Q: What Is a Sport Utility Vehicle?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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These days, sport-utility vehicles have become family vehicles more than off-road beasts. New models that boast improved fuel economy are adding even more enhancement. Thus, many people are now turning to the sport-utility vehicle to meet the needs of their modern lives.

The modern sport-utility vehicle seems more at home on the freeway than off-road. V8 engines power many of the vehicles, allowing them to have strong towing power, but V6s and even 4-cylinder engines are not uncommon. It is not uncommon for a sport-utility vehicle to be offered with the enhanced traction benefits 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Some sport-utility vehicles have selectable 4-wheel drive options. These allow drivers to switch between 4-wheel drive and 2-wheel drive. The latter option lets them save money on fuel and enjoy greater on-road flexibility. Many sport-utility vehicles offer all-wheel drive which is a less robust full-time 4WD setup. These options may be preferable for drivers who plan to encounter slippery surfaces or, in the case of 4-wheel drive, off-road adventures.

Parents are often drawn to sport-utility vehicles for their interior storage capacity. These vehicles can have up to three rows of interior seating, enough to haul the kids and sports equipment or other gear to and from activities. The solid construction and additional safety features often included on such vehicles provide even more benefits for drivers with children.

Businesspeople of all stripes turn to sport-utility vehicles for off daily work and off-day fun. With its large carrying capacity and the ability to tow, a sport-utility vehicle is often a great choice for people working on farms or in mountainous regions, not to mention the weekend warriors who need to haul their boats to the river.

The sheer versatility of the sport-utility vehicle has led to a large number of variations. Compact sport-utility vehicles are commonplace on the roads of America's busier cities and suburbs. These vehicles trade off some power and cargo space or passenger seating for enhanced fuel economy. Full-size sport-utility vehicles, on the other hand, have large storage spaces, extra passenger capacity and, more often than not, V8 engines. Full-size vehicles are often employed off-road or used to tow equipment. There is also a mid-size class, which balances the benefits and features of compact and full-size options.

The sport-utility vehicle remains a powerful tool for many families and businesses. Innovations in the design and construction of the sport-utility vehicle should help ensure its popularity for the foreseeable future.

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