SUVs bring along with them a certain charisma that makes them every car lover’s dream. Well, a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), very much like the expansion says, is meant for off-road driving & adventurous road escapades that you’d love to flaunt endlessly on your Instagram. 🙂 And like SUV’s have always been a rage in the Gulf, they’re the most sought-after vehicle in India of late. Consequently, the automobile market has also been kitting itself out to meet the rising demand & craze for SUVs. But, is the brand’s label enough to call an SUV an SUV? NO. In fact, it’s dismally underwhelming to see how so many normal big-sized cars or crossovers are selling out as SUVs while having quite a few or none of the SUV features they can boast of.
That’s right. If buying an SUV is your next plan, you need to know that only a vehicle with these 11 ESSENTIAL SUV FEATURES can be rightfully called an SUV.
1. 4×4 / 4WD
4×4 implies that the entire torque of the engine is distributed to all the 4 wheels of the car. Now, this can be of 2 types:
- On Demand
4×4 is a prime requirement for any SUV as this feature is highly essential for a vehicle that’s supposed to run over an offbeat terrain.
2. Ground Clearance
Since an SUV is meant for hitting the trails that challenge you all the time, it’s extremely important for you to gauge the ‘SUV’ for its ground clearance capability. With this, an SUV is ideally supposed to stand strong at its:
- Approach Angle
- Breakthrough Angle &
- Departure Angle
so that treading even through the most rocky & lofty terrain renders you a smooth journey, literally. Without having to survive any unpleasant jolts or damages.
Another major point here is the SUV’s Water Fording Depth.
It’s mandatory for you to know the SUV’s Water Fording Depth before you believe or take for granted that your SUV can manage trailing through streams or shallow water bodies easily.
Maximum Water Fording Depth is one of the key SUV features that everybody usually just presumes would be obviously okay.
3. Locking Differential
Locking differential is one of the most crucial SUV features you must never be oblivious to.
This is principally relevant when not all tyres of the SUV are in traction with the ground. Like you see in this image.
Locking differential allows for maintaining balanced rotation between the wheels connected to the same axle but may have ended up being in unequal or no traction with the ground. This feature is extremely necessary to get the vehicle out from that situation.
4. Heavy Duty Axle
There’s absolutely no point in having an SUV with a super powerful engine but a mediocre axle, which serves no purpose in transferring the high engine torque to the wheels. How inefficient then, right?
Ensure to check if the SUV you’re going to buy has a heavy duty axle.
5. ESC, HSA & TSC – the savior SUV features
Electronic Stability Control (ESC), though is a desirable feature for any car to have, it’s a must among crucial SUV features because with the kind of roads SUVs are designed to tread, there are comparatively more chances for an SUV to end up fishtailing. In situations when there is very little friction between the road/ground & the tyres of the vehicle (SUV here), the rear wheels tend to completely lose traction leading to over-steering & skidding mishaps.
To control or avoid such nasty situations, ESC senses the failure of the driver’s control over the brakes & applies assisted brake to bring the vehicle back on track. A huge safety feature that every SUV needs to have indeed.
The Hillstart Assist (HSA) feature is a godsend if you haven’t been a seasoned SUV driver who’s used to taking on chancy roads, hill slopes & vulnerable elevations. Though the conventional heel-and-toe technique of controlling the brake, accelerator & the gears simultaneously can help you sail through difficult hill surfaces, the HSA takes full control of the descent or ascent along an elevation without letting the SUV involuntarily slide forward or backward.
Trailer Sway Control (TSC) isn’t really a commonly available SUV feature in India. Nevertheless, an SUV is supposed to couple TSC along with the other SUV features too. Now, of course, this doesn’t get relegated to only the presence of a sturdy hook.
TSC defines the mechanism that fully orchestrates the swaying motion of the trailer/caravan (the vehicle that’s attached to the SUV’s rear with a hook) so that the driver can smoothly handle the turning motion while negotiating turns.
Though there aren’t practically many Indian SUVs that have this feature, you can expect the latest models to SUV possess this feature.
6. Anti-Roll Bar/ Sway Bar
NO. This isn’t the same as the above ‘SWAY’ feature.
The Anti-Roll feature prevents the SUV from tipping over its side or roof under fluky circumstances.
7. Skid Plates
If you’ve heard of skid plates before, I’m pretty sure what flashes is that funky-ish accessory that lies under the car’s bottom.
Nevertheless, we need to regard skid plates for what they’ve been conceived & designed for. The name says it all.
Skid plates should not be made of plastic or fiber, but heavy duty metal. That’s because skid plates are meant for protecting the sensitive & heart of parts of the SUV, that are embedded in the bottom. Like you wouldn’t want the fuel tank (which is located under the SUV’s bottom) to be affected or damaged when you happen to inevitably run your SUV over big blocks of rock or boulders. Would you? Your skid plates will save your SUV from such battering actions.
8. Off-Roading Tyres & Heavy Duty Brakes (the power SUV features)
Paying heed to the tyres of an SUV is equally critical before you buy your dream SUV; preferably a standard SUV.
Off-Road tyres are meaty tyres with deep threads & heavy & thick blocks making it possible for the SUV to hold perfect grip & be in proper traction with the ground.
Meaty Tyres & highly efficient brakes are almost mutually inclusive. For a heavy duty vehicle like an SUV, you can very well visualize driving off road when either your brakes aren’t good enough, or the tyres cannot conquer grip with the ground.
9. Satellite Navigation
Although this may sound way too much for you to look for in your dream SUV, Satellite Navigation is among paramount & high priority SUV features.
Because when it comes to off-road tripping with your SUV, you can never be a 100% sure about your phone battery, power bank, GPS or any of your road navigation aids will keep you propped up till you reach your destination.
And hence, it’s only Satellite Navigation system that saves you from the ordeal of getting stranded when all your navigation aids fail.
10. Utility Spaces (the essence of SUV features)
Ironically, the Indian automobile market, overtly popularizes SUV’s as a sporty & hep-looking league of cars, which are usually in no way any different from the big-sized or even mid-sized sedans.
However, ideal & mandatory SUV features are far from what is being brought into vogue.
If you check out the Thar or Jeep’s Wrangler, their bodies are uniquely shaped in order to lay out & articulate the characteristic UTILITY feature of SUV’s. That means you can attach & append any utility fixture or accessory to the SUV’s body. Whether it’s about attaching or carrying a bike, skiing gear or any thing of such sorts that you’d like to take along for your journey. An SUV is not just about SPACIOUS INTERIORS. But this Utility Space feature.
11. Snorkel Intake
Even if this doesn’t really make it to mandatory features of an SUV, I would still want to add SNORKEL INTAKE CAPACITY to the list of most desirable SUV features.
Snorkel Intake enables your engine to breathe when your SUV has to run over water bodies.
I would advise you against ignoring these features before salesy showroom dealers & fancy marketing ploys impress you big time. 🙂
Does your SUV have all these features? Or maybe, not all? I’d also love to answer your queries regarding SUV’s. Let me know in the comments.