What Makes an SUV an SUV?

An SUV is a car with raised suspension, designed to drive over rough terrain and carry passengers. They’re popular with families, commuters, and people who like to go off-roading.


They were traditionally four-wheel drive and equipped with special off-road gear, but manufacturers have dropped those features to make them more comfortable and more car-like to drive on tarmac.

They’re bigger

SUVs are a lot bigger than cars. It’s a fairly well-known fact that SUVs are higher than traditional cars, can carry a lot more people and their gear, and can travel where other paved-surface-going vehicles would run for their garages. But it’s a little harder to pin down precisely what makes an SUV an SUV, and there are a number of different types of them on the market.

Traditionally, the term has been used to describe vehicles that are built using a body-on-frame or ladder chassis and are intended for tough off-roading or heavy towing. Those include vehicles like the rugged Chevrolet Suburban or the Volkswagen Kommandeurswagen (which combined a beetle saloon car body with a truck chassis).

The rise of the SUV coincided with the growth of a new consumer movement that demanded more sophisticated driving appeal and equipment as well as excellent off-road capability. Manufacturers cottoned on, and SUVs exploded in popularity.

Today, the term can be applied to any type of vehicle that’s a little taller than a sedan and that has some off-road capability. In fact, there are even some electric SUVs on the market, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the VW ID.4. These vehicles don’t look much like the SUVs you might expect, though – they’re closer in shape to conventional crossover models such as the Toyota RAV4 or the Subaru Forester.

They’re more comfortable

SUVs are generally more comfortable than cars when it comes to long-distance driving and road trips. They have lots of space for passengers to ride comfortably, and they usually have a lot of cargo space for luggage and equipment as well. Plus, many have good fuel economy despite their size and shape.

What’s more, the higher seating position that SUVs offer gives drivers a full view of the road ahead, making it easy to avoid any hazards and see over smaller vehicles in traffic or other cars in crowded parking lots. The greater ground clearance that SUVs have also makes it easier for them to drive over rough textured roads and navigate inclement weather without damaging the engine or risking losing control.

If you’re the type of person who loves weekend road trips and likes to take a lot of gear with them such as skis or camping equipment, an SUV is the perfect vehicle for you. SUVs have a lot of storage space that can accommodate large items, and they often have folding rear seats which means you can adjust the amount of space that’s available to suit your needs.

Depending on the platform and configuration, SUVs can seat five, six, seven or even eight people. This is great for families or groups of friends who need to transport a lot of gear in one go.

They’re more practical

As the name suggests, SUVs are designed to be more practical than other vehicles. This is primarily because they offer a great deal of space for passengers and cargo. Most also have a high roof and increased ground clearance, so they can easily take on rough terrain that would make most other paved-surface-going cars run for the garage.

In addition, SUVs have greater driving height than traditional saloons and hatchbacks. This means that drivers get a full view of the road ahead, meaning that they’ll be able to spot any potholes and cracks before they become an issue. They’ll also be able to see any potential hazards from further up the road.

Ultimately, this makes SUVs ideal for families and people who love the outdoors. They can easily transport camping gear, kayaks, mountain bikes and other large equipment without a problem. They can also drive over rocks or through mud with ease, which is perfect for those who enjoy off-road driving.

But even though SUVs are generally more practical than other vehicles, it’s not the reason why many people choose to buy them. It’s a combination of factors that has led to this car type becoming so popular, including their style and power, spaciousness and safety features. Plus, they’re often seen as a luxurious car type, with models like the swanky Chevrolet Blazer and bold Jeep Grand Cherokee proving that SUVs can be stylish as well as practical.

They’re more expensive

SUVs are expensive to run because of their size, according to a new report from Auto Express. The magazine used official fuel economy figures to compare the running costs of small, mid-sized and large SUVs against hatchbacks, saloons and estate cars. It found that the average SUV uses more than 25% more petrol or diesel per year than a similar-sized car.

SUV is a broad term these days, used to describe anything from slightly elevated hatchbacks and estates with chunky off-road looks to old-school four-wheel drive vehicles aimed at tough off-roading and heavy towing. There are even some cars that can’t be called SUVs by the old-fashioned definition because they use body-on-frame construction methods and a rugged off-road design, but still have that raised driving position and chunky looks. These include the Suzuki Jimny, Toyota Land Cruiser and SsangYong Rexton.

Most SUVs, however, are built using a unibody chassis and have car-like driver and passenger comfort. This is why they often score excellent scores in the precise crash tests conducted by Euro NCAP. They’re also safer than smaller cars when it comes to occupant safety as their size makes them more stable in the event of a collision. That’s why SUVs are ideal for families, especially those with young children. But if you’re considering an SUV, be sure to look at the whole picture and compare prices to ensure that you get the best value for money.