Not sure if you should buy an SUV? Here are five of the most common reasons people give for buying a sports utility vehicle. Whether are not they are good reasons is for you to decide.
Some people, for whatever reason, require a certain combination of pulling capacity and passenger seating. Many SUVs are capable of towing over 2500 pounds and most seat five passengers; some even offer third-row seating. For carpoolers and those with large families, that kind of seating may be a necessity. For others, it’s a luxury to ride around with plenty of legroom and free space.
Some people feel that an SUV is a safer vehicle because it’s larger and heavier built. An SUV also tends to offer taller seating, which makes some people more comfortable when traveling. Even if SUVs are not actually more secure, they may provide some psychological security to those who need it. (There have been concerns about rollover, but most manufacturers are working on systems to minimize the risk.)
For those who have trouble packing all of their things into a station wagon, an SUV offers better cargo capacity. (In some cases, that is. The cargo area of an SUV may indeed be taller, but in some instances, it is not as deep as that of a station wagon. Nevertheless, that taller cargo room may be just what you need if you’re taking along skis or something else with lengthy dimensions.)
Some people choose an SUV because they want a vehicle that can navigate icy roads and get around easily in snow and sleet. It may be true that SUVs are better at handling rough weather than rear-wheel-drive cars, but front-wheel and all-wheel drive cars with proper tires can usually hold their own.
Many people purchase SUVs because they want the off-roading capabilities to travel through wild, unpaved areas. (Many sport utility vehicles do not do well in true off-roading conditions, however, and the number of people who actually take them off-road is small in comparison to the number of people who drive them.)
The truth is that most people who buy an SUV do so because they can. It may not truly fit any of their needs, but it fulfills their wants. Americans, after all, are in love with their cars. They appreciate good styling, and SUVs are very popular.
Part of the reason we work for a living is to obtain the things we want, including our choice of transportation. Yes, SUVs use more gas than most cars, but there are hybrid SUVs that address that concern. The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid is one example, and it appears to be a good one. Some of the compact SUVs get fairly decent gas mileage, too—and shifting down in size is probably a good option for many drivers. Another trend to watch for is the addition of clean-burning diesel engines, which would make SUVs far less damaging to the environment.