Ugly Bentley SUV

Bentley.  An iconic motoring brand, ever since WO Bentley’s four-valve-per-cylinder screamers ruled Le Mans in the twenties.  Yes they got bought out by Rolls Royce in the 1930s, but the marque was still responsible for expressions of engineering beauty such as the 1950’s R-Type Continental and the 1980s excess of the Mulsanne Turbo.  The Bentley Motors article on Wikipedia provides a good overview of this once proud marque.

But then they throw away all that glorious automotive heritage and come up with this.  The EXP 9 F (which sounds like a programmable calculator command).  Yes, they say it’s only a concept, but that’s what Porsche said about the Cayenne and now they’re everywhere.  The EXP 9 F is ugly.  Tremendously ugly. Drug dealers will probably love it.  The rest of us will hang our heads in shame at another car manufacturer sullying their hard-won reputation with the production of another modern SUV.

For an uncomfortable time there it looked like General Motors were going to sell off the production of its Hummer line of automotive monstrosities to Heavy Industrial Machines, a Chinese corporation.

Happily the deal fell through, and GM is now in the process of winding down production of the most anti-social ‘car’ ever known.

Some factoids about the soon-to-be-deceased Hummer (stats for the H2 model):

  • Around 10mpg (imperial), (source)
  • A drag coefficient similar to a small truck
  • The only vehicle that I know of that has a website dedicated to making rude gestures at it
  • Weighs nearly four metric tonnes (giving a kinetic energy guaranteed to destroy most things that come in its way, including pedestrians, drivers of normal cars, etc.)

The first nail in the SUVs coffin.  Goodbye Hummer.

Image from here.

Stupid Nissan, Stupid NameEven the most ardent planet-hater to admit that the Nissan Qashqai has a very, very stupid name.  Wikipedia reckons that:

The Qashqai name (pronounced [qaʃqaːʔiː] comes from the originally Qashqai tribe in southwestern Iran (Persia). Nissan‘s designers say they believe that its buyers will be nomadic in nature too.

So there you go.  Drive one of these aberrations and you too can emulate a Persian nomadic tribesman.  Except I suspect that an Iranian nomad might have slightly higher aesthetic standards…

The state of Georgia in the US collated some interesting statistics about SUVs which makes fascinating reading.  Two highlights:

39 percent of Americans feel more powerful when they are driving or riding in an SUV.  (National Consumer Survey, Opinion Research Corporation, January 2005)

Evidence of the double whammy: not only are SUVs more dangerous due to physics, they’re also more dangerous because their owners turn into even bigger morons when they get behind the wheel.

In 2006 SUVs had the highest occupant fatality rate of any vehicle type in rollover crashes at 7.77 per 100,000 registered vehicles.  This compares with 6.98 for pickup trucks, 3.10 for vans and 3.18 for passenger cars. (Insurance Information Institute)

That’s occupant fatality.  SUVs won’t just kill those around you, they’ll kill you too.


A very warm welcome to you.  Why this blog?  Here’s five points:

  1. SUVs are bad for the environment, primarily because they are heavy, and not very aerodynamic, so they use more fuel
  2. Most SUVs are much more likely than cars to kill pedestrians, due to a combination of a higher level of kinetic energy (proportional to mass) and a high bonnet level which tends to mash the skull.  That’s before the addition of ‘bull bars’, which are designed to cause as much damage to living things as possible.
  3. An SUV is an engineering anachronism: instead of what’s called ‘unibody’ construction, where a car’s chassis and body are built as one, leading to better stiffness for handling and stability (and safety!), SUVs are built like a truck, with a body bolted on to a separate chassis.  That’s engineering which has been obsolete for at least 40 years, and is like watching television on a seven-inch bakelite-covered black and white set.
  4. SUVs are aesthetically insulting.  They are grossly ugly, their high ride-height and badly-chiselled lines act as an assault on the visual senses
  5. More than anything, an SUV owner is saying “I don’t care about you”.  Well fair enough, but don’t be surprised if you get a little hate in return ;)

Read on for more blogging against automotive idiocy!