Sport Utility Vehicle: Purchasing

Here is a comprehensive guide for those interested in the idea of sports utility vehicle purchasing.

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are the fastest selling vehicles on the market today. Dealers are having difficulty keeping them on their lots. Although there are reasons to buy an SUV, in most cases a car, station wagon or minivan would be a better choice. You should consider an SUV if you off-road regularly or have a heavy trailer to tow, otherwise, there is nothing that an SUV does that can't be done just as well, if not better, with a passenger vehicle.

Most SUVs are sold with all season tires. When an SUV is equipped with these tires it has no better traction in inclement weather than an all-wheel-drive car with all season tires. In fact, vehicles with all-wheel-drive systems have better handling in rain or snow. The part time 4-wheel drive on many popular SUVs was designed for off-roading and does not give the average user the extra handling most expect from a SUV.

Because SUVs are tall and heavy for their size, their center of gravity causes poor handling. This is especially true when the driver is trying to avoid an obstacle or potential accident. They are three times more likely to roll over than a car or van.

SUVs also have dismally low performance when testing their braking ability. The stopping distance of these vehicles is much longer than your average passenger vehicle because of their weight.

These vehicles are also not environmentally designed. Because of outdated legislation designed to help farmers and commercial users of light trucks and SUVs, they are permitted to waste 33% more gasoline than passenger cars. They can emit 30% more carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons and 75% more nitrogen oxides.

Gasoline is a major expense for large SUVs. While the average car gets 28 miles to the gallon (m.p.g.) on the highway, most SUVs get less than 20 m.p.g. Even worse some get only 12-16 m.p.g.

In addition to higher fuel costs, SUVs have higher repair and maintenance costs. During the average life-span of an SUV, the owner can expect to spend at least $250 more than an owner of a passenger car.

In addition to higher gas and maintenance costs, many insurance companies are raising liability rates on SUVs. The same companies are offering other car owners discounts. In many instances SUVs can cost more than $100 more a year for liability and collision than a comparable passenger car made in the same year. Rates for SUV theft insurance can also be quite high. This reflects the popularity of SUVs. Vehicles that are perceived as trendy or desirable tend to be stolen more often. Most SUVs have worse than average theft insurance claims. This directly causes higher insurance costs.

SUVs can be great recreational vehicles for many people, but may not be a great choice as a family car.

© High Speed Ventures 2011