SUV FAQs

What does the acronym SUV stand for?

SUV is an acronym for sport utility vehicle.

What is an SUV?

An SUV is a vehicle that combines the towing capacity of a truck with the roominess and cargo space of a van while handling and driving like a car. Most SUVs can be taken off-road or driven on road. The biggest number of SUVs on the market has a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive transmission, making them an all-weather vehicle choice.

What is a compact SUV?

The term compact SUV refers to a class of small SUVs that are built to haul fewer passengers and less cargo than a traditionally sized SUV. These SUVs usually have a smaller engine and thus, enhanced fuel economy when compared to larger models. Today’s compact SUVs may offer third row seating and more cargo space than compact SUVs of the past.

What is a mid-size SUV?

A mid-size SUV is an US that is larger than a compact but not as big as a full-size or standard sized SUV.

What is a hybrid SUV?

A hybrid SUV is an SUV with a combination gas and electric drive train. This means that the SUV runs partially on gas but that the electric drive train will kick in at certain points, like when idling in city traffic.

What SUV is small but good in snow?

An SUV that is small but rated for safety in inclement weather include the Mini Cooper, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the Nissan Juke, and the Hyundai Tucson. Any of these SUVs are small and perfect for snow driving (if you are an experienced driver).

Which 7-passenger SUV gets good gas mileage but still tow more than 2.5 tons?

For towing and seating a crowd, no SUV surpasses the BMW X5 X Drive 35D, at twenty miles per gallon highway. Others to consider include the Audi Q7, Acura MDX, Dodge Durango, and Toyota 4-Runner.

What is a crossover SUV?

The term crossover SUV is used to describe an SUV that has many attributes that are usually found in a car, like good fuel economy, sharp handling and driving features, comfortable ride, quietness, and a lot of room on the inside. Other SUVs are more like trucks, are sturdier and a bit heavier, and are capable of going off road while towing more than a crossover.

What is a crash test and what should I look for in crash tests for SUVs?

SUV crash tests are performed by various organizations, including government agencies, to rank SUVs and all other motor vehicles in terms of safety. Crash tests can be used to determine the reliability of the airbags in the SUV, how well the vehicle holds up to impacts, including side crashes, being rear ended, and crashing head-on. Rollover tests are an important crash test for SUVs and should be scrutinized by potential SUV buyers.

Which SUVs are the most affordable?

Generally speaking, a compact SUV is more affordable than others, with many offering a base price of less than $20K. A mid-size or full-size SUV can vary widely in price, with some base prices beginning in the high twenties and running up to the low fifties. A luxury SUV can run more than $100K.

Which SUV gets the most fuel economy?

The SUV with the best fuel economy will almost always be found in the compact class, although some are mid-sized. A compact SUV can have a four cylinder or six cylinder engines, while most mid-sized SUVs will have a six or eight cylinder engine. As a general rule, the smaller the engine and the lighter weight the SUV, the more miles to the gallon you will get. Sources like Edmunds and US News and World Report are excellent for ranking SUVs for fuel economy, among other factors.

What safety features should I look for in an SUV?

Safety features like front-seat airbags, side air bags, curtain airbags, stability control, and anti lock brakes are now standard on most SUVs. Additional high-tech features like rearview cameras, knee airbags, and parking sensors are also becoming more widely asked for among SUV owners.

What is the difference between two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive SUV?

A four-wheel drive SUV is the most common, and this is simply a way of saying that you can drive the vehicle in a way in which all four wheels are used to power the SUV. Likewise, a two-wheel drive vehicle is powered by either the front wheels or the rear wheels. Many can be switched between 2WD or 4WD, even on the “fly”.  An SUV with all-wheel drive will distribute power automatically to the wheels that have the most traction. This makes an all-wheel drive better suited to driving in all weather situations than 2WD or 4WD.

Which SUVs cost less to drive or operate?

Typically, a compact SUV is lighter, smaller, and has a less complex drive system, all of which can lower fuel and maintenance costs on the SUV. The larger the vehicle and the bigger and more complex its engine, the worse gas mileage it gets and usually the higher it’s cost to maintain and also to insure. In general, a truck-based SUV will cost more to operate, maintain and insure than a crossover.

What is an electric SUV?

An electric SUV is an SUV that is powered by electricity in the form of batteries. Usually, these batteries are recharged in your home garage with a charging station. The battery might also be recharged by an in-car electrical source, such as a hydrogen fuel cell.

Should I buy a used SUV or a new SUV?

Whether or not you should buy a new or used SUV depends on a variety of factors, the biggest and most obvious of which is likely your budget. With a used SUV, you can sometimes find really good deals on gently used SUVs that still have tons of life left in them. On the other hand, you could be inheriting problems that the SUV has, too, and used SUVs are not always covered under warranty. While you can save by buying used, with a new SUV you can get a warranty to guard against or negate any major repairs for the first few years of ownership.

What does the term “invoice price” mean when shopping for an SUV?

When shopping for any vehicle, including when you are SUV shopping, you will hear many dealers refer to the invoice price of the SUV. The invoice is purportedly the amount that the dealership paid for the vehicle, although this is a figure that most consumer advocates say not to trust. Simply put, the car dealer makes his money by selling cars. It wouldn’t make sense for him to accept invoice price for any SUV, at least in most instances. Nonetheless, the invoice price is a good jumping off point.

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