by Karl Peskett

If you’re an SUV owner and you’re living in France, it’s likely you soon won’t be able to enter into the city of Paris. The mayor’s office hinted this week that different types of vehicles may be banned from the city, including old diesel vehicles, and SUVs.

Denis Baupin, a Parisian environmental official, told RTL radio anyone who had an SUV should “sell it and buy a vehicle that’s compatible with city life. I’m sorry, but having a sport utility vehicle in a city makes no sense.”

Test restrictions are set to begin late next year, giving SUV-loving Parisians a short amount of time to get out of what Baupin calls “gas-guzzlers”.

Along with Paris, Lyon, Grenoble and Aix-en-Provence are also considering the restrictions. Penalties have not yet been decided, but the cities may model their restrictions on London’s low emission zones.

  • Qikturbo

    Wow! imagine a similiar ban in Melbourne or Sydney?.Although such a ban would mean less women in SUVs terrorizing other road users and therefore less insurance claims!

    • Shak

      Well it makes complete sense in a congested City like Paris, but only within the CBD limits like in London. If you ban them from places where people live then it is just plain stupid.

    • Dear

      All SUV’s should be banned or heavily taxed in cities IF the owners CANNOT prove that they are using them for off-road use as well as on road!

      I cannot tell you how many time I’ve seen near accidents due to these view obstructing giant beasts!

      • tekkyy

        they are quite obstructive

        going to the snows once a year in their SUV or 4WD is not good enough

  • Minnow

    The french invented democracy, now they’re reverting to communism?

    • adf

      Democracy originated in Greece. Mate.

      • Jo

        Plus Democracy and Communism are not opposed!
        Example: La Commune de Paris, 1871.
        CQFD 😛

  • Mad Max

    These sort of bans make no sence at all. They ban SUV’s that can include diesel engined KIA Sportages that use minimal fuel and yet I could take a Vauxhall VR8 into Paris that uses way more fuel and is a physicaly larger car. Its just stupid politics pandering to a vocal minority and trying to look good while doing nothing!

    • Jim

      Why does this get downvoted? Makes completely sense to me.

      • j

        Makes sense, however unlike a Commodore, large SUVs and 4wds are difficult to see around. You can’t look through their cabin because the body is higher up. Some are wider, so you can’t see around them. It’s a pain trying to see what’s happening 2-3 cars in front of you when the monster directly in front of you blocks your vision. I also can’t see oncoming traffic when entering a main road when they are trying to do the same but go the other direction because their high bonnet and doorline again blocks my view. It also doesn’t help when the driver is driving erratically, such as riding the brakes or below the speed limit.

        But yes, if they want to ban “SUVs” they might as well do a blanket ban on all passenger vehicles of a certain size and/or weight.

        • Jim

          While this has nothing to do with the original topic, I see more Commodore drivers “driving erratically” (e.g. overtaking on the left, using the T2 lane without reason etc.) than SUV drivers. Not to mention that a large proportion of hoons drive Commodore but practically none of them drives a SUV. Now vote me down, Commodore drivers.

          • Save It for the track

            On a multi-lane road in Australia (such as a two or three lane or more freeway/motorway) it is NOT illegal to overtake to the left.
            What is illegal is driving in the right lane and not overtaking. However, at the times it is most annoying and inconvenient to others, are the times it is harder to prove the offence.
            I’ve driven many a freeway/motorway in peak hours using the left or centre lane and made better progress than if I used the centre and right lanes. All without exceeding the speed or making silly lane changes.

          • MattW

            The reason those Commodore drivers are overtaking on the left is because the SUV driver is sitting in the right lane instead of moving over lol.

            Regarding the ban, I don’t particularly like SUVs but if you’re going to slap on a ban like this, where do you draw the line on whats in and whats out? Let’s start banning cars of a particular colour that we don’t like as well. Maybe a congestion charge or “gas guzzler” tax but people should be able to choose what car they want to drive.

            Are they forgetting the first part of their motto “liberty, equality, fraternity”?

