Mothers have started to swarm in tightly organised groups of 200,000 or so toward the 4WD off-road car. Really and truly it’s hard to think of a more inappropriate selection of family cars.
I tell you people who have off road cars [in the city] are stupid and mad. They should be driven from the roads and birched to within an inch of their lives. Off road cars are daft, anti social and idiotic and the people who drive them are fools.”
These are direct quotes from British motoring Journalist Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame who is well known for his bluntly delivered opinions.
Jeremy tested 4WD’s and found them sub-standard in every feature a family car should have for use in the city:
Clarkson: “What I’m doing now is a very simple test I’m filling this 4.6L Range Rover Vouge SE up to the brim with Petrol … now what I’m going to do is take it for a little drive. ”
Then we’re going to come back and fill it up again and we’ll see just how many miles to the gallon (MPG) this thing is doing … let’s on road” (he says sarcastically) … ”
“Now this thing is fuel injected and you might think the fuel injectors are like tiny hypodermic needles delivering minute quantities of atomised fuel .. well they’re not. ”
Think in terms of 8 burly fireman squirting the petrol in through their hoses.”
Now I’ve been driving around for a couple of hours in the sort of stop start city traffic you get when you’re taking the kids to school or going to work and I’ve done 41.7 miles (67.1 KM) and what I’m going to now is fill it up to the brim again … which takes 20.85 litres – 3.2 km/L or 9 miles/gallon !!!”
This is obviously atrocious fuel economy when even a normal sedan can achieve 10km/L.
Parking & Traffic
“After the school run some of them head off to take more space than is strictly necessary in a car park (he says sarcastically) … You see them at the supermarket too and this is madness. If everyone in London changed their off-roaders for something smaller than every [traffic] jam would be halved at a stroke”
This is true in Australian cities like Sydney as well … consider the “river of steel outside every school playground” which is how Clarkson describes 4WD’s driven by parents and the terrible visibility they have to see children or anyone else darting past behind them.
Safety – Braking & Avoiding Accidents
Clarkson: “But more important than this is the safety … (he says sarcastically)” (cuts to two mothers in 4WD’s) …
Mum 1: “It’s the sort of vehicle that if somebody hits you, you’d be very confident that strapped in here you wouldn’t be hurt”
Mum 2: “It helps on the country lanes being up high”
Clarkson: “That’s nice. It means you can look down on lesser mortals and their ordinary cars. But it means the off-roader has to have a high centre of gravity which is not so nice .. if you have to take emergency action on a motorway it’s more likely to roll over than a normal car…
Then we have braking… or rather we don’t” (cuts to shot of 4WD taking over ten metres more to stop after braking compared to a sedan)
“So all things considered the off-road car is not good at avoiding accidents, what however it’s very good at is dealing with them once they happen … in a crash with a normal car the off-roader is clearly the place to be” (cuts to shot of 4WD crushing a sedan in an accident) … “4WD cars then are like nuclear weapons. If one person has one then for protection so must everyone else
Horrified at the thought? Just wait until petrol hits 7 pounds/gallon ($4.62/L) … lets see how many they sell”
What do you think … are SUV/4WD’s terrible family cars? What should parents chose instead: a people carrier, large sedan or something else?