What is an SUV?

What is an SUV?

The SUV has become a bestseller for many car manufacturers. It was once a vehicle for people who needed their vehicle for work, or those with large families. But now, their versatility appeals to almost everyone. The term SUV today covers vehicles with four-wheel drive that can be taken off-road but are lighter than trucks. It also covers vehicles that don’t have 4WD but can tackle light off-road trails like the Honda CR-V and other crossover SUVs.


SUVs account for 36.8 percent of the world’s passenger car market in 2017. That’s a big chunk. SUV sales then went up by 2.6 percent in 2019 while car sales went down 1.3 percent.


In the United States, the SUV has been classified as a light truck. It’s not a car and therefore has a more relaxed fuel efficiency standard. It looks and feels like a combination of a truck, minivan, and an American family car. Originally SUVs were built on truck chassis before the crossovers arrived with their unibody construction.


SUVs offer the storage capacity and hauling capability of a truck. They combine this with the comfort of a station wagon. Their large cabin has two or three rows that give the owners passenger carrying and cargo transportation flexibility. They don’t have great fuel economy but were originally built to conquer rugged terrain without scraping the underbelly of the vehicle. SUVs have a high ground clearance, strong engine, powerful towing capabilities.


SUVs are large and not easy to drive. They’re challenging to park and manage in urban environments. Their impact on the environment as the less-fuel efficient vehicles than others at the same price has brought them a lot of flak.


SUVs are built in three sizes: small, mid-size, and full-size. Small SUVs are easy to drive, and park and some are crossovers. They’re great in cities. E.g., Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5. Mid-size SUVs can share platforms like passenger cars and are the most popular size. They have an all-wheel drive, excellent storage, and a quiet cabin. E.g., Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. Full-size SUVs are luxury or off-road vehicles. They’re the largest of the three, and some even have extended bodies to provide extra space for passengers and cargo. E.g., Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon.