How to Choose the Best SUV for your Needs

Purchasing a new sports utility vehicle (SUV) is a big decision that requires planning and research. There are many different types of SUVs to choose from including crossover, compact, luxury, hybrid, electric versions and more. It can be overwhelming to shop for a new vehicle but by using the following criteria as a guide you can narrow down your choices easily.

1 – Consider your Budget

SUVs are available at many different price points. Although it can be easy to get caught up looking at vehicles that are out of your price range, it is important to create a budget for your new SUV and to stick with it. Don’t fall victim to the enticing base price, because options and additional features can quickly add up. You should also consider taxes and fees that will be added to the purchase price. You should make a list of what you want in your vehicle, and then what you really need. Extra options can add up, so prioritize what you would need and what you would want. You should also focus on the overall price, not just the monthly payment. This allows you to stick to your overall budget without getting fixated on low monthly payments.

2 – Look for Safety

It is very important to focus on the safety features available in the SUV you want to purchase. Most new SUVs will come equipped with head-protecting side airbags. Electronic stability control is another important safety feature that prevents the car from sliding sideways by automatically applying the brakes in certain situations. Blind spot alerts, rear backup alert systems, lane-departure warning systems and backup video cameras are all good safety features to look for. You should also look for safety reviews of the SUVs you are interested online to compare.

3 – Available Seating Needed

When looking for an SUV you will need to consider how much space you need for passengers and cargo. Most SUVs will seat up to five people. Some mid-sized and full-sized SUVs will include a third row of seating, increasing the passenger capacity to seven or eight people. It is important to note that most third-row seating options are often difficult to get in and out of and are best suited for children. If one or more of your passengers happens to be a dog, there are many SUVs that allow you to fold the second and third-row seats down which your dog can then lay on top of.

4 – Cargo Space Required

If you are looking for cargo space, most SUVs will have you covered. Most SUVs that will have their second and third-row seats fold down flat (or be removed) to create a larger rear cargo area. Some SUVs also allow for split-designs in which half of the seats will fold flat so that a passenger may occupy the other seat. It is important to think of what you will be using the SUV for primarily for (transporting kids, moving large items) so that you can choose the best model to meet your needs. Most SUVs have a higher cargo floor than a sedan or minivan, which can make loading items a bit more difficult. Some SUVs will offer a power-operated liftgate so that you can easily load your vehicle even when your hands are full.

5 – SUV Size

There are many different sizes of SUVs to choose from depending on your needs and wants. Smaller SUVs tend to handle more like a sedan and larger SUVs handle more like a truck. The smallest SUVs available are known as sub-compact SUVs. These vehicles are under 165” long and are easy to handle (and fit into small parking spaces). The Kia Soul and Nissan Juke are examples of sub-compact SUVs. Compact SUVs are the second smallest SUV model available, measuring between 165”– 175” long. This market of SUVs is growing, and models include the Mazda CX-3, the Honda HR-V and the BMW X1. Small SUVs are a very popular choice, they measure between 175”- 185” long. A few examples of small SUVs include the Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape. Medium SUVs make up most of the SUV market. They measure between 185”- 195” long. Popular medium-sized SUVs include the Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander and the Dodge Journey. Large SUVs measure between 195”- 205” long and include the Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9 and the Nissan Pathfinder. Lastly, there are extra-large SUVs which measure over 205” long. Popular extra-large SUVs include the Infiniti QX80 and the Chevrolet Suburban. You may think that you like a certain size of SUV, but it is important to get in and test drive. This way you will be able to find out which vehicle you feel most comfortable driving.

6 – Features Wanted and Needed

It can be easy to be fooled by the base price but wait until you see the total once you add in the options you like. You should think of your daily life and what options would be most utilized and helpful. If you are someone who often travels long distances with children in the back seat, you may want to consider getting screens in the headrests so that they can watch their favorite shows. If you love to listen to music, you may want to consider a satellite subscription or premium stereo system. It is important to do your research and compare different vehicle offerings as some may include certain features in the base price and others will charge extra for them. You should also compare warranties and packages included.

7 – Go for a Test Drive

Once you have narrowed down your choices on a few SUVs that you like you should go and look at them in-person. Purchasing a new vehicle is a big decision so take your time and get a good feel for the vehicle. Picture how you see the vehicle working for you in your daily life. You should also ask to take the SUV out for a test drive so that you can see if it meets your expectations. Taking the SUV out for a test drive is the best way to find out if it is the right vehicle for you.

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