SUV: pollutants, too big, too expensive … But why are we so crazy about it?


Accused SUV, get up! The attacks against this type of car that the French are crazy about are raining down like minutes these days. The latest: the relentless report of the WWF France association (World Wide Fund for Nature, World Wide Fund for Nature, in French) published on October 6. Among the grievances compiled, the one that hurts those who dream of it the most: their price. SUVs are indeed heavier (205 kg on average), and therefore more expensive to produce. But not only. Faced with the buying fever affecting motorists (40% of new cars are SUVs), manufacturers are taking advantage of this to increase their margins!

Another big defect of SUVs: their gluttony. Heavier, they consume more fuel and are therefore more expensive and more polluting. On October 15, the government announced the introduction of a penalty for vehicles over 1,800 kg, thus directly targeting large SUVs. The choice of this weight is not a coincidence: it exempts the models of French manufacturers, relatively light.

Like a kepi

The line of SUVs inspired by that of all-terrain vehicles does not help matters. Raised, with a straight windshield and a flat roof, these machines designed to ride on tracks are indeed an aerodynamic aberration on the roads. The silhouette of the SUV is less marked, less “kepi”. But they still have something of the first cars of the last century.

An old car in the shape of a kepi

Besides aesthetes and car enthusiasts and are not fans. For them, a beautiful car is tapered to cut through the air (like a sports car) or at least bodied to slip into it (like a sedan). Finally it must be low (like a racing car) to better stick to the road. In short, it’s anything but an SUV!

A sense of security

Heavier, more expensive, but also unguarded in the city … grievances against SUVs are not new. The AXA Switzerland accident study, which WWF points out, is undoubtedly less well known, but much more worrying. Taller than other cars, SUVs are more dangerous in a collision. It’s even worse for cyclists and pedestrians.

And yet, the feeling of security is one of the arguments advanced by SUV owners. ” I’m scared in the car, but not with ours », Says Armelle, who drives with her husband in Cherokee, the first SUV launched by Jeep. However, studies prove the opposite: SUV drivers are 10% more likely to have an accident. But as we know, when it comes to security, “feeling” is more important than reality.

A Jeep Cherokee

A Jeep Cherokee

For Jacques, owner of a Volvo XC60, it is above all a statutory choice. ” I’m a doctor in a village, it’s good to have a big car ” he confides. Formerly the notables drove in sedans. Today they are opting for a big SUV. It seems that only politicians, big bosses and suburban bosses still like to drive real cars … Let’s be fair, Jacques also appreciates the large trunk of his mega-SUV for shopping, a concern that no hardly had the country doctor from whom he took over.

A less “popotte” minivan

But ” the social factor »- as Anna, Jacques’ daughter laughs – who makes her father buy an SUV, is perhaps not what we think. Today the suit-jacket, even less the briefcase, is no longer a dream.

John Steed, hero of

John Steed, hero of “Bowler hat and leather boots” and his Range-Rover

Drifts of capitalism and the ravages of ultra-liberalism oblige, financiers and golden boys in sports cars no longer fascinate. From 1976 John Steed, the stylish hero of “Bowler Hat and Leather Boots” (“The Avengers”, the Avengers in English) swaps in the continuation of the series (the “New Avengers”) his Jaguar, Rolls and other Bentleys for a Range-Rover, the first luxury all-terrain vehicle, from which the high-end SUVs will be inspired. A sign of times to come, John Steed sometimes even wears a Barbour jacket!

Kind adventurer

In real life at the same time, the wealthiest and those who needed space flocked to MPVs (Renault Espace, VW Touran …), others to MPVs (Citroën Berlingo, Ford Transit, Renault Kangoo …). These spacious vehicles could carry gangs of friends and surfboards. In reality, they rather welcomed large families and baby seats.

And then the SUVs arrived. The bigger ones have replaced minivans, the more affordable the recreational vehicles, the side “popotte” less. In an SUV, you can think of yourself as an adventurer, more “tidy” than tidy cars. This is undoubtedly the key to their success. The proof ? they are mainly sold in town, where they are unnecessary!

The decades passed, the trend was confirmed. With its pleasantly adventurous look, the SUV fits in well with the current image of success and elegance. The car is always a question of style.



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