Shopping For A Suv This Year? Here'S What You Need To Know (2023 Edition)
June 30, 2023
Understanding the SUV Phenomenon
Buying a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) can be a thrilling experience, but picking one out of the number of options out there can feel overwhelming. From urban professionals to large families, SUVs are the go-to vehicle, combining adaptability, comfort, and power in one stylish package. As you set out to shop for an SUV this year, it's important to know what to look for when picking one of these powerhouse vehicles. Sit tight as we dive into the SUV world to arm you with all the knowledge you'll need to make an informed decision for your purchase.
What is an SUV?
An SUV, or Sport Utility Vehicle, is a vehicle that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive. SUVs have been popular because of their large cargo capacity, roomy interiors, and often a higher driving position that offers a broad view of the road. If you enjoy having a lot of trunk space, this is a good option for you.
The Rising Popularity of the SUV
The SUV has its roots in vehicles like the World War II Jeep and Land Rover, but the first SUV as we know them today was the Ford Bronco, introduced in 1966. Since then, SUVs have evolved significantly, moving from utility-focused vehicles to family cars, often replacing the conventional sedan in many families' garages.
The popularity of SUVs has grown a ton over the last two decades. They've become a staple in America and Europe, and are rapidly growing in popularity in emerging countries. The Toyota RAV4 currently holds the title as the most popular SUV globally, having sold millions of units worldwide.
Key Factors That Define an SUV
Several characteristics define an SUV, from size variations to the balance of pros and cons that come with owning these vehicles.
Sizes of SUVs
SUVs come in different sizes, often classified as small, mid-size, and full-size, each with its own merits and drawbacks.
Small SUVs, like the Honda HR-V or Subaru Crosstrek, provide a balance between the nimbleness of a sedan and the utility of an SUV.
Mid-Size SUVs like the Ford Explorer or Toyota Highlander offer more space and power while maintaining reasonable fuel efficiency.
Full-size SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Tahoe or the Ford Expedition, provide maximum space and towing capacity, often at the cost of fuel efficiency.
Performance and Capability
When shopping for an SUV, one essential aspect to consider is the vehicle's performance and capability. Modern SUVs often come with powerful engines and advanced drivetrain systems to handle a wide variety of terrains and weather conditions. Many of them offer impressive towing capacities, making them a perfect choice for those who need to haul heavy loads. Additionally, the performance of an SUV can influence its fuel efficiency and overall cost of ownership. So, it's essential to carefully consider your driving needs and preferences before picking your SUV.
Technology and Convenience Features
SUVs are often admired for their advanced technology and convenience that enhance the driving experience. Many models feature the latest infotainment systems that integrate seamlessly with your smartphone, providing easy access to music, navigation, and other apps. Safety technology is another area where SUVs shine, with many models offering features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and adaptive cruise control.
Convenience features such as keyless entry, heated seats, and ample cargo space add to the appeal of SUVs. Considering these features and how much value they add to your driving experience can help you when shopping.
Design and Style
The design and style of an SUV are other critical factors to consider during your shopping process. Many SUV buyers are drawn to the commanding road presence these vehicles often have, with their muscular exterior styling and bold design elements. SUVs tend to have some of the highest safety ratings on the market.
The interior design is also an important part to consider, with many SUVs offering high-quality materials, comfortable seating, and customizable options for a personalized touch. The style of an SUV can also influence its resale value, making it an important consideration for future selling or trading.
The Pros and Cons of Owning an SUV
While SUVs offer a ton of advantages, they also come with a set of potential downsides. Let's take a closer look at both sides of the coin.
Pros of SUV Ownership:
Roomy interiors: SUVs provide ample room for passengers and cargo, making them ideal for families and those who need extra space.
Versatility: With their ability to handle a variety of terrains and weather conditions, SUVs are highly versatile vehicles. Many models also offer towing capabilities.
Advanced safety features: Modern SUVs often come with a range of safety features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and adaptive cruise control.
Elevated driving position: The higher seating position in an SUV provides a commanding view of the road, which many drivers appreciate.
However, there are also considerations to keep in mind that might count as negatives for some potential owners.
Cons of SUV Ownership:
Fuel Efficiency: Generally, SUVs consume more fuel than smaller vehicles, leading to higher running costs.
Higher costs: From the initial purchase price to maintenance and insurance, owning an SUV can be more expensive compared to smaller cars.
Maneuverability: Due to their size, some SUVs can be challenging to park or maneuver in tight spaces.
Environmental impact: Given their typically higher fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, SUVs may have a more significant environmental impact compared to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Best-Selling SUVs of All Time (Our Top Picks)
Let's take a look at the SUVs that have reached the top of the sales charts, influencing the market with their standout features and performances. There are other models and brands out there, but these are our favorites.
5. Nissan Rogue
Despite a reduction in its model line-up, the Nissan Rogue's sales have skyrocketed, with a 69% increase compared to the first quarter of 2022. It offers spacious interiors, excellent fuel economy, and a host of features, all starting at a relatively affordable price.
4. Tesla Model Y
With sales numbers challenging even the Toyota RAV4, the Tesla Model Y is carving a name for itself in the SUV market. Its popularity stems from its generous range, cutting-edge tech, and of course, the appeal of zero emissions.
3. Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester is a compact SUV that stands out for its roomy interiors, all-wheel-drive capability, and a range of driver-assistance features. While its engine performance isn't the best, it offers good fuel economy and is a solid choice for SUV shoppers.
2. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a well-rounded SUV that impresses with its fuel economy, agile handling, comfortable interiors, and advanced safety features. It's a big favorite among SUV buyers for its reliability and resale value.
1. Toyota RAV4
Leading the pack is the Toyota RAV4, with its efficient powertrain, rugged looks, impressive safety features, and comfortable ride. Whether it's the regular or hybrid model, the RAV4 offers a well-rounded package that resonates with a wide range of consumers.
Now You’re Ready To Start Shopping
SUVs have come a long way since their functional origins, evolving into resourceful vehicles that cater to a variety of needs. Whether it's the comfort of a Nissan Rogue, the technological innovations of a Tesla Model Y, the reliability of a Honda CR-V, or the all-around performance of a Toyota RAV4, there's an SUV for everyone. As we look forward to the future of the automotive industry, it's clear that SUVs will continue to play a major role on the road.