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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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ktache replied to richliv | 4 months ago
5 likes

Except they will have the wrong tyres on for that day.

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Sriracha replied to ktache | 4 months ago
5 likes

And with the right tyres they wouldn't "need" an SUV anyway!

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FlyingPenguin | 5 months ago
4 likes

So, open question, is it necessary to protect the non-SUV models in manufacturers ranges?  I know there have been moves to look at average emissions across a range, do we need to do similar for average size?

Recently, we were looking to replace our car, it's a Mondeo, average, standard family saloon, it's been great, it's just getting (very) long in the tooth.  We needed something with a little bit more load space (kids and family crap, we don't live on a farm) so, Mondeo Estate?  Mondeo gets discontinued.  Bugger.  Next step up, MPV?  So S-Max?  Discontinued.  Galaxy?  7 seats, but eh....  Bit big.  Only thing left in that "estate car would work fine" niche is the Kuga crossover, which isn't a good fit, but now we're getting into SUV territory.

In the end, we went for a Hyundai Tuscon, it's just 1cm wider than a Mondeo and quite a bit narrower than an S-Max and Galaxy, it's definitely not "Chelsea Tractor" territory, but it's high (although the same can be said of the S-Max and Galaxy).  There aren't that many non-SUV options between "average saloon" and "Chelsea tractor", and they're getting fewer by the year, which leaves SUVs (mid size at least) to fill the gap.  Things like the Ioniq, Niro and Kona (to take Hyundai and Kia as an example) don't really fulfil the "Estate Car" gap very well, or are getting into SUV territory anyway.

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BalladOfStruth replied to FlyingPenguin | 5 months ago
2 likes

I’m slightly confused by this post – your reasoning seems to be that you wanted an estate comparable to a Mondeo, so you look only at what Ford make, and as they don’t make them any more, you… got a Hyundai?

If a Mondeo-ish estate was what you’re after, what was wrong with:

  • Skoda Octavia Estate
  • Skoda Superb Estate
  • Peugeot 508 SW
  • Peugeot 308 SW
  • Kia Proceed Estate
  • Kia Ceed Estate
  • Vauxhall Astra Tourer
  • MG MG5
  • Subaru Outback
  • VW Passat Estate
  • VW Arteon Estate
  • VW Golf Estate
  • Seat Leon Estate
  • Suzuki Swace
  • Hyundai i40 Estate
  • Toyota Corolla Estate
  • Cupra Leon Estate
  • Mini Clubman
  • Ford Focus Estate

Or if you’re happy to go approved used (as these are the price segment above):

  • Volvo V60 estate
  • Volvo V90 estate
  • Audi A4 Avant
  • Audi A6 Avant
  • BMW 3 Series Touring
  • BMW 5 Series Touring
  • Mercedes C Class Estate
  • Mercedes E Class Estate
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake

I mean, if you looked at the options and got what you wanted – whatever, but your post seems to suggest you had to get an SUV because nobody makes anything else, which ^^ isn’t true.

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FlyingPenguin replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
2 likes

No, they still exist, but they are getting rarer and from brands that I trust the options just weren't there.  From your list I would immediately exclude about half of it because I don't trust them.  Peugeot, Vauxhall, MG, VW.  They will never get my money because I just don't regard them as reliable brands.  I'm not buying shit.

Others on the list fall down on the specifics of the interior and load space, the Clubman and Focus for example, which are small cars with estate backs rather than full size estates.  

Others just aren't available locally to test drive, the MG, Leon and Swace for example, we've got dealers for most of the rest.

As for the second list, the brand and/or sporty nature makes them insurance liabilities, even if we can get them used.

To be fair, we probably could have given the Skodas more of a look in, but I don't have the patience to make it a project at some point it became "what can we get that's reliable and from a locally available brand that is within budget", and the options are much narrower than they were 5-10 years ago, when I'd have had a whole heap of options from basically evey brand.

