link to our blog link to our myspace page

Mission Statement

The mission of the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s is to inform and unite groups of concerned citizens across the United Kingdom against the growing presence of 4x4 vehicles in urban areas.

The Alliance seeks to educate people about the environmental and social damage caused by the increasing numbers of urban 4x4s as well as promote sustainable forms of transport.

We will lobby for increases in congestion charges and road taxes for 4x4s and seek a ban on advertising in the mainstream media.

Our activities

All our campaiging activities are designed to be peaceful, creative, eye-catching and constructive. We want to engage urban car drivers in the debate and not demonise drivers of big 4x4s. Everyone wants to have a safer, cleaner environment, so we hope urban 4x4 drivers will realise that their car is the villain - not them - and we want to help them make better choices in future.

A small number of 4x4s are available that have safety features and carbon emissions that are less damaging than most, and we hope that these will be chosen by people who genuinely need a 4x4.

However, most big 4x4s are highly polluting and very dangerous to others on the road, and we will carry on campaigning until these cars are no longer marketed to or bought by people with no need to drive off-road, tow heavy loads, or other activities for which 4x4s are designed.

 

The cars we want out of our towns and cities

We would like to make it clear exactly what it is we are campaigning against.

We aren't concerned about four-wheel drive in itself, and we certainly aren't after the little Fiat Panda.

The 'big 4x4s' we talk about are four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicles with large engines, high ground-clearance and a tall, boxy shape (see graphic for the basic features).

This type of design, and the extra weight that goes with it, leads to a very poor vehicle for use by families and in city streets for a number of reasons.

Why this design is bad for fuel efficiency and pollution

For a given amount of internal space, an off-roader body means that the vehicle ends up much taller and larger than would be the case for a saloon, estate car or even people carrier. Combined with the extra transmission equipment and tougher suspension and chassis needed for four-wheel-drive off-roading, this produces a much heavier vehicle.

A heavier vehicle needs a bigger engine to achieve the same performance as a lighter car, which will in general produce more pollution per mile (including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, unburnt hydrocarbons and particulates).

Diesel models are popular among 4x4 owners because they are less thirsty. However, while diesel engines produce less carbon dioxide, they give out greater amounts of the other pollutants, which can make them even more harmful to the people around them.

Why this design is bad for safety

The extra weight of 4x4s automatically makes them more of a danger to other road users when they are involved in a collision. From basic mechanics we know the kinetic energy of a vehicle, which needs to be dissipated in a crash, is proportional to its mass.

However, the unique problem with the off-roader shape is that this extra weight is combined with additional height. Higher bumpers and mismatched crumple zones lead to extra dangers to pedestrians, cyclists, people in smaller cars and the occupants of the big 4x4s themselves. While cars like luxury saloons and MPVs are heavy too, they don't suffer from the appalling design faults of 4x4s in this respect.

The inertia, high centre of gravity and sluggish handling of many 4x4s may also make it harder to avoid a collision.

More specifically...

Here are a few examples of the kind of 4x4 models we want new regulations to address, and some other vehicles for comparison.

Petrol 4x4s

Model Engine Size (cc)* Urban mpg* CO2 (g/km)* NOX (g/km)* Minimum kerb
weight (kg)
Pedestrian
safety
(Euro-NCAP)
Range Rover 4398 12.2 389 0.052 2570
*
Landrover Discovery 4394 13.5 354 0.029 2461  
Porsche Cayenne 4511 12.9 378 0.038 2225  
Toyota Landcruiser 4664 13.1 387 0.09 1900  
Isuzu Trooper 3494 13.2 355 0.06 1980  
Mercedes ML500 4966 14.2 335 0.019 2210
*
VW Toareg 4172 13.9 355 0.026 2317
*
Audi Allroad Quattro 4172 14.1 331 0.038 1860  
Mitsubishi Shogun 3497 14.2 339 0.109 1865  
BMW X5 4799 15.1 324 0.063 2200
*
Mercedes ML320 3199 15.2 324 0.04 2185
*
Jeep Cherokee 3700 15.2 318 0.052 2056
*
Volvo XC90 2922 15.3 309 0.04 2139
**
Ford Maverick 2967 16.1 290 0.02    
Landrover Freelander 2497 16.5 298 0.1 1650
*
Lexus RX300 2995 16.7 288 0.021 1835  
Suzuki Grand Vitara 2493 19.8 262 0.001 1505
*
Mitsubishi Outlander 2378 20.5 240 0.026 1565  
Subaru Forester 1994 21.1 230 0.02 1395  
Nissan X-Trail 2488 22.2 231 0.025 1510
**
Honda CR-V 1998 23.2 220 0.03 1517
***

Diesel 4x4s

Model Engine
Size (cc)*
Urban
mpg*
CO2 (g/km)* HC + NOX (g/km)* Partic-
ulates*
Minimum
kerb weight (kg)
Pedestrian safety
(Euro-NCAP)
Range Rover 2926 19.6 299 0.732 0.069 2570 *
Landrover Discovery 2720 21.4 275 0.622 0.056 2461  
Toyota Landcruiser 4164 20.0 292 0.62 0.078 1900  
Isuzu Trooper 2999 21.1 275 0.64 0.075 1980  
Mercedes ML270 2688 22.6 248 0.646 0.043 2185
*
VW Toareg 4921 16.5 332 0.56 0.07 2317
*
Audi Allroad Quattro 2496 20.9 262 0.408 0.035 1860  
Mitsubishi Shogun 3200 21.2 278 0.064 0.062 1865  
BMW X5 2993 23.5 250 0.639 0.055 2200 *
Mercedes ML400 3996 19.2 288 0.653 0.051 2210
*
Jeep Cherokee 2776 22.2 262 0.072 0.068 2056
*
Volvo XC90 2401 23.7 242 0.51 0.04 2139
**
Landrover Freelander 1951 31.0 205 0.451 0.043 1650
*
Suzuki Grand Vitara 1997 27.4 216 0.516 0.031 1505
*
Nissan Patrol 2953 20.0 287 0.64 0.08    
Nissan Terrano 2953 22.1 262 0.718 0.046    
Nissan X-Trail 2184 31.4 190 0.49 0.04 1510
**

Alternative vehicles for comparison

Model Engine Size (cc)* Urban mpg* CO2 (g/km)* NOX (g/km)* Particulates* Minimum kerb weight (kg) Pedestrian safety
(Euro-NCAP)
Ford Mondeo 2.0 Petrol Estate 1998 25.4 186 0.081 - 1431
**
Nissan Micra Petrol 1386 35.8 154 0.026 - 979
**
SMART 4 seater Petrol 1124 40.4 130 0.032 - 965  
Vauxhall Vectra Diesel 1910 38.2 154 0.239 0.015 1441  
VW Golf Diesel 1968 41.5 146 0.237 0.02 1451  
Renault Scenic Diesel 1870 36.7 157 0.415 0.034  
**
Jaguar X-type Estate Diesel 1998 36.7 154 0.399 0.022 1510  

 

Taxi Engine Size
(cc)*
Urban
mpg*
CO2
(g/km)*
HC + NOX
(g/km)*
Particulates*
London Taxi LTI TXII
2402
29.0
206
0.476
0.055

 

Bus Engine size
(cc)
Urban mpg CO2
(g/km)
HC + NOX
(g/km)
Particulates
London Bus Volvo B7TL 7300 5.4 1406 12.16 0.024

NB: On average a bus carries the same number of people as 30 cars in one-tenth of the road space. (Average car occupancy is 1.6 persons)

*all from www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk