It isn’t easy to imagine that more than 130 different SUV models are offered for sale globally. SUVs are by far the busiest automotive segment, and they have dominated for several years and aren’t going to slow down soon.
Simply looking out the window reveals that most vehicles on the road are SUVs. However, based on their shapes and sizes, there are multiple subcategories of SUVs, and we will explain the differences between them today.
9 Types of SUVs
SUV is an abbreviation for “Sports Utility Vehicle.” During World War II, it was used as a military vehicle. Because of its longevity, the SUV was able to transport a battalion of soldiers on overland missions.
The SUV also served as a depot truck. It takes people’s bags and things to the train station. Its function was quite similar to that of a taxi cab today.
Even today, SUVs are used for military purposes all around the world. Because of its adaptability and practicality in carrying tonnes of products and groups of people in a single mission, it is the vehicle of choice for almost any organization.
Read on as we discuss the most common types of SUVs here.
- Full-Size SUVs
Let’s discuss each of these in detail.
1. Crossover SUVs
Crossover SUVs are sport-utility vehicles constructed for usage on gravel, dirt, or paved roads. They frequently have a front-wheel-drive powertrain as standard but virtually always offer an automated all-wheel-drive (AWD) system as an option. AWD is standard equipment on some crossovers.
Crossover SUVs are built with unibody construction, which means the underlying body architecture and frame are a single unit, much like a passenger car. Some crossover SUVs are based on car models. The unibody structure is lighter than the standard SUV body-on-frame construction.
Benefits include increased interior passenger and baggage room, improved fuel economy, and smoother ride and handling on paved roads, where most people spend most of their time.
With high-end AWD systems that resemble the capabilities of 4WD systems, improved towing capacity due to unibody construction, and electric vehicles constructed on skateboard-style platforms with variety in body styles, there is increasingly no distinction between a crossover SUV and an SUV.
SUVs now have vastly varying levels of utility and capacity, just as sports cars have widely varying levels of performance and power.
2. Off-Road SUVs
SUVs have shifted from “sport utility” to comfort and room. While moving the family in luxury is crucial, some of us also desire a comfortable and capable off-road vehicle.
Fortunately, there are still several SUVs that remain faithful to their past, as well as many that come with off-road options. Sport-utility vehicles became famous as rough-and-tumble rides used by travel-loving people even before they evolved into family-oriented car-based crossovers.
On the other hand, off-road SUVs never indeed went away. In recent years, they’ve enjoyed something of a renaissance, with automakers producing new models and adding trim levels to current lines expressly for hard-core trailblazing.
Truck-based SUVs with low-range 4×4 gearing are generally the rides of choice for off-roading, while there are a few crossovers on the market that can tackle the trails thanks to clever terrain management systems, such as the Ford Bronco Sport and Jeep Cherokee.
In any case, seek particular equipment packages or trim levels that maximize the vehicle’s ability to traverse mud, rocks, and sand.
3. Midsize SUVs
The modern midsize SUV can be credited with multiple ways of amplifying the speed of car-based crossovers. Body-on-frame truck-based SUVs are available in the market, but those models focus more on hard-core off-roading.
The new Ford Bronco is an example of this traditional class. On the other side, which is currently small but is constantly growing, compact and midsize SUVs are taking the place of small cars, not just in households but also in motor lineups of car-makers.
Whether you feel safe in a bigger vehicle, like the space and better seating, are looking for a model that suits your adventurous side, or prefer a secure automobile for your family, midsize SUVs can fulfill all your needs. By offering something for every group, the midsize SUV serves the broadest range of buyers and is preferred equally throughout.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, a midsize SUV is a sensible answer, providing flexible room, the flexibility to venture off the beaten path (assuming it’s not too far off), and a sense of safety and confidence for passengers.
The mid-size SUV class not only has the most vehicles available, but it also features brands like the BMW X5, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Chevrolet Blazer. However, since multiple substantial variances between models are available in this market, customers have various technologies, styles, and features to choose from.
All and all, mid-size SUVs feature something for everyone and cater to potentially every customer, making it a widely accepted and recognized spectrum in the automobile sector.
