What is an SUV vehicle

SUV or off-road vehicle? What's what?

The distinction between SUVs and off-road vehicles is difficult at first glance. But there are very clear criteria for this.

  • What does SUV mean?

  • What makes an SUV?

  • What makes SUVs so popular?

No matter where you ask around and look: The term SUV is present in the sales brochures of car manufacturers and dealers as well as in the media. "Sports Utility Vehicles", SUVs for short, are being produced by more and more car manufacturers. And buyers are very enthusiastic about it.

Because there is customer demand, there are now SUVs not only in the upper and middle class, but even in small car formats. Because cars of this type have undoubtedly advantages: The driver sits slightly raised and can see what's happening on the road better - that alone makes him feel safer. That also works out Getting in and out more convenient, which is an important argument for older drivers.

It also offers an SUV because of the greater ground clearance greater robustness in everyday life. And the SUV also has one All wheel drive, nothing stands in the way of driving on dirt roads and meadows - provided the forest owner allows this at all and the mostly mounted road tires do not end the drive prematurely.

This is how well SUVs and SUVs sell

If you look at the registration statistics of the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) you can see that the Market share for this type of vehicle has increased massively in the last ten years: from around 10 percent in 2010 to over 30 percent of the car market today.

However, the statistical counting procedure has also changed. The KBA has this SUV vehicle segment only since 2015: Until then, all off-road-like vehicles were classified as Off-road vehicle guided. In the last registration year 2019, the KBA currently lists 60 model series as SUV and 42 model series were sorted into the class of off-road vehicles.

But what is it actually "official" difference between an SUV and an off-road vehicle. Why, for example, is a BMW X1 sold as an SUV, whereas a BMW X3 is sold as an off-road vehicle? Although both can be driven in a sporty way, both have at least an optional all-wheel drive and also look very similar on the outside?

Minimum off-road values ​​for off-road vehicles

So: how is an off-road vehicle defined? And when does an SUV become an off-road vehicle? The answer is simple: in the course of the Type approval process. While an SUV, unlike a sedan, is only characterized by increased ground clearance and the more or less characteristic body shape, an off-road vehicle must have very clear criteria for it actual off-road capability fulfill.

In addition to the mandatory all-wheel drive and a differential lock (or a comparable device), these terrain values ​​are the Minimum requirements for an off-road vehicle:

  • Climbing ability (on the mountain) of at least 30 percent

  • Approach angle at the front more than 25 degrees

  • Departure angle at the rear more than 20 degrees

  • Ramp angle more than 20 degrees

  • Ground clearance directly under the axles more than 180 millimeters

  • Ground clearance between the axles more than 200 millimeters

Of the six mentioned minimum terrain values must the vehicle at least five
to reach
or exceed it to officially be considered an off-road vehicle (type M1G).

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