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ktache replied to FlyingPenguin | 5 months ago
3 likes

No more new Volvo estates now. Just their pointlessly huge vehicles now.

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mark1a replied to FlyingPenguin | 5 months ago
1 like

FlyingPenguin wrote:

No, they still exist, but they are getting rarer and from brands that I trust the options just weren't there.  From your list I would immediately exclude about half of it because I don't trust them.  Peugeot, Vauxhall, MG, VW.  They will never get my money because I just don't regard them as reliable brands.  I'm not buying shit.

Others on the list fall down on the specifics of the interior and load space, the Clubman and Focus for example, which are small cars with estate backs rather than full size estates.  

Others just aren't available locally to test drive, the MG, Leon and Swace for example, we've got dealers for most of the rest.

As for the second list, the brand and/or sporty nature makes them insurance liabilities, even if we can get them used.

To be fair, we probably could have given the Skodas more of a look in, but I don't have the patience to make it a project at some point it became "what can we get that's reliable and from a locally available brand that is within budget", and the options are much narrower than they were 5-10 years ago, when I'd have had a whole heap of options from basically evey brand.

Just my $0.02, you exclude VW on the grounds of reliability but would've considered Skoda? You know they're basically the same platforms? I have a VW Caddy van (with rear seats, windows, etc) it's a 2017 LWB I've had from new and I'm keeping it for life now, it's the perfect vehicle for rural transport, bike trips, family holidays (3600 miles of last chance easy European tour of FR/BE/NL/DE/CH/IT) with 4x people, luggage and bike. Cheap insurance, VED, servicing and apart from a battery problem fixed under warranty, has never been anything other than reliable. 

I like Hyundai too as it happens, the other car in the household is an Ioniq 5; best EV currently on the market IMO, and I had one of the first BMW i3's back in 2014, no comparison really. 

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to mark1a | 5 months ago
0 likes

mark1a wrote:

Just my $0.02, you exclude VW on the grounds of reliability but would've considered Skoda? 

The VW family is generally considered one of the most reliable, and certainly fairly easy to fix due to the crossover of parts etc. 

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Sriracha replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 4 months ago
4 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

mark1a wrote:

Just my $0.02, you exclude VW on the grounds of reliability but would've considered Skoda? 

The VW family is generally considered one of the most reliable, and certainly fairly easy to fix due to the crossover of parts etc. 

That's the marketing. My Skoda has needed 2 injectors at near a grand each time, the A/C packed up, the windows work on Tuesdays, the nearside mirror adjusts in one axis only and neither heats up. My VW is on its third turbo, the central locking works on Wednesdays, the rear door window mech has been replaced twice, and the bodywork has rusted through in two panels. My sister's VW had to be replaced by the dealership because the DSG gearbox was basically shit mated to the small petrol engine. I would not recommend them at all.

Oh, and they are duplicitous lying bustards too.

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BalladOfStruth replied to FlyingPenguin | 5 months ago
2 likes

FlyingPenguin wrote:

No, they still exist, but they are getting rarer and from brands that I trust the options just weren't there.  From your list I would immediately exclude about half of it because I don't trust them.  Peugeot, Vauxhall, MG, VW.  They will never get my money because I just don't regard them as reliable brands.  I'm not buying shit.

 

 

mark1a wrote:

Just my $0.02, you exclude VW on the grounds of reliability but would've considered Skoda? You know they're basically the same platforms?

Yeah - not criticising how you've spent your own money, but I can't help but notice a few flaws in the logic here. The first post essentially said there are no family estates anymore so the SUV was the only option - I thought of 28 off the top of my head and I will have missed some.

Now you're arbitrarily writing off half of the brands and doesn't look like this is based on research. For example, you said that the VW Passat is "shit" and "unreliable" (despite it scoring 96% in a reliability survey, compared to the Hyudai Tuscon's 97%) and the Skoda Octavia would be worth more of a look - but they're the same car underneath.

