Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

5 Essential Things to Know Before Buying an SUV

suv ttk
James R. Martin / Shutterstock.com

Their larger size, additional seating options and increased cargo space make SUVs a popular option for families. Here are five essential things you need to know before buying an SUV.

Size Requirements

SUVs, like cars, come in a variety of sizes. If you only want a slightly larger vehicle, a subcompact that offers space for five might be plenty for you. However, a large family or one that takes frequent trips with lots of luggage might find a large SUV with third row seating a better option. Knowing what size you need before you head to the dealer will simplify your buying process.

Crossover or Conventional

SUVs are broken down into crossover and conventional categories. Crossovers are smaller and typically offer improved handling that is similar to driving a car, while conventional options drive more like trucks and often have additional towing capacities or power. Consider how you like to drive, and whether you’ll be hauling trailers or heavy loads with your new ride. This will help you choose the right category of SUV.

Pump Considerations

Generally speaking, SUVs are bigger, heavier, and less aerodynamic than regular cars, so buying an SUV means you’ll be spending more at the pump. Whether you opt for a four-cylinder, six-cylinder or eight-cylinder engine, be prepared for considerably reduced fuel economy than you expect from a car - it's a tradeoff with the other benefits SUVs provide. If you often drive long distances, with very little off-road time, a four-cylinder might be the best option.

Two-Wheel Drive vs Four-Wheel Drive

Make sure to consider what type of driving you’ll be doing in your SUV. If you typically motor around in urban areas, a two-wheel drive option might work just fine for your needs. However, if you deal with inclement weather or rough terrain, a four-wheel drive could be a better choice. If you have visions of off-road exploration when the pavement ends, four-wheel drive is a must. Otherwise, two wheel drive will save you gas and be easier to maintain.

Safety Considerations

Another important consideration when buying an SUV is overall safety. While they are larger, that doesn’t make them invincible on the roads. A higher center of gravity makes them more susceptible to roll-over accidents. Greater weight means longer stopping distances. Most SUVs come with a variety of safety features such as airbags and antilock brakes, and many offer additional safety options such as rearview cameras, lane departure and blind spot warning systems. If you want to make sure you choose the safest option, check NHTSA crash ratings for more information.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...


Related questions

Q: Opinion on '90 to '95 Nissan Pathfinder

Not the new ones, but the old ones were good, yes. Nissan Pathfinders were decent vehicles, but you don't want to get one that is all worn out. Those have a lot of problems with automatic transmissions. If you can...

Q: About to purchase a Range Rover 2010 TDV6 auto 4x4 MY10 with 74405kms. What costs am I looking at in the near future?

Hey there. The service costs on a vehicle like this can vary widely depending on the shop doing the work, especially on a vehicle like a Range Rover. As with any vehicle approaching 100,000kms, there will definitely be substantial maintenance...

Q: Seeking an opinion on the new Forester

test