An SUV - or sports utility vehicle - is a type of car with a raised ride height and higher seating position than a regular hatchback or estate car. Traditionally, most SUVs were four-wheel drive, giving them extra capability in muddy or cold conditions. Two-wheel-drive SUVs are increasingly popular in 2023, with used SUV buyers enjoying the feeling of safety and status that an SUV brings - without the high running costs of a gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicle.
SUVs range in size from small crossover models like the Ford Puma and Toyota Yaris Cross to bigger family SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. You can also get big seven-seat SUVs, like the Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq, while premium SUVs like the BMW X5 and Range Rover Sport appeal to the fashion-conscious. Electric SUVs like the Nissan Ariya, Skoda Enyaq iV and Tesla Model X are very much on trend.
SUV buyers love their practicality - not only do they usually have more boot space than conventional cars, they’re also easier to access and generally more user-friendly. Strapping a child into the seat of an SUV is much easier than bending down to do it in a regular family car, while the shape of an SUV’s boot makes it easier for transporting bulky items - from pushchairs to the weekly shop and even the family dog.
The raised ride height of SUVs is also a selling point, while the compliant suspension helps tackle potholes, speed bumps and uneven road surfaces. Many buyers enjoy the high seating position of SUVs - not only do you get a better view of your surroundings, many SUV drivers say they feel safer than in a regular car, while they’re often more comfortable over long journeys.
There are a huge number of SUVs on sale in various sizes and price points these days, so if you’re looking to buy or lease one you’re spoilt for choice. The cheapest are small SUVs, also called crossovers, and the best small SUVs you can buy right now are cars such as the Jeep Avenger and Ford Puma. If you need more space, try a family SUV such as the Hyundai Tucson or Volkswagen Tiguan, while larger SUVs such as the SEAT Tarraco or Kia Sorento will cater for bigger families. Want something posher and faster? Check out the luxurious Porsche Cayenne or Volvo XC90.
If you’re looking to buy an SUV that can carry all the family, a 7-seat SUV such as the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace or Nissan X-Trail is a great choice. Desirable premium alternatives include the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Mercedes GLB, while the Dacia Jogger is an excellent seven-seater for those on the budget (even if there’s some debate about whether it’s actually an SUV…).
There’s not a lot to worry about when buying an SUV - most modern SUVs won’t be any more expensive to run (or any less reliable) than any other car. The key is finding the right SUV for you - a coupe-SUV, for example, looks great but might be less practical than a regular SUV. The third row of seats in some seven-seat SUVs are often only really suitable for children, while it’s worth double-checking if an SUV is two- or four-wheel drive. It’s important to buy an SUV with the right engine for you - diesels are great for high-mileage drivers (or if you’re looking to tow a caravan), while hybrid SUVs are better around town. Electric SUVs will be great for keeping costs down.
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