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Monsters of the road: what should the UK do about SUVs?

Interesting piece in The Guardian about SUVs.

Quote:

Sold as a means of escape from the concrete realities of the modern world, a symbol of individualism and the pioneer spirit, the SUV represents instead a uniform kind of selfishness, a collective indifference to community to which, alas, we are all more or less prone.

 

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144 comments

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Tom_77 | 2 months ago
7 likes

Car tax in France is interesting reading. There's a huge one-off tax to register a heavily polluting car. There's also a one-off tax of €10 / Kg for every Kg over 1800 Kg, so a 1900 Kg car would cost an extra €1000 to register (EV's don't have to pay).

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ktache replied to Tom_77 | 2 months ago
3 likes
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levestane | 2 months ago
6 likes

Ad association!

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Spangly Shiny | 2 months ago
4 likes

I would like to see them all (Wankpanzers and pick-up trucks), speed restricted the way that vans are. i.e. 50MPH national limit and 60MPH on dual carriageways.

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mark1a replied to Spangly Shiny | 2 months ago
3 likes
Spangly Shiny wrote:

I would like to see them all (Wankpanzers and pick-up trucks), speed restricted the way that vans are. i.e. 50MPH national limit and 60MPH on dual carriageways.

Pick-up trucks already are. If they have class N1 type approval and a payload capacity of over 1000kg - which they would have to as the VAT & BIK tax advantages are only applicable if they are commercial vehicles, then they are subject to the same reduced limits as a van.

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wtjs replied to mark1a | 2 months ago
0 likes

Pick-up trucks already are. If they have class N1 type approval and a payload capacity of over 1000kg - which they would have to as the VAT & BIK tax advantages are only applicable if they are commercial vehicles, then they are subject to the same reduced limits as a van

I'm taking you as an expert, so this is useful information!

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grumpyoldcyclist replied to Spangly Shiny | 2 months ago
5 likes

They may be limited to 50 or 60 mph, but they don't observe it and speed cameras haven't been told about the different limits.
Bring back traffic police Richi

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lonpfrb replied to grumpyoldcyclist | 2 months ago
3 likes
grumpyoldcyclist wrote:

They may be limited to 50 or 60 mph, but they don't observe it and speed cameras haven't been told about the different limits.
Bring back traffic police Richi

It's negligent enforcement that speed camera systems don't use ANPRS and DVLA lookup to determine the allowed speed of each vehicle. This is all within government control.

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Simon E replied to Spangly Shiny | 2 months ago
2 likes

Good in principle but not much help when most of the crashes we read about are in urban areas, and surprisingly often on residential streets.

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bikeman01 | 2 months ago
3 likes

Its a problem caused by the exchequer when he effectively abolished ved bands based upon emissions in 2017.

Now prettty much all cars have a flat rate of £180 pa is it any surprise that that larger vehicles have bcome popular. 

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wtjs | 2 months ago
5 likes

And they're more the choice of VED and MOT evading crooks. I suppose that guzzler pickups are worse but similar to SUVs, although most of the new evading vehicles around here are Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Range Rover. Pickups are the worst in terms of numbers on the road. This one is 6 months without MOT.

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David9694 | 3 months ago
4 likes
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quiff | 3 months ago
4 likes

Paris Mayor trains sights on SUVs: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-67424678

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Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
1 like

SUV's will also never die due to other features, popular amongst slightly older people for visibility (like being higher up) more space, and the feeling of feeling more safe is something people also like. 

Like it or not, SUV's arent going away, they are the new norm. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
12 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

SUV's will also never die due to other features

Such as?

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

popular amongst slightly older people for visibility (like being higher up)

SUVs are well-documented for having significantly worse visibility than lower cars - hence the Americans constantly running over their own kids in them.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

more space

SUVs are famous for having less space than the equivalent model car. The Tiguan feels noticably more cramped than the Golf, the X3 is noticably more cramped than the 3 Series, etc. And as I've pointed out below, they fail in luggage capacity too with multiple compact estates shitting all over an alarmingly large SUV for boot volume.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

feeling more safe

That's dubious at best - it used to be that SUVs would almost always roll in even the most minor crashes due to the higher centre-of-gravity (and the amount of videos I've seen of '70-'73 plate Range Rovers upside-down in London recently doesn't make me think that's changed much). SUVs are only percieved as more safe because you're more likely to be hit by an SUV these days. You can hardly commend something for solving a problem that it caused in the first place.

