In the past few years, SUVs (sports utility vehicles) have grown tremendously in popularity. And while some may argue it is just a trend that will come and go, experts have an entirely different opinion.

In 2019, 47.9% of U.S. car sales were SUVs, with sedans only grabbing 22.1%. And while this happened once before in 2015, now the trend seems to be here to stay. The function, visibility and utility of SUVs are the essential qualities that seem to convince people it may be time to give up their sedan for something that suits their lifestyle more.

What's more, Renault recently announced they are dropping some of their popular models, such as the Scenic and Espace, to focus on developing their new line of SUVs and Crossovers. Could they set the pace for their competitors to follow? That's a question only time will answer.

If you decided to join the trend and switch your car to a new SUV, then you have come to the right place. This guide includes all you need to know when searching for your need to know before purchasing your first-ever SUV.


Is an SUV the right choice for me?

While there's nothing wrong with having a car that looks good, you need to remember that a vehicle's ultimate purpose is to take you from point A to point B in an efficient way. This is why you need to evaluate your needs and ensure you purchase an SUV that suits your needs.

SUVs are designed to be your go-to car, no matter the occasion. Their versatility makes them suited to be a town car, as well as an off-road choice for your trips to the wilderness. They are robust and spacious so that you can take the whole family for a road trip, but new models are also energy-efficient, so they can double as city cars without burning a hole in your pocket.

The nature of your activity, the number of passengers in the car, the type of lifestyle you have; are all factors that need to be taken into consideration when buying an SUV. Some of these vehicles offer just a little bit more space than your typical sedan would, while others also feature a third row of seating space, perfect for large families. Determine how much trunk space and seating you need, and start looking for models that suit those needs.


Establish a budget to narrow down your choices

SUVs are known for being a bit on the expensive side, but this does not mean they need to cost an arm and a leg. There are plenty of affordable SUVs that provide the same quality and reliability a more luxurious model would.

Many car dealerships in Lee's Summit MO, for example, offer a variety of affordable SUV models, as well as the option to choose from a variety of features that can be added, so that the car fist your financial capabilities.

Generally speaking, subcompact SUVs can cost you anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000, whereas mid-side SUVs can go from $30,000 to $50,000. But these are just some approximate prices, as you can easily find good deals that go way below these numbers. Ultimately, the size of the SUV is not the one dictating the price. Performance features are those that will influence costs the most.

Keep in mind that the price of the vehicle is just an aspect of your budget. You also need to consider maintenance costs, fuel and other monthly expenses that are going to add up. Ensure that your purchase is not going to affect your finances in the future.


Buy the right type of SUV to suit your needs

Compact and midsize SUVs seem to be the most popular model, but subcompact SUVs are also gaining terrain, especially since they are more appealing for those in need of a city car. But these are not your only options, as the range of SUV types available is much broader.

Usually, SUVs tend to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Subcompact: these are small-size SUVs, typically no larger than hatchbacks, but providing the high-riding features of a traditional SUV.
  • Compact: compact SUVs are the highlight of the market, becoming the go-to choice for families or those in need of more cargo capacity. Some compact SUVs also come with three rows of seats for those in need of more passenger space.
  • Midsize: this type of SUV takes the best features of compact models, but adds more cargo space, a larger engine and extra towing strength.
  • Large size: suited for those who need a lot of cargo space and passenger seats, as they can easily fit 8 passengers.
  • Luxury: luxury SUVs are, just as the name calls, high-end vehicles. They come in a variety of sizes, just like their non-luxury counterparts, but are equipped with the latest technology and a range of interesting features.


SUV Features Checklist

With so many options available, deciding on the type of SUV you need can be very challenging. To make your decision easier, take into consideration the kind of features you need and what you can compromise on. Look at the following aspects before making your choice:

  • Styling: this is more of a superficial quality, but you also want to love the car you are driving, so you need to find a combination of form and function that you like.
  • Performance: look for a car with a balanced power to fuel ratio. Consider a test drive to narrow down your choices.
  • Fuel Economy: nowadays, SUVs are more fuel-efficient than they ever were, but you also need to ensure it does not burn a hole in your pocket every time you stop by the gas station.
  • Seating: consider how many passengers will be seated in the car regularly. Today's options range from 5 to 9 passengers, usually.
  • Cargo Space: look for an SUV that prioritizes utility so that you can make use of every single cubic foot inside the vehicle.
  • Safety: SUVs are usually considered safe cars, because if their elevate height, but make sure the big size fits with your driving style and does not end up becoming a disadvantage.