Your car is exploding with groceries, kids, maybe pets and camping equipment. You’re thinking it may be time to upgrade to a bigger vehicle, but is an SUV what your family needs? SUVs are very popular. These days, many are even super luxurious. According to JATO, SUV popularity is increasing steadily across nearly every market in the world. Maybe you don’t have children, but love to hit the road on adventures. There are many advantages to buying an SUV, and as with anything else, there are also some disadvantages. Fortunately, with a bit of research, you’ll be able to decide what’s right for you.
The Down Side
When it comes to SUVs, the most common complaints are related to money. It’s well known that historically, fuel efficiency hasn’t been the strongest selling point of the SUV. They’re heavier than regular cars, and therefore require more gas to get around, which means higher fuel costs long term. That said, many of them get better mileage than larger sedans, and some are more fuel efficient than others. Hybrid SUVs are also widely available, some with plug-in variations to accommodate electric-only driving. They tend to be more expensive than their non-hybrid counterparts, but will save you money in the long run. SUVs also give off significantly more emissions than small cars, simply because they burn more gas, sending more pollutants into the air and creating larger carbon footprints.
When it comes to versatility and comfort, it’s assumed that SUVs have more of it. While this is true in most cases, it actually depends on the make and model. Some have limited cargo space, and while many drivers prefer sitting higher up from the road, older drivers, those with disabilities, and shorter drivers can have trouble getting up into the raised seats. Lastly, if you do much city driving and parking, SUVs can pose a challenge for some when it comes to parallel parking. Since they sit up higher off of the road, SUVs also tend to be more prone to rollovers during high-speed accidents.
The Plus Side
One of the biggest advantages to buying an SUV is interior space and accommodation for family life and adventures. SUVs are designed for people with a variety of lifestyles, especially those who like to road trip, have large, active families or pets, and whose jobs require they carry around lots of equipment. You get the benefit of added space in what still feels like a family car, and there are so many to choose from. That said, you don’t have to have a large family to enjoy a utility vehicle. If you like camping or fishing, for example, the versatility of the interior of most SUVs will come in handy (especially if you like to sleep in your car), and you’ll most likely need to tow occasionally. While you can always add a tow kit to a car, many SUVs have built-in tow capabilities.
When it comes to safety and performance, SUVs have many features that make them off-road capable, such as high ground clearance, sturdy suspension, underbody protection, and hill descent control. These features can also offer you added peace of mind while driving under normal or extreme weather conditions. While it isn’t recommended that pets roam freely in your car, SUVs easily fit pet carriers, and can be accessorized with pet barriers, turning the cargo bay into a perfect little travel space for your animals. Visibility is yet another advantage to driving a utility vehicle. Sitting up high allows you to see more of your surroundings, including hazards on the road in front of you. High seating also helps the driver escape blinding headlights in the rearview mirrors at night.
You have a lot to consider if you’re thinking perhaps an SUV is the way to go with your next vehicle purchase. Life gives us challenges and opportunities everyday, and your vehicle should be able to meet them. Although the debate surrounding the pros and cons of owning an SUV will probably never end, there’s plenty of information out there to help you make the most informed decision possible about what’s best for you and your family.