Training off road: here you will learn how to properly handle the SUV

The market for AWD vehicles is booming. But what exactly amazes people on rough terrain? The answers to this question are looking for drivers in training General German automobile club (ADAC) on the road, lost somewhere in the middle of Brandenburg “pampas”.

And here it is, the first lesson: one rear wheel of the SUV hopelessly bogged down in a swamp, and the second dangles helplessly in the air. It becomes clear that even such a “monster” as a “field” can also get stuck in the mud. “In our slang it’s called “to swell up””, says coach jürgen Wenzel (Jürgen Wenzel) and smiling broadly.

57-year-old Wenzel is the trainer for the regional branch of the center for safe driving for the ADAC Berlin Brandenburg. His staff invite fans to drive cross-country with the slogan “More fun in the mud!” ADAC is the largest automobile club in Germany — organizes such training outside of paved roads throughout the country, and the track in Brandenburg is one of the longest. On the area of 3.5 hectares lies a complex obstacle course with steep climbs up to 60%, sharp descents, and even a small waterfall.

This route is very popular: in the morning it attracts motorists who want to pass this “crash course” and learn the basics of off-road driving. First, because it’s just great, and second, because they really will learn to keep “in check” their “iron horses” in difficult situations.

And this, despite — and maybe because of that most of them (and at this point here gathered seven men and one woman) never would have gone on your own car into impassable mud — they just don’t want to dirty favorite toy.

This winter day the weather was really crappy in the drivers, for the first time embarked on a slippery and muddy path off-road. Forest clearing from the rain was quite heavy, and the puddles can be quite deep. And the glass is quite new, but already broken Lad was so dirty that sitting inside was clearly nothing to be seen. In “my” car fan could not cope with their work, and the V-belt whistled terribly.

The team of Wenzel does try to do the job. Robert, stuck on his “Lada” in a deep puddle, slammed on the gas. The wheels started slipping from under them flew the dirt. “Robert,” recalls the coach of the 20-year-old boy, “we’ll go without gas!” So it was necessary to squeeze the clutch, turn the gear and to slowly get out of dirty captivity.

Then followed a slight movement of the wheel — and the car was again at liberty. “Well done, Robert, is a great man” praised his coach. Students sometimes need to be cheered up. According to Wenzel, when the inhabitants of large cities, who know only what a paved road, out on the roads, the situation can easily become “very critical”.

The massive hype about the SUV defies rational explanation

However, SUVs are popular, as no other type of car. Early motorists traveled on weekends at the nürburgring or some other circuit, so for a couple of laps to feel the intoxication of speed. “Deeper, wider, faster!”, read the magic formula. Today some of the most popular off-road trails.

Instead of the more deep has become a popular a higher landing. The development of market trends is impressive: sales of SUVs is steadily growing from year to year. According to the Federal office for registration of vehicles in 2016 were registered a total of more than 425 thousand of AWD vehicles that exceeded last year’s amount by more than 25%. No other segment of the automotive market is not growing as rapidly: manufacturers bring to market new models, which immediately found buyers.

But where did this hype? Whether it’s a Mercedes GLA, Ford Mondeo or Maserati Levante as it’s impossible to explain the popularity of SUVs only a comfortable fit, and good visibility in the windshield! This, perhaps, lies something else. Maybe to lift the veil of secrecy will be able to take a ride on muddy and slippery road, lost somewhere in the vastness of Brandenburg?

“Rationally I can’t explain,” says Ulf Seemann (Ulf Seemann). “It’s about emotion.” This 46-year-old father of the family, he also drives a car SUV — Renault Koleos. Training in autoclub ADAC, he received a gift on birthday. “I just wanted to see what real offroaders know,” he says, maneuvering behind the wheel “Fields” in a coniferous forest.

Seemann rides four-wheel drive vehicle, and, in his words, Renault Koleos partially meets these requirements. So, the underside of the car has extra protection, and the chassis is quite good. In fact, these “options” Seemann still not useful, because on rough terrain it is on its Koleos never goes. He lives in the suburbs of Berlin, and paved roads there is no problem.

“Four-wheel drive vehicle gives the driver a sense of confidence that it can be, you need only a couple of times a year,” says Seemann. For example, if you suddenly had a heavy snowfall, or on roads ice was formed. But actually, this situation can handle any car, even a small and only with front-wheel drive.

Agency for vehicles registration for the past several years makes the differences between real and pseudo-SUVs that have flooded the market in recent years. There existed only one category “SUV”, but in 2013 introduced additional SUV segment, which includes cars, just looks like a real “ATV”.

These same SUVs are models that are allowed to operate as cars M1G, in accordance with the instructions 2007/46/EC, explained the representative of the automotive departments of the city of Flensburg. A characteristic of these cars is, for example, a locking differential and great ground clearance.

“Lada Niva” turns into “stylish car” under the name Urban

As for “Fields”, it is possible not to worry: it is consistent with the requirements. Vintage Rover, rooted deeply in the Soviet times, is virtually unchanged since 1976. It is very popular among foresters, gamekeepers and farmers, who often have to travel over rough terrain.

