Are (small) 4WD's unstable? - Ford Forums - Mustang Forum, Ford Trucks, Ford Focus and Ford Cars
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-02, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Are (small) 4WD's unstable?

Saw a RAV4 type 4WD on its roof last night, which is only the second car I've seen rolled for years and the other one was a similar vehicle. Last night's looked like it was T-boned by a car coming from its left through a stop sign, which turned its rear to the right and hit a median strip kerrb when it was side-on to it to some unknown extent and flipped. Distances didn't suggest excessive speed at all. I didn't see it happen so its impossible to be confident, but I suspect a conventional car, certainly of Falcon size, wouldn't have been at risk of rolling. I did something roughly similar in a sideways Gemini once and, although I feared it was going to roll as I approached the kerb, it remained upright.

Previous 4WD one was a simple turn around a suburban street corner by a mature woman driver and was inexplicably rolled, to her considerable embarassment and the amazement of onlookers.

Given their wheelbase and height, the small 4WD's don't look that stable to me. Am I right?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-02, 05:41 PM
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Personally I wouldn't buy one for these reasons. We have Rav 4's here at work and having taken a couple for a drive I don't think they're really stable myself. Maybe they just don't suit my driving style or something..

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-02, 05:46 PM
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4wd's are generally narrower, and much taller than conventional cars. therefore, the centre of gravity is higher - the higher the cetnre of gravity the easier will it be for such a car to roll over. same applies to vans, trucks and busses, but these are not as top heavy as 4wds.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-02, 07:16 PM
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What nick said.

The higher centre of gravity in small 4wd's comprimises their stability. Its not like they need to be much higher than everyone else... They are made that way to fit the image of a small ghey suburban cruiser.

Ive seen a few vans that have rolled over. But my friend rolled his subaru at around 90 in warnambool. He would have been fine but he struck a lowish fence which sent him on a roll.



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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-02, 07:24 PM
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Yeah you are right. Small 4wd's are renowned for rolling. I actually have owned 2 Suzuki Sierra's, 1 LJ50 and a Jimny. I actually havent rolled one yet but have come close only doing serious offroading and not on level ground. These cars are not as stable as a sedan for the fact of there narrower track size. I just think people have to drive the car the way it was made to.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-19-02, 11:59 PM
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Originally posted by adviliax mortus
4wd's are generally narrower, and much taller than conventional cars. therefore, the centre of gravity is higher - the higher the cetnre of gravity the easier will it be for such a car to roll over. same applies to vans, trucks and busses, but these are not as top heavy as 4wds.
That's absolutely correct, centre of gravity is the issue.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-02, 03:10 AM
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I used to own a RAV4 and have nothing but praise for it. I actually bought one of the very first in Australia when they came out.

Every time I parked it there would be people putting there finger prints all over it trying to get a look. Even caught when bloke putting his head through my open window just to get a look.

I found that they aren't unstable at all, they handled like a car and get along smartly when you put the foot down. I used to take it bush and suprised a lot of mates in their dedicated 4WDs as they were light and powerful and rode very well in the scrub. The only place I wouldn't go was deep mud or crossing a river.

If you want unstable take a Daihatsu Terios for a drive. My sister bought one, they are scary. I seriously thought the wind would blow us over driving across Mooney Mooney bridge!

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-02, 04:29 AM
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The current shape RAV4's are a bit better, the track is wider. But the center of gravity thing is an issue. I notice in my RAV4 that if you take sweeping bends too fast the body starts to 'roll' just a little bit at first, then a lot, makes you back off quick smart.

I went off road in it today and it was okay, but it doesnt like that crappy Jandakot grey sand (neither do I) becoz it's very soft, has no viscosity.

The best thing I like about it is the tacho in the middle of the dash - Autometer style.:s5

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-02, 04:56 AM
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yep they roll I know a few suzuki owners who can vouch for that
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 02-20-02, 05:02 AM
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I can't see the Rav4 being unstable it practically looks like a normal car, not high at all.
Being t-boned would make any vehicle unstable, of course bigger 4x4's are more dangerous.
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