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Old 2nd March 2011, 16:33   #1
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Smile Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

What type of car is best for city driving?
This is something many of us mull over, right from the time we buy our first car to (probably) the last car we own. But there seems to be no easy answer. We consider hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, MUVs, dream of tiny two-seater cars, consider even autorickshaws... and then many of us, finding no definitive answer, resort to motorbikes. Many of us on the other hand, go for cars, preferring the safety and protection against weather & dust that a car offers, choosing to go through the hassle of city driving for that.

Sometimes I have heard it suggested that a bigger vehicle like an MUV or SUV is really easy to drive in the city, citing various reasons like:

(Reason 1) "Bikes and autorishaws don't mess with bigger vehicles".

(Reason 2) People see a big vehicle and don't expect it to be agile, so they don't force their way in front of it.

(Reason 3) People are aware that a small car will have much thinner metal, so a hatchback/sedan owner will hurry to make sure his car doesn't get touched, whereas an owner of a Bolero or Sumo would not take such care.

(Reason 4) SUV owners are (perhaps) richer, therefore more influential, so people fear to bump into an SUV. A hatchback owner is almost certainly a small-fry, office-going middle class person who is helpless in case of any incident, so he can be easily scared and bullied to get out of the way.

(Reason 5) An MUV is probably a yellow-board (commercial) vehicle being driven by someone who is not its owner, so he will not take much pain to avoid an incident. Or worse, it may belong to a policeman or a politician. So he must be avoided carefully.

In this context, this thread is to get opinions and evaluate what is true and what isn't. Especially, people who drive MUVs / SUVs can provide comments on this. How easy or difficult do you find it to drive an MUV or SUV compared to a city hatchback?

One aspect of this should be considered: What makes the commute so much of a hassle?

- It is not that the roads aren't wide enough. They are (in Chennai at least).

- It is not the amount of traffic that piles up. I can start early and wait when I have to wait. Even in US we have one-hour commutes for a short distance when the traffic is high.

+ What does make it so much of a hassle is: people coming too close! On left, right and behind, they come inches - if not centimeters - close, both when moving and when stopping. They drive in a threatening manner, as if to say "Make way for me, or else I will nick your vehicle". This is what makes the commute such a hassle, and makes people fear driving (true in my case at least). Not that we don't have the skills, but the general fear that some moron will bump into our car, as does often happen. Out of the thousands of vehicles that come centimeters close to our car, what are the chances that one will accidentally hit, bump or scrape? One in a thousand? One in ten thousand? Even that is high, considering the number of vehicles that come so close.

From this perspective, does an MUV or SUV solve any problems? Is it true at all, that people don't mess with bigger vehicles? Or, is it a myth similar to "people make way for the Bullet"? From what I can see, people don't care what type of vehicle the other vehicle is - public buses are an exception. Other than that, whatever the vehicle it is, people will move inches or centimeters close. Am I right?

Request people experienced with MUVs & SUVs to provide their feedback. It will be useful for city drivers to make decisions based on that.

Note: I am not covering "parking" as part of this thread. Parking is easier in hatchbacks, for obvious reasons.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:02   #2
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Have actually found it much easier to drive in town in an SUV vs a sedan.

1) People make way for Taller vehicles.
2) One can see the corners of the car better due to the errect and raised seating position and are able to move into slots better.
3) One is able to see the traffic ahead of the car in front better and plan overtaking better. One knows if it's going to be better to move into the left lane or the right lane based on the traffic ahead - which is something one just does not know in a sedan untill one moves into the lane.

Recently I was coming to office and had a nano for company for most of the route and it actually was the tight traffic section in which I moved ahead of the nano which actually kept pace with me in the moderate traffic section. The story continued on the return journey with another Nano and this time I had choosen a road with higher traffic and this time too this nano too got left behind. I was in an Aria. I have similary also found the Safari to be better in traffic than the Laura.

Yes the driver too matters and most SUV / MUV drivers might be a bit more aggressive than in sedans but somehow it's for me been much easier getting through traffic in taller and larger (read imposing) vehicles than in smaller ones.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:08   #3
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Of the most important aspect to consider is parking space.

Agreed an SUV is simpler and less work to drive for all the reasons already mentioned.

But when it comes to parking (something none of us can do without), it becomes a pain finding enough space.

I know so many people who keep their MUVs, SUVs at home while commuting in the city (except while on way to office where parking is assured) just because a sedan or a hatch is easier to park.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:31   #4
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

For city driving, let me go a step ahead and say there is nothing to beat the i10(Dont throw shoes please....)

@libranof1987
At-least in chennai parking a SUV is as easy as parking a Nano.

Being big has its own disadvantages where a smaller hatchback will be preferable.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:31   #5
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

speaking of myself in my Scorpio i find it very comfortable to drive both in city and outside. its compact proportions also enable me to park with relative ease.
the only thing I dont like is when I have to give it to a valet to park - but thats more from a "possessive" point of view.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:53   #6
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

It will be better to drive an SUV/MUV through city roads if you do not intend to park it anywhere in the city. I think this sums up the discussion
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Old 2nd March 2011, 18:15   #7
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Quote:
Originally Posted by clevermax View Post
It will be better to drive an SUV/MUV through city roads if you do not intend to park it anywhere in the city. I think this sums up the discussion
That more or less sums it up.

My colleague has a Safari and a City. He prefers the City in the city as he prefers it for maneuverability and parking (narrow parking spaces). Hell, even I prefer my WagonR over the City if I have to go to crowded places.

