Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by Victor A
Over the past decades, the automotive industry has been experiencing an enormous shift in consumer preferences. Gone are the times where families looked for the ideal minivan, or the sturdiest 4×4. With the introduction of the modern SUV, drivers can finally have a vehicle that combines some of the desired qualities of both types of vehicles.
SUVs have replaced the minivan and the old school 4×4. They’ve conquered the market, and they’ve become the norm.
As sales keep on increasing while new models are being rolled out from assembly lines, it seems like SUVs will continue dominating the market for a long time.
You might have already heard about the rise of the SUV; but, do you really know what an SUV is?
What is an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle)?
An SUV is an evolution of the old-school 4×4 off-roaders, but with some differences: SUVs can be AWD (All-Wheel Drive), RWD (Rear-Wheel Drive), or 4WD (4-Wheel Drive); not all of them are built on truck-based platforms; SUVs have a sleeker design if we compare them to the traditional boxy 4×4 look; and SUVs are designed to be driven most of the time in cities.
Many aspects make SUVs appealing to so many people because they provide a combination of qualities that allow the driver to enjoy the advantages of having a versatile vehicle without losing comfort. Some of these qualities are:
A high driving position
SUVs provide a higher seating position than passenger cars which gives the driver comfort, finer visibility, and a better sense of safety. This quality is usually the one that most comes up when asking why a consumer prefers an SUV over a passenger car.
SUVs are roomy, which is great for families and people who often carry a lot of baggage, or for those who feel claustrophobic in small spaces. Most SUVs come standard with 5 seats, and some SUVs come with 7 seats.
Off-road & on-road capabilities
Even though today there are plenty of RWD SUVs, they are still capable of performing fine when off-roading in mild terrains due to their high ground clearance, size, and weight; just don’t expect them to do well on a river bed full of rocks.
This higher ground clearance also provides a pleasant experience when driving on roads, as potholes and bumps become less troublesome.
SUVs are usually categorized by their size starting with crossovers as the smallest, followed by mid-size SUVs and full-size SUVs; however, there is some controversy over where crossovers fit as some people don’t see them as SUVs since they are built on car platforms instead of truck platforms. There is no official clarification on this.
Since they share many characteristics like looks, size, ground clearance, a higher driving position, etc. We classify them as SUVs.
They are known for being based on car platforms, yet, they offer a higher ground clearance and a higher suspension than passenger cars. Some crossovers come with AWD or FWD, but most of them come with RWD.
Crossovers have better handling and gas mileage than mid-size and full-size SUVs. Although they provide less space; and off-roading is not as comfortable as with the others.
In this range, you have the advantages of comfortable city driving and better off-roading than crossovers. They are ideal for families as they are usually offered with a standard five seats; add to it a decent handling, reasonable gas mileage, and the availability of AWD and 4WD in many models, and you get the most versatility out of the three.
Made on truck-based platforms, like many mid-size SUVs. They are sturdy and perfect for off-road adventures. They often come with standard three-row seating, with considerable towing capacity, and either AWD or 4WD.
The gas mileage for full-size SUVs is the worst within the ranges due to their increased weight, and the fact that they are less aerodynamic due to their size.
SUVs For Everyone
You can find SUVs capable of outperforming most sports cars, like the Lamborghini Urus, this perfromance SUV has a 4.0 L twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 650 hp and can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.6 seconds.
If you are the eco-friendly type of person there is also an SUV for you, the Tesla Model X (Long Range version) delivers an all-electric range of an estimated 360 miles (580 km). And comes with animal-friendly synthetic leather.
There are even SUVs in almost every price range, such as the Hyundai Kona, priced around 23,000€ in Europe and 28,000$ in the United States or the Rolls Royce Cullinan which will cost you more than 300,000€ in Europe, and more than 300,000$ in the United States.
Whatever your preferences are, there is more likely an SUV for you.