SUV is the widely used and known acronym for Sport Utility Vehicle. At first conception, an SUV was a vehicle that combined the towing capacity of a full-size truck with the passenger and storage capacity of a minivan. However, as consumer demands have changed, so has the vehicle. Many manufacturers now focus on fuel-efficiency and driving and riding comfort, rather than towing capacity.
Typical features of an SUV include seating for five to seven, high seating and road positioning, roomy interior, non-dedicated trunk space, high engine capacity and 4 wheel drive capability. Though it was originally designed to be an off-road vehicle for sporting purposes, its popularity has spawned several different breeds, including the luxury SUV.
Like cars, the SUV has different classes and sizes. The mid-sized version, which typically seats five, is the best-selling variety in the United States. During the SUV’s height of popularity, the Ford Explorer remained the top-selling model. Compact and full-size SUVs appeal to many consumers equally, but for different reasons. Luxury versions have the same features as standard class models, but contain upgraded interiors and trim packages typically associated with luxury model vehicles, such as leather interior.
Though many modern day motorists value the SUV for its size and roominess, many others criticize their lack of fuel-efficiency and their contribution to air pollution. Consumers who value the vehicle do so not only for its size, but for its perceived safety advantages. Though crash test safety ratings vary with makes and models, some are known to pose the risk of rollover.
Some of the more popular makes and models of SUVs include the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Blazer, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Honda CRV, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hummer and Land Rover, and the Nissan Pathfinder. For those who enjoy the flexibility of combining weekday comfort with weekend fun, it has proven to be a leading choice in vehicles. Similarly, having 4 wheel drive capability and towing capacity without the passenger restrictions of a truck appeals to many car buyers and keeps the SUV a leading seller.
As a concern for the environment and the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles increases, manufacturers worldwide are continuing to explore ways to make improvements to the SUV family to keep them a leading selling vehicle.