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View Poll Results: Your choice of the two?
Light weight or Lighter body panels 5 26.32%
Heavily Built or Tougher body panels 14 73.68%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 30th July 2010, 09:11   #1
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Default Light Weight or Heavy Build?

I have noticed quite a few cars have very thin & lightweight body panels. Most of these cars are japanase ones. This may be done to improve fuel efficiency but some may also argue that it increases pedestrian safety, safety of others in even of head on collision & also aids crumple zones. Frankly, i find such reasoning (apart from the FE) to be nonsense! i would be glad if someone wants to contradict me on this one!

examples of such cars are all suzuki, honda, toyota cars and the likes.

On the other hand, there are some cars who are relatively built stronger, that is, with heavy & strong body panels. They are not the most fuel efficient cars but i am sure they are safer in an event of a crash. Again some do argue that such heavy cars damage the other lighter cars a lot more in a collision. so how is the better built car to be blamed? i would ask, why was the other car built lighter or with such thin panels? also others say that these cars dont have good crumple zones which i feel is not true.

examples of such cars are the german cars or even our own tata & mahindra.

personally i prefer heavily built vehicles as they can take more abuse in the crowded & jam packed roads of mumbai, as in, they can take small shunts & knacks without any body damage, which i feel is essential. also, on highways, the floaty feeling of lighter built cars dont inspire a confidence in the driver.

So which is your choice of the two & why?
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:37   #2
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There is a common saying that "Light cars are dangerous"
But I differ from this. Light weight vehicles can be safe or even safer when the engineering design is focused on crash safety
A light weight vehicle will be less aggressive and unlike to cause heavy injuries to people outside the car. A light weight car can drastically reduce the overall number of deaths compared to the heavy cars as less mass reduces the energy.

And on top of it gives excellent Fuel efficiency, so my vote is for the light weight vehicles.
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:49   #3
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Does 'heavier' automatically imply 'stronger'? Alloys (used in wheels for instance), are far lighter yet stronger than steel, or so I thought.
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Old 30th July 2010, 09:58   #4
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I prefer heavy build since they add to the robustness of the car. No wonder we are fans of European cars like the W124, the Octavia and others.

"Built like a tank" is something which has always been in vogue.
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:04   #5
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My vote goes for those macho cars.
Reasons : Better stability at high speeds, Safety (My life is dear to me in case of a collision than worrying about others safety )
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
Frankly, i find such reasoning (apart from the FE) to be nonsense! i would be glad if someone wants to contradict me on this one!
The other reason is pedestrian safety. IIRC, in EU the cars must have 10cm space between engine and bonnet for pedestrian safety. The bumpers are also designed keeping in mind the safety of pedestrians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arunkk View Post
My vote goes for those macho cars.
Reasons : Better stability at high speeds, Safety (My life is dear to me in case of a collision than worrying about others safety )
Weight is not equal to stability. Fortuner cant even dream of doing high speed corners that Esteem, Baleno, Ikon can do.

To the best of my knowledge, what we are discussing here is skin panels and not chassis strength. Crumple zones are not skin panels but rather in monocoque cars its an integral part. We need crumple zones to absorb the impact energy, else all that will be transferred to our bodies leaving the car with less visible damage.

Voted for none of the options available.
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:17   #7
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I would prefer heavier vehicle only in view of the better stability and handling character it gives on highways.

I doubt whether 'built like a tank' european vehicles are in anyway superior in safety to the lighter Japanese/Korean vehicles. Better design of crumple zone, active safety features, clever usage of alloys/and other superior lighter metals can provide better safety in addition to being light in weight

And I dont think pedestrian safety is measured by how light the vehicle is. Rather it is about whether on hitting a pedestrian, the person would go underneath the vehicle or will be able to roll over the bonnet. This is what I heard - I may be wrong

Last edited by mallumowgli : 30th July 2010 at 10:19.
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:42   #8
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i personally would prefer a heavy built vehicle with solid body.

i remember when maruti was launched, i was in school, and i heard 'auto buffs' saying..."iski chaader bahot patli hai"! meaning its body panels are too thin.

and that car was compared with our two work horses of those times, Amby and Padmini. no doubt the maruti was too advance and modern for them, but was too thin! the body panels of maruti use to get dented easily and there were lots of complains regarding that.

its still the same with japanese cars even now, thin body panels and light weight body structure compared to heavy indian and european cars.
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:54   #9
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Heavy does not always mean more safety in an accident. Its all about construction methods used and the crumple zones. Plus light equals more FE . No wonder most manufacturers are investing millions on Aluminum and Carbon fiber as construction materials.
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Old 30th July 2010, 10:57   #10
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A nice poll Here are my two cents...Relativity is very important here
  1. Heavy (sturdier) vehicles for city or highway driving?
  2. The level of sophistication in the cars - active/passive safety, design dynammics, et al. Are we comparing a heavy-built luxury car in the range of 90 lac rupees and a lighter made economy car in the range of 4 lac rupees?
  3. Material used in the car body - heavy steel versus light carbon fibre versus weight reduction techniques used by substituting with low grade plastic
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:04   #11
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Lighter vehicles doesn't necessarily mean unsafe vehicles.
It all depends on how the chassis is designed and how well the crash structure is incorporated.
Amby is a heavy vehicle, does it mean is it a safe car?
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:06   #12
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I like lighter panels on a strong chassis (need not be heavy again). Well built, tightly screwed car again has nothing do with weight.

Active safety and even passive ones do not depend on weight anymore. Also, its good for the planet with FE.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:06   #13
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Overall car design & engineering is very important. I have driven sumo a lot. Its a heavy car. But you are scared at corners, turns, ghats at speed even more than 60. So it should be a good mix of design & engineering both.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:50   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post

Weight is not equal to stability. Fortuner cant even dream of doing high speed corners that Esteem, Baleno, Ikon can do.
You cannot compare Fortuner's stability to that of the above mentioned cars. Fortuner is a SUV. I found the stability of my fiancee's(now my wife) esteem not so good at high speeds because of its relatively low weight. It had a "floaty" feeling especially during high winds.
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Old 30th July 2010, 11:55   #15
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Well,

look at Polo and i20. i20 is much heavier, but Polo feels just a little bit tougher and stronger! (though i20 is great by Hyundai standards).

The weight not only comes from body panels but also from chassis. Euros typically have tougher body panels with thicker grade of sheet. However, quite a few of them have really strong chassis which are lighter too.

I voted for heavier grade materials..
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