Quick Guide To Buying A New SUV

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Find the high-rider that is perfect for you.

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What is an SUV?

Purchasing a new car can be a hassle, and sport utility vehicles can be even more troublesome to shop for as there is such a variety to choose from, which is why an SUV buying guide is so helpful. Considering how useful SUVs and crossovers are, you don't want to get stuck with a dud when everyone else is boasting about their awesome high-rider. But why do people love them so, you may ask? A quick list of all the advantages these vehicles offer should clear that up:

  • Superior practicality in comparison to sedans or hatchbacks
  • High safety rating reviews and favorable consumer reports
  • Many hybrid and even electric options exist
  • Focus on comfort and space for more occupants
  • An elevated driving position
  • No shortage of off-road capable vehicles
  • High-end configurations boast potent powertrains
  • SUVs are great for towing
SUVs Advantage Large Trunk Pexels.com

Is an SUV the Right Choice for You, and if So, What Kind?

Despite their advantages, many of the same factors that you'd use to pick the perfect car go into choosing an SUV. As with any purchase, you need to determine how it will fit into your lifestyle. Some of the coolest crossovers may not be right for you if they focus too much on performance and not enough on practicality, especially if you have a family to think of. Similarly, many of the best models offer three rows of seats, often with captain's chairs, which may go to waste if it's just you and your partner.

Luckily, all of the top brands have flooded the market with nearly endless options. If you just want a city runabout, then perhaps a compact crossover like a Mazda CX-30 would suit you best, while those who need to carpool for the local soccer team may prefer a Kia Telluride. If camping is your thing, then a Ford Explorer or Jeep Grand Cherokee might be more to your liking, while the Land Rover Range Rover is the king of the off-road luxury SUV segment. Power and luxury combine in beasts like the BMW X7, too. You simply need to ask yourself, "which SUV is right for me and my lifestyle?" Then check your budget, and see what makes the shortlist.

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The Different Types of SUV Explained

You'll find some of the best-ranked SUV models in every configuration imaginable. As with just about any other body style, they cater to a variety of segments, each with its own specific benefits and weaknesses. While there is such a thing as an average length for an SUV, they do fit into the same classic categories. The various types of SUV you'll find yourself sorting through include:

  • Sub-compact - Ideal for youngsters who like a bit of extra value.
  • Compact - If you're thinking about starting a family, this is a great place to begin.
  • Mid-size - Busy households will enjoy the mix of practicality and versatility.
  • Full-size - For those who just seem to keep running out of space.

And of course, you also need to take certain factors like climate and driving habits into account. If you live in sunny California, then you won't be too fussed with minor details like drivetrains and the like. However, if you're up in North Dakota or Minnesota, you know the value of all-wheel-drive.

Thankfully, most SUV manufacturers present buyers with a wide array of choices in this area. True, you will still find plenty of 2WD or AWD only models, but most allow you to spec your vehicle to taste. Some even offer genuine 4WD. In simple terms, FWD or RWD systems focus on simplicity and will generally offer the best mpg. This makes them the cheapest option. On the other hand, AWD improves traction and gives a better sense of security on the road, which is why it is the optimal choice for those who deal with slick roads or snow on a regular basis. And then there is the 4x4 drivetrain - these are the most adept at handling rougher terrain, making it perfect for those who spend more time off the road than on it.

SUV Selection Pexels.com
Brand SUVs Pexels.com

What to Look for When Choosing a New SUV

Only once you've determined your budget and the needs of your lifestyle can you start asking, "What is the best SUV for me?" In fact, something you need to consider is whether you want a new or used SUV. Luckily, most of the popular SUV models boast higher-than-average dependability ratings. This means that even after a few years of use, they still perform brilliantly. Beyond this, there are certain key factors you need to consider when you decide what SUV to buy.

  • Does it have enough space: Since this is one of the prime reasons to shop in this segment, it is something you need to consider first. However, don't skip over the compact segment, even if you have a family of five. Many of the most highly recommended SUV models come from the smaller end of the segment, and they prove shouldthat bigger isn't always better - still, check the cargo space figures to make sure your needs are met.
  • Is it comfortable: Another key factor, you need not spend a fortune or go the luxury route to get the nicest SUV. Even more economical brands know that comfort is king in this segment, so be sure to give them a fair shake. In terms of comfort for passengers, make sure there are enough seats for your needs - will five perches do, or do you need a third row?
  • Does it have enough power: These are large vehicles, even in their most compact configurations. As such, they weigh quite a bit and need a bit more oomph than a standard car to get around. If you intend on doing a lot of towing, see if the model you like is offered with a diesel engine.
  • You deserve a little extra: It is quickly becoming common for modern cars to offer more features as standard. You can find some of the best modern technology in any SUV, even if they are on the lower end of the price spectrum. SUVs get high safety ratings specifically because they don't skimp on things like automatic emergency braking or lane keep assist, so don't be fooled into thinking these are luxury items.
  • There's something for everyone: Prices range from affordable to excessive, with crossovers and SUVs available even under 20k for the budget-oriented.

There are so many different types of sport utility vehicles out there that it can be easy to get overwhelmed. However, if you keep these factors in mind, you may find that figuring out exactly how to choose an SUV that is perfect for you and your family is easier than you thought.

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SUVs for Travel Pexels.com

FAQs

How is a crossover different from an SUV?

While these two terms may be used interchangeably by most people, there is actually a difference between them, albeit a minor one. As with so many vehicles, these two classifications inherit many of their traits from already established body styles. In the case of an SUV, the foundation is the same as that of a truck, while a crossover is built using the frame of a car. As such, SUVs are almost exclusively body-on-frame designs, whereas crossovers are unibody vehicles.

What should I look for when buying an SUV?

As a broad summary of the discussion above, key areas to consider include: passenger seating, cargo space, comfort and safety ratings, and powertrain/drivetrain options. There is also something available in every price range, so be sure to compare available features for the price asked of it.

Are there any good electric SUVs on the market?

The SUV segment has been quick to embrace the growing trend towards electrification. As such, there are numerous electric options to choose from. Some of the most impressive ones include the Tesla Model X, Toyota RAV4 Prime, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and Audi e-tron.

What is the top-selling SUV in the USA?

As of 2020, the SUV model with the highest sales figures was the Toyota RAV4. It is available in three different configurations - gasoline, hybrid, or plug-in electric.

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