After 12 years of resisting, I finally bought an SUV — and I can't believe I ever survived suburbia without it

julia tell honda crv

  • Small cars have advantages in cities, but in the suburbs, I’ve found that they aren’t quite as common or useful as larger vehicles — SUVs, in particular.
  • An ugly-colored SUV is now my suburban camouflage, allowing me to see eye-to-eye with other drivers while disappearing into the background.
  • Here’s why I finally decided to buy an SUV after 12 years of resisting it.


I like small cars. There’s a huge advantage to a small car in a city with tight parking. After living in San Francisco for years, and then in Brooklyn, I could squeeze my little hatchback into the tiniest of spaces.

I was used to driving a car with a short nose and a compact derrière, and I hated it when I rented a car and got a big sedan or SUV. I was always afraid of hitting things because I wasn’t used to the length and width of the vehicle. I was a small-car gal.

But after moving to suburban New Jersey and spending years navigating the area with smaller cars, I decided I needed to move up to an SUV — the Honda CR-V XE — and I’m glad that I did. Here’s why.

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Driving small cars in the suburbs presented a host of issues.

I moved to the suburbs of Princeton, New Jersey, 14 years ago with my little hatchback. I got no respect on the roads as zippy sports cars zoomed past me and ladies in SUVs seemed to want to drive right over me. The worst was in the Whole Foods parking lot.

For some reason, this lot seems to be completely populated with the largest SUVs. Skinny moms in the latest workout gear would zoom in and park all while talking on the phone and handing a cookie to the toddler in the backseat.

They had no time to notice anyone beneath them in a small car. I can’t count the number of times I was nearly run over by one of these SUVs speeding into a three-point turn to grab that good parking spot.

I moved on to two cars that weren’t quite big enough.

About three years into my suburban existence, I graduated to a mini station wagon — a Volvo V50 — which seemed more like a family car, though it still had my small-car aesthetic.

Somehow, I thought, a wagon would help me blend in with the strip-mall, soccer mom crowd. Nope. I was still completely invisible, like a bug to be squashed on the roadway by the monster machines of everyday life.

A couple years later, an upgrade to a sizeable Volkswagen Passat sedan helped a little, but I was still the odd-mom out.

Finally, I settled on a reliable SUV.

When I set out to buy a new car two years ago, I settled on a Honda CR-V as my model of choice. It had good ratings, it was reliable, and it was reasonably priced. It had plenty of legroom in the backseat, and it was big but not huge.

The gas mileage was as good as my smaller cars, but the pickup is sluggish. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t minivan sluggish. But suburban driving involves lots of stop lights and turns, so you can’t go that fast anyway.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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