Moving from driving a small car to a bigger SUV: Tips & advice

I know eventually people get used to the vehicle dimensions, but this is more to get to understand what to expect and how to navigate the initial few months to make the transition smooth.

BHPian dass recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have been driving for well over 20 years now. Have had an Indica, Dzire, I20, Ritz, Ertiga with me and extended family that I have driven extensively.

I recently purchased a Harrier and while I took a lot of test drives and felt ok, I was wondering if there are any tips that can be shared with people who move from a smaller hatchback/CS/Sedan to a bigger SUV. I know eventually people get used to the vehicle dimensions, but this is more to get to understand what to expect and how to navigate the initial few months to make the transition smooth.

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

A most pertinent thread when you consider India has moved from being a hatchback market to a crossover one. What’s more, all the action is in the 15 – 30 lakh segment with SUVs like the Hector to the Safari, and the Creta to the Scorpio-N.

My two paise:

With any new car, take your time in getting familiar with the machine. Every car model behaves differently (engine, gearbox, suspension, brakes etc.). Depending on the driver, it may take anywhere between 200 – 2000 km to fully understand a new car. Personally, I need a minimum of 200 km and my standard routes are Mumbai – Nashik, Mumbai – Lonavla – Mumbai or the Mumbai – Pawna road.

  • Take your new car out for a good highway run or weekend holiday. Say, 200 – 500 km. More than any amount of city driving or the home-office commute even for a month, this single highway trip will “connect” you with your car.
  • Bigger cars conceal speed better. Keep an eye on the speedometer needle.
  • An SUV / tall crossover usually won’t handle as good as a hatchback or low-slung sedan like the Rapid. Especially, say, the Harrier with its sensitive steering at 120 kmph, a Hector with its soft wallowy suspension or the top-heavy body-on-frame Scorpio-N. Be conservative around corners.
  • It does take people time to get used to parking big cars in urban confines, although the latest tech (360-cameras, front & rear sensors etc.) makes things easier. The more you park, the better you’ll get at it.
  • With great power comes responsibility. If you’re jumping from an i20 1.2L NA to a 200-BHP XUV700 turbo-petrol, take a lot of time getting used to the power on tap. Pro Tip = run-in your engine (ARTICLE: How to Run-In your new car) and gradually increase the revs. The engine will like it, and so will your brain get accustomed to the 200 horses slowly & steadily.
  • Watch out for those blind spots in modern SUVs. They are prominent. The EcoSport’s A-Pillars can hide a scooter. The Safari’s A-Pillars can hide a full hatchback! The rear-quarter view in all crossovers sucks.

In a nutshell = take your time & go easy for the initial couple of hundred km . I’ve seen some idiots go vroom vroom in a brand-new car and they end up in a ditch or become a part of the wall.

Additionally = HAVE FUN! You worked hard for the upgrade, so enjoy every km of it

Here’s what BHPian ampere had to say on the matter:

While one can easily get used to the inner space and comfort of a bigger car it’s the external presence you need to realise. Many places you need to plan to go or not to go depending on the roads and widths and parking/coming out.

Turning radius is another aspect that you need to understand. Many big cars have smaller turning radius. It’s just a matter of knowing your limits.

Apart from size the next big thing to get used to is the power. A higher power definitely means, a small push of the throttle and you can feel the acceleration building up. Thats one thing you need to get used to and understand as well.

Here’s what BHPian libranof1987 had to say on the matter:

One of the biggest differences: momentum! And the magnitude of momentum plays out when your turning or during sudden acceleration / braking. It’s not going to be as subtle as a hatchback. The bulk of a larger vehicle makes its presence felt.

Spend some time getting used to the vehicle driving dynamics and braking.

Especially in the early days, you’re going to doubt your judgement during turns and bumper-to-bumper traffic the most, as you acclimatise to the extremities of the car. Keep a generous buffer while you get used to the dimensions.

That said, you’ll be just fine. Don’t sweat too much, enjoy your new car!

Here’s what BHPian ab737max had to say on the matter

First of all, Many congratulations on your new Harrier. Great choice ��

Now, coming to your point, I myself upgraded petrol swift to diesel XUV700, and following are the things I noticed.

1. It takes a sometime to get adjusted to so much power available on tap.

2. Big cars have bigger blind spots, be careful of that.

3. Driving a new car with latest tech is much easier than driving an old vehicle. Especially, in my case I moved from hatchback to SUV and I am loving the driving position.

4. Parking a big car is the biggest problem, especially in a metro like Bangalore.

5. Moving is tight spaces is not as easy as it used to be. It takes sometime to get used to it.

Enjoy the rush!

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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