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Old 6th October 2011, 16:00   #1
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Default Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

I have read in many threads that in an SUV, one does not get tired even after driving for long distances (as compared to say a hatch).

I am not trying to dispute the statement and I do not have experience of driving an SUV beyond a few minutes of test drive of a Safari.

I'm just trying to analyze and understand the statement better.

What factors can cause the tiredness for a driver and in what way are they less in an SUV?

Some that come to my mind:

Physical factors that can contribute to tiredness:

- Seating posture and comfort of seating arrangement
- Maneuvering movements of the body: Changing gears, holding stearing for hours, operating other controls etc.
- Jerks depending on road condition
- add more here...

Psychological factors that can contribute to tiredness:

- Stress depending on the traffic's nature, overtaking moments etc.
- Stress depending on the road conditions, bumpy roads, ghats etc.
- add more here...


Now what is it that an SUV brings to equation which of the above factors it helps alleviate?

- Reduced jerks etc. But usually not a big differentiator if you are driving on highways.

- Comfortable seats postures etc : Ok. May be it contributes to physical comfort. But, personally I feel other classes of cars don't have too bad driver's seats either.

- Height, better road view. Ok but how does it matter? Which of above factors does it alleviate?

- More space. But perhaps that doesn't matter to tiredness much (as long as we are not comparing with too cramped a car).

Which other aspects of an SUV alleviate which other physical or psychological stress factors and increase the driving stamina?
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Old 6th October 2011, 19:39   #2
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

Well, I think here's how SUVs make things better on a long drive :

1) space : the driver and co-pilot generally have more room to sit comfortably. I don't think it is a thumb rule for the mid and back row and many people often complain about the space in the middle and the last bench

2) psychological : when you're driving the SUV, you know very few people are going to mess with you; unlike when you drive a humble Alto.

3) leg room : a very imp. factor

Also, the threat to passengers in the unfortunate event of an accident, a SUV will protect better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayuresh View Post
- Comfortable seats postures etc : Ok. May be it contributes to physical comfort. But, personally I feel other classes of cars don't have too bad driver's seats either.
I feel it is the opposite, at least for the last bench. The suspension support for the last bench in a SUV is often a deal-breaker; very few would like to be there during a long trip.
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Old 6th October 2011, 19:51   #3
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

@Mayuresh, I think you have covered the points. For me:

1. Better posture. More like a chair. I find the posture in a SUV more natural.
2. Better under-thigh support. Combine this with #1

Combine above points with better visibility.
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Old 6th October 2011, 20:18   #4
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

I have noticed one thing though. IMHO people who drive SUV's normally fatigue their co-passengers when they drive small cars. This is because their driving style has changed to that of I am the boss and I can go on any kind of road. So you will have co-passengers bouncing all over the place when they drive small cars.

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Old 6th October 2011, 20:33   #5
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

I think tiredness/fatigue is relative. It depends on the traffic conditions, the vehicle and the way one drive. You have listed down most of the points. Here is my take on the subject.
  • The more powerful vehicle translates to less number of gear changes. Overtaking on highways would be easy.
  • SUVs generally have higher seating positions, leading to better view that helps to make better overtaking maneuvers.
IMO, these two are the most crucial aspects of fatigue-less driving. Again these depend on the driver also.

And personally, be it SUV or a hatch, I wear out fast if I don't wear my sunglasses
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Old 6th October 2011, 20:44   #6
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

Personally, I believe the ability to 'look over' the traffic in front and anticipate lane changes in advance is a very big plus. Secondly, you would have moved up in the road hierarchy which results in getting right of way a little faster - less waiting etc...

When travelling with family (including kids), the biggest advantage is the space for the children. They can stand up without banging heads, be more comfortable. That directly translates into less complaints and thereby a better experience for the driver.

All these directly make driving a bigger vehicle less stessful and therefore less fatigue.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:33   #7
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

I have the exact opposite view - SUVs (the ones I have driven anyway) require you sit up more forward / upright, which in turn burns you out quicker. Hatchback or Saloons (it has to be spacious, unlike alto/swift stuff), has a more relaxed seating position, allowing you to keep driving for longer.

