Many people prefer an SUV over any other type of vehicle. SUV is an acronym that stands for ‘sport utility vehicle’ and is used to describe a type of vehicle that combines the best parts of a truck and a mini-van, into one vehicle! Most SUVs have a truck’s towing capacity with the storage and seating capacity of a van. SUVs became quite popular during the 1990s, and their popularity seems to grow exponentially with each passing year.
What’s not to love about an SUV? You get extra room inside, including room to haul a lot of people and leg room for yourself and your passengers. You get the towing capability and hauling capability with some SUVs that you would expect from a full size truck, but with the ability to handle like a car.
Most SUVs seat five to eight people, and offer a roomy interior, a big engine and four-wheel drive for driving inclement weather. Moreover, the SUV is now more fuel efficient than ever before. Many people in days gone by were extremely critical of the SUV due to it being a ‘fuel hog’. Nowadays, the SUV is much more fuel efficient and in fact, some are extremely ‘good’ on gas.
SUV Size and Classes
Just like cars, there are different sizes and classes of SUV. Each has some advantage over the other. They include:
– Compact SUVs. The smallest option when buying an SUV is the compact. But do not let the name compact or any preconceived notions about the compact fool you. There are some compact SUVs that have a lot of cargo room, third row seating and more. Some of the most popular compact sport utility vehicles on the road include the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, BMW X3, and the Honda CR-V, just to name a few.
– Midsize SUVs. The midsize SUV is a step up from the compact SUV. These SUVs are a bit larger than the compact but still sized to work in a tight spot. The midsize SUV usually seats around seven people. Some of the most popular midsize SUVs on the road today include the Honda Pilot, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Toyota Highlander.
– Full size SUVs. The biggest SUVs are known as full size SUVs. SUVs of this type are designed to carry a big family (or a bunch of soccer players in mom’s car pool), while having the ability to tow or haul. These are a step up in size from the mid size SUV and include models like the Toyota Sequoia, Ford Expedition and Chevy Suburban.
– Luxury SUVs. Any size of SUV that is loaded with features is known as a luxury SUV. Yes, these are the one that you see rap stars sporting around in, like the Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, Audi Q5, and the Infiniti FX 45 and FX 35. There is no limit to the luxuries that can be ordered with these SUVs, although many luxuries come standard.
– Hybrid. If you are looking for a greener alternative when choosing an SUV, look at a hybrid. The hybrid SUV features a gas and electric drive train, and runs partially on electric power, or even almost completely on electric power. Some to try include the Lexus RX 400H, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, and the Ford Escape Hybrid.
Price Points for SUVs
Price is a big consideration when buying an SUV, or any vehicle for that matter. For this reason, it is important that you know what you can get for your money.
Less than $25K
For under 25K, you can plan on getting some great SUVs at a great price. A top pick for the under 25K crowd is the Kia Sportage. The Kia Sportage is a good choice if you are not overly concerned with cargo room. It is a fun SUV to drive and quite fashionable. For space, however, you might be better off with a Chevy Equinox, which has a roomier cabin and a lot of perks, like reclining rear seats, for example. The Nissan Juke is another top rated SUV in this price range. Although it has just a four-cylinder engine, it is quite powerful and has good fuel ratings. For around 5K more, however, you can get your hands on a Ford Flex, which comes with an optional V6 Eco-Boost engine, a lot of passenger and cargo room, and the Ford name. For around the same price, however, you can go for a 3-row crossover like the Mazda CX-9, which is a bit sportier and friendlier for families.
Less than $45K
Moving on up the price ladder, the 45K category is dominated by the Chevy Suburban, which is beloved for its towing abilities and ability to haul around eight people in comfort. For a luxury crossover SUV of around the same price, you can’t go wrong with the Volvo XC60, which has Volvo’s legendary safety features along with build-in booster seats for the kiddies and tons of cargo space.
Less than $55K
If luxury is your “thing” then test drive the Porsche Cayenne, a top pick in the luxury SUV under 55K category. This family vehicle can deliver 500 horse power while passengers enjoy the comfort of fine leather, metal and wood. For about the same amount of money you can own the Acura MDX luxury SUV with a V6 and 300 horses under the hood. With the Acura, you also get top of the class navigation and audio systems, and suspension that makes steering this SUV seem like child’s play. Of course if you want to combine off-road capabilities with luxury, no SUV may ever surpass the Land Rover LR4. This SUV has generous space inside, all-terrain capabilities and craves being taken for a drive in the mud. Nonetheless, this SUV will not appeal to the tree huggers among us, since it gets little more than 17 miles to the gallon. That makes it one of the most irresponsible SUVs on the market.