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Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have origins that trace back to WW2 when the Jeep was developed for military use, and the original post-war Land Rover was designed for farmers. They are large cars with a purpose and have proved particularly popular with growing families over the past decade.
In the past 70 years, the SUV has been adapted to suit the modern family – cars are much more comfortable now and designed to suit a variety of lifestyles. The newer models still take all of the positive features from the previous 1940s work horses such as a raised driving seat position for a commanding view of the road and good ground clearance. Most SUV cars offer 4×4 capability and much better towing power than smaller cars. Combine this with modern levels of comfort and plenty of safety and security, and it really isn’t hard to see why SUVs have become so popular.
Take a look below at Trusted Dealers guide to SUVs – we aim to tell you everything you need to know to make the buying process lots easier.
Most buyers who are unfamiliar with the credentials for SUV cars will be wondering just what is the difference between an SUV and a 4×4 car. The main difference between the two vehicles is that 4×4 cars ALL possess off-road capability, meaning you can take them on a dirt road or muddy track and they should fare pretty well. With SUVs, buyers have the choice of either four-wheel (4WD), two-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Some SUVs come without any 4×4 capability, and some offer drivers the choice to switch between the three settings as and when required. This can often be a more cost-effective method.
Do I need 4×4 capability?
One of the first questions you should consider before purchasing an SUV is whether you need four-wheel drive capability. Certainly the extra grip will be welcome if you’re considering tackling demanding country roads or muddy tracks, the harsh winter weather or you require a vehicle with a heavy towing capacity. Off-road tyres are also a major plus if you’re heading off the beaten track. For simple day-to-day commuting, you may find that 4WD is unnecessary, and you are better sticking with the option of 2WD or AWD that only sends power to the four wheels when its needed. Consider your lifestyle before you make a purchase – it will save you money in the long run.
What are Crossovers?
Often buyers can get confused between SUVs and crossovers. Crossovers are just a type of SUV; SUVs come in a wide range of sizes and body styles such as large, medium, compact and as a crossover. Crossovers combine the driving experience and practicality of a normal hatchback or wagon with SUV attributes such as a raised seating position and a more rugged exterior.
Large SUVs: A full sized SUV such as a Volvo XC90 or a Toyota Land Cruiser is designed to accommodate larger families and to haul and tow. Large SUVs usually come with diesel engines, the reason being that it reduces fuel costs. Diesel cars are in general more refined and offer plenty or toque (pulling power) which is essential if you need to tow heavy loads such as a caravan or boat.
Mid-sized/compact SUVs: Mid-sixed SUVs offer more space than a conventional car but have a commanding presence on the road. They are easier to manoeuvre about town and small enough to fit into tighter parking spaces. Good examples are the Ford Edge and Kia Sorrento where interior space is generous so there’s plenty of room for 5 occupants.
Small SUVs: Smaller SUVs offer similar attributes to larger SUVs including a raised seating position and good ground clearance, but they often cost less to buy and are cheaper to run. Usually offered with 2WD, these ‘soft-roaders’ are primarily designed for use on the road. Some of our favourites include the Nissan Qashqai, Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5.
One of the pulling factors towards buying an SUV is that they can make life easier for those with a busy family lifestyle or a demanding business. Whether you’re on the school run, making deliveries, towing a caravan or ferrying a pack of dogs around, there’s an SUV to suit every lifestyle. Some of the advantages of buying an SUV car are listed below:
Retain value– an SUV can be more expensive to buy than a hatchback, saloon or estate car, but this can be offset by the fact that they retain their value for longer.
Stylish – SUVs command the road and possess stylish attributes. The interior is modern and well thought out.
Economical – SUVs can be just as economical as conventional cars, there are even some hybrid versions to choose from which offer excellent credentials such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Safe – Not all SUVs are guaranteed to be safe cars, but they are built to be solid, spacious and commanding on the road.
Great for pets – SUVs are the perfect cars to house dogs, in fact, some SUVs come specifically designed to appeal to pet owners.
Excellent towing capability – SUVs are designed to tow heavy vehicles if and when required.
Larger load capacity – SUVs will normally have a much larger boot than smaller cars, which means you’ve more space for a large family’s luggage, a double buggy or the family dog.