SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle. The vehicle is similar to station wagons but this is built on light truck chassis. Normally the vehicle comes with a 4-wheel drive, arming it with on and off road capabilities. It does have some pretensions as an off-road vehicle. However, remember, all 4-wheel drive cars are not SUVs. You can also have SUVs having towing capabilities similar to pickup trucks and at the same time having space for carrying passengers similar to large sedans and minivans.
The SUVs are quite often used in remote areas where they are used to drive off road in places like countryside or farmlands in countries like Australia, Middle East and Africa. In fact, they are used all across the world in areas that have little paved roads and as a result need vehicles capable of all terrain handling and higher range and storage capacities. The SUVs need little spare parts and the minor repairs can be carried out easily and fast. This fact made them popular initially as they contain very little hydraulic and electric systems.
Many people nowadays look forward to downsizing their vehicle and the main reason for that is the constant rise in fuel prices. However, most of these people will not want to compromise the off road driving capabilities of SUVs. This is where a small SUV comes into picture. The small SUV utilizes less fuel than compared to the larger ones. Getting a vehicle with 4-cylinder engine provides better mileage than compared to the larger SUVs having bigger engines. Some of the small SUVs provide 36 miles/gallon in cities and 31 on highways for the two wheel drive models.
Another major benefit of going for smaller SUVs is that, they are more affordably priced as compared to the bigger SUVs. It is easier to handle the small SUV as compared to the big one. For example, the turning circle for the smaller SUV is around 35 feet while the full sized vehicle does a 43-foot circle. This generically makes parking maneuvers and U-turns a bit tricky. The smaller SUVs also offer additional features.
Ford Escape is an attractive small SUV. One of the first small SUVs that hit the SUV market ten years ago, the Escape in 2011 is available in three models, Base XLS, XLT and Limited. The all wheel driving is optional. Escape can be bought as a hybrid vehicle for around $9000. Some optional features available on the Ford Escape include SYNC, which is an entertainment system, an active park assist that is useful in parallel parking the car without too much of driver involvement. You also get a programmable key called MyKey, which among other things is useful in setting a speed limit for the SUV.
Mini Cooper Countryman
This small SUV is sized at 161.7 x 70.4 x 61.5 inches. The weight of this vehicle is 3858 pounds. The Countryman comes in three models that include Base, S and the S All4. The price tag ranges from $21,000 to $27,000. The SUV has a 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder engine in addition to a manual 6-speed transmission. The mileage you get out of this vehicle is between 27 to 35 mpg. The Countryman looks great and sporty as it comes with variable intermittent wipers, alloy wheels, a roof rack and a rear defogger. Apart from these, the SUV has several awesome interior features like air conditioning, interior air filtering, cold storage compartment, leather steering wheel, two vanity mirrors and a cargo area light.
Cons of having small SUVs
Not many. There are some limitations on how much you can tow behind due to the smaller and less powerful engines. They also can carry a limited cargo. Therefore, there is not too much to worry by getting a small SUV.
You will not compromise on safety and quality and you have a lot of choice out there depending on the time you have available to do research. You might also want to look at the warranty period offered on the power train and the engine. This will give indication regarding the confidence the makers have about their product.