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Choosing The Best SUV: Things You Need To Know

Choosing a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) can be a daunting task in today’s competitive world of automobile sales. With seemingly endless choices and options for every aspect of an SUV, the information can be overwhelming to first-time buyers.

Do you want a fuel-conscious vehicle? How much power should it have? Is there enough space for your entire family? Should you look for a hybrid model that combines the best of modern SUV design with a more eco-friendly approach?

Thankfully, with a little pre-purchase research you can make an informed and educated decision as you shop for an SUV. Here are six things you need to know before buying your new SUV.

Size Requirements

While your typical SUV is bigger than most standard automobiles on the road, SUVs still come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some are closer to typically sized cars than they are to the big jeeps that inspired them.

Not only should you consider the size of your family, but also any future family members you may be expecting. Will you be using your SUV as a means to transport your family everywhere? Or will it be used primarily for work such as lugging around resources and/materials?

Choosing the right size of SUV is an important decision since it may affect your entire family. A small or mid-sized SUV can fit five total people, while mid-sized and full-sized vehicles can transport up to eight people easily. Think of your family’s needs as well, when deciding the best SUV’s size. Will you be driving your children to soccer practice? That may require a different size SUV than if you’ll be using your SUV to lug around your band’s equipment to your next gig. If you have a large family or you’re the type that lacks to bring a lot of luggage during family vacations, then you may want to opt for that third bench seat. Otherwise, you might want to skip the extra seating for additional storage space.

Price Range

A small or mid-sized SUV will cost less than your full-size, hybrid, or luxury SUVs. It’s best to figure out your automobile budget before going to the dealer. If you know exactly what you want beforehand, then you’ll know how much it will cost you when you begin the sales process. There’s nothing worse than buying a top-of-the-line model SUV only to discover later that your budget was meant for a mid-sized vehicle.

Before you go to your local dealership, take an honest hard look at your budget. Most importantly, factor in additional costs that will inevitably pop up when you decide to buy a car. Add in these costs to what you can already afford. It may limit the type of SUV you’re able to purchase, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Those extra costs that you budget for may later be used to maintain your SUV or be put away in your savings account.

Two-Wheel Drive vs Four-Wheel Drive

The type of driving you do should determine whether you get a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive SUV. If you’ll be doing most of your driving in the city, then the two-wheel-drive should be just fine. However, if you’ll be dealing with rough weather and/or terrain, and ski trips you may want to opt for a four-wheel drive.

A two-wheel-drive SUV handles easier, does not consume as much gas as a four-wheel drive, and is easier to maintain overall. City-based drivers should probably lean towards a two-wheel-drive purchase. If you’re looking to go off-roading, though, and exploring unpaved roads on a regular basis, the four-wheel-drive SUV is most likely the vehicle for you.


Most SUVs can handle steep climbs up mountains well, but a four-cylinder SUV may struggle on those adventurers in the mountains. Likewise, they may seem a bit sluggish when hauling around a full load of passengers and/or gear. Without the added weight, though, these four-cylinder vehicles can be much quicker than the SUVs with bigger engines.

Opting for the six-cylinder engine, which is found in most mid-sized SUVs is a solid middle of the road choice. The extra power is perfect for going up those steep climbs. If you’re going to be towing items, then go for the eight-cylinder engine found in some mid-sized and large SUV models. This engine will give you tremendous power and outstanding acceleration. Of course, all of this additional power doesn’t come without a price, or in this case, an increased price. You’ll pay more for a stronger engine and you’ll be consuming more fuel on a regular basis, but the extra power is necessary for towing heavy loads.

Crossover or Conventional

SUVs come in two types: crossover and conventional. The smaller SUVs are crossovers, which drive like a typical automobile, offering better handling and superior gas mileage. A conventional SUV is designed more like a traditional truck, which will be able to tow heavy amounts but will consume more fuel.

If you prefer a smoother ride and a more affordable monthly fuel bill, you’re better off with a crossover SUV. However, if you’re looking at towing a good amount, then the conventional SUV is your best bet. It features a “body on frame” like other trucks that can handle more rugged use.


It’s easy to believe that SUVs are safer automobiles simply because they’re larger in size. What people tend to forget, though, is that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Because they’re bigger and taller than most standard cars, SUVs have a higher center of gravity, which means they’re more prone to rolling over. With the bigger size also comes more weight, thus requiring a longer stopping distance.

Thankfully, most SUVs come with extra safety features to prevent accidents and minimize damage. These safety features include anti-lock brakes, airbags, rearview cameras, and electronic sensors to warn you of lane departures and other cars in your blind spot. No matter which SUV you decide to buy, rest assured that safety features are not compromised by manufacturers.