The sports utility vehicle (better known as the SUV) has been a common choice amongst off-roaders and those lugging lots of cargo for decades, but these days you’ll find that SUV parked in soccer-mom driveways everywhere. A popular choice for most families thanks to all that extra space, the SUV offers a ton of great features created to suit a variety of needs. Not sure what to look for when purchasing a sports utility vehicle? Here are 11 things to keep in mind before driving off the lot!
1. What You’re Transporting Matters
Before buying that SUV, you should consider what kind of cargo you’re going to be transporting around – the kids? Heavy loads? Both? For those that just need room for their large families a full-size vehicle might be too much, so figuring out how much space you need before purchasing is definitely a good idea.
2. Gas Mileage
The majority of full-size SUVs use diesel engines, which are not only murder on the environment, but aren’t too friendly when it comes to your gas bill either. Stay away from gas-guzzlers like the Expedition and the Tahoe and go hybrid (electric and fuel), if possible!
3. 3rd Row Seating
Most SUVs offer third-row seating options, but the size of the row is different depending on the size of the vehicle! A full-size provides a roomy third row, which is great for those that need the space, while a mid-size if often tighter. Your requirements make all the difference.
4. How Does It Handle?
Less agile than smaller cars thanks to the added bulk, SUVs aren’t the easiest vehicles to handle on the road. Their height can also lead to rolling in emergency situations. If handling is a major concern, it’s best to look out for models that promise a better grip, like the Land Rover Range Rover Sport or Volkswagen’s Tiguan.
5. The Price
Hybrid, full-size and luxury model SUVs all sit in a much higher price range than their small and mid-sized counterparts. No surprise there. You don’t have to have a huge budget to get an SUV, but you will need more cash depending on your wants and requirements.
6. Consider the Climate
Not sure about the wheels that work best for the weather you usually drive in? Four-wheel drive is a huge plus when living in wet or snowy conditions, but two-wheel works just fine for those driving around drier climates. A little homework on the kind of wheels that work best for your weather conditions can go a long way in the decision-making process.
7. On or Off-Roading
They used to be the vehicle of choice for those that wanted to drive on rough terrains, but these days it’s families that drive off in SUVs. Models are built with the roads they’ll be handling in mind, so decide what you want before buying. If off-roading is your thing, you pretty much can’t go wrong with models like the Jeep Wrangler (hill ascension and descent assist are main features)!
8. Safety First!
When driving around with precious cargo (like your kids), it’s important that your SUV is full of highly-rated safety features. From electronic stability control to the amount and placement of airbags in the vehicle, read up on what’s included in the models you’re interested in before buying.
The insides matter most, but the majority of consumers fall in love with what they see on the outside first! You obviously don’t want to buy on looks alone, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting an SUV that’s got a killer design.
10. Crossover or Truck-Based
CVUs are built more like cars, while SUVs come with a “body on frame” design similar to trucks. So, if you want a lighter vehicle that’s easier to handle and isn’t as aggressive on fuel consumption, then a crossover is best. Want a full-size SUV that can handle a lot of towing? Go truck-based or go home!
11. Overall Comfort
No need to sacrifice comfort levels when it comes to an SUV purchase (but you should make a list of the things you want before buying). There are tons of great options out there, offering a smooth ride, lots of space and easy handling!