What's an Sport Utility Vehicle?

You have heard the three letters SUV many times, but nevertheless this combination simply can not be arranged. Many people ask themselves what the three letters are about and what they mean.

SUV stands for nothing but sport utility vehicle and describes a kind SUV, but which is rather a combination of off-road vehicle and sedan, mostly even a luxury sedan.

SUVs are supposed to bridge the gap between the sporty driving feeling of a sedan and the roadholding and the space of an off-road vehicle.

SUVs have the increased ground clearance and the all-wheel drive in common, however an SUV is only partially designed for off-road use.

SUV - description

The popularity of these somewhat bulky vehicles began in the US. Today, almost every well-known car manufacturer offers an SUV model.

The SUV usually has an independent suspension and a self-supporting chassis. A classic off-road vehicle, however, has rigid axles and differential locks, which significantly improve the off-road capability. Similarly, the transmission is designed differently in the SUV. So he has no very short first gear, as it needs an SUV for high propulsive forces.

Ramp and slope angle, climbing ability, abdominal and ground clearance as well as entanglements are significantly larger with SUVs than with SUVs.

High fuel consumption

Just the problem of fuel consumption presents the manufacturer with a difficult task.

SUVs have a very high consumption for several reasons. First, these cars weigh a lot, often over two or two and a half tons of curb weight. In order to achieve sufficient acceleration in such weights, the engines must be powerful and equipped with a lot of displacement, which of course increases consumption enormously.

Secondly, the fact that SUVs are very high and are very clunky, so have a poor aerodynamics, makes these cars just at high speeds to true fuel guzzlers, since here the wind resistance increases enormously.

This can only be kept within limits by means of expensive technology such as lightweight construction, start-stop and hybrid drives or further purpose castration.

SUV - off-road capability?

The off-road capability of SUVs depends very much on the model. Most SUVs today are more optimized for roadworthiness and are not really suitable for driving through rough terrain and traversing rivers or the like.

Because of the unexposed suspension and also often because of the transmission, which does not have a very short first gear, as it requires an SUV for high propulsive forces. The electronics and interior is more like a sedan.

Traffic safety

One of the main drawbacks of a sport utility vehicle is traffic safety, since pedestrians have to expect much more injuries when colliding with an SUV than with other cars.
First of all, this is due to the greater weight and also the greater height of this type of car.


In general, however, one can say that the trend is towards compact SUVs and hybrid versions. All reputable manufacturers are retracing in this class and bring their models (in slightly smaller dimensions) on the market.

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