Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Family Car: Minivans Beat SUVs

There are all kinds of psychological reasons that people might buy SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles, or possibly Suburbans Über Volkswagens). A conscious part of the marketing has been to sell dads on the idea that they are protecting their families with a monster car. Moms, too, make up a surprisingly large part of the SUV market, largely on the grounds that they are safer for kids. David Brooks, in On Paradise Road, reports the axiom that in the suburbs, the larger the car, the smaller the woman who gets out of it.

A new study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, however, has found that SUVs are not safer for children. Now, a Ford Mars Expedition or a Chevy Subdivision will probably protect kids better than a Cooper Mini. But for their weight, SUVs are not actually safer for kids.

I recall a study, reported in the New York Times a few Christmases ago, comparing men who drove SUVs with men who drove minivans. The main finding: men who drive minivans are more secure in their masculinity than are SUV guys. And this was before Hummers …

The author drives a sticker-covered Sienna minivan with GRUNTL plates. Thanks for asking.

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