Again, the comments on load space don't seem to be based on research - for example, the Ford Focus estate (a "small car with an estate back") has a luggage capacity of 575 litres with the back seats up compared to the Tuscon's 539. The Passat is 640, the Seat Leon (also an estate back on a “Golf-sized” hatchback) is 620, etc. I can't be bothered to pull up the specs for each car on the list, but SUVs are generally pretty cramped inside as a fact of their form-factor. The only car smaller than the Focus on that list is the Mini, so I wouldn't be surprised if every other car on that list can actually out-load the Hyundai.

Not wanting to look any further than the immediate area is your choice, but if I was going to drop *looks up the price of a Tuscon* £32,000 on something, I'd be happy to go to the next town over if it meant getting the most suitable car - last time I bought a new car, I was going 40-45 miles out to check out my options.

The insurance point is fair enough - the second list are all a little higher insurance group than the others (not excessively though - like 23-30). Some are comparable, such as some versions of the Audi A4 Avant being the same group as the Tuscon (19).

Like I said - you've look around and got what you want and that's fine. But nothing you've written really suggests that it was the only option and you had to get an SUV.

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bigwheeler88 | 5 months ago
9 likes

Nobody needs a SUV car, especially in urban areas. The real sport utility vehicle is an electric cargo bike. Sport of cycling and utility of carrying everything you need! Cities and even suburbs would all be better off if the monster cars were outlawed and the cargo bikes were subsidised.

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wtjs | 5 months ago
6 likes

I never wrote any statistics, you did. Why do you love electronic bikes so much? Does your wife have one or something?

That ought to confirm to Rendel who this inept retread is!

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Rendel Harris replied to wtjs | 5 months ago
4 likes

wtjs wrote:

I never wrote any statistics, you did. Why do you love electronic bikes so much? Does your wife have one or something?

That ought to confirm to Rendel who this inept retread is!

Suspected as much, the posed illiteracy is a red flag in itself...

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BalladOfStruth replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
6 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Suspected as much, the posed illiteracy is a red flag in itself...

Well, he's gone already.

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Rendel Harris replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
5 likes

Good work mods, quickest disposal ever!

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
2 likes

Kinda - noticed this account month(s) back but it was just odd and not a definitive Nige then. Maybe it's a new game and they took their account down themselves?

Having heard about the Wikipedia stuff it seems like road.cc may be but a minor break in a busy day...

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chrisonabike replied to wtjs | 5 months ago
4 likes

Yes - another persona they dug up again from the past. IIRC they claimed to be a Dutch bike shop owner when using this one before! If I've not confused the various multiple identities that is. (But since they can't even keep track themselves why should I?)

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wtjs replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
6 likes

IIRC they claimed to be a Dutch bike shop owner when using this one before!

I spotted him as a PBU when he first began this foolish imitation- educated Dutch English speakers are generally as 'grammatical' as we are- and I claim my £5

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Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
1 like

Cars have been getting bigger, but the road, parking spaces and so on haven't - because it is of course very difficult to just make a road wider. The addition of cycle lanes also narrows lanes, and while a cycle lane is generally considered a good thing, it does put pressure on the cars and roads. 

I think we're in a big transition phase - roads need to get better, the number of cars is going to increase, and the network need some serious upgrades. Getting cycle lanes out of roads and onto separate infra like some European countries do well would be a start (but knowing what our infra is like, the lanes will be shoddy)

In short, it's not the cars or the speed limits - its the general direction we are headed in. Even a tesla is very wide - and a lot are not SUV's per se

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chrisonabike replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
5 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Cars have been getting bigger, but the road, parking spaces and so on haven't - because it is of course very difficult to just make a road wider.

Well - it's not easy to fight the market - unless of course we want to ("war on some drugs" - which to be fair was lost almost everywhere).

Cars getting bigger is no more inevitable than cars becoming electric. Or electric bikes and scooters appearing on the streets. Or indeed any of our transport choices. (Doing nothing is also a choice...)