    • nickdl

      It’s gotten beyond the point of fuel use now. As you have said cars like the Kia Sportage use minimal fuel, often even less than their car equivalents.

      It’s more for the fact that SUVs are bigger and more cumbersome in the city. It’s very difficult to see past them, even more so if they have tinted windows. And in Melbourne at least, the drivers of the more expensive ones are completely oblivious to other road users.

      Added to that their increased weight can be deadly for other road users, as demonstrated in the QE7 vs Fiat 500 in the crash test.

      I think the ban is a great idea. It would be a lot easier to police in Paris because I’d assume that it would mean that SUVs are not allowed to go inside the Boulevard Peripherique. If you had a large family in Paris, you’d be stupid not to be living in the outer suburbs.

      • tekkyy

        its like an arms race
        (more and more families climbing into SUVs)

  • Reckless1

    I wish them good luck with defining an SUV, and defining what is “gas-guzzling”. The latest “SUVs” can be had in hybrid form which makes them less guzzling than most 10yo French cars. Even non-hybrids are more economical.

    If they want to clean the paris pollution, they should consider banning those arrogent French from the city.

  • filippo

    It makes perfect sense. In Europe there are so many options if you need a car with lots of room inside (the general justification for SUVs), most of which we don’t get here: The Opel Meriva and Zafira; Ford C-Max, D-Max and Galaxy; Peugeot 5008; Renault Scenic and Espace; Seat Altea and Alhambra; VW Touran and Sharan; Fiat Doblo and Multipla.

  • Lars

    You don’t need 2500 KG wehicle to carry 4 adults, no matter how “economical” this wehicle is.

    • Shak

      My point exactly. You just dont need a vehicle of that size in City Limits. And i dont think it should just be SUV’s. Ban all cars that dont meet certain emissions standards in City Limits, if they want to come in pay a London styled congestion/pollution charge.

    • Gan Tan


  • Lars

    SUV’s are designed to go OVER things therefore they are not very pedestrian friendly and probably not very suitable for city.

  • john

    In france it will end up in court and there will be a riot. If they did it in australia it would go to court and all suv owners would bitch about it.

  • Wayne Kerr

    I’ve never been a fan of SUVs but this isn’t fair to existing SUV owners. Banning all new SUVs – yes, I’d approve of that.

    • Shak

      Wouldnt that then be unfair to buyers of new SUV’s?

      • MattW

        I think “Wayne” means banning new sales/registrations of SUVs, existing ones would be OK

  • Able

    I bet Clover Moore and her collar will take great interest in this, especially after stuffing up the Sydney CBD (where there are oh so many bicycles anyway – makes the new speed limit so worthwhile)!

    Banning a car of any size from travelling somewhere is stupid – it’s taking away what should be a human right, freedom, just tax it to kingdom come (most of these big cars cost a bomb regardless so I think the owners could pay the extra amount) and say it’s for ‘offsetting emissions’. But they might even have riots like they did with the issue of the Burka…

    • nickdl

      I think the ‘ban’ would probably involve a massive tax if you wanted to drive an SUV in Paris rather than an all out ban like the burka.

  • Alexander

    Having very recenty been to Paris, they REALLY need this, it’s horribly congested, I honestly wouldn’t drive anything smaller than a corolla in Paris as parking it would be near impossible. An SUV is a fish out of water in the tight streets and totally unnecessary. I did see a few lexus RX450 hybrids and a Cayenne Hybrid, which make a little but more sense as in the city they pretty much never burn petrol, but they’re still way too big to e practical. If you need to carry 4/5 people in Paris, get a Passat Bluemotion.

    • MF

      You meant you honestly wouldnt drive anything “bigger” than a corolla in Paris as parking it would be near impossible?

