SUV – Are they safe to drive?

SUV safe or not ? The answer is Yes to the question, “Are subcompact SUVs and compact SUVs safe to drive?”. But surprisingly, certain factors make it not so safe. Manufacturers are trying to improve the safety of their cars with not only features but also strong body structures.

A manufacturer puts certain things together to give a vehicle the look of an SUV. They have to compromise on the safety and comfort of the vehicle while providing such a look.

What is an SUV?

SUV stands for sports-utility-vehicle. A vehicle usually has high ground clearance with good off-road capabilities. It is usually a 4×4 vehicle with a sturdy body structure. The term SUV nowadays is loosely and widely used. Anything that looks and feels like an Sports Utility Vehicle of any size with some off-road capabilities falls under the this category.

Having a 4×4 is optional for many. Mostly, people buy it to drive it in a city and for an occasional outing. The manufacturers are fulfilling the customers’ demands. Hence, people are purchasing compact SUVs because they are big and tall. One after another, people are just following the herd. 

The term “subcompact and compact SUVs.”

A subcompact SUV is usually less than 4 meters. A compact SUV is slightly bigger than a subcompact, with a length of under 4.4 meters. So, how did all of this start? The answer is simple, “demand”. People wanted something more significant than a hatchback, but not at the expense of efficiency. Especially for the Indian roads where there are potholes and not even proper roads, the demand was high.

SUV

Another thing is looks. Everyone cannot afford BMWs, Audi and Mercedes. They want the same looks but at an affordable price. Many manufacturers try replicating design elements from the expensive Sports Utility Vehicles to increase sales. But it is the customer who does not know that they are compromising on comfort and safety!

Subcompact and Compact SUVs Comfort & Safety

In the Indian market, subcompact SUVs are like Brezza, KIA Sonet, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon etc. And, compact SUVs are Grand Vitara, Skoda Kushaq, VU Taigun, Skoda Kushaq etc. The ground clearance is set high for a vehicle to look like a Sports Utility Vehicle. It has to be elevated to tackle bad roads. But, high-ground clearance comes with certain flaws. 

SUV – Compromise on Safety front

Firstly, the car is high from the ground; hence, its center of gravity is away from the ground. The more the center of gravity is away from the ground, the more body roll in the car is experienced. Hence making it less stable. At high speeds on the highways, it can be worse and even dangerous while changing lanes immediately. However, manufacturers’ latest technology and R&D have reduced the body roll to a larger extent. The Compact SUVs feels under control, but you cannot deny the science. The closer the center of gravity is to the ground, the more stable the vehicle is, fundamental Physics. 

Also, read our article on benefits of safety belts, by clicking on the button

Compromise on Comfort

In other words, a high-ground clearance gives you a bumpy ride. The suspension is kept stiff, therefore, to keep shocks under control. More rigid suspension does not allow the vehicle to jump on a bumpy road. Hence, a stiffer suspension would not give you a good ride in cities. One can feel every little pothole inside the car.

In terms of safety, an unstable car is not safe, no matter how many safety features you provide. Prevention is better than cure.

Subcompact and Compact SUVs vs sedans

At the same price point, you can get a perfect sedan. Ground clearance is usually lower in sedans; hence, the center of gravity is closer to the ground. Therefore, a car feels more stable. Additionally, the suspension setup is on the softer side; in the city, you won’t feel many bumps. Also, at the same price point, you get a good amount of space in a sedan! The rear seats of a sedan are comparatively more spacious than an Sports Utility Vehicle.

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