so utilitarian. Or, at least, utilitarianish.
This is the Chevy Traverse ($30,995). Look how round it is. In the white paint scheme, it looks like a marshmallow that’s been flash frozen in the midst of being microwaved.
You have to step up to the Tahoe ($45,550) or Suburban ($48,250) to get an SUV that looks anything like a utility vehicle.
It’s the same story with the descendant of my coolant-spewing Bronco II, the Explorer ($30,700). Why are you so round, Explorer? Did someone put you in a creek for a long time? And why is one man in the photo attempting to fornicate your driver’s side while another tilts at you Quixote-style?
Ford’s got the Expedition which has actual corners, but they want $43,390 to start for it. Why can’t there be vehicles like the Land Rover Defender 90 anymore? Look at this thing! I want one so bad, but used models from 1997 still run over $35k. That’s a chunk to spend on a British vehicle with a ton of miles on it. Still, they are gorgeous.
The Brits still bring the sweet boxy goodness with the LR4, but it runs north of fifty grand at $50,400.
Of course, Jeeps still look boxy and utilitarian, and they don’t gouge you for it. A 4 door Wrangler starts at just $26,495. Looks pretty swanky too, although as pictured here I’m sure it’s a buck or two north of the starting price.
Toyota, at least, still makes a capable mid-size SUV with the 4-runner. But it isn’t immune to the shame of looking like a proper boxy utility vehicle. You can see here that the front is styled to look like the vehicle is crying, with two teardrops descending from the headlights.
If I’m going to spend money on a 4×4 vehicle, I want it to look like an ammunition box with wheels on it and some lights bolted to the front. Maybe even forego the lights. Who needs ‘em? If you have a badass enough vehicle you’ll just bash right over or through anything that makes the mistake of getting in the way.
You kids today with your heated seats and your navigation systems. Feh! In my day, we begged for the use of a vehicle that was as likely to squirt poisonous antifreeze in our mouths as actually drive anywhere. And we liked it. Loved it!
But ohhhh no.