Biggest misconceptions about SUVs: What a SUV can do, and what it can't

10 BIGGEST misconceptions about SUVs such as Mahindra XUV500, Toyota Fortuner & more

SUVs are getting increasingly popular because of several reasons. They offer good ground clearance, have a great road presence, are mostly equipped with powerful engines and offer tons of space on the inside. Apart from these reasons, there are many other factors that potential buyers have in mind when shopping for an SUV. However, not all of them are true and can be deemed as misconceptions. Here are ten of the biggest misconceptions people have in mind for SUVs.

SUVs can get out of any situation

 

However good and powerful they might be, an SUV in stock form is not a battle tank that can conquer any terrain. It is true that a proper SUV with 4WD system and other off-road equipment can go into places where regular cars can’t even think of going but then again, considering them as invincible is a mistake. There have been many instances of 4WD SUVs like the Mahindra Scorpio and the Toyota Fortuner getting stuck. Also, the driver’s skill matter a lot in off-road conditions.

Also, some of the SUVs like the Renault Duster or the Mahindra XUV500 are often considered to be off-road ready SUV as they are equipped with AWD drivetrain. However, that is not the case as AWD is quite different from 4WD. AWD basically means that all four wheels are powered whereas when talking about 4WD, other equipment like high-low ratio transfer case, locking differentials etc are also included. This extra equipment is what gives SUVs with 4WD an edge over other vehicles when going off the road.

All big, tall cars are SUVs

Kicks 10

No sir, they are not. The term SUV expands to Sports Utility Vehicle and it was originally meant to be used for vehicles that not only have a big and tall stance but also come equipped with a fully functional 4WD system to do light or heavy off-roading. However, the marketing departments slowly began using the term SUV for any big, tall car.

To let you know, cars that look like an SUV but do not have important features like 4WD among others are called crossovers. In the Indian automotive scene, nearly every other big car with good ground clearance is called an SUV. Manufacturers have even started manufacturing hatchback-SUV crossovers which are marketed as ‘Urban SUVs’. Vehicles like the Hyundai Creta, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and even the Tata Harrier are just regular cars with an SUV-inspired body and stance.

SUVs are slow!

They were. There was a time when SUVs used to be slower than sedans and other cars due to less powerful engines and their heavy weight. However, modern SUVs are no slouch and have a performance that is on par with sedans and hatchbacks. They may look big and lazy but modern day engines along with advanced engineering have made sure that these vehicles are extremely fast and quick.

The current fastest production SUV in the world, Bentley Bentayga Speed, has a top speed of 306 km/h and can do the 0-100 km/h run in just 3.9 seconds. The Lamborghini Urus is another performance SUV that has a top speed of 305 km/h and does the 0-100 km/h run in 3.6 seconds. Other powerful modern day SUVs like the Land Rover Range Rover SVR, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S all are very fast vehicles and almost touch the supercar category in terms of performance.

You have to spend a lot on fuel

Again a misconception when talking about the current day SUVs, this belief originated from the fuel-guzzling SUVs of old. If you choose the right SUV now, you will not have to worry much about the fuel bills of your SUV. The Volvo XC90 T8 is a shining example of the same. The SUV has 407 Bhp power output, and yet it returns a maximum fuel efficiency of 57 km/l. Even conventional powered SUVs like Ford Endeavour come with an ARAI rated mileage of 14.2 km/l, which is decent given the size of the vehicle.

SUVs are difficult to drive

Ford Endeavour Water Wading

Not at all. Modern day technology, electronics and assists have ensured that SUVs are very easy to drive and control, unlike older SUVs. Many, however, still believe that SUVs are not easy to drive because of their size and weight. But modern SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour among others are pretty easy to drive. Due to their high centre of gravity, they may not be as agile as sedans and hatchbacks in cornering and fast lane changing but they drive like regular cars. Even people who have not driven an SUV before get comfortable driving it fairly quick. Further, additional assists such as rear camera and parking sensors make it incredibly easy to park the vehicle even at the tightest spots.

SUVs are built ‘tough’

Scorpio

They do look tough but built? Not all of them. SUVs look bulky and muscular due to their size and stance but they may not be built in the same way. The heavy SUVs are always regarded as safe vehicles that will keep the occupants unhurt from any kind of crash but in reality, that’s not true. One such example is the Mahindra Scorpio. A tough looking vehicle that scored Zero in the NCAP testing for safety. Also, its body structure was rated ‘unstable

SUVs are extremely comfortable

There’s an almost obvious like feeling among most of the people generally that SUVs are very comfortable vehicles to be in. They actually do absorb a lot of potholes and deliver a comfortable ride but show them curvy roads and they become a pain. The high seating position coupled with the high ground clearance results in high centre of gravity in SUVs. This, in turn, results in body roll that can ruin the comfort over long travels.Take into account the softer suspension set-up and the body roll becomes more serious.

Rear passengers are especially affected and do not feel very comfortable due to the body roll. So all the SUVs are not very comfortable especially on curvy roads, like mountains. However, many SUVs have now started offering drive modes which change the suspension firmness so in the coming time, this niggle will be ironed out and regular SUVs too will become as comfortable as high-end SUVs.

SUVs mean diesel fuel

Many auto enthusiasts and car lovers maintain a distance from SUVs because of many reasons, one among them being the general perception that diesel engines power all the SUVs. It is also true that diesel engines lack refinement when compared with their petrol counterparts.

However, this general perception that diesel engine power all SUVs is completely wrong. Many SUVs nowadays offer petrol engines as an option instead of diesel. They are low on popularity due to their lower fuel efficiency, but they’re still on sale. One typical example is the latest Toyota Fortuner that is also offered with a 2.7-litre petrol engine, which develops a maximum power of 164 Bhp and 245 Nm of peak torque.

They have a high maintenance cost

This is no longer true. In fact, most of the modern-day SUVs are pretty affordable to maintain. Some of them are having bigger service bills still, but most of the manufacturers have now ensured that their SUVs don’t have big service bills. One example of the same is the latest Ford Endeavour. Ford claims that regular servicing till 60,000 km costs less than Rs. 50,000 in total including the labour cost and parts. That, in fact, is cheaper than many lesser-priced sedans and hatchbacks.

Bigger tyres and high seating position are good things

Isuzu Mux

The huge tires, high ground clearance and high seating positions are some of the factors which are considered to be the main attractions of the SUVs. However, though all of them contribute to the butch stance an SUV has, it can be a deadly combination in reality. The high position and high ground clearance of SUVs result in the centre of weight of the vehicle situated much away from the ground which makes it extremely prone to rollovers. It is not safe to take high speed turns in an SUV due to the same reason.’.