5 Reasons Why SUVs Suck
It’s impossible to imagine the world without SUVs. In the last 10 years, they have gone absolutely viral. According to a survey by German Institute IHS Automotive, SUVs had a market share of 25% in 2015, with almost 22 Million sold worldwide. And the boom isn’t over yet - it’s expected that by 2020, 28% of all cars will be SUVs.
And that’s a bad thing. I absolutely hate SUVs, and today I’m going to show you exactly why. Enjoy.
Let’s start with the most obvious disadvantages of SUVs: Fuel consumption. But let me clarify one thing first: I’m not one of these ‘Buys-A-Prius-To-Save-The-World’-people.
Still, SUVs will always be less economical than normal cars like sedans or estate, no matter what your dealer tells you. Take, for example, the BMW X3. According to BMW’s website, the X3 20d xDrive uses 4.9l/100km (that’s 58.8 mpg). In a realistic test by German car magazine auto motor und sport it consumed 8.3l/100km (or did 29.4 mpg). But that’s a different story, it’s well-known that carmaker’s information about fuel consumption are highly unrealistic.
So, why are SUVs less economical than sedans or estates?
First of all, weight. Let’s stick with the example of the BMW X3 20d xDrive, and compare it to a 320d xDrive Touring. The X3 weighs 1820 kg, the 3 Series 1680 kg. And as we all know, heavier cars need more fuel than lighter cars.
Next up: Drag. Referring to a test by German car magazine Auto Bild, a BMW 5 Series Touring has a drag coefficient of 0.29, while it’s SUV brother X5 has a drag coefficient of 0.33. The reasons for that are the shorter overhangs, wider tires, bigger wheel arches, bulkier mirrors, bigger grilles and the enormous frontal area. All in all, Auto Bild found out that the X5’s fuel consumption is two liters higher compared to the 5-Series when going 150km/h.
So, what can we conclude? SUVs will always need more fuel than estates or sedans, due to higher weights and drag coefficients. That’s a fact, and it does not only apply to BMW models.
We car guys love driving fast. An empty country road and a powerful car is all that it takes to make us happy. Except if that powerful car is a SUV. Because if you try to go fast with them, you’re likely to end up on your roof. Or in a tree. Why?
First of all, there’s the high center of gravity. A high seating position might be cool - but it makes cars dangerously top-heavy. Now that doesn’t mean you will roll over every time you try to corner (except if you own a Jeep), but it will affect the handling in an unpleasant way.
Another issue is that many SUVs have all-wheel-drive, and the lower end models usually come with front-wheel-drive. Both are not exactly the best when it comes to handling, as they tend to understeer - especially in combination with the high weight of SUVs. So whilst you may not flip your car over (except if you own a Jeep), it’s very likely that you go straight into a tree when you corner too fast.
SUVs were originally designed to conquer every possible terrain, like deserts, swampy areas or even rivers. But modern-day SUVs are only luxury vehicles which ‘conquer’ city streets and traffic jams.
One reason for that is that (at least in Germany) you’re not allowed to plough straight through the woods, except if you own the land. You can try out the potential of your car in special off-road parks, but I guess that most of the SUV drivers will never do that. For them, knowing that they could go off-road is enough - even if they never actually will.
But could they actually go off-road? Probably not. They would be too worried about their 22” rims which they paid $5000 for, and they would also fear scratching the paint. Also, as mentioned earlier, many of the entry-level SUVs only come with FWD and fake underbody crash protection. Not ideal for off-roading.
Now, you may think: “How can SUVs be unsafe? They are big, they are strong, they can protect me from everything.” And that is true. They can protect YOU. But not the driver in the small car which you just squeezed together like an empty Red Bull can.
A few years ago, German car club ADAC crashed an Audi Q7 into a Fiat 500. The result was shocking - whilst the Q7 passengers were fine, the Fiat passengers were heavily injured, with the driver being close to dead. And let’s not forget that both of the cars have a 5-star safety rating.
Click here to watch the full video:
Big cars are cool. At first you may agree with this statement. But think about it again. Narrow city streets. Traffic jams. Parking lots. Do you still think they’re cool? Hopefully not.
In the United States Of Big Cars this problem doesn’t exist. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, some American sedans and Coupés were as big as modern day SUVs (for example the Lincoln Continental). And so, the roads are wide, the parking lots are big. Not so in Europe, where the most common cars were Volkswagen Beetles and Minis. Many of the parking lots and streets are still from that time period - and the parking spaces haven’t grown since then. The cars however have grown dramatically - not a good combination. SUVs using 1.5 parking spaces are a common sight - as well as reasonably sized cars which have to squeeze themselves in 0.5 of a parking space.
So, these were my five strongest arguments why SUVs suck. I could continue this list forever: They cost more, they look awful, most of the alternatives (like minivans) are dying out, …
So, I hope you can understand my hate. If not - okay. But I personally hate every single modern SUV with one exception: The Alfa Stelvio. Because Alfa is the only company that really NEEDS the money.
Comment below what I forgot. And please relax with the hate about my hate.
Tobi aka The Stig’s German Cousin
This content was originally posted by a Car Throttle user on our Community platform and was not commissioned or created by the CT editorial team.