Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have grown in popularity in the last few years. Their functionality, power, and features are unmatched, making them a prized possession for many families. With their massive popularity all over the world, you have a variety of options to choose from. SUVs come in various sizes and price segments.

If you are planning to buy a new car and are inclined toward buying an SUV, here is a guide that will educate you about this much-loved segment of automobiles.

Types of SUVs
SUVs come in various styles, shapes, and designs and help you race in different terrains. SUVs began as vehicles used for mountain riding, desert races, etc. However, today, you will find SUVs that are more of a family car than a sports vehicle.

Almost all the top car brands make several different types of SUVs. One crucial thing to consider before you head for the size is to choose between a truck chassis and a car chassis. The type of chassis you choose will decide the strength of the cabin and your cargo load. The truck chassis offers better strength than the car chassis and both are ideal in different scenarios.

Here are the major types of SUVs according to size and a few top options in the segment.

  • Compact crossovers

These SUVs have been built upon a compact-sized passenger car. Usually, these SUVs are a modified version of a C-segment passenger car. Compact crossovers are the smallest SUVs when it comes to size, and they are much loved for their affordability and practicality. This vehicle does a little bit of everything, meaning. These SUVs will fit into small parking lots, fit-in your huge family, and will do well when it comes to performance and reliability.

Examples of good compact SUVs are Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. Toyota RAV4 made its debut in the year 1994. Since then, this SUV has made a name for itself by providing modern driver-assist technologies and smart interior design. The Honda CR-V comes in four trim levels. Every level adds up more features as you move up but the engine remains the same throughout all the levels.

  • Crossovers

A crossover SUV is again a car that has been modified to look like an SUV. The SUVs in this segment are slightly larger than the compact ones but they still feel more like a car than a truck. These SUVs come equipped with a four- or six-cylinder engine. A crossover can also handle off-roading better than a compact SUV but they are not ideal for rugged landscapes either. Examples of good crossover SUVs are the Dodge Journey and Jeep Cherokee.

The Dodge Journey is an ideal SUV for families because it has a third-row and is quite affordable. It comes with a front-wheel-drive option but it can be upgraded to an all-wheel drive. Jeep Cherokee is a mid-sized crossover SUV that impresses with its capabilities and in-vehicle technology. You can buy jeep Cherokee with a 2.0-liter turbo engine or a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.2-liter V-6 engine.

  • Mid-size

Such an SUV feels more like a truck and is an SUV in the true sense. These SUVs are huge, are mostly built on a truck chassis, and come equipped with a four-wheel-drive. Most of the mid-size SUVs in the country come with a six-cylinder engine and some of them come with a powerful eight-cylinder engine. Moreover, mid-size SUVs have more space inside the cabin and they are astounding when it comes to cargo space and ground clearance.

A few good mid-sized SUVs that you can buy are Kia Sorento and Jeep Grande Cherokee. The Sorento provides a stylish ride without making a lot of noise. This SUV has plenty of room inside the cabin along with the third row for larger families. It also offers some cool features for the driver as well as all the passengers. You can buy a Kia Sorento with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.3-liter V6 engine.

Jeep’s Grand Cherokee is a capable SUV with a powerful engine and a truck chassis. This vehicle is ready for anything; take it to the mountains or drive in a ravine. This SUV is the ideal choice for off-road adventures. Inside the cabin, this SUV has a six-speaker audio system, rear parking sensors, a 7-inch touchscreen, and automatic temperature control, among other astounding features.

  • Full-sized SUVs
    They are the biggest SUVs you can buy in the country. They look and feel like a truck and are the perfect machines for off-roading. A full-sized SUV will give you the ability to tow and haul while driving on the toughest terrains. Additionally, these vehicles provide a higher driving position along with providing increased traction on slippery roads. As expected, the downside of this type of SUV is that it is difficult to maneuver and slow to accelerate.

One amazing full-size SUV is the power-packed Ford Explorer loaded with features and capabilities. It offers a quiet cabin on top of a turbocharged V6 engine. This SUV comes with a power-adjustable driver's seat along with a panoramic sunroof that makes way for fresh air and sunlight.

Reasons to choose an SUV over a sedan
An SUV cannot be compared to a sedan given that they both come from different segments of four-wheelers. Still, if you are confused between the two, here a few reasons in support of the SUV:

  • SUVs can tow

This is hands down the best reason for choosing an SUV. A sedan cannot tow a camper or a boat while an SUV can pull around even a trailer with ease.

  • An SUV can be small

An SUV can be small in size but a sedan will always be a long and space-consuming vehicle.