      • Alexander

        LOL yes, my bad… But seriously, EVERY car has a scrape on all four sides in Paris. Ive watched people bump and scrape themselves into TINY spots, it would be impossible to keep even a Yaris sized car without someone bumping it. They just don’t seem to care if they have a car with a bump/scratch on every panel…

  • Alexander

    I also think there should be a tax system in Sydney for very in efficient cars, they really aren’t necessary in a CBD. The majority of the time I’ll see a Merc ML63, Audi QE7 (haha) or a BMW X5 with one person in it driving around. I’ve also almost been hit/side swiped countless times by mums in thier CX7, Kluger, QE7, X5, Lexus and Prados. They’re always on the phone or doing something other than focussing on driving, infect thier biggest distraction while behind the wheel is driving itself.

    • Shak

      This sort of tax would only ever work in Sydney if we had Parisian or London style public transport. While our trains are ok, they are by no means world class. And besides, most of the drivers of the cars you mention are so cashed up that an extra tax would only be like another toll for them. They would drive wherever they wanted regardless. But it is quite a smart idea, but knowing our brilliant Lord mayor, she will bureaucratise it to within an Inch of its life.

      • Lars

        I think that the question is not if but when we will get London type tax. However it would not change much because many SUV owners don’t care or have it deducted as business expense and it will end up just like any other revenue collection.

        • Alexander

          Haha that is VERY true, I doubt they’d care, & if they did they’d write it off on tax

      • Tom

        Shak, I couldn’t agree more.
        The state government couldn’t possibly justify a congestion tax when our own public transport system would be incapable of handling the plethora of extra travellers that a tax like this would inevitably create.

        A tax on luxury SUV’s, and by extension a tariff on cars in general is an excellent idea, but only if there is adequate public infrastructure to handle the flow-on.

    • The Realist

      Bud, the worst offenders in the CBD from a safety perspective are the P platers in their commies with stripes and spoilers and Southern Cross tats, whilst eating their big macs or adjusting the volume in their doof doof systems.

      I’d be more comfortable with a family in an X5 on the road than a V8 VT Commie with ferals who can’t read the alphabet swerving around on George Street.

      • Shak

        Really? Because i have never seen that before.

      • Captain Nemo

        Realist,You should be more worried about Asian drug dealers in the CBD than harmless “ferals” in Commodores.

        Plenty of the said asians in tatty grey imports with fart cannons hanging off the back & tacky anime decals to top it off.

  • Neil M

    Are they planning to ban delivery trucks and vans as well?

    • Lars

      Get real Neil! Trucks and vans only seldom visit city and you can put up with them. The problem is the growing number of SUV’s and problems having big difference in size height and weight of wehicles on the road.

    • Shak

      Even if we were to see an influx of utility vehicle in our CBD’s they are much more of a necessary evil than those Toorak tractors. How else would businesses cart around small freight and their mail. SUV’s are simply inappropriate for the City. Delivery vans and trucks, while not perfectly suited for CBD’s, have to be used as there are no other credible alternatives.

  • igor

    Many SUV’s actually have a smaller footprint than sedans & are more economical.
    But with traffic congestion problems,Paris felt they had to ban something & SUV’s are an easy target- with a pleasing winning to losing vote ratio.

  • CS

    I cant see what some of you are on about when you say you cant see past a 4wd. It is obvious that you are too close behind, and an impatient driver as well. What happens when you are behind a truck – get impatient, tailgate and wonder why you cant see anything at all.

    • Alexander

      Personally, I’ve never had an issue with seeing past SUVs, but I find a lot of the impatient mums speeding to get their little princesses home while driving VERY close behind me at night with their lights shining directly into my mirrors, Highly annoying :/

  • Alexander

    Are you kidding me? Take a VW toureg and a passat, a V6 Toureg 3.6 V6 uses 13.6l/100km, a passat R36 (both 5 seater, similar power, same capacity) uses 10.7l/100km while having a much smaller footprint. Sure a KIA Sportage/ RAV4 / Tiguan sized SUV will use less fuel than a commodore while having a smaller footprint, but it’s a class below a commodore size and power wise. Comparing an SUV with a sedan of equivalent size and same fuel type, the SUV is SURE to use more fuel due to it being less aerodynamically efficient and much heavier.

