Henry Granada, Negosentro | Choosing which new vehicle to buy can be an incredibly confusing and often frustrating experience. Not only are there are a huge number of different makes and models to consider, but you’ll also need to determine which style or category of vehicle is a better fit for your needs. Even once you’ve settled on a particular style, you’ll then need to focus on the various factors, such as safety, power, performance, fuel efficiency and reliability, in order to find the model that matches your specific requirements.
Of all the different vehicle categories, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) continue to be one of the most popular due to their outstanding combination of power, performance, safety and carrying capacity. In fact, SUV sales are beginning to overtake passenger cars in many places. Although an SUV might not be the best vehicle for every situation, there is no doubt that they can be an excellent choice and can provide many benefits that go far beyond your average car or truck. That being said, it is still important to look into SUVs in more detail to show you why a sport-utility vehicle might just be the perfect choice when it comes time to buy your next car.
Benefits of Driving an SUV
The sales of SUVs experienced a sharp decline during the early 2000s, as the rising cost of petrol led many consumers to begin looking for vehicles with greater fuel efficiency. However, advancements in automotive technology have allowed manufacturers to create SUVs that are far more fuel efficient than those models produced even a few years ago. As a result, SUV sales have been once again on the rise over the past few years. Further contributing to this rise is the fact that most manufacturers now produce a range of different sized SUVs.
Although there are now a wide number of different styles and sizes of SUVs, all of them still provide a number of similar benefits when compared to either cars or trucks. These benefits include:
- Larger, heavier body that results in improved safety
- Sit higher off the ground to provide increased visibility
- Spacious, more comfortable interior
- Ability to drive in any condition and even off-road
Understanding the Differences Between Each SUV Category
If you’ve decided that an SUV is right for you, you’ll still need to determine which type of SUV is best for your purpose. For this reason, we’ll now look at the various categories and the pros and cons of each.
Small or Crossover SUVs
While most SUVs feature a platform similar to a truck, crossover SUVs are smaller and have a body platform more similar to a car. These vehicles typically feature an independent suspension and either a four- or six-cylinder engine. Most crossover SUVs are also all-wheel drive, which allows them to tackle more challenging conditions than the average car. That being said, they are generally not the best choice for off-road driving and won’t be able to handle the same level of terrain or conditions as a larger, four-wheel drive SUV.
However, the fact that they tend to be smaller, lighter and feature less powerful engines means that crossovers tend to be far superior in terms of fuel efficiency. Compared to other SUVs, crossovers also tend to have higher ratings for overall performance, which helps to explain why crossovers are usually the best-selling category of SUV. Examples of popular crossover SUVs include the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Nissan Murano.
Compared to crossover SUVs, mid-size SUVs are based off a truck-like platform. This means that these vehicles tend to provide superior power, performance and towing capacity compared to cars or crossovers. Depending on the specific model, mid-size SUVs can feature either all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and the 4WD models obviously provide far greater off-road capabilities. Most mid-size SUVs feature a six-cylinder engine, although you can also find more powerful V8 models that provide improved power and towing capacity.
Compared to crossover SUVs, mid-size SUVs also have a few drawbacks. For instance, most mid-size models don’t feature an independent suspension, which means that they tend to offer a rougher ride. As well, they tend to get lower gas mileage due to the larger engines and usually don’t provide quite the same level of control and handling as you’d find on a crossover. Some of the mos popular mid-size SUVs include the Ford Explorer, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner.
Full-size SUVs are the largest type, which are usually capable of carrying anywhere from five to eight passengers and have a much larger cargo space. These vehicles usually sit much higher off the road, allowing the driver a much better view. The increased size and weight of these vehicles also means that they tend to be safer and provide better protection in case of a crash, while also being better at handling snow, ice and rough terrain. At the same time, the higher center of gravity also means that they are more prone to rollover than either crossovers or mid-size SUVs.
Most full-size SUVs are available with either a V6 or V8 engine, which allows them to provide an improved towing capacity and more power. However, the more powerful engines and larger size means that full-size models also tend to be the least fuel-efficient type of SUV. Popular models of full-size SUVs include the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition.
In addition to the three standard categories, you also have the choice to upgrade to a luxury SUV. These luxury models are available in every category, and you should have no problem finding a wide range of luxury crossovers, mid-size and full-size models. For instance, the popular Volvo XC60 luxury crossover combines the fuel efficiency and handling of a standard crossover with a range of luxury features and amenities. As you’d expect, luxury SUVs tend to be the most expensive category due to the fact that they feature more stylish interiors and a wide range of additional amenities and safety features that set them apart from standard models.
As you can see, you have a huge number of choices when it comes to buying an SUV. The specific type and category of SUV you end up choosing will definitely determine how well it performs and thus how satisfied you’ll be with your decision. However, no matter what type you choose, all SUVs provide a number of advantages that often makes them a superior choice compared to both cars and trucks.