An SUV is a worse car than the equivalent estate in every concievable way - it's bigger, heavier, less spacious, less nice to drive, cramped, difficult to see out of, dangerous, more expensive to buy, and more expensive to run.

SUVs are popular for the same reason that those stupid-as-fuck low-crotch trousers (that made it almost impossible to walk) were a few years back - they're fashionable. All of this extra damage, extra danger, extra pollution, and extra space being taken up is purely down to vanity not necessity.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to BalladOfStruth | 3 months ago
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I don't disagree with your points, I think If i was the Penguin below, I would have gone for a Skoda Superb, so much space and affordable and practical too. But the truth is, SUV's are here to stay. 

And it's about peoples perception - higher up =  better sight lines and so on. 

SUV's are categorically more safe though, whether that's down to the size or whatever, the end line is that they are more safe, and some data to back this up:

https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/latest-driver-death-rates-highlight-dan...

7 out of the top 10, and the majority in the safest cars are SUV's 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
12 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

And it's about peoples perception - higher up =  better sight lines and so on. 

Ehh maybe, but being higher up and being able to see over other cars is only a benefit until everyone else has an SUV. Also, they get this "far away" visibility by trading visibility of what's close around you. It's much more difficult to see what's immediatley around an SUV, especially behind - I drove a freind's XC40 the other week, and when reversing, the nearest ground you could see was miles away - like the other side of the road to the car-park I was in. You could have half a playground of kids behind you and you'd never know - and that's not even a big SUV.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

SUV's are categorically more safe though, whether that's down to the size or whatever, the end line is that they are more safe, and some data to back this up:

https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/latest-driver-death-rates-highlight-dan...

7 out of the top 10, and the majority in the safest cars are SUV's 

Firstly, that's a US article so it's bringing their absolute leviathans into the equation (an Escalade is actually bigger than a Sherman tank). Secondly, the article literally concedes the point I made above that the saloon cars are only "less safe" because they're being hit by large SUVs - it even says that "Seven of the 20 vehicles with the highest other-driver death rates are large or very large pickups, and four more are midsize SUVs". That's not a probelm that SUVs are solving, it's a problem that SUV's are creating.

Somone on Reddit the other day posted a picture of a Hyundai i40 next to some new GMC SUV thing (no idea what model), and the bonnet of the SUV was actually higher than the roof of the Hyundai. Of course the Hyundai would come off worse in a crash between those two - that doesn't mean the Hyundai is inherantly "unsafe", it means that the SUV is an utter liability and it shouldn't exist. An SUV would come off worse if it was hit by a lorry - does that mean SUVs are unsafe and we should all be driving articulated HGVs?

As for your point about SUVs being here to stay – unfortunately, you’re probably not wrong. They’re an unjustifiable menace, but I don’t see any of the empty-suits in Government doing anything about them any time soon. I’m just saying that they’re not here for any good reason. They’re not better or more practical than normal cars – they actually worse, almost nobody can reasonably justify owning one, and we could easily regulate them out of existence without affecting anyone’s quality of life.  

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marmotte27 replied to BalladOfStruth | 3 months ago
7 likes

Seems as if Right_is_for_Dickheads...

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Robert Hardy replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
4 likes

They are considerably more dangerous to pedestrians.

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neilmck replied to Robert Hardy | 2 months ago
0 likes

Here in France, pedestrians only bother to look half the time before they cross the road. On top of that, they never wear lights at night. As a cyclist in the Parisian region I would say that pedestrians are more dangerous than SUVs.

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andystow replied to neilmck | 2 months ago
5 likes
neilmck wrote:

Here in France, pedestrians only bother to look half the time before they cross the road. On top of that, they never wear lights at night. As a cyclist in the Parisian region I would say that pedestrians are more dangerous than SUVs.

So pedestrians kill more cyclists in Paris than SUVs do? That's... unbelievable!

I have more squirrels nearly crash into me every day than pedestrians or SUVs, but I know which is more likely to kill me.

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Rendel Harris replied to neilmck | 2 months ago
3 likes
neilmck wrote:

Here in France, pedestrians only bother to look half the time before they cross the road. On top of that, they never wear lights at night. As a cyclist in the Parisian region I would say that pedestrians are more dangerous than SUVs.

