Owning a car makes life easier. Whether you need to get to work, to study or run a few errands, getting from A to B is much simpler with a car. In some locations, such as regional or rural areas, they are a necessity.
There are a wide variety of vehicle makes and models on the market, each with their unique features. There are small cars, sedans, hatchbacks, utility vehicles, electric and hybrid vehicles. But what about sports utility vehicles? What exactly are these? So, if you don’t know your small SUVs from your dual-cabs, read on to find out more about these cars.
Sports Utility Vehicles
Sports utility vehicles, or SUVs for short, are a type of car that is a hybrid between genuine off-road vehicles, like a traditional four-wheel drive, and an urban passenger vehicle. They are generally larger than a sedan, with more room inside, and sit higher off the ground.
Why are motorists choosing SUVs?
There are a variety of reasons why drivers are shifting towards SUVs for their choice of car.
- They are versatile
Sports utility vehicles are among the most versatile cars on the market. If you need a car that handles well both on city roads and dirt roads or on a snow trip, then an SUV is the choice for you. The majority of SUVs will come in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with the all-wheel-drive option the best choice for improved handling and safety.
Drivers who only occasionally head out onto dirt roads and do most of their driving in the city often prefer SUVs over four-wheel drives.
SUVs can also be upgraded with different after-market parts and accessories, like tow bars, roof racks and other upgrades.
- Ample passenger and storage space
Australian families are increasingly looking for vehicles that provide ample space for friends and family, pets and possessions when they head off on a road trip. Some sports utility vehicles come with seven seats, making them ideal for road trips or a weekend away.
SUVs also have more storage room than smaller cars. They have large boot capacities combined with fold-down back seats, providing a lot of storage and transport space. With roof rack storage, this capacity increases as well.
If you need a car that allows you to drop three kids at school, do the shopping, collect a parcel from the post office and then run some errands with room to spare, an SUV is a choice for you.
- Drivers like to feel in control
Sports utility vehicles sit higher off the ground compared to smaller family sedans. This extra height helps many drivers to feel more in control and less anxious in traffic. This is important for some drivers who may feel intimidated by trucks and large vehicles. Some folks opt for an SUV because of the feeling of safety and control they provide.
The great thing about sports utility vehicles is that you don’t compromise on maneuverability for size, with most SUVs being nice and tight to drive despite their bulk.
How does the fuel economy stack up?
In days past, sports utility vehicles had a reputation for being extremely thirsty. And in most cases this reputation was deserved. However, more recently, manufacturers have begun paying addressing this concern, designing SUVs with better fuel economy.
As fuel is up there with insurance as one of the most expensive aspects of owning a car, this is important to note.
Of course, some models are still thirstier than others, so it’s worth doing your research before you buy or you could be in for a rude shock.
A word about safety
Modern SUVs are designed to be as safe as possible. Most new sport utility cars on the market come with five-star ANCAP safety ratings. This means that, in the unlikely event of a crash, they are designed to keep all the occupants safe and sound. They will come equipped with airbags, advanced braking systems and a whole stack of other features that will keep you safe and sound.
This is important, as car safety is a significant concern for families, who are one of the key target markets for these types of vehicles.
Ideal for road trips
We’ve mentioned the benefits of SUV storage above. Still, another feature of these cars is that they are designed for long hours on the road, with comfortable seats, ergonomic dashboards and good quality entertainment systems. You’ll finish a four-hour drive in comfort, as well as style.
Now, on to the meat of the topic. You might be wondering how much one of these beasts will set you back. Well, the answer varies depending on the manufacturer.
A high-end, European SUV could cost well into six figures, and the servicing and maintenance costs of these cars are no picnic either.
If you’re budget conscious, you still have options. Some Korean manufacturers have begun to build a reputation for quality and even offer extensive warranties. If you want something middle of the road and super reliable, try a Japanese brand.
In short, drivers are choosing SUVs for a variety of reasons. These include:
- They are versatile, suiting a variety of ages, lifestyles and household compositions
- They offer superior space and storage room, making them ideal for large families
- Some drivers like to feel in control and calm when they drive, and an SUVs size provides this feeling
- Fuel economy of these vehicles has improved in recent years, but still research your shortlist
- SUVs have high safety ratings, keeping you protected on the road
- They are ideal for long road trips
- You have a variety of price points for each manufacturer to suit your budget