  • They have better ground clearance

A sedan is a luxury vehicle and is designed to drive close to the road. It does not have the ground clearance needed to drive on rugged terrains. Whereas, an SUV of any size comes equipped with an ample amount of ground clearance.

  • More cargo space

SUVs have more cargo space as compared to sedans. This means you can go for a fun trip out of town with lots of supplies.

How to pick an SUV that is right for your Family
Buying an SUV or any car is a challenging task. It won't be wise to purchase impulsively and then crib about it for the rest of your life. To buy an SUV, you have to do a lot of homework and weigh your pros and cons. Remember, your reason for buying a new SUV is going to be unique; do not worry about that. You may need a new car because your kids have grown taller and they need more leg space, or you may want to buy a new SUV to go off-roading. So, stick to what you need and if possible, make a list before you head out. Here are some of the crucial denominations that will ensure that the car you bring home is the ideal choice for you and your family.

  • Seating

Seating is important, and it does not just mean the comfort of the seats. You will have to consider factors like the number of seats. Then comes the space between the seats because children at the back or even adults need an ample amount of space to sit comfortably. Once you have sorted both these points, you can consider the luxury aspects like the material of the seat cover, if the seats have the heating option, and how comfortable is the middle seat at the back.

If you have a small family, you can focus on buying a small or mid-sized SUV with five seats. The money you save in the size of the SUV can go into the luxuries like heating and the shape of the seat. For a bigger family, you will need an SUV with at least seven seats, and you can choose the rest of the factors according to your budget.

  • Towing capacity

An SUV is a sports vehicle, which means you will have to look at its engine power and towing capacity before you purchase it. If you are sure that you are never going to tow anything with your SUV, and it’s going to function more like a sedan, you can skip this part of the equation. Every SUV does come with towing capacity, which will prove handy in case of emergencies.

However, if you plan to tow an 8,000 lbs trailer or a 1,500 lbs camper behind your SUV, you should carefully consider the towing capacity of different vehicles before purchasing. The towing capacity will help you narrow down your options because a good capacity is available only with large SUVs like the Suburban and Armada. As already mentioned, small and mid-sized SUVs also have some basic capabilities that can come in handy on rare occasions when you need to pull something. It all boils down to how much weight you may need to tow and how frequently.

  • Head, leg, and cargo space

A car is judged for comfort based on the availability of space in three departments: head, leg, and cargo. It is common to focus on the leg space for comfort but head space is equally crucial. Headspace is the space between a person's head and the roof of the car. While most SUVs are tall and provide an ample amount of both the leg and headspace, you might want to consider both of these according to the tallest member in your family. Most of the large SUVs offer good head and leg space and some mid-sized SUVs offer decent space.

Next comes the cargo. You need cargo to haul your stuff like suitcases, bicycles, scuba diving gear, or children's trolley, based on how your family functions. Most big cars do come with huge cargo spaces but if you research hard, you will come across some small and middle-sized SUVs that have impressive cargo space.

  • Technological features

Every household has different in-vehicle technology requirements. Some families need non-stop Internet connectivity to keep the toddlers entertained while others need the Internet for navigation. Other technological aspects include connectivity, safety, and information. Before you choose your SUV, you should sit down with all your family members and discuss their technological needs. Consider which functions are the most important and then choose an SUV accordingly. Some of the functions to discuss are hotspots, Apple CarPlay, and lane departure warning, among others.

  • Safety

SUV safety is crucial because this vehicle will be responsible for protecting you and your family members in case of a mishap. You cannot compromise the airbags at the back for an advanced entertainment system. However, your SUV needs to have various other features. The vehicle you choose must have a high score in crash tests and should be ranked high on passive safety features.

  • Ground clearance

This is a must-have feature if you are planning to buy an SUV to go off the road. Both mountains and deserts need an SUV with maximum ground clearance so that you can overcome the rough surfaces. If you plan to stay on the expressways, you can compromise in the height department.

  • Budget

Last but not least, you have to consider your budget while buying an SUV. A top-end model can cost you a fortune but a mid-segment SUV be a cost-effective one. Therefore, once you have decided what features you want in your car, you have to assess how much you can spend on it. If your requirements are going beyond the budget, you may have to let go of a few fancy features or compromise on the model.

At the end of the day, the right SUV for your family depends on your individual needs, family's preferences, and budget. Now you know that you have several options in hand. Take your time to clear all your doubts with the help of sales representatives; also, talk to previous owners and make a wise decision.