Today’s topic is: things we hate. This should be an easy one because we, as Internet users, are constantly going on and on about how much we hate various things. I know this because I frequently receive e-mails from people who hate me, and based on the quality of writing, it appears these people also hate punctuation.
Of course, we could spend all day listing things we hate. Dusting. Road construction. Nearly all insects. Or here’s a good one: when the self-checkout machines at the grocery store are closed. How is this possible? This is a machine we’re talking about! Is it taking a break?!
But I’ve decided to skip all of those things and keep this car-related. I’m doing this as a service to you, dear reader, because I could really go on about those self-checkout machines.
Anyway: when we’re talking “hate” and “cars,” there are a few obvious subjects. One is the Toyota Prius. Everyone hates the Toyota Prius, right? We see these smug bastards driving down the road, usually texting, presumably to organize a sit-in at the county stockyard because the cows aren’t hand-washed with local soaps. Don’t these Prius owners just boil everyone’s blood?
The answer is: no, they don’t. Toyota sells a lot of Priuses to all sorts of different people, many of whom are going to send me angry e-mails that say things like: U are an idiot, local soaps make cows give better milk, u wouldn’t know because u go to the kind of grocery store with self checkout machines, i get all my food from an organic farmer named Chester.
Seriously, though, the Prius isn’t universally hated, even though a lot of car guys haven’t quite endeared to it. So let’s move on to BMW drivers. We all hate BMW drivers, right? Of course we do. We’re driving down the street, minding our own business, when suddenly we’re cut off at high speed by a music-blasting BMW driver who will soon reach his destination, roughly 30 seconds before everyone else, where he will park diagonally across two spaces. Doesn’t this annoy everyone?
Once again, the answer here is no. It turns out a lot of people like BMWs. Car enthusiasts, for instance. And of course, BMW drivers themselves. But also people in lesser vehicles, such as Geo Metros, and Kia Rios, and of course Acuras. When these people get cut off by a BMW driver, they think: That will be me someday!!
So I’ve racked my brain here to think up a road user that’s universally hated by everyone. And after some consideration (this is the kind of thing you can do on a long roadtrip), I’ve come up with it. A group that’s hated more than Prius drivers. A group that’s hated more than BMW drivers. A group that’s hated even more than farmers who drive tractors down country roads at 11 miles per hour and refuse to pull to the side no matter how many cars are backed up behind them.
And that group is: the high-performance luxury SUV driver.
Let’s look at this from a few perspectives, starting with the “go green” type. These people hate high-performance luxury SUVs, because a high-performance luxury SUV driver is someone who couldn’t be content with merely having a large, gas-guzzling luxury SUV. No, they had to go and upgrade to the even larger, even more gas-guzzling performance luxury SUV, such as a BMW X5M or Mercedes ML63 AMG. To environmentalists, these people are public enemy number one.
Car enthusiasts generally hate high-performance SUVs, too. They’re huge. They’re all automatics. And they’re driven by the kind of people who don’t typically use the performance. I’ve tried to defend high-performance luxury SUVs to car enthusiasts, and the reaction is similar to the one I imagine you’d get by telling your co-workers that really, you wish your boss would schedule more department meetings on Friday afternoons.
But the hatred for luxury performance SUVs goes beyond enthusiasts and environmentalists. Most regular road users hate them, too. If you don’t believe me, borrow a friend’s BMW X6. (This sentence assumes, perhaps incorrectly, that the kind of person who has a BMW X6 is also the kind of person who has friends.)
When you’re in an X6, you’ll immediately notice that driving is a little more difficult. Yes, part of this comes from the X6’s blindspots, which you can mimic in your own vehicle by placing cardboard over all the windows. But it’s also because people see an X6 and immediately think I’m not letting in that rich asshole!
In an X6, car drivers hate you. Other SUV drivers hate you. Even other BMW drivers look at an X6 and think “What a poser!” before sliding over to the shoulder and passing stopped traffic for a few miles.
The truth is that virtually no one will stand up for the performance SUV driver. Which is a shame, because performance SUVs kind of do it all: acceleration. Handling. Hauling. I even think they look pretty good. Of course, I’d never buy one. I get enough angry e-mails.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He operates PlaysWithCars.com and writes for The Truth About Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.