Interestingly there are examples from several nearby countries - with the same access to car brands as here - where they've decided that they should actually go the opposite way and make roads smaller. Maybe by adding cycle infra, or more pedestrian space, or trams or just some nice places to walk / sit / some greenery.

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wycombewheeler replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
9 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

Well - it's not easy to fight the market - unless of course we want to ("war on some drugs" - which to be fair was lost almost everywhere).

Unlike drugs it is perfectly feasible to legislate against monster cars, no one is going to be buying an SUV from some dodgy guy in a shady back street.

set out maximum dimensions (length, width, height and weight) for new car registrations, with exemptions for work vehicles, which must be vans or pick ups and not just over sized land rovers.

I'd also extend this to power limits, and minimum fuel econmy figures as well. Being out of the EU should allow us to control our own roads. Could be the first actual benefit of the whole debacle.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to wycombewheeler | 5 months ago
0 likes

wycombewheeler wrote:

I'd also extend this to power limits, and minimum fuel econmy figures as well. Being out of the EU should allow us to control our own roads. Could be the first actual benefit of the whole debacle.

So, how would that be policed! Minimum fuel economy? I'm all for good economy, but that is impossible to police. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
8 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

So, how would that be policed! Minimum fuel economy? I'm all for good economy, but that is impossible to police. 

Easy - you set your guidelines on vehicle length/width, bumper height/bonnet height to be as pedestrian-friendly as possible (e.g. wipe out the plague of stupid crossovers that are just higher, heavier, and less economical for the sake of fashion, while providing zero benefits over a family hatchback). You set guidelines on maximum engine displacement, maximum power output (nobody needs a 600bph V8 in this country) and minimum manufacturers stated combined MPG, and then you just ban the import of, or new sale of anything that doesn't comply.

Then, you have an approved list of towing and off roading vehicles that require an additional licence that can then be applied for if you can prove that you need them - this can be handled in a similar way to firearms licences so that you don't price people who need them off the road (contrary to the beliefs of other commenters, £5,000 annual VEDs won't get Range Rovers off the streets of London, they'll just screw over people that live in remote rural areas that actually do need 4x4s, but aren't rolling in cash).

Edit: Also - make WFH a legal right for any job role where it would be possible, and provide incentives and subsidies to any company willing to trial a 4-day week. Hey presto, a 20-30% reduction in rush-hour commuter traffic and a significant reduction in idiots who live and work in Birmingham buying Hilux's purely because they think it makes them look cool.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
0 likes

So basically, we would live in a government controlled state where there may as well be only one nationalised motor company as all cars will be pretty much the same due to detailed legislation?

Minimum MPG numbers wont help - it's how you drive a car that will. 

WFH? No way, people should be back in the office, and yes - you would need to subsidise 4 day firms to allow for the lost revenue. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
7 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

So basically, we would live in a government controlled state where there may as well be only one nationalised motor company as all cars will be pretty much the same due to detailed legislation?

There are already stringent regulations on most of those things (and plenty more besides) and there's still plenty of choice in the car market. I see no issue with tightening a few up to prevent cars getting dangerously massive purely for the sake of fashion.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Minimum MPG numbers wont help - it's how you drive a car that will.

Unless you're suggesting that everyone currently drives their car in first gear with the throttle floored to get as low an MPG as possible, then yes it will help - even if they do, a car with a high combined MPG driven in this way will be more efficient than one with a low combined MPG.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

WFH? No way, people should be back in the office, and yes - you would need to subsidise 4 day firms to allow for the lost revenue. 

Why? WFH has massive benefits in terms of quality of life and costs, it gives people hours of their day back and gets pointless traffic off the road. I work in tech and it's become a pretty standard way of working - in my experience it increases productivity as it allows people to flex thier day to match incoming workflow, etc. There are only three reasons I can think of for someone to be against WFH:

  1. You're a commercial landlord who's terrified that a company might downsize thier office.
  2. You're an empty suit middle-manager who can't justify their own existence unless there are people in the office for you to micro-manage.
  3. You're an idiot.

