Big, bad 'soovs' invade Europe.
SUVs, or "soovs" as they are called in Italy, are becoming increasingly popular on Europe's narrow, traffic-clogged streets. But a countermovement is developing among those who believe SUVs are not only pollution-spewing monstrosities, but also represent American-style excess. "They are a symbol. of power without responsibility, and that's what we feel about [Americans] right now," says Steven Stradling, a professor of transport psychology at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. In Rome, the city government has proposed charging SUV owners triple the regular rate for permits to drive in the historic city center, a 1.8-mile area of narrow streets. But Ivano Stephanelli, whose BMW X5 juts out into the street when it's parked in front of his Rome pizzeria, maintains that his vehicle is "a family kind of car, not an ostentatious kind of car," ideal, for transporting children and hauling around restaurant supplies.