SUV Sports Utility Vehicle
An age-old car-drivers dream appears to have come true, the vehicle for every occasion. From the deep back wood areas out onto the highways to annoy the sports-car drivers. The SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) seems to be, at first sight, the all-in-one vehicle suitable for every purpose.
How it works
As always, the criteria for a real cross-country vehicle, remain the same:
- Sufficient ground clearance and driving-angle capability,
- Off-road tyres,
- Special low-ratio gear reduction,
- Larger axel displacement,
- Four-wheel drive with
- Integrated limited-slip differential,
- Robust bodywork.
It is true, the new generation of cross-country vehicles fulfils one or some of the requirements listed above, but certainly not all of them. Recently, the ground clearance can be altered with the push of a button, made possible by the air suspension. Also car body surfaces made from synthetics can protect the car body in off-road use quite well. Moreover, four-wheel drive is, of course, almost compulsory in this vehicle class. However, in the case of limited-slip differentials, opinions differ. If it works with braking intervention, it is not suitable for long off-road service. Ultimately, this vehicle type differs from real cross-country vehicles if one takes a look at the car body construction. The ladder frame with rigid axles is still, at least partly, the most widely used here. This also makes sense, because the repair costs are lower, considering the higher risk in off-road use. And, of course, due to the larger, rigid-axle enabled twist possibilities, the vehicle almost never loses ground contact.
Some SUVs are nothing more than a high-bodied estate car with four-wheel drive. Unfortunately, also with a higher fuel consumption and (although one sits higher up) less room in the interior. Added to all this there is the danger, due to their heavier weight, to 'normal' vehicles in the event of a collision. 08/08