It’s no secret that car companies often compete with one another to attract a buyer’s attention, but have you ever wondered what makes some cars more popular than others? While popularity can change according to many factors, one of the largest factors is generational trends and fads.
For example, although we almost never see it in today’s market, wood paneling was all the rage in the 1930s and 40s, while sunroofs were stealing people’s hearts in the 80s and 90s. A quick scan of local streets shows that SUVs have become one of today’s generational fads, but why are SUVs so popular?
People love SUVs because they offer both the fuel efficiency and comfort of a sedan while also offering the versatility and cargo room of a truck.
Continue reading to learn why more and more people are choosing to buy an SUV instead of a sedan or truck.
6 Reasons Why People Prefer SUVs
Sport Utility Vehicles are quickly becoming one of the most popular vehicles in America. In fact, many car manufacturers are opting to ignore the once-popular sedan in favor of releasing the more popular crossovers, but why do people prefer SUVs?
Although some of the older models were criticized for their top-heavy design, newer SUVs are much safer. Due to the vehicle’s size and weight, they often perform better in crash tests, and people feel safer while driving large vehicles.
Comfort is a crucial factor when deciding which car to buy. Whether they are commuting to work or dragging kids back and forth to different events, people spend a lot of time in their cars, and when it comes to comfort, SUVs have the upper hand.
Their tall design, mixed with their low floors, gives riders both the headspace and legroom they want in a vehicle. Additionally, because they are taller than the typical sedan and shorter than an average truck, they are the perfect height for people to get in and out of without struggling.
One of the most enticing things about an SUV is the vehicle’s cargo room. Groceries? Load them in the backseat. Sports equipment? Stack it in the trunk area. Luggage? Throw it on the roof. Washing machine? Flip down the backseat and slide it in. Drivers get the cargo room of a truck and the passenger room of a sedan all in one vehicle. Who wouldn’t love that?
Another reason SUVs have become so popular among drivers is their versatility. They can be driven in town, on the highway, and in many off-road environments. Instead of having to own a car for weekday city driving and a truck for weekend adventures, people can get it all from one sporty vehicle. Furthermore, drivers can often choose from a range of drivetrain options, such as FWD, RWD, AWD, and 4WD.
If we had to choose one word to describe SUVs, it would be practical. They can go almost anywhere and do almost anything, which makes them a great vehicle for people who have a wide variety of interests and hobbies. Furthermore, many SUVs have accessory options that allow them to become even more practical, such as bicycle racks and roof bars.
Performance is yet another reason people are buying SUVs. Their large engines and lightweight design allow them to perform like a truck while keeping the fuel efficiency of a sedan. Furthermore, SUVs have towing capabilities than your typical sedan does not have.
Why Are SUVs More Popular Than Sedans?
There has been a noticeable shift in vehicle popularity over the past decade, and more people are choosing to buy SUVs than sedans. In response to this trend, car manufacturers have started focusing more on SUVs and crossover vehicles, but why are people choosing SUVs over sedans?
- Cargo Room: SUVs offer drivers more cargo room than the average sedan. Although sedans sometimes offer more trunk room, the seats in an SUV can be flipped down to supply even more carrying space.
- Seating: Sedans can typically carry five passengers, unless they have a bench seat in the front, and then they can carry six. However, some SUVs are capable of seating anywhere from seven to nine passengers.
- Safety: Although there are many sedans that offer amazing safety ratings, people often feel safer while driving an SUV. The taller design makes people feel more in control and the larger body gives people a sense of security they do not have in a smaller, lower sedan.
- Off-road Capabilities: Whether driving over the field to get a better view of their son’s little league game or driving through a forest trail to get to the best fishing spot, people really like the idea of being able to take their vehicle anywhere.
- Towing Capacity: Sedans are not known for their ability to tow, and that might be because most are not capable of towing anything. On the other hand, SUVs typically come equipped with towing hardware and are capable of towing between 1,500 to 5,000 pounds (about twice the weight of a Clydesdale horse).
- Value: For many people, it comes down to value. While there are some SUVs on the market carrying large price tags, people can often get an SUV for only a couple thousand more than a sedan. However, because SUVs offer more advantages than a sedan, people feel as though they are getting more value for their money.
Why Not Buy a Truck?
There are many similarities between a truck and an SUV. Both have ample cargo room, both can carry a lot of weight, and both can tackle off-road environments, so why are more and more people opting for SUVs instead of just buying a truck?
- Fuel Efficiency: While there are many things to love about a truck, fuel efficiency is often not one of those things. The average truck gets between 17 – 25 MPG while many SUVs can get between 25 – 35 MPG. How many MPG your vehicle gets will depend on how and where you drive, but SUVs tend to be more fuel efficient than trucks.
- Seating: Although some trucks can seat up to six people, they do not offer a lot of room. SUVs, on the other hand, can seat between five to seven people and still offer enough leg room for everyone.
- Maneuvering: Trucks are big and clumsy, which can be intimidating for a lot of people. However, SUVs are not as wide, and sometimes not as long, as a truck, which allows them to be more maneuverable in tight spaces.
- Interior Cargo Space: Another feature that many people enjoy is the interior cargo space. Trucks can hold a lot in the bed, but whatever you are carrying is exposed to the elements.
If you’re considering buying a used SUV it’s worth investing a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other uglies.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.