Top SUV driving tips from an ex-F1 star


Grand Prix of San Marino

With more and more people getting behind the wheel of SUVs, it's a sector of the market that seems to have limitless potential for expansion.

And there's no shortage of choice out there, with the Audi Q5, Kia Sorrento, Volkswagen Touareg and Nissan Qashqai among an extensive and seemingly ever-expanding line-up.

SUVs offer motorists extra space and practicality, plus a raised driving position and in some cases, the potential for some off-road activity that might extend beyond the car park at your local supermarket.

But how does the uninitiated driver get the best out of their highly capable off-roader? If you've been used to a traditional hatchback or estate, it's certainly worth taking a few minutes to think about your driving style.

We spoke to Ex-Formula one star Stefano Modena at the launch of the new Firestone Destination HP tyre, which has been developed specifically for use on 4x4s, who gave us some great tips for a successful SUV experience. In no particular order, they are:

Drive smoothly and avoid sudden manoeuvres – essential if you are to achieve stable vehicle behaviour.

Always try to look forward when you enter a corner and not only where you need to turn in. If you do this, you'll be able to identify the radius of the corner and therefore trace your ideal line. Steering precision and stability will help your vehicle drive well.

Always prepare yourself to handle a corner well by braking while still travelling in a straight line. Gently release the brake before you enter the corner, turn in gently thus stabilising the vehicle, and accelerate gradually through it.

Applying the brakes in good time is essential – otherwise the high centre of gravity will cause a lot of roll with a consequent loss of trajectory, making it difficult to effectively control the vehicle.

Choose a tyre that's up to the job such as Destination HP from Firestone. If you have bad tyres on your vehicle there's no doubt it will be more difficult to handle.

Stefano told us: "The above tips are among the basic rules to drive well and safely on the road. My personal opinion is that these rules are even more essential for SUV vehicles if you're going to enjoy a safe and pleasant drive. And they should be applied with even more rigour if you drive an SUV off-road."

Author: David Brown