By on December 21, 2009

In a delightfully surreal bit of news out of India, a man sued GM for claiming one of its SUVs had mountain goat-like capabilities when it couldn’t in fact navigate one foot-deep water. What, you might ask, is the SUV in question? The answer is just another amusing twist to this hilarious tale of marketing claims meeting cold, wet reality. Here’s a hint: it’s sold in the US, but not as a Chevrolet…

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16 Comments on “Indian Supreme Court: “Chevrolet” SUV Less Capable Than A Mountain Goat...”

  • avatar

    Thanks Subaru! Thanks alot!

  • avatar

    That’s odd. Maybe Chevy should just kill it’s truck division. Even the rebadged subies.

  • avatar

    Speaking of less capable SUVs… if any of you have watched “Storm Chasers” on Discover you’ve likely noticed that any SUV of ANY make (Ford, Chevy, Dodge) gets stuck on your basic “muddy” back road. I find the contrast between this real world situation and those infamous truck commercials where these “off road” vehicles drive up impossible grades, thru deep rivers and over muck as thick as pudding a complete and utter joke. Either these vehicles are total crap off road (in their “native” environment) or the stock tires have the off road grip of drag slicks.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the issue with that is the extra weight these guys are carrying around with them. It might help traction to put a few hundred pounds in a light rear end, but armoring up your truck or installing heavy equipment is not an off-road recipe for success. I know that blacksmith’s (forge in the bed of a full sized truck) have to be very careful where they put their tires, and I drove right around a completely stopped Ram 3500 on a snowy mountain in a Honda Element, but only because it had a few tons of telecom repair gear in the back.

      I think you’re right about the tires as well. Aside from the Wrangler Rubicon I can’t remember the last SUV that came, brand new, with anything besides all season road tires (which is probably for the best sadly). Not many people realize what a difference tires make, and SUV owners especially seem to stick to all seasons, or conversely, go for all out studded snows in the winter. I never see summer performance tires (off-road or not) or non-studded snows, except on cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Part of this is the awkward weight distribution caused by inadequate balancing of the armor.

      Secondly, skill: I haven’t seen a single one of these drivers have any clue about how to drive on a downsloped mud road. Hint, it isn’t drop the hammer and pray for the best. Much of the mud I have seen those guys slip  on (and I saw every episode this season), is more akin to driving on ice since it builds up in the wimpy tire treads they are running.

      Thirdly, hardware: Many people think “4wd” means unstoppable, but most 4×4 traction packages are very variable in their capabilities. Many cheap out and forgo limited slip on the axles, trusting the computer stability systems to control traction. Works great on asphalt, but is not ideal in mud

      Finally, limitation of stock ground clearance: Once you are resting on the axles, you’re not going far. It’s just the laws of physics at work. The friction needs to be against the wheels where power is being delivered, not against the axles and undercarriage of the vehicle, where it creates drag, and takes force off the wheels. Sure, GM could make high ground clearance vehicles to put on the showroom floor: then watch all the lawsuits about flippage, enviro wackos make fun of the gas mileage, and how they remain on the showroom floor, unsold.

      Nowdays, if you want a serious 4wd for snowy conditions, a stock system with LSDs in the back, will get your around. But if you want real off road performance (and not just on the beach or the snow), you need to jack it up, put some real tires on it, and improve the suspension.

    • 0 avatar

      That is.. THE biggest PEEVE I have.. involving the SUV / CUV community.. / world at large.

      These things are walking around.. with the ability to do so much, yet the basics of tires are overlooked. Yet ya think ya can do more.. with 4wd.

  • avatar

    In the US, some amount of fluff in advertising is allowed. It’s called puffery:
    So to say a vehicle handles “like a mountain goat” is probably OK in the US. It would not imply, and no one would be confused to think, that the statement is literally true. The Indian standard may be higher. Or it will be from now on, given this is a common law country. That could (depending on what’s written in the ruling) be problematic for marketing.

  • avatar

    DAMN IT GM.  If you are going to do something, DO IT RIGHT.  30 years of half-assed products put you in bankruptcy.  Make (or re-badge) a great product or quit.  The world had no place left for your kind.

  • avatar

    I hope this starts a trend.

    Far too many of the “4-wheel drive” and “All wheel drive” vehicles come to a dead stop when ONE wheel looses all traction.  If the guilty manufacturers are proud of that performance, why not force them to prominently reveal in the advertising?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe we should get into discussion the concept of most 4wd vehicle.. are front drive bias.. and couldnt get themselves out of a ditch.. at 4000rpms.

      Then again..
      The concept comes to mind of actually having tires designed for snow…

      Or people to actually drive them properly..

      But we wont mention that.. will we.

  • avatar

    *LOSES MY MIND– chevy.. FORESTER!!!!!***



    Head cooling down..

    I can imagine why they didnt want to fight it.. since it isnt even their vehicle. But probably some importer brought the car in. Funny.. it even has Chevy badges. Id love to know that vehicle’s story. But it isnt even an SUV. Its a CUV.. a weak one at that.. more like a jacked wagon…

    But in any sense of the word, defination of phrase.. I wouldnt drive through a foot of water… (not slowly anyway). Better make sure ya doing VOLT battery tests before ya do something that stupid.

  • avatar

    A rebadged Subaru Forrester?  Really?  That’s not an off-road vehicle.  Anyone who thinks it is is a fool.
    You need a few things when going off-road:  The right tires, ground clearance, a locking transfer case, and a low-range setting.  My stock Jeep Grand  Cherokee has gotten me through some tough stuff, but I wouldn’t even claim that vehicle is really suited for serious off-road use.

  • avatar

    I’m not talking about the armor plated ones… the standard black Suburban and another red pickup (a Dodge?) got stuck during the show as well. I just love the irony of the “go-anywhere” SUV being stuck on a slightly muddy road.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “a locking transfer case,”

    I think you mean locking differentials.

    • 0 avatar

      Those help too, but I meant a locking transfer case.
      Lots of transfer cases variably split torque between the front and rear wheels.  Some are not smart enough to send torque to the gripping wheels and send torque to the wheels that are spinning, much like an open differential.
      My Jeep’s transfer case has the ability to lock the front and rear outputs together.  This allows a 50/50 split of torque to the front and rear wheels for use on loose terrain.  This is called “Part-time” 4wd.
      The “full-time” 4wd setting lets the front and rear outputs vary, and that isn’t as good on the loose stuff.

  • avatar

    Y’know, the problem isn’t necessarily that some SUV’s don’t have off-road capability, the problem is that most don’t even have basic things like a low-range gear and decent tires as options. And those that do have them as top-of-the-line items where you have to pay $7,000 over a base truck just to get a transfer case. Don’t even think about decent skid plates.

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