Last edited by asr245 : 2nd March 2011 at 18:17.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 19:18   #8
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Thanks all. So.. Two things:
1. So it is true then that MUVs and SUVs are easier to drive in city, and only parking is more difficult?

2. The smaller MUVs like Bolero and Sumo seem to have smaller dimensions than most sedans, am I right? So are the as easy to park + drive, making these the ideal city vehicles?
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Old 2nd March 2011, 19:21   #9
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
speaking of myself in my Scorpio i find it very comfortable to drive both in city and outside. its compact proportions also enable me to park with relative ease.
the only thing I dont like is when I have to give it to a valet to park - but thats more from a "possessive" point of view.
I could'nt agree more. While travelling to the more congested parts of the city, I prefer my Scorpio (and earlier my Qualis). For the better managed roads I prefer my Corolla and for places where turning radius is critical I take my Ford Ikon. An SUV with its muscular bumpers and side running boards does allow one to take liberties with road space. If stuck in a traffic snarl, I am more at ease in my Scorpio and enjoy my music while waiting for the road to clear up.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 20:03   #10
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

I guess the higher stance and better view while sitting in an SUV apparently makes it feel easier to drive in the city.

Many a time, being in an SUV has helped me switch lanes way ahead of many others because I can see any apparent road/lane block way ahead of most sedans/hatches. I avoid the last minute rush to switch lanes in such cases.

On a regular day, I take just about 10 minutes more to cover 11 kms in my truck compared to what I would in my Esteem.

Parking is an issue in the city, but often I get to park in some places where a sedan or hatch back would not be able to - for example, an uneven patch on the road side which will be avoided by sedans and hatch back for fear of damaging their car's under body
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Old 2nd March 2011, 20:06   #11
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

^^ Kairalee, Where/which part of Bangalore do you drive and cover the 11 kms in 10 mins ? I envy you
I completely agree about the parking - I often park in an uneven surface where none dares to park. I always look back my beast after parking like that - the stance would be so violent in few uneven road/curb surfaces


Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Thanks all. So.. Two things:
1. So it is true then that MUVs and SUVs are easier to drive in city, and only parking is more difficult?

2. The smaller MUVs like Bolero and Sumo seem to have smaller dimensions than most sedans, am I right? So are the as easy to park + drive, making these the ideal city vehicles?
I wouldnt conclude that "parking is difficult" for SUV/MUV. If you have the Parking assistance [rear camera] installed and get used to its calibration [you get it in a couple of parking instances], then it will be very precise and safe to park/reverse.
My personal experience is that after I got used to the reverse guiding system on my Safari VX, it was difficult for me to calculate myself the distance on my Marina !
To me, City driving with my Safari is as easy as it was with my Marina, but I took some time to get used to Marina's dimension since nothing beyond whipper blade is visible in front, the same case with Innova and most other hatch-backs [Figo may be an exception].
As long as you adjust you seat height to your taste/requirement, you would be very comfortable in driving the SUV within the city limits, except Endeavour where you dont get the seat height adjustment !

Prem.

Last edited by kaviprem : 2nd March 2011 at 20:10.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 20:07   #12
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

I think a more relevant comparison would be MUV/SUV vs. a hatch.

In this case, the dimensions and parking feasibility would make the difference.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 20:43   #13
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
I think a more relevant comparison would be MUV/SUV vs. a hatch.

In this case, the dimensions and parking feasibility would make the difference.
Hmm, well that is exatly what this topic is not, because the answer to that is obvious . I want to know whether the size makes it easier when driving, and looks like our friends with S/MUVs feel it is so!

This question occurred to me because, after a long time driving Figo I drove Alto. Initially I thought driving Alto after Figo should be much much easier, because of the smaller dimensions. But it wasn't particularly easier, in fact I found more people trying to cross my path (may be subjective, or pure luck as in more traffic at that particular time - but just percieved it that way)! Then a discussion started among my gang about this, and one person claimed that he finds SUVs easiest to drive in city!
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Old 2nd March 2011, 20:48   #14
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Agreed.

Life is simpler when you drive a MUV/SUV - 2-wheelers don't fool around as much, autos keep their distance, Volvo drivers have some respect for you.

But the moment you get into the narrow lanes of some -pallya or -sandra or -halli in Bangalore, every cm. you save off your car dimension helps!

Would largely depend on the road width, don' you think?
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Old 2nd March 2011, 21:08   #15
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Default Re: Is an MUV or SUV really easy to drive in the city?

Agreed, great point! Another factor that comes to mind is the concrete road where I live - in a suburb, actually - when a lorry comes, it becomes very tricky for a car to go in the opposite direction. The space is VERY tight, and these lorry guys don't even stop for a moment and it becomes scary. At such times I am glad I am not in a Scorpio/Safari! . I don't know how newbie drivers on my road handle this everyday. In fact one lady parked her car in the centre and refused to move, until the lorry guy gave more space. Everyone was talking as if she is crazy, because "there is enough space", but I think she was right - the lorry did have space on the other side too, and there is no reason she has to squeeze through tightly when he is having space on the other side.
But again, a Bolero or Sumo has the same width of my Figo... so I wonder if I would be any worse off in this situation.

OT: Ironically, this happens in a suburb concrete road which has an elevation difference between the road and soil. It wouldn't happen on a typical city road I guess.

Last edited by rajushank84 : 2nd March 2011 at 21:12.
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