cars

The utility of Sports Utility Vehicles

After a tragic accident involving an SUV in Berlin, killing four pedestrians, a debate started on this vehicle type in cities and whether or how to curb it. I don't know the details of this specific accident, though it appears out of the question that SUVs are not suitable for city traffic. It is a fact that these cars have worse pedestrian protection, and even the Land Rover Defender was discontinued because it does not comply with EU regulations. Mercedes was continuing the old G Class model, which is also not fulfilling, knowingly lobbying against discontinuation. In my logic, this is negligence. The German ADAC, the dominant association for car owners, is in a way for cars what in the US is the National Rifle Association (NRA) is for guns. They were shaken by fraud and corruption a few years ago, and that they are a tax exempted e.V. (social enterprise) is a mere joke. At least in the current debate on SUVs, they are not coming up with "freie Fahrt fuer freie Buerger"-bullshit again. Don't get me going on the speed limit debate on German highways. It's really like guns in America. Of course, a general speed limit makes sense. And no, driving 200 km/h is not a human right. It's just stupid and dangerous.

My first company car was a Landrover Defender V8. But wait, I was working in an opencast coal mine. I used it as a high-end tractor. In one case, I was even pulling a Caterpillar back onto the track. I also used rugged SUVs traveling Iceland, the Australian outback and Frazer Island, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. The idea to have an SUV in a city is just ridiculous.

Facts are that most SUVs have worse pedestrian protection in a crash. They have dominantly wider bodies and are not suitable for narrow roads, especially when there are bicycles around. They need more space to park. They have a higher air drag, a worse payload ratio (when primarily used as people carrier), and they are more heavy than equivalent passenger vehicles. So, they do need more fuel. Some now say that the use of this accident for a discussion on SUVs in cities is polemic. Maybe right. But why do we need a disaster to discuss something long overdue? And what is the debate actually about? Utility vehicles have their utility. And this is not to carry people downtown.

SUV is an attitude.

SUV is an attitude.