SUV is an acronym for Sport Utility Vehicle, which I think has been forgotten, as the term now extends to vehicles that are neither sport nor utility.
The earliest SUVs were the first Chevrolet Suburban and military-inspired Jeep vehicles. Soon after those we had SUVs from International and Land Rover, then more from Chevy, Jeep and Ford. Those old Scouts and Broncos and Discoverys were true sport utility vehicles, with the power and capability to conquer any road, or lack thereof, put in front of them.
Today we have “compact SUVs” and “crossover SUVs,” which, in every sense of the word, are not SUVs at all.
Small SUVs and crossovers are quickly gaining popularity. L.A. Magazine says:
Honda CR-V, the segment leader, sales are up 6.1% year over year, Toyota RAV-4 up 15.5%, and the list keeps going. It seems like everyone—Jeep, Nissan, Porsche—is pushing out a more petite, cute ‘Ute, much to the chagrin of station wagon lovers.
It makes sense that these vehicles are getting more popular. Gas prices are getting close to $4 per gallon, and these small utes typically offer all-wheel drive and at least enough cargo space to handle a weekend camping trip for two or mom’s soccer practice duty with ease. Gas mileage is far better than that of traditional large SUVs.
Options for small utes range from the weird Nissan Juke to the sexy Porsche Macan to the practical CR-V. The best buys, in my humble opinion, are used small SUVs. The market has been around for a long time, so lots of great buys exist on luxury and standard vehicles.
If I were shopping, I’d look for a used Audi Q5 and get luxury and practicality all in one.
What small SUV would you choose?