In the past, drivers had a limited supply of the types of vehicles available for purchase, but not today. Drivers can choose between sedans, sports cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and more. SUVs are popular due to the versatility of models, types of road conditions addressed, added room in the cabin, as well as a number of add-ons such as hood racks to travel with kayaks or surfboards.
Are you considering driving in a new direction? Here’s why you may want to make the switch to owning an SUV.
As mentioned, SUVs are a type of automobile, but one can further classify SUVs as compact, midsize, and fullsize. Furthermore, the variety expands within each of those subcategories. The name of the category is really relative, for each manufacturer offers its own unique twist. As you move up in size, you begin having conversations about engine power, towing ability, passenger room, and of course price.
Car or Truck
Since SUVs are a kind of hybrid, a potential owner can consider getting one that is closer in size and performance to a car or truck. Those associated with cars provide sharper handling, better fuel economy, a more comfortable ride, and increased interior room. Truck-based SUVs are sturdy but heavy, tow a larger amount of weight, and handle well in inclement weather and off-road conditions.
Luxury models exist for all subcategories, yet generally, compact models are least expensive, with most base models starting just shy of $20,000. Midsize and full-size models drastically vary in price, as some cost in the low $20,000 range going all the way to t$100,000, for luxury full-size models.
Compact models, like the 2016 Mazda CX-5, have four and six-cylinder engines. Full-size models have V8 engines. Most four-cylinder compact models get somewhere in the low-to-mid 20s regarding miles per gallon; six cylinder models get somewhere in the upper teens; and, full-size models get anywhere between 12 to 20 miles per gallon of fuel. Ask your dealer about gas-electric hybrids too.
Many families elect SUVs due to the added room, versatility, and safety. Ask dealers about such features as antilock brakes, front-seat airbags, parking sensors, and other high-tech electronics that aid drivers, such as warning about blindspots. Larger models may be more cumbersome to maneuver, especially if one has no experience driving a larger vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opted for more strenuous testing for these vehicles.
Luxury models host such features as climate control, heated seats, iPod connections, navigation systems, keyless entry and start, and Bluetooth capability. Family friendly features include rear-seat entertainment systems, flat-folding third-row seats, special storage bins, and seats that slide or recline.
Two-wheel drive means that either only the front or rear wheels drive the power while four-wheel drive uses all four, or allows the driver to oscillate between two and four-wheel drive. An all-wheel-drive model automatically distributes power to the wheels that have the most traction. Part and full-time AWD (all wheel drive) and four-wheel drive models have poorer fuel economy, though a driver can leverage two-wheel drive to lessen the money strain.
Michael Galloway has a background in military vehicles and is a keen motoring enthusiast. He likes to share his insights with an online audience and is a regular contributor on a number of relevant websites.