SUV CARS: A HANDBOOK FOR DRIVING EFFICIENTLY.
Sounds good, right? In theory – but it’s more easily said than done. In practice, drivers often lack the knowledge of how to drive efficiently. If you keep on racing, you won’t reach the desired outcome, even with the most economical SUV around. Continue reading for tips on how to achieve the advertised fuel consumption figures for your SUV.
Why the right tyres save fuel.
One way to save fuel is to make sure you’re driving with the right tyres. Rolling resistance is the force that the road or the surface you’re driving on exerts against your tyres. In a nutshell, the higher the rolling resistance, the harder your engine has to work to move you forward. With the right tyres, rolling resistance is kept to a healthy minimum.
However, there is such a huge range of SUV tyres available – for road, mud, off-road or all-terrain – that it might be difficult to know which ones are the best for you. And you can also fit your SUV with regular passenger car tyres. But even if it may seem like an easy solution, driving with ordinary tyres is neither safe nor particularly economical. This is because they are not adjusted to the different driving characteristics of SUVs, like the raised seating position, the higher centre of gravity and the often-heavier weight.
Choose the right tyres for your SUV.
Here’s the easiest way to choose: Ask yourself where you’re most likely to be driving the majority of the time – on main roads, country roads, or off-road surfaces?
Use road terrain tyres if you drive mainly on paved roads and hardly ever go off-road.
Perhaps you want to master off-road tracks safely and without breaks, cracks or cuts in the rubber? In that case, better to use off-road tyres. Due to their chunkier profiles, they are typically the perfect fit for demanding surfaces.
Maybe the answer is all of the above, and you need tyres which can adapt to use on every surface? In this case, all-terrain tyres are the best choice, because they are suitable for both asphalt and light-to-medium terrain.
It also goes without saying that you should not forget to fit your SUV with summer and winter tyres when the seasons change. Tyres made for ice and snow won’t work especially well in summer, and vice versa.
Why you should watch your speed.
It’s not only about the tyres you fit. Changing your driving habits can greatly benefit your level of fuel consumption, too. First of all: slow down. Fuel expenditure increases exponentially at higher speed. You should also try to avoid sudden or vigorous acceleration and deceleration – better to drive at a consistent speed. The use of cruise control can come in handy here, on long trips in particular, and on roads with a higher speed limit.
The Automatic Cruise Control system, which is optional for the Grandland X and the Insignia Country Tourer, for example, maintains a pre-set speed as well as keeping a fixed distance to the vehicle ahead by automatically increasing and reducing speed when necessary.
More tips for maximising your SUV’s fuel efficiency.
Drive in a high gear – when using a manual gearbox, shift to higher gears early to keep the revs down. If you drive an automatic, accelerate moderately.
Regular servicing is important. Clean air filters and periodic oil changes will keep your engine in top condition – and your money in your wallet. Maintenance also includes checking your tyre pressure on a regular basis. Bear in mind that under-inflated tyres increase rolling resistance and force the engine to work harder. On the flip side, with over-inflated tyres you lose traction. In short, you should regularly check that your tyres have the recommended pressure for your SUV.
If you are not doing it already, think about driving a car with an automatic start-stop system. As soon as the vehicle is coasting for a few seconds, the engine is automatically shut down. A step on the clutch is sufficient to put the engine back into operation. In this way, it’s possible to minimize fuel waste, especially at red lights or during traffic jams. The good news: all SUV cars from Opel can be equipped with the automatic start-stop system.
And finally, don’t believe in myths – avoiding using air conditioning doesn’t typically save fuel on newer cars, despite what people often think, so there’s no need to sweat with the air con off in the middle of summer. It won’t make much of a difference!