We live in the age of the SUV. Judging from sales figures, most motorists are convinced that bigger is better. We disagree. Here are ten reasons why you really shouldn’t get one…
Burning Through Fuel
Cars will probably represent the second largest purchases in a person’s lifetime, after a home or property. They’re expensive to own and operate, too. So it’s significant that SUVs have such poor fuel economies. Most consume more fuel than alternatives with a similar number of seats. Their raised profile creates more wind resistance and their suspension systems and drive trains are particularly heavy. This means they need to burn through more fuel in order to get moving; that’s terrible news for your wallet and the planet.
Too Big For Infrastructure
Cars have changed a lot over the last few decades. They’ve gotten a lot more complex and tech-savvy but they’ve also gotten a lot bigger. Unfortunately, transport infrastructure hasn’t. SUVs are amongst the largest vehicles you can buy on the market. After getting one, you’ll soon realise just how much of a burden they can be when it comes to parking, navigating narrow streets and storing them. This is the irony, whilst the SUV is predicated on practicality they’re not very, well, practical.
Leaders For Emissions
If SUV drivers were a nation, they’d rank seventh in terms of emissions. That’s how polluting and dirty they are. In fact, they’re so harmful for the environment that automakers may be forced to pull them from the market; fleeing from eye-watering fines imposed by ever toughening legislation. Precisely when we should be addressing the Climate Crisis, drivers have opted to purchase the largest and dirtiest vehicles they can get their hands on.
Their Handling Is Poor
If you get an SUV, don’t expect entertaining driving; unless you’ve got the means to go absolutely premium. Due to their weight and centre of gravity, SUVs typically have poor handling. Body roll during cornering is increased and the speed at which the car can change direction is reduced. Of course, manufacturers have attempted to address these problems. They’ve toyed with firmer suspension systems, bigger tyres and even adjustable ride heights. But it turns out that you can’t out-perform the laws of physics.
You Probably Don’t Need One
SUV sales represent around of third of the car market in the UK; which is extraordinary. As the name implies, they’re built around both ‘sport’ and ‘utility’. In other words, they’re for people with particularly active lifestyles or work-related requirements. This means a very large amount of British motorists (and others around the world) are buying SUVs when they don’t really need them. Do sub-urban streets really need to be littered with Land Rovers and Nissan Qashqais? No.
They Can Endanger Other Road-Users
It’s been claimed that SUVs can have a negative effect on traffic safety. Whilst their height and weight may have some protective benefits for occupants, these can pose a danger to others in the event of an accident. Other drivers are particularly vulnerable to SUV models when struck from the side or when they’re involved in a collision that involves multiple vehicles. For instance, initial tests for the Ford Excursion revealed its “horrifying” ability to mount, and crush, the hood of a Ford Taurus. This led to the coining of ‘impact incompatibility’. This describes the phenomenon of ‘hard points’ on SUVs being in different places to those of other models; negating crumple zones.
Questionable Psychological Impact
Some psychological consultants have expressed concerns about the effects SUVs can have on their drivers. One of them concerns a false sense of security and safety. A raised riding position, they argue, creates a sense of domination; especially when the weight of the vehicles are taken into account. This has the potential to invoke lax and aggressive behaviours in some people. Malcolm Gladwell, a psychologist, has concluded that when a driver feels unsafe whilst driving, it makes the vehicle safer. When a driver feels safer whilst driving, the vehicle becomes less safe.
No Longer A Status Symbol
Somewhere between ten and fifteen years ago the SUV became a status symbol; a sort of indicator of having obtained the lifestyle of someone from the American middle-class. Their size and raised position have, in consumer society, become highly prized. That SUVs are often priced similarly to cars with other body shapes is neither here nor there. But this symbolism is starting to wane. As well as their environmental impact becoming more apparent, younger drivers are (according to automotive executives) associating them with the past. In other words, they’re not ‘cool’ anymore.
False Sense Of Security
SUVs are marketed as being the pinnacle of driving safety. But testing has actually produced mixed-results. One study, conducted in 2004, suggested that SUV drivers were actually 11% more likely to die in accidents than drivers of smaller models. But some of this might actually be because of drivers who prefer SUVs than the vehicles themselves. For instance, a study in America suggested that they’re less likely to wear a seatbelt and more likely to take risks. It’s speculated, then, that SUVs can create a false sense of security which can lead their drivers into heightened risk-taking.
There Are Exciting Alternatives
Motoring journalists rarely agree on anything. But one thing they do seem to agree on is that the reign of the SUV has become uninteresting. Even specialist automakers, like Lamborghini, seem to be rolling out more sports utility vehicles than actual sports cars. Variety is the spice of life and there’s a plethora of exciting alternatives to sports utility vehicles. If you’re really convinced you need space and utility, consider an estate. They’re looking sharper than ever before; as recent Audi models illustrate. Or simply go for a dependable hatchback, perfect for long-drives and families without the added fuel bills and pollution. Don’t bother with cross-overs though, they’re just an apologists SUV in the end.
The Popularity Of SUVs Is Making A ‘Mockery’ Of Emission Legislation – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/the-popularity-of-suvs-is-making-a-mockery-of-emission-legislation/
These Are The Cars Worth Getting Excited About In 2020 – https://autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/these-are-the-cars-worth-getting-excited-about-in-2020/