10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying an SUV

SUVs are more popular now than ever, and with good reason. No vehicle gives you the same amount of versatility that an SUV has to offer, and no vehicle provides you with the benefits that you can get with an SUV. Essentially, an SUV combines the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the roominess and cargo space of a minivan and the handling and riding luxury of a car. If you are looking to buy an SUV, there are a few things that you need to know, however, before you head out to make a deal. By knowing the terms and language that a car salesman is slinging around, you will have a better idea of what each model you look at has to offer.

Full-size, Mid-size, or Compact SUV – What’s the Difference?

When shopping for an SUV, you will find different market segments and sizes being referred to. SUVs are typically classified into three different size groups: full-size, mid-size, and compact. Although the vehicles within each group can vary widely, they are all similar except for their size, the number of people that you can haul, and their towing abilities. Moreover, a compact SUV will be much less pricey than a full-size or mid-size. You may also hear the word “crossover” being used in reference to an SUV. This term describes an SUV that is more like a car than a truck.

Car or Truck-Based SUV, Which is Better?

A car-based SUV or crossover SUV as mentioned above is an SUV that is a lot like a car. This type of SUV is one that handles more sharply, gets better gas mileage, is quieter, is more comfortable, and that has a lot of room in its interior. Truck-based SUVs, on the other hand, are heavier, sturdier, have the ability to tow more, and have enhanced mobility when off-road.

Pricing – How Much Will You Pay?

When it comes to affordability, compact SUVs offer the most bang for your buck, with some models starting out at less than $20K. The base price on a mid-size or full-size SUV can really vary widely, with most basic models starting out around $25K and going up, up, up to the mid $40Ks. A luxury SUV, by contrast can run as much as $100K, although some can be had in the lower $30Ks.

Fuel Economy – Getting the Most at the Pump

Another consideration for you as a driver who is interested in purchasing an SUV is how much fuel economy you will get. This is especially true if you must commute back and forth to work or if you like to go on road trips. The compact SUV can usually be found with a four cylinder or six cylinder engine, your choice. The mid-size SUV usually has a six cylinder or eight cylinder engine, while nearly all full-size models are equipped with a V-8 engine. It is not uncommon for a compact SUV with a four cylinder engine to get twenty or more miles to the gallon. Full size SUVs may get anywhere from twelve to twenty miles to the gallon.

Safety Features to Consider

When shopping for an SUV, be sure to consider the safety features that are available on the SUV that you are considering purchasing. Parking sensors, rearview camera equipment, knee airbags, and more are standard fare nowadays. Premiums brands that use high tech electronics to warn of impending collision and blind-spot intrusion are also nice features to consider. Crash test ratings are also an important thing to look at, too. These ratings can help you determine how well the SUV will be able to handle a crash.

Convenience and Luxury Add-ons

From heated seats to iPod interfaces and automatic climate control, there are a ton of different add-ons that you can get to turn your SUV into a luxury vehicle on wheels. Navigation systems, blue-tooth capabilities, and keyless start systems are just a few of the convenient and luxurious offerings that you will find at your local dealership.

Interior Space and Cabin Capacity

Most SUVs are made to carry five passengers or more. A compact SUV generally has legroom in the rear for adults and most can be adjusted to either extend the space for carrying passengers or to cargo more cargo. Most full-size and some mid-size SUVs have the option to allow for a third row seat.

Four Wheel, Two Wheel, or All Wheel Drive?

Choosing a two wheel, four wheel, or all wheel drive SUV is another consideration to make. A two wheel drive or 2WD features a system that allows for just the front or rear wheels to provide the vehicle with power. A four wheel drive or 4WD allows the driver to choose between either four wheel drive with all four wheels providing power or two wheels of power when driving. An all wheel drive or AWD will adjust itself to automatically distribute the power that is needed to best suit road and driving conditions.

Operating Costs

in mind that the compact SUV is not only smaller and lighter but also has a less complex 4WD system, and therefore, fuel costs and maintenance are typically lower. Larger SUVs means larger engines and lessened fuel economy. From an insurability standpoint, the more expensive and exotic the SUV, the more it will usually cost you to maintain insurance on the vehicle. A bigger engine really does equal a bigger insurance premium.

Best Time to Buy an SUV

While some people say that there is a particular time of the year that is better than other times when it comes to buying an SUV, the truth is that there is no real difference in when you buy. If there is any truth to this old belief at all, it is that current model year SUVs will drop in price when the newest model year is released. That being said, there is usually a big push by dealers to clear some of their existing

inventory before the end of the calendar year, too, which makes the month of December a historically good time to purchase an SUV at a possible discount.

There you have it – the most important things to know before you head out to buy an SUV. Keep these things in mind when you head out shopping for your SUV and you’re bound to get the best one for your needs!


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