    • Alexander

      ^ sorry, that was meant to be a reply to Igor

  • B

    It’s because there are no French car companies building SUVs except for the rebadged Mitsubishi Outlander, the Korean built soft roader Koleos and a few other French passenger cars on stilts.

    • Brett

      yes, just like our import duty and luxury car tax here.

  • nickdl

    I don’t get why everyone thinks fuel economy is the issue with banning SUVs in Paris. It wouldn’t make an ounce of difference to the lives of Parisians if gas-guzzling vehicles were driving on their street or not.

    The reason SUVs are being targeted is because their size is unnecessary in any city, let alone a European one with narrow streets. They serve no useful purpose in Paris, unlike commercial vehicles which are important in a city.

    • Tomas79

      They might serve no Purpose in Paris itself, but why should someone living in Paris, and requiring the use of a 4wd, be required to get another car for the city, and park his 4wd elsewhere?… thats just plain stupid…

      • nickdl

        I assume that this ‘ban’ per se would actually be a charge on any SUV that entered central Paris. Since most SUV owners in Europe would most likely have another car for the inner city they would then be able to avoid the charge.

        If they did not own another car then it’s most likely that they would not very often drive in central Paris and, on the rare occasion that they do drive there, they would be happy enough to put up with the ban.

        Finally, if there was an SUV owner who regularly drove in central Paris and did not have another car then they might want to reconsider why they have a car so ill suited to their normal driving environment.


    can’t work,won’t work.the only way to minimise traffic is to stop traffic being on the road in the first place.who makes their mayor’s office god ???…

  • Biker

    In central Paris no place is further than 500m from a train station. I say ban ALL vehicles and have car parks around the perimeter with FREE public transport in the central “vehicle free” area.

    • Shak

      I guess that could work if you can encourage human beings to give up on the most freedom promoting objects ever invented. It would be very hard to ban cars all together in Paris as the roads would then be useless. I dont think a blanket ban is appropriate, rather a ban on cars that dont get under 7l/100km and also vehicles of a certain size, exempting commercial vehicles.

  • Bob

    Not all SUV drivers go bush bashing, I drive a Tucson because I have lower back problems, and the height of the car make it possible for me to get in and out, a lot easier than my previous car !

  • Paul

    Well done France!!!

    Hopefully we will see such a rule in Brisbane roads. Get rid of the soccer mums and those people who drive their buses on our city streets.

    Great Idea. Two thumbs up :)

  • Hooda

    4WDs should also be banned from public school carparks and suburban shopping centre carparks!

    You dont need a 4WD to drop off your kids to school in the morning.

  • NeoUtopia

    Any person who uses an SUV <1% for actual SUV driving should just hire one when needed. Those diesel SUVs shouldn't be taxed much, but the uneconomical petrol non-hybrids should definitely be, just like in the UK. A V8 SUV will charge you about $400 a year of just emissions tax.

  • G

    It’s ironic that the roads here are so bad you almost need an SUV/4WD to be able to handle them, yet they contribute to the worsening road surfaces with their increased weight. It’s getting to a point where I can’t drive my sports coupe without constantly looking for potholes and moronic drivers.

    How about taxing the hell out of them (due to the generally higher environmental impact and road wear) and giving tax rebates if you can prove you went off-road.

  • filippo

    There’s one simple way to get people out of SUVs: legislate that all vehicles over X height need to be fitted with reversing beepers, just like trucks. Then see how many self/weight-conscious soccer mums are willing to stomach the degrading beep-beep noise as they reverse.

  • Walid

    This is disgusting. The French are becoming similar to their Nazi invaders. Banning everything from religious symbols to cars. It’s especially ironic considering they boast about their so called liberties.

  • Cary A bailey

    They should put a tax on SUVs & hand the revenue to motorists who drive vehicles of more practical dimensions. Same for limousines & sports utilities