Defining SUVs – A monster like car?

Ever since I have known cars, I have known what a Sports Utility Vehicle is. As a kid, I have known that it is a vehicle with big noisy engine, large fat wheels and I could barely see above its hood. The descriptions changed as I grew up but SUVs were essentially the same thing. Something that our government fails to understand. Now I don’t like to be rude but apparently these retards don’t know a thing about cars, or roads as we call them. A while back when the union budget was presented, the finance ministry put forward three conditions to classify vehicles as SUV.

Pajero Sports

So according to our government, a SUV is anything that runs on engine bigger than 1.5 litres, is longer than 4 metres and has a ground clearance of over 170 mm and will have to bear more taxes. And I fail to find the sense in it. Not everyone buys a SUV for the presence and to flaunt around. People are forced to buy SUVs for their daily commutes over long distances because of the road conditions. They cant spend hours everyday tackling potholes and hills that some might call speed bumps. People don’t like to use the last row seats and most of the times they carry as many people as a hatch or sedan would carry. I remember when I was a kid and we used to drive to some place, dad always used to say that we should get a SUV so that we can go faster on those roads.

Lets skip the SUVs for now. Would you term Suzuki SX4 as a SUV? If your senses work fine, you obviously wont. But if we go according to the tape measure technique our government follows, it is. Until now, we could see ‘ground clearance’ as an upside of the car, now it is a downside. Most models being sold in India have higher ground clearance to tackle the part tarmac part gravel route we have to drive on. So now we would see more designs like Quanto (yes, even I call that hideous). We have already seen the launch of many sub 1500 cc and sub 4 metre vehicles.

Mahindra XUV500 Front Right

Not only the companies are acting smart to find a way around these stupid tape measure regulations for new designs but some have found way for older models as well. We recently saw Mahindra add a stone guard on the XUV 5OO and as ground clearance is measured till the lowest point on car, that changes the ground clearance from 200 mm to 160 mm. Apparently the addition of stone guard is the only change and customers can remove it if they want to. This has brought down the costs by almost 30 K and we might see similar treatment on other cars as well.

But on a serious note, if someone has got any links, do ask Mr. finance minister to take his low ground clearance car for a drive outside the metro cities.

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