Obviously Paris is the City of Lights and all that but it might be taking it a bit far to expect pedestrians to be festooned with them. Is there anywhere in the world where pedestrians do habitually wear lights at night?

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andystow replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

Obviously Paris is the City of Lights and all that but it might be taking it a bit far to expect pedestrians to be festooned with them. Is there anywhere in the world where pedestrians do habitually wear lights at night?

I won't walk on the rural roads here without lights at night. Many running clubs require them for night runs, and I even see dog walkers with lights on them and their dogs. But not in cities.

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ktache replied to andystow | 2 months ago
1 like

There are a lot of light up collars on walked dogs this year. Red are the most stand out for me, then green, then blue. Last year and previously they were difficult to see,  somewhat fuzzy, this year, proper stand out and bright.

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Rendel Harris replied to ktache | 2 months ago
3 likes
ktache wrote:

There are a lot of light up collars on walked dogs this year. Red are the most stand out for me, then green, then blue. Last year and previously they were difficult to see,  somewhat fuzzy, this year, proper stand out and bright.

Loads in Battersea Park on the darkest section of the commute, trouble is the owners often still wear black clothes, hats and even scarves over their faces, so you spot the dog, fine, then have to slow right down until you've figured out where the owner is.

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Dogless replied to BalladOfStruth | 3 months ago
12 likes

I have a fabia estate which felt massive when I bought it. It's easily taken two adults, two kids, bikes and luggage on holiday multiple times. This week it was parked next to a new, swb defender and it looks comically small suddenly. AFAIK the defender has two functional seats and less boot space. I live 10 mins from the city centre and I'm 99% certain the owner isn't a secret farmer.
I don't get it. It's pure vanity, they're not even more practical.

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chrisonabike replied to Dogless | 3 months ago
4 likes

Being charitable, is it just that people:
 - like being higher up than others (psychological need)
 - like having an "outlook" (e.g. looking out further) (psychological need)
 - do SUVs* - while actually being even more space inefficient - offer more space *around* the front seats, for a feeling of spaciousness?
 - people very often gauge the value of things by what they cost, and these cost more - ergo they're "better".
 - once some people you know / aspire to have something, you're afraid of being the one without (more psychological needs)

* SUV - quite rightly there's debate about an expansive term (expansive by design, once it was known and manufactures realised people wanted "that").  Without making this circular are we OK with "larger / heavier / higher front than the previous generation ones"?  Else we'll be here all night...

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 3 months ago
5 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Being charitable, is it just that people:
 - like being higher up than others (psychological need)
 - like having an "outlook" (e.g. looking out further) (psychological need)
 - do SUVs* - while actually being even more space inefficient - offer more space *around* the front seats, for a feeling of spaciousness?
 - people very often gauge the value of things by what they cost, and these cost more - ergo they're "better".
 - once some people you know / aspire to have something, you're afraid of being the one without (more psychological needs)

* SUV - quite rightly there's debate about an expansive term (expansive by design, once it was known and manufactures realised people wanted "that").  Without making this circular are we OK with "larger / heavier / higher front than the previous generation ones"?  Else we'll be here all night...

Small vans provide all the benefits of SUVs apart from the social signalling. Vans are seen as being a working class vehicle and I suppose driving an SUV is like a peacock brandishing their huge tail - over-sized and not very practical.

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Shades | 3 months ago
12 likes

The royal chariot of the supremely self-entitled; the other argument is protection for kids which is why private schools are rammed with them.  You hear that SUV 'growl' on the road and you think a Challenger tank is approaching.  I grew up in South Africa/Zimbabwe in the 70s-80s; the only 4x4s available were very unreconstructed Land-Rovers, Toyota pick-ups and (poss) Land Cruisers; pretty much exclusively used by farmers (understandably).  Not for urban use.  We had a (not all at the same time) Chrysler, Mercedes (vertical lights) and a Ford Granada which happily towed camping trailers etc over some pretty hideous gravel roads; 100 Km of gravel road into the Zambezi valley once.  Happily trucked around game reserve gravel roads for a week.  Ordinary cars are more than capable.

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richliv replied to Shades | 2 months ago
2 likes

I spent a month on honeymoon driving a very ordinary Ford Laser around Namibia, including on dirt roads and bush tracks. Ok, the weather was good but it was more than capable. In the UK, SUVs are barely ever needed. Around me in the rural UK (N Somerset), so many people have them as main vehicles with no need except for that 1 day a year when it's snowbound.

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