The club ADAC is also brutal love these cars because they “allow you to fully enjoy the pleasures of off-road,” says one of the employees. For their cars, the club members came up with some funny names: one of them says “common Vole”, on the other “Capnegret”, the third “Legend madness”.

However, on public roads “Fields” are still rather rare. However, in recent years, these all-terrain vehicles in the style of minimalism are gaining popularity among a certain class of residents, for example, Berlin or Munich.

In a fit of passion for cars SUV’s even an ancient “field”, which, incidentally, is now sold under the name Urban, was the car a “lifestyle”. Thus drivers have a much less interest to the locking differential or gearbox reducer, rather than to the fact that this machine awakens a thirst for adventure, even if they don’t it will just have to take their children to kindergarten and back.

Latest “rage” — SUV-coupe

Other machines not so steep, but the industry is doing everything in order to make objects of desire and such a boring and narrow-minded cars like the VW Tiguan or the Opel Mokka. “Now the car’s SUV’s are really cool” joyfully wrote recently, the magazine Auto-Bild.

The reason for this joy were the plans of the various manufacturers on the market of compact SUVs cars coupé. For exemplar, it seems, was taken of the BMW X6. This two-and-a-half-ton monster has long been considered the epitome of automotive madness. Now, however, postmodern SUV-coupe became the latest “craze”.

So, for example, Volkswagen is going particularly elegant “round” model Tiguan particularly elegant circle. BMW has similar plans, working on the X4 model, and Skoda is preparing to launch on the market of the big Kodiaq. Of course, cars SUVs don’t have to particularly environmentally friendly, and its large size they often create interference to other traffic participants. “But all this is irrelevant”, says Auto Bild. Sales growth and a slight loss of value used vehicles of this type speak for themselves: “the Market is going crazy around the thing called crossover.”

Paolo Tumminelli about such a development does not going through. When pseudo-SUVs a few years ago still in Vogue, they were considered a sort of “toys for the rich”, who wanted to boast of their Cadillac Escalade or Mercedes GLS. “Today, these cars can afford everything,” says design Professor.

Because even former cheap brands like Dacia or Skoda it has long been offering a wide selection of SUVs that really can afford almost any car enthusiast. And most of the demand is growing for compact and inexpensive pseudo-SUVs. “Cars SUV can not be called a niche,” stresses Tumminelli. They have become a mass phenomenon.

Car critic speaks of “the very ingenious invention of automobile marketing”: somehow the producers have managed to achieve that sedans with a high rise, wide tyres and fat exhaust pipes are selling better than new cars of the category “must have” — even if, for example, VW Tiguan, in fact, is nothing more than a “navorochenny” the VW Golf is heavier and “eating” more gasoline. Tumminelli emphasizes that he is not the enemy vivid and flashy cars like SUV Jaguar F-Pace and Bentley Bentayga, which can afford only a handful of wealthy motorists. If a person “freaks” and can afford to call such eccentricities, then why not?

When riding on one side keep your head straight!

“But if everyone suddenly switched from Golf to Tiguan, we have a problem,” he says. First, because SUVs emit on average 20% more pollutants. But if you consider that ride through the streets of millions of such machines, it turns out very impressive gains. Although the motors are more efficient, new cars are much heavier than their predecessors. Thus, the emissions remained approximately at the previous level, which, however, contradicts the goal of reducing damage to the environment.

Meanwhile, the participants of the course in Brandenburg the club reached a new level of complexity. With muddy puddles all of them performed admirably and are now in the queue to drive under a extreme angle. Here, too, it is very important to go as slowly as possible, because otherwise you can tip over.

“As slowly as possible — just as fast as you need,” says coach jürgen Wenzel. It is still very important when riding tilted to keep the head straight. “The human brain can withstand a maximum slope of 17%, otherwise thumping in panic.”

But even Robert, who literally just got stuck in the puddle, was accustomed to remain calm. With a broad smile he charged into his “Field” on the slope. Other participants also delighted with the course driving off road. It is not excluded that Robert will soon buy a car SUV’s. Yet he, according to him, goes to the Opel Zafira a MPV with automatic transmission. This is the reason for his problem in order to ice-skate uphill.

“Young people are simply not accustomed to change gear manually,” explains jürgen Wenzel. And such training, according to him, it is easy to understand who really is a good driver and who is not. 57-year-old coach is originally from Saxony-Anhalt is a certified. and in the GDR even participated in the rally. And he really got some skills, sitting behind the wheel of “Fields” — for example, balancing on the trunks of fallen trees or on high speed to “storm” of muddy puddles.

As a personal car, however, he chose a modern car: dark red Tiguan. Despite the presence of so-called “off-road package”, this is produced in Wolfsburg SUV on the road quickly reaches its own limit — Wenzel knows it. But in order to go for mushrooms, this machine is quite enough for him.