The world of SUV’s today – pros and cons

Are you thinking of buying an SUV? If you are, have you thought of why you actually want to get one? Is it because all your friends have SUV’s? Or is it because you think you have specific needs that only an SUV can fulfill? Or do you feel that you live in a region like Norway, Italy or Sweden, which may call for the specific qualities that only an SUV can provide? When you finally do buy an SUV, do it for all the right reasons. Which begins with doing your research and weighing the pros and cons, before taking the plunge. For instance, do you know what the letters ‘SUV’ stand for? And how it got its name?

SUV originally stood for Sports Utility Vehicle. It is built on a light-truck chassis and is fairly similar to a station wagon or a pick-up truck, which is why it became very popular in the USA where people look for large sturdy vehicles for large families; or for rough terrain; or extra cargo space. SUV’s have higher ground clearance, have four-wheel drive and towing capabilities.

SUV’s have come a long way since they were first introduced, and have become very popular because they offer a multitude of features, in addition to all the usual safety features such as anti-lock brakes, stability control, dual-stage front airbags, curve control feature, etc.

Of course, different countries have different demands. For instance, Norway has been steadfast in its purpose of cutting carbon emissions, aiming to totally phase out cars that have internal combustion engines, by the year 2025. As a result, the number of vehicles with diesel engines have dropped drastically. And the number of electric vehicles has increased. Electric SUV’s today, have a large market share of the automobile industry in Norway.

In Norway today, the popularity of electric SUV’s is most evident in the demand for Hyundai’s electric version of its subcompact Kona SUV, with orders for up to 4, 400 vehicles already placed since being launched in June 2018. The Hyundai Groups Kia Motors has also launched an electric version of its small SUV, Niro.

In Italy too, SUV’s have shown great improvement in sales in spite of a decline in car sales overall. A great example is the Compass compact SUV. In fact, sales figures of small and compact SUV’s in volume segments were very positive with compact SUV’s growing by 46%. During the first half of this year (2018) itself, 90, 000 additional vehicles sold were SUV’s.

Sweden too, has ensured its participation in the SUV market for the first time with the launch of its own compact SUV from Volvo – XC40. In addition, the popularity of SUV’s in Sweden is evident in the demand for this vehicle even in the rental segment with Luxury SUV’s such as the Range Rover Evoque, and the Standard SUV such as the Toyota Rav 4, being easily available.

The Cadillac Escalade is another SUV which has set very high standards. Along with the XT5 Crossover. They offer exceptional features which have become the hallmark of the Cadillac brand. Other SUV’s being launched include the 2019 Ford Escape, a compact crossover; 2019 Chevrolet Suburban a full-size SUV; 2019 Mazda CX-9, a midsize crossover; and the 2019 Range Rover luxury SUV.

Overall, the SUV market has grown phenomenally and even in markets where car sales have declined, the SUV has held its own. SUV manufacturers constantly strive to improve the safety features of the vehicle, more so as new EU vehicle safety regulations are being introduced, with a demand for 11 new measures to be implemented by 2021.

Hence, once again, let’s accept the fact that SUV’s are here to stay for a very long time.


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