Once, the Sports Utility Vehicle, or SUV as we now know them, was just a massive motor that could take on everything agricultural thanks to a strong 4x4 system. They were purchased by farmers and wealthy country folk who needed something more rugged to ferry Labrador dogs around fields. Over time, these tough vehicles caught on with other users thanks to their robust utilitarian features and they became a regular sight on our roads and on the school run. They even appeared in cities where they were known as, rather derisively, as ‘Chelsea Tractors’.
Not being ones to miss out on filling an automotive niche when they see it is vacant, car makers latched on to this trend and over time through hyperbolic marketing language and internet advertising turned what was basically a mud-plugging 4x4 into something trendy: Not so much agricultural as just cultural, it became the SUV. Now there are more of them than you could shake a glossy brochure at. In today’s high-riding motoring world these vehicles now come in all shapes and sizes; it can get confusing, so here’s the eCars247 guide to choosing the right used model for the job; like:
The term crossover was coined because although they come in all sizes, mostly they are not big enough to be termed SUVs; more like big hatchbacks with a butch demeanour. They can now be described as ‘small’ or ‘compact’ SUVs, but although some can offer all-wheel drive they mostly will be bought in regular two-wheel drive form.
They are almost as easy on fuel and running costs as their genuine hatchback counterparts and make for quality family transport. Most, indeed, are eminently suitable for the aforementioned school run. What they most assuredly are not for is tackling the muddy and rocky tracks and trails of the wild blue yonder. Tarmac, not rough terrain, is where they want to be. Not unlike:
An Urban Crossover
If the crossover is considered suitable for every day life then the ‘urban crossover’ is suited to every day life in our towns and cities. They are usually well-priced and this type of motor will be economical and, increasingly, electric of hybrid and rarely have any form of all-wheel drive. They will be easy to park, sometimes with ‘park assist’ in some form and have proved to be mostly capable of holding their own on longer journeys. Of course, if our town or city dweller is cash rich he could always go for:
A Luxury SUV
These are bigger and mostly have very competent four-wheel drive systems. Some will be class-leaders when it comes to going off road yet the chances are they will rarely ever go there. Meanwhile, passengers are cocooned in leather-bound luxury.
Vehicles like Range Rovers or Discovery’s do not skimp on off-road technology, loaded as they are with high-tech gadgetry designed to take the tricky business of differentials and low-range gears out of the equation, leaving the driver with the more straightforward act of steering. Damage one however and it all gets rather expensive so if the owner does want to get into some real world mud-plugging on a more cost effective basis or actually live the rural life then the solution will be:
A Proper 4x4
These are the workhorses; the vehicles you want to tow a horse box or transport equipment or several children to out-lying schools in bad road conditions or take a sick sheep through the snow to a vet. These cars usually work for a living.
Pickup trucks are ideal or perhaps the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser; perhaps a tad less fuel efficient and less luxurious than the others but when the going gets tough and there’s a need to get down and dirty then these are the cars that take us back to the beginning of the article.
Vehicles like this are on trend right now. Have a look at our ever-changing selection for your next SUV or crossover. Alternatively, there are still some sleek saloons around when an SUV doesn’t fit the bill. The really good news is that all the vehicles listed have been AA inspected and come with our fourteen day test drive. We can even deliver to your door.