Sports Utility Vehicles or SUVs is a term that has been misrepresented for a long time. With the manufacturers opening up new segments like compact SUV, mid-size SUV, micro SUV and so on, most customers who buy these cars think that they can now go to most extreme locations just like 4X4 SUVs like Endeavour and Fortuner. Well, all the SUVs without 4×4 are the only vehicle with higher ground clearance. Yes, they can go over bigger rocks and provide a comfortable ride on the bad road surfaces but you cannot go to off-roading on them. Here are a few examples of vehicles getting stuck and reasons why you should not take your compact SUVs for off-roading.
This is the biggest challenge during off-road courses. You will require power on all the four wheels to cross a slushy or slippery area or the car will just get stuck. AWD, which supplies power to all the four wheels can go for light off-roading trails. AWD cars include the likes of Mahindra XUV500 and Renault Duster.
For full-fledged off-roading courses, a 4X4 with the low-ratio gearbox is mandatory. While many international markets get AWD variants of Maruti Suzuki Ignis and Ford EcoSport, there is no demand for such cars in the Indian market.
Off-road spec vehicles like the full-size SUVs are designed to go on the rough surfaces. Now that requires that wheels of the vehicle should remain on the ground most of the time. Manufacturers put a highly capable suspension on 4X4 SUVs. These suspension set-ups can flex more than regular ones to ensure that the wheels remain on the ground all the time. Wheels in the air mean loss of traction, which is something that can make any vehicle stuck.
While the word SUV has now been so widely used that any vehicle with higher ground clearance is termed as an SUV. Most of these Front Wheel Drive vehicles are just bigger in size and have an imposing look. Other than that, the main ingredient to make an SUV, which is a 4X4 system is missing. In international markets, such vehicles are described as crossovers but not in India. Always remember that an SUV without a 4X4 is similar to a tall hatchback. If you push them on a hardcore off-roading course, you may even break the vehicle.
Some of you may argue that even 4X2 SUVs can reach some pretty extreme locations. Well, you can if you have the right tyres installed. Since the manufacturers do not offer any tyre other than the Highway Terrain or H/T tyres. If you install better tyres in your 4X2 vehicles, it sure will be able to tackle slippery surfaces like snow better but will it be able to do a hardcore off-roading track? It is still no.
No underbody protection
SUVs come with solid underbody protection that saves it from any rock hit or most kind of damages. Most 4X2 vehicles do not have any such underbody protection. If a big rock hit the bottom of your vehicle while you try your hands on off-roading, it may just go horribly wrong of the vehicle.