Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a type of vehicle that can carry lots of passengers, like a station wagon or minivan.
SUVs are shaped like a big station wagon. However, they are taller, because the seats are more upright and because they have a taller suspension so that they can go off road. (However, less than 10 percent of these vehicles actually do go off road.)
Another way that many SUVs are different from some regular cars is that many SUVs have four-wheel-drive, but most regular cars only have two-wheel-drive. Also, many SUVs have larger engines, like a six- or an eight-cylinder engine, . In some countries, SUVs often have diesel engines.
SUVs come from designs that were originally military or commercial, such as the Jeep and the Land Rover. These vehicles have been popular for many years with rural people because they can go off-road, but now they are also popular with people in urban areas because they believe that they look good.
[change] Modern designing
Consequently, newer SUVs are more like cars because buyers like it that way. Instead of buying a car they buy a SUV that's designed like a car. They have luxury features and more car-like suspensions and ride heights. This is because most of these newer SUVs seldom go off-road, but stay on the street most of the time.
However, some people do take their SUVs off the road to explore places that they could not go with a car, and to enjoy the driving. Because of this, there are many off-road clubs in different countries. SUVs are even raced, such as in the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Australian Safari.
Also, there are many fun things you can do with a SUV. For example, you can tow a boat with an SUV.
There are many reasons why SUVs have become popular. One reason is the comfort of their large cabins--they can carry almost as much as a minivan. Another reason is that people think they are safe.
Finally, a major reason why they are popular is that they have a rugged, powerful image. People buy them because they look good, even though a small car might be less expensive and more practical. Automobile companies have sold many SUVs. They make more profit on them per vehicle than with other automobiles, because they are cheaper and simpler to build than many passenger cars of equivalent price.
Many people have bought SUVs, but now many people do not like them anymore, because SUVs are bad for the environment and dangerous to other drivers. In addition, these people think that the SUVs are not really as safe as people believe they are.
One problem with SUVs is that they roll over more easily than lower vehicles. In recent years Consumer Reports magazine found several SUVs unacceptable because they roll over too easily. Also, they are big and stiff, and they have high bumpers, so when they hit another car, the other car and its passengers can be severely damaged. Big, heavy SUVs like Ford Excursions and Chevrolet Suburbans can damage cars badly when they hit them.
[change] Huge gasoline consumption
SUVs have become so popular in the United States that the U.S. is using much more gasoline than before. SUVs are much less fuel-efficient than cars. The main reason is that the U.S. government classifies them as small trucks, so they do not have to be as fuel efficient as passenger cars. Since auto companies have little reason to change SUVs, they are fuel-inefficient. They are big and heavy, have a lot of wind resistance, and have big engines and a heavy suspension. They also use tires that are better for off road than for driving on the street. Smaller SUVs that look like cars may be shorter and use better tires, but they still have big, fuel-inefficient, polluting engines.
[change] Large size
Because SUV's are very big, it is difficult to park them. If there is a big car park, this is not a problem but in some places like Hong Kong where there is not a lot of space, it is a problem.
[change] Other names
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