All of the above is only when the roads and other cars are all proper and fine. If you are battling your way thru the traffic in most Indian roads, you are probably better off in a tank, truck, bus, suv... in that order.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:36   #8
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

Ah, some good discussion.

I drove a Captiva couple of weeks back & thats the only SUV I have driven. My observation is SUV can be much more comfortable than a hatch / a sedan. Reasons below:

1. Higher seating position
2. Better suspension in bad roads, so lesser tossing around or jolts inside.
3. Better average speeds leading to lesser running time - so you spend lesser time comparatively
4. Better view of road
5. People give space & you don't have to race to overtake
6. Lesser blinding issue in the night from the opposite side of traffic

But one of the problems I found was the middle row passengers feeling body roll. I am used to a Swift & usually drive it alone; so I sweep around the corners. Probably that's an issue with SUVs.

Last edited by swiftnfurious : 6th October 2011 at 21:38.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:46   #9
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

When compared to a hatch, a SUV will be comfortable. But when compared to a luxury sedan, the SUV will be less comfortable.

SUV has more body roll and unsettled ride when compared to a luxury sedan. This causes more fatigue and tires the person, hence is less comfortable.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:51   #10
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

2 things I have felt are:
  • Higher seating position let's you have better view of the road. This is not just the immediate road ahead of you but even further and lets you plan much ahead while driving. On the other hand a in low slung sedan/hatch you often can be worried about what lies ahead and the margin of error when you suddenly encounter something are narrow.
  • SUVs are better in handling different road conditions, including bad/broken patches and speed breakers. This does take away some stress.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:57   #11
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAS View Post
When compared to a hatch, a SUV will be comfortable. But when compared to a luxury sedan, the SUV will be less comfortable.

SUV has more body roll and unsettled ride when compared to a luxury sedan. This causes more fatigue and tires the person, hence is less comfortable.
True to a very great extent for the passengers. But, for drivers? If you are the sole traveller, a lot of factors come into play - traffic, distance, creature comforts in the vehicle.

On the MPEW, I am more comfortable in my hatch, since the lower CG gives a better ride quality.
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Old 6th October 2011, 21:58   #12
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

I think driver fatigue is related to the following factors:

-road conditions, the more traffic, more potholes, more pedestrians on highways
more vehicles at different speeds the worse the fatigue.
-weather: very bright sun, extreme heat, snow. I find a rainy or overcast day
very relaxing to drive.
-frequent clutch/gear/brake operation (related to road conditions above).
-airconditioning greatly contributes to a comfortable drive.
-suspension: excessive up/down and side to side movements cause fatigue.
-other factors: companion, music, enough water to drink on long drives.

the type and size of the car matters less than the above unless it affects these factors.
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Old 6th October 2011, 22:00   #13
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

It is very difficult to answer this question. It would be better if you had mentioned which cars you are comparing. For example, I did a trip in 2005 in my Baleno from Calcutta to Bhubaneshwar (450 Kms) and there was another scorpio which my friend was driving. After we reached Bhubaneshwar, my friend was not able to stand up properly due to back ache. On the other hand, I have a slipped disc but I was perfectly fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Also, the threat to passengers in the unfortunate event of an accident, a SUV will protect better.
IMO this is debatable as it depends on the construction of the SUV. The SUVs with monocoque construction will be safer than those with Body on Frame. Historically, the sedans are supposed to be safer than the Body on Frame SUVs. Also, the SUVs have higher chance of toppling.
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Old 6th October 2011, 22:14   #14
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

Having driven my Scorpio, and earlier on my Ford Ikon for close to 20 thousand kms each, (including several long trips of over 400 kms), based on my personal experience, my frank answer to the question is - No, SUVs (at least the Scorpio in my case) did not reduce driving fatigue. As discussed by others above, the fact is that there are pros and cons for both SUVs and sedans, and in the ultimate analysis, I feel there is not much difference
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Old 6th October 2011, 22:18   #15
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Default Re: Do SUVs decrease driving fatigue? How?

I found almost all the SUVs i have driven to be uncomfortable compared to any Sedan or Hatchback.
We have a 90s Landcruiser in our family and it jerks so much that it nreaks my neck everytime i sit in it.
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