Despite current gas prices, sport-utility vehicles remain one of the most popular vehicle types on the roads. Today’s sport-utility vehicles (“SUVs”) offer good passenger and cargo space, interior comfort, superior inclement weather ability, good driving visibility, and improved fuel economy. There are more than half a dozen 2012 model SUVs that get at least thirty miles per gallon on the highway.
SUVs are a competitive vehicle category with nearly one hundred models for consumers to choose from. Prices start at near $20,000 for some compact SUVs while some luxury high performance luxury SUV models from vehicle makers such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche top $100,000.
When buying an SUV, it is important to consider how insurance rates impact your overall vehicle costs. You want to get the best car insurance possible without compromising on coverage.
SUVs are generally classified into three main groups: small or compact, midsize, and full-size. Typically as the size of the SUV increases, so does the price. Full-size SUVs typically offer the most power, cargo space, passenger, room, and towing ability with a commensurately higher price. They also typically have the lowest fuel economy. Compact SUVs typically start near $22,000 and can hold four to five passengers.
Full-size SUVs can easily reach $40,000. They typically hold seven to eight passengers and have a third row of seating. They offer more towing power and versatility than mini-vans that have similar passenger space.
More Luxury Models
There are also sub-categories in the SUV marketplace such as luxury and off-road styled SUVs. The luxury market is actually now the largest category in the class with nearly fifty models with prices starting at about $40,000. Many models may not precisely fit into a specific category. For example, the Volvo XC-60 could be classified as both compact and luxurious.
Off-road styled SUVs would include the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota FJ Cruiser. Even automaker MINI has an SUV model, called the “Countryman”.
The Evolution of the SUV
The first SUV brand was Jeep, which started production in 1941. The vehicles ably served the U.S. Military in World War II and postwar period. Jeep spawned other early SUV models such as the Land Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Chevrolet Suburban.
SUVs really started becoming popular in the mid 1980s with the introduction of models such as the Jeep Cherokee, Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, Ford Bronco II, and the Toyota 4-Runner. These smaller SUVs got better fuel economy and had better handling than the traditional SUVs. In the early 1990s, the Ford Explorer became one of the most popular models on the road.
SUVs have been historically been based off truck models, and some are still built off truck platforms. Increasingly SUVs are built on the same platform as compact or midsize car models. These SUVs may also be called “crossover” vehicles. Many consider the 2003 Nissan Murano, which has slick, aerodynamic styling, to be an early example of the crossover.
More Fuel-Efficient and Safer than Ever Before
Crossover SUVs generally have better handling, ride quality, get better gas mileage, are lighter, and have better aerodynamics than their truck-based SUV counterparts. Crossovers still retain the all wheel drive capability and cargo and passenger space as their truck-based piers. Truck-based SUVs generally have higher ground clearance, better off-road capability, and a sturdier frame.
When deciding what type of SUV to buy, many buyers focus on passenger and cargo space, power, and four-wheel drive capability. While these are important factors, prospective buyers should also consider the model’s reliability, interior comfort, safety, and resale value before making a purchase. The difference in total cost of ownership considering these factors and other factors such as insurance costs, maintenance costs, and fuel costs can be significant.
SUVs remain one of the hottest sectors in the automotive industry. Whichever type of SUV you are in the market for, they offer outstanding versatility, interior space, and good driving visibility.
This guest post was written by You Have More Than You Think partner Jason Nelson. Jason owns and operates the Best Car Insurance Companies website.