4 Important Things to Consider When Shopping for an SUV

Published February 14, 2015 by Jayme Williams

With over 100 different models of SUVs and crossover SUVs available in the United States today, multiplied by the number of variations for each model, the number of SUVs to choose from seems almost endless. Today, SUVs and crossover SUVs are not just for those that like to tackle the great outdoors, there is nearly a model to fit anyone, even the city commuter. Ranging in size from subcompact to full-size nine passenger and up, choosing an SUV might feel a bit overwhelming. To help make shopping for your next SUV easier, we have compiled a list of four important points to consider when shopping for an SUV.

Size matters when it comes to an SUV

SUVs and crossover SUVs come in a myriad of sizes ranging from subcompact to full-size. Subcompact to mid-size SUVs are typically based on the same platform as a car, which gives you similar handling and ride quality as a subcompact to full-size car. Larger full-size SUVs are typically built on a truck platform, which gives you a much larger cabin and cargo area plus the durability to tackle rough terrain and tow larger boats, campers, and trailers. The trade-off with a larger SUV is that you get the handling of a truck, which is far less nimble than a car. As far as passenger capability, consider the largest number of passengers you typically transport and add one for good measure. A subcompact SUV can accommodate four to five average adults, while a full-size can handle up to nine passengers plus cargo. Always choose one that gives you slightly more room than you need to allow for any special occasions where you might need extra passenger or cargo room.

SUV fuel economy basics

The first SUVs were not known for their record setting fuel economy. Today, fuel economy for some of the smaller subcompact and compact SUVs rivals that of its coupe and sedan counterparts. Always remember that the smaller the SUV, the more likely it is to have exceptional fuel economy. For those that put fuel economy at the top of the list, staying on the smaller end of the SUV spectrum can offer a range of engine sizes with a choice of fuel economy ratings. Smaller SUVs typically have smaller tuned engines or the addition of turbochargers that offer the power and performance of a larger engine with better fuel economy. If you need something larger, but still want exceptional fuel economy, you may want to consider the option of a hybrid-powered SUV. If you tow a boat, camper or trailer of any kind, or just like the power of a V8 you will have to sacrifice some fuel economy to get the torque you need to safely tow heavier loads. However, many automakers have updated their larger engines with technology that helps save a few miles per gallon such as start-stop features and turbochargers.

Where you drive your SUV is important

Where you do most of your driving is also an important consideration when it comes to choosing an SUV. If you are a daily commuter that spends most of their time in the city, a subcompact or compact SUV with a small footprint that is easy to park is probably the best choice. Even if you carpool, there are many smaller SUVs that still spacious enough to accommodate five passengers and still take up nearly the same amount of parking space of a small or mid-size car. Smaller SUVs also have more car-like handling making them more suited to parking in cramped lots or in front of a parking meter. If you spend more of your time on country roads or off the beaten path, a large SUV will provide you with the extra ground clearance you need as well as the heavier duty suspension to take on rocks, mud and off road terrain.

Accommodating smaller two-legged and any four-legged passengers

The amount of time you travel with kids or pets is also something to think about when shopping for an SUV. Not only do you want an SUV that offers plenty of room for car seats and booster seats, you want one that will provide all the safety features to keep you and your passengers safe. If you frequently take longer road trips, you also want to consider SUVs that offer extra features such as WiFi capability and rear passenger entertainment systems. These can allow you to put on a movie or cartoons for the little ones and give your older ones access to use their smartphones or tablets. If you are frequently accompanied by four-legged passengers, look for SUVs that give them plenty of room to be comfortable during short or long trips. This means finding an SUV that they can stand up in as well as have room to lay down and relax on long trips. With so many SUVs to choose from, knowing exactly what you need can make picking the perfect one much easier. It also helps you walk into a dealership and be able to tell a salesperson exactly what you are looking for so they can find just what you need. While these are just a few important points to consider when shopping for an SUV, they can make shopping easier and ensure that you drive home in an SUV that you are happy with and fits your needs.

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