What is an SUV?
An SUV is a taller car, sometimes with 4×4 (four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive), sometimes without, which gives the impression of safety. The fact that they are taller and have no 4×4 makes this type of car very dangerous for inexperienced drivers.
Over the past 10 years, the SUV market has exploded worldwide. And in the last 5 years, the share of ordinary vehicles and SUVs is in favor of SUVs.
Why do so many people want to buy an SUV?
No car manufacturer in the world does not have at least one SUV on offer. And many companies have even more such models than small and medium-class cars. For example, Opel, Peugeot, BMW, or Audi are brands that have more SUVs on offer than hatchback and sedan models, which means there is demand. Some even say that at every sedan, station wagon, or hatchback sold, there is an SUV that finds a new owner.
Why are these SUVs enjoying such success?
Basically, SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle. But if we look closely at today’s SUVs, the reality now is neither Sport nor Utility. Thus, there are no powerful engines and neither huge interior spaces worthy of utility. In conclusion, the original name of the SUV has disappeared and has changed a bit. A 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a true SUV with a V8 engine and space for three fridges, no longer exists today, but we have Citroen C3 Aircross, a 99 hp 1.6 SUV and space for two.
Okay, although the manufacturer calls them SUVs they are not. Maybe they are crossovers, maybe they are something else, but SUVs, in the true sense of the abbreviation, they are not. Still, the streets are full and sales explode every day, while, once popular sedans and hatchbacks, lie in importer deposits not recommended by anyone.
Why do you want to own an SUV?
First of all, an SUV has a few specific features to a sedan car, for example. What I am talking about is a higher ground clearance which helps us in winter and offroad. Second, the cabin is taller, which gives you the feeling of spaciousness, ventilation, and freedom. And, rarely, we can talk about off-road speeds due to 4×4 traction, although, to be realistic, there are more SUVs sold exclusively with front-wheel-drive than with all-wheel-drive.
Advantages of an SUV
Therefore, we have two advantages: the ground clearance and the height of the interior space. We are not talking about the trunk space, because a normal station wagon reaches the same values, so we can not consider it an asset only of SUVs.
But besides these advantages, there are some disadvantages, compared to a sedan car.
Disadvantages of an SUV
The ground clearance means more permissive suspensions that will lead to a sharp roll in turns. An SUV will never be as stable in turns as a sedan. Larger dimensions mean a larger weight and a lower aerodynamic coefficient, and these will result in higher fuel consumption.
In contrast, a sedan is more stable, consumes less, but has less space and the ground clearance is smaller. In matters such as safety, visibility, equipment, comfort, and others, we can say that it is a draw between a sedan and SUV. Although, some high-class SUVs give you a higher steering position, which could help you in traffic, so we could also pass this aspect on to the advantages …
But at the disadvantages of an SUV, we can definitely pass the higher purchase price. Therefore, the advantages of an SUV do not seem to be the brightest so that it is worth buying instead of a normal car.
Owning an SUV?
Higher ground clearance is not justified in the urban area, not even in winter, because the roads are cleared and if you do not have a 4×4, high ground clearance does not help on the snow or the pole anyway. Maybe only if you are the kind of person who often goes out in nature or at the end of the week goes fishing, to a mountain, on roads other than asphalt.
The second advantage of an SUV is, however, the most important, but also the reason why this type of body is sold so well. Namely, the space in the cabin. Any driver who has driven an ordinary car so far, when boarding an SUV, will realize how much space it is, how airy the interior is and how bright it is. Rear passengers generally have more foot space, the ceiling is higher and 5 passengers will have much more space than in a sedan. So whoever will later get in an SUV will not want to buy a normal car again.
To be clear! Not the tall ground clearance, 4×4 speeds, no luggage space, and no safety are the reasons why people buy such vehicles. But because it gives them a larger “living” space. Also for the same reason, until recently, the segment of minivans had huge success, especially in the United States. Because of a spacious cabin and because they gave you the impression of freedom. Now, the minivans have turned into SUVs.
There are no serious advantages to choosing an SUV today compared to an ordinary car. Especially if you buy a compact front-wheel-drive SUV that will do exactly what a sedan does. But it seems that the need of the locals is beyond reason and it is clear that the success of these cars will continue to increase until we will again feel eager to socialize, to touch and crowding will no longer be a problem.
Because there are so many different cars related to this type of body, we broke them into four main categories and brand examples to each.
- SUV crossover: Audi Q2, Audi Q3, BMW X1, Ford Ecosport, Honda HRV, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Maxda CX3, Mercedes GLA, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Range Rover Evoque, Renault Captur, Subaru XV, Suzuki SX4, Toyota CHR, Volvo XC40, etc.
- Small SUVs: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Ford Kuga, Honda CRV, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Kia Sporage, Land Rover Freelander, Maxda CX5, Mercedes GLC, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Xtrail, Opel Antara, Range Rover Sport, Renault Kadjar, Renault Koleus, Seat Ateca, Skoda Karoq, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Vitara, Toyota RAV4, VW Tiguan, Volvo XC60, etc.
- Big SUVs: Audi Q7, BMW X5, Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sorento, Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes GLE, Nissan Pathfinder, Range Rover, Subaru Ascent, VW Touareg, Volvo XC90.
- Off-roaders: Jeep Wrangler, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Patrol, Suzuki Jimny, Toyota Land Cruiser, etc.
I know some people think this is not right, but it is closer to reality. 🙂
Common mistakes about an SUV
Usually, people recommend cars without having one or without any idea about the differences between one SUV and another. The most common mistakes people make when buying an SUV are:
- not knowing the information that there are now 4 × 4 SUVs, and the buyer wants or needs this option.
- considering rigid cars for less than 30% offroad use, which is, at least for some, hellish on the road. It’s not the kind of car you should buy if you go to the mountains every 3 months.
- ignoring the actual consumption of the car, not what the manufacturer says.
- ignoring subsequent costs (tires, overhauls, other costs)
One of the biggest mistakes I see and constantly point out is that people don’t open their eyes to what cars are around in different situations when they want to climb a forest road to the cabin when they want to go for a ride. barbecue or when they want to get out of the mud.
For example, my theory is that SUVs are very reliable because owners rarely drive offroad and don’t even know how to drive. Not all, of course, but most.
So what to look for in an SUV?
Equipment according to purpose: ground guard, which should be at least 15cm (0.5 feet), 4 × 4 (the lockable differential is preferred), what capabilities does this traction has, when it comes into operation and so on. How to drive. If it is not 4 × 4 and is a tall car, the curves are different from the cars, the dynamics of the car and the inertia are different.
You do not have to become a technician, just have an idea what the car can and can’t do.