Car for the application

A friend of mine called me wanting some advice on purchasing a SUV. I recommended a few as there is a plethora of them in the market .Knowing that he is one of those people who is very afraid to get some sand between his toes, I asked why an SUV?

Here was some of his answers:
1)    My friend has one and said it was the ideal vehicle? Ideal for what???
2)    I need to transport my boys and their cricket kit. Really??? You need a 4x4 for that?
3)    My wife likes how it looks……Ok …. that may be the best reason yet.
4)    It’s safer……Than what?

There is no reason you need to buy a SUV when a sedan or station wagon will do just as well or be better suited for your application. SUV’s are heavy, have a higher centre of gravity, in some instances, smaller luggage room than a sedan, are heavy on fuel and contrary to manufacturers claim, not a full seven seater. 

I don’t have anything against people that want to be seen in a SUV, but is it the right vehicle for your needs. Let’s take a station wagon. The luggage room is enormous. There is sufficient space for your kids and their friends. The vehicle has every safety feature imaginable (comparing it to a SUV of the same price), and more in some instances depending on the brand. 

A sedan was designed for family use and as such has enough room and luggage room to accommodate a family of 4 quite comfortably when compared to a SUV in the same price bracket. Sedans and station wagons are safer as their centre of gravity is lower and thus their road holding is not compromised.

There was a case at one time where a very popular brand’s SUV was rolling over on gravel and tarred surfaces due to suspension problems. They claim that this has since been resolved, but is it safer than a sedan?  

So my advice to potential SUV buyers is to first assess if their desire to own a SUV stems from the fact that their neighbour has one or there is a real need for a vehicle of these capabilities. If ground clearance is what you looking for there are vehicles out there that cost half as much and will give you just that. If you go to an area that requires you to have an SUV with 4x4 once a year, then don’t buy one unless you have more money than brains. Hire one when you need it. 

If like me, you factor in the cost of repairs, when the vehicle is out of its maintenance contract, the appeal of owning a SUV, dies a quick death.

If like my friend the call of the wild and wide open spaces means the parking lot at the nearest mall please don’t put your money in a SUV. The flavour on the last 10 years may have been SUV, but with the petrol hikes and the cost of motoring going through the roof, you may want to revisit the idea of owing a vehicle which you can only use to its maximum once a year. 

Sagie Moodley