SUV is the widely used and known acronym for Sport Utility Vehicle. With the formation of a vehicle SUV combined the towing capacity of a full-size truck with the passenger and storage capacity of a minivan. However, as consumer demands have changed, so has the vehicle. Many manufacturers now focus on fuel-efficiency and driving and riding comfort, rather than towing capacity.
Typical features of an SUV include seating for five to seven, high seating and road positioning, roomy interior, non-dedicated trunk space, high engine capacity and 4 wheel drive capability. Though it was originally designed to be an off-road vehicle for sporting purposes, its popularity has spawned several different breeds, including the luxury SUV.
Like cars, the SUV has different classes and sizes. The mid-sized version, which typically seats five, is the best-selling variety in the United States. During the SUV’s height of popularity, the Ford Explorer remained the top-selling model. Compact and full-size SUVs appeal to many consumers equally, but for different reasons. Luxury versions have the same features as standard class models, but contain upgraded interiors and trim packages typically associated with luxury model vehicles, such as leather interior.SUVs are known for high ground clearance, upright, boxy body, and high H-point. This can make them more likely to roll over due to their high center of gravity. Bodies of SUVs have recently become more aerodynamic, but the sheer size and weight keeps their fuel economy poor. Few of the SUV's to better understand the segmentation are given below in the figure:
A brief intro on how the SUV is sub-classified are as follows:
A mini SUV (also called subcompact SUV or subcompact crossover) is a class of small sport utility vehicles. The term usually applies to crossovers based on a supermini (B-segment cars in Europe) platform such as the Chevrolet Trax, Mini Countryman, Opel Mokka etc.
A compact SUV is a class of smaller SUVs that are commonly built with less cargo and passenger space, and often with smaller engines resulting in better fuel economy, the term is often interchangeable with crossover SUV. Some examples are: Audi Q3, BMW X3, Buick Encore, Ford Escape etc.
A mid-size SUV is a class of medium size SUVs whose size typically falls between that of a full size and a compact SUV. This term is not commonly used outside North America, where fullsize and midsize SUVs are considered similar. Some examples are: Ford Explorer, Acura MDX, BMW X5, Audi Q7 etc.
A full-size SUV is a class of large size SUVs that are most often larger than Midsize SUVs and much larger than Compact SUVs. They have greater cargo and passenger space than midsize SUVs. Full Size SUVs are usually given higher safety ratings than their smaller counterparts. Some examples are: Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia etc.
An extended length SUV, also sometimes called a long-wheel based SUV, are vehicles that are similar to a full-size SUV, except that these vehicles have a larger cargo area (around 130 in (3.30 m)) and passenger space that can seat up to 8 or 9 people. The only vehicles built under this segment are the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Ford Expedition EL, and Lincoln Navigator L.