Same for the 4-day week - providing that the company operates in a way that would make them suitable for it (a lot won't, obviously), then there have been numerous studies that show a 4-day week either has no negative impact on productivity, or even increases it.

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Rendel Harris replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
7 likes

BalladOfStruth wrote:

There are only three reasons I can think of for someone to be against WFH:

  1. You're a commercial landlord who's terrified that a company might downsize thier office.
  2. You're an empty suit middle-manager who can't justify their own existence unless there are people in the office for you to micro-manage.
  3. You're an idiot.

4. You're a contrarian troll with so little going on in life that you get off on provoking a reaction from people on a website you spend huge amounts of time on even though you are continually moaning that it's rubbish.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

4. You're a contrarian troll with so little going on in life that you get off on provoking a reaction from people on a website you spend huge amounts of time on even though you are continually moaning that it's rubbish.

Someones feeling cocky this morning. Your road.cc puppets bowed to your latest command did they?

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
3 likes

There's a great bit at the end of Good Morning Vietnam when Sergeant Dickerson is told by the General that he is sending him to Guam, the General says, "I've covered for you a lot of times cause I thought you were a little crazy. But you're not crazy, you're just mean."

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to BalladOfStruth | 5 months ago
0 likes

You can make quite a difference to MPG depending on how you drive, but the original issue still remains - how do you police this. Plus the amount of legislation required to ban any mods or tuning would be massive, and be hugely detrimental to the whole vehicle market from sellers down to garages. 

There's a reason people who WFH are known as TWATS. It's not so productive, you can't learn from your colleagues as well, it's harmful for collaboration, and doesn't give you much in the way of promotion/prospects. Out of sight is out of mind. 

4 day weeks are a myth - companies will lose money, unless they pay to a 4 day week rate, i.e. less than a 5 day employee. It just doesn't work in so many service related industries for a start, an IT company or construction company couldn't just decide to give all it's employees every Friday off, and even if the days are staggered, it's detrimental to relationships and efficiency if people deal with different people day to day. 

How about visiting clients too - you wouldn't invite clients into your home for example, unless you lived in a mansion. 

WFH on the odd occasion to facilitate illness, dentist trips etc, yes I get that. But not full time. Just my tuppence though. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 5 months ago
5 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

You can make quite a difference to MPG depending on how you drive, but the original issue still remains - how do you police this.

I'm really struggling to see the point you're trying to make here - yes, the manner in which someone drives dictates fuel efficiency, but if you take the efficiency level that the average motorist drives at, and give them a much more efficient engine, their efficiency will increase. Someone doing a consistent 70mph in a 90s V8 Range Rover would see massive improvements in efficiency if they swapped to (for example) a new Seat Leon with a 63 combined MPG.

As for policing, like I said - you regulate a minimum level of efficiency and ban anything new that doesn't meet it. You're regulating the efficiency of the engine, not the manner in which people drive.

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

There's a reason people who WFH are known as TWATS. It's not so productive, you can't learn from your colleagues as well, it's harmful for collaboration, and doesn't give you much in the way of promotion/prospects. Out of sight is out of mind.

Don't agree with any of that. It's becoming the standard for some sectors, such as tech. I WFH, my productivity has increased, I have no issues collaborating/troubleshooting with colleagues, and I've had no issues securing pay-rises or promotions, so you're wrong on all those counts. If hands-on collaboration is required, then have 1-2 days in the office - you still have the benefits (such as happier, more productive staff, cost savings, less traffic, etc) on the other days. How many people need to visit clients these days, even in the small minority of roles where that would be a thing anyway? I visit a client at most, every couple of years in my role and company-wide only a couple of staff have regular interaction with clients (which has been done via Teams for years).

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

4 day weeks are a myth - companies will lose money, unless they pay to a 4 day week rate, i.e. less than a 5 day employee.

You're going to need to substantiate that. Every study I've seen suggests the opposite. Also, I said in my initial comment that a 4-day week does depend on a company's operations being suitable to it.

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