We have created a fresh weekly newsletter to bring you the top articles on Parenting, Lifestyle, and Faith.

Sign up now to save time and stay informed!

How Sweet 16 Parties Killed the SUV

alcan_armyjeep_1942_sm REAL off-roading

I find it almost laughable to look at some of the SUVs that are coming out today.  They are generations removed from their inspiring ancestors: the Jeep driven by the American military in WWII and the infamous British Land Rover.  These first SUVs were made for off-roading in unforgiving terrain.  They were working vehicles.  They were REAL vehicles.

My family has always owned SUVs and pickup trucks. In my opinion, they were the best option for a family that was constantly hauling dogs, kids, wood, tractors, and kayaking equipment -- and I guess my family agreed.  Our family history of SUVs included several of the classics: the good 'ole Ford Explorer (first generation), a classy Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a meaty Dodge Durango that we named "Brock."  Pickup trucks included the trusty Dodge Dakota and a red Toyota Tundra.

These trucks were high off the ground and cut through the Wisconsin slush and snow like a hot knife through butter. Many of the interiors were basic -- everything had a purpose.  This was what a truck was made for: to work and haul. When our Jeep showed up with leather seats, it was a big deal.

The sport-utility vehicles you see today are as different from the original Jeep as an apple from a flank steak. Compare the wanna-be hardcore Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV and the over-the-top Porsche Cayenne to the military Jeep -- or even the first-generation Ford Explorer...posers. We all know the most rugged thing these cars are hauling are faux-Christmas trees...

The purpose of the SUV becomes even more distorted in the super-luxury brand class. Maserati has been teasing the wealthy SUV/crossover crowd with the Kubang for years... and now Bentley is saying they are going to release a behemoth of their own.  These trucks have price tags in the six-digit range. Wh-hat?

The fleets of working SUVs seem to be a dying breed...