Why buy an SUV?
SUVs are one of the most popular vehicle groups in the UK, and for good reason. Standing for Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs make light work of a range of challenges and tasks that they face on a daily basis, proving to be great alternatives to traditional options such as an MPV or family hatchback.
Being so popular, there are a variety of options out there whether you buy new or used, so it's important you understand the benefits of an SUV before deciding which one to go for. Below, we've highlighted a variety of reasons why an SUV may be a fantastic option for your next car.
The first (and most obvious) benefit is the level of practicality that SUVs have to offer thanks to their larger frame, providing you with enough room to transport loads of luggage without having to drop the back seats. They also have the ability to carry more weight than the typical hatchback without being weighed down, which is ideal if you carry a lot of cargo on a regular basis.
The spacious interior makes SUVs ideal for families, with head and legroom often generous enough to leave taller members of the family with little to complain about. Crossover SUVs are more suited to smaller families, while larger SUVs can offer seating for up to seven people.
If that's not enough, a wide variety of SUVs come with various packs or additional extras that enhance versatility even further. Roof bars are one example, allowing you to transport a roof box or a couple of bicycles in a hassle-free manner.
Due to the size of SUVs, it comes as no surprise that they make for some of the safest cars on the road and often score well when they're put through Euro NCAP's rigorous crash tests. Generally, SUVs are able to take the force of a collision more effectively than smaller cars due to them being larger and heavier, reducing the chance of injury for all occupants.
But they're not only good when in a crash, they're also proficient in preventing them too. SUVs often come with a wide range of driver assistance systems that can alert the driver of hazards and reduce the risks of driving. Equipment such as parking sensors and blind spot assist come in handy as obstacles can be harder to spot when driving larger vehicles.
This level of equipment can mean that SUVs demand more of a premium than smaller alternatives, however.
The increase in popularity has lead automotive manufacturers to develop their understanding of the typical SUV user, which explains why new vehicles are continuously returning more impressive fuel economy figures. The increased efficiency means that modern SUVs are now highly-suited to daily use, as opposed to having a pure off-road focus.
Economic internal combustion engines have been reducing the costs of running for a while now, but many may be surprised to learn that various modern SUVs now come with hybrid and all-electric powertrains that can maximise how far a tank of fuel (or a recharge of the batteries) can get you.
There are still a number of high-powered SUVs available for those that favour performance over efficiency, but for the most part, SUVs have now become more environmentally-friendly than ever and make for the perfect family car.
While the focus of SUVs has shifted slightly to suit the lifestyle of their users, their robust nature hasn't been lost in the process. Not only does this mean they're typically safer than other vehicles, as previously mentioned, but it also allows SUVs to absorb the scuffs and bumps of day-to-day life more easily.
If you're a frequent off-road goer, then SUVs are the perfect companion as they can deal with rough terrain more effectively. 4x4 systems (optional on some models) reduce the risk of getting stuck in a muddy field when camping or on an adventure, while elevated ride heights ensure you're not scraping your underside on rocks and uneven ground.
Various packs are also available to increase how tough your SUV is. Storage packs can allow you to throw luggage in the boot without the fear of dirtying plush carpets, and exterior features such as plastic wheel arches can reduce the damage of thrown-up stones whilst both on and off-road.
SUVs usually come with larger, higher-powered engines than smaller alternatives, meaning they possess a higher degree of pulling power. This trend is also present within the SUV class itself, as larger SUVs tend to be more comfortable when lugging heavy loads compared to smaller crossover SUVs. It's always worth checking the towing weights of vehicles before getting your heart set on a particular car.
Bike racks can also be fitted to the tow bar; combine this with a bike rack mounted to the roof bar, and you have the capability to transport plenty of bicycles, or other equipment, for a fun day out with the family.
Frequently Asked Questions
An SUV may be better than a smaller car for some lifestyles as they are often safer, more practical, and equipped with a range of technology. This allows them to complete a range of tasks easily, including anything from the weekly shop to active adventures in the countryside.
SUVs offer plenty of benefits, but there are some disadvantages too. Being larger and often better-equipped, they tend to cost more to purchase than other options within the automotive market. They can also be harder to drive and park than other vehicles due to their size, but there are plenty of driver assistance systems to make this much easier.
SUVs prove to be fantastic partners for long road trips and are more than happy when cruising along a motorway for extended periods of time. Their comfortable nature also allows them to soak up potholes and imperfections of the road better than other options on the market.
Which SUV should I buy?
Due to the sheer amount of choice, there's no definitive answer regarding which SUV you should buy. A wide range of brands including Renault, Dacia and Nissan have all put their stamp on the increasingly-popular SUV market and are suitable for a wide range of lifestyles and tasks.