Gear up on facts about SUV’s before buying one

Do you know what an SUV is?

Most of us refer to a tall vehicle with a hatchback and an elevated ride height as an SUV or sports utility vehicle. In fact, this has become a generic term for the vehicle. Another common term is ‘crossover’. This is basically a marketing description for a car-platform-based vehicle rather than a truck-platform-based one. With frequent usage, the term crossover is now almost synonymous with the term SUV.

The difference between car-based and truck-based

Crossovers, or car-based SUV’s actually do offer the features associated with cars, such as fuel economy, more interior space, a quiet, comfortable ride and sharper handling. While truck-based SUV’s offer greater off-road mobility, are able to tow heavier weights and are definitely sturdier, although they are heavier.

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Size vs market segment

SUV’s are available in a number of size categories, such as compact, sub-compact, full size and mid-size. There are further sub-categories based on the number of rows of seats. The heavier the SUV, the greater the number of features, such as price, number of passengers, towing capacity and engine power. Each group also has luxury models.

The cost factor

The cost of the compact and sub-compact SUV models hover around the $20, 000 mark, give or take. On the other hand, prices of full-size and mid-size SUV’s tend to vary a great deal, ranging from the mid-$20, 000’s for base models, and going up to the mid-$40, 000’s. SUV’s in the luxury segment can range from $32, 000 to over $100, 000.

The economical engine

Compact SUV’s are available in both four-cylinder and six-cylinder versions. Standard mid-size sport-utes normally come with six-cylinder engines. However, four-cylinder and eight-cylinder versions are also available. V6 or V8 engines are usually to be found in full-size SUV's. The four-cylinder compact SUV’s which are the most economical demonstrate combined mileage figures ranging in the mid to high 20’s while six-cylinder sport-utes normally average up to the 20’s, although some gas-electric hybrid models tend to surpass that. While full-size models offer 12 to 20 mpg.

Safety features

Every SUV model offers front seat side airbags, stability control, antilock brakes and full length side control airbags that most family shopper’s value. Rearview cameras are becoming more common and mainstream brands now feature high-tech electronic controls that warn errant drivers of potential collisions and blind spot intrusions, which used to be available only in luxury models before. Prospective buyers now get the opportunity to check out crash test scores provided by the IIHS and NHTSA.

Cost of operation

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