4. Compact SUVs
Though there are no official definitions for this vehicle’s size, shape, or dimensions, a compact SUV is often described as a segment smaller than medium-sized SUVs but more significant than tiny SUVs.
Interestingly, some producers utilize the same model numbers on SUVs of varying sizes. Similarly, manufacturers and users consider Crossover autos and Compact SUVs to be the same when they share huge differences.
Crossover vehicles differ from Compact SUVs in terms of their base platform. Crossover autos are built on a unibody platform used in cars, whereas Compact SUVs have a truck-based unibody. Also, Compact SUVs feature body-on-frame or welded-in-ladder chassis, unlike Crossover vehicles.
Compact SUVs offer the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and style. Almost every automaker has introduced a mid-priced compact SUV to the market.
These cards allow you to drive comfortably on pothole-infested highways and challenging urban terrains. A compact SUV’s primary characteristics are enhanced legroom capacity, SUV-like looks, and somewhat higher ground clearance.
5. Subcompact SUVs
Subcompact SUVs generally feature a B-segment or supermini platform, with exceptions in high-end models that offer a C-segment platform. This crossover segment comes below the traditional compact SUV, gaining popularity in the mid-2010s.
The public received this segment well and responded to it with generous sales. In 2019, subcompact SUVs catered to a total of 22 percent of sales in the global SUV market, making it an influential and widely-accepted segment.
There were few quality subcompact SUVs on the market just a few years ago. For a time, American automakers abandoned their small SUVs. Do you recall the old Chevy Tracker or the Suzuki Jimmy?
Those vintage compact SUVs were built on light-duty truck frames and bear little similarity to today’s unibody crossover vehicles.
Subcompact SUVs are more agile, safer, and offer more upscale amenities than their larger compact-sized counterparts, sometimes matching and rivaling them. This class is no longer an afterthought for automakers.
Instead, it is currently one of the most outstanding segments in the automobile industry as it combines larger and smaller vehicles into a single package and delivers both qualities. Also, this segment allows for flexibility by giving drivers the liberty to install customizations according to their requirements. For example, drivers can select between four or two-wheel drives.
A subcompact SUV’s more petite frame will also provide superior handling and would be the best choice for young and new drivers with or without family. Subcompact SUVs include the Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax, Nissan Juke, and Honda HR-V.
6. Hybrid SUVs
Hybrid vehicles are the way to go if you are not ready for electric vehicles but still want environmentally friendly automobiles. Electrification is the key to the car industry’s future. The development of electric vehicles has become a key topic for several major automobile manufacturers. Even tiny and new car firms are betting on electric vehicles.
However, electric vehicles have yet to establish a desirable market following because of a lack of charging infrastructure and range anxiety. Customers can choose hybrid models until all of these concerns are resolved, and electric cars can ultimately blossom in the Indian market.
Hybrid SUVs come in two types: plug-in hybrids, meaning they can run on gas or electricity, and traditional hybrids that completely substitute the petrol/diesel engine with a battery.
If you’re considering buying a hybrid SUV, you can either get a full-size SUV or an electric crossover, and of course, each has pros and cons that you need to evaluate correctly before making a decision. On a side note, though hybrids offer greater fuel efficiency, crossovers are more efficient.
7. Electric SUVs
Electric SUVs are not just about looks; the greatest of the kind are as functional as they are stylish and as easy to drive as they are economical to run, making them the first choice for many customers around the globe.
After the turn of the century, as the need for an environmentally-friendly and sustainable mode of transportation increased and people became more aware, electric SUVs saw a tremendous change in the market. Previously, there were only a few choices for people in the electric SUV market.
Still, as the big names have stepped into this market, many vehicles are available with different and astonishing features that are attracting the public.
The market of SUVs and electric cars is already booming separately, but if you include both the advantages in a single automobile, it is deemed a success. Since electric cars and SUVs are currently in high demand, electric SUVs may be the most sought models on the market.
Tesla is far from the only manufacturer of electric SUVs. Several new versions are set to hit the market this year. Automobile manufacturers know that EV buyers like gas-powered vehicles enjoy SUVs. While some electric SUVs are practical and cost-effective, others prioritize performance.
8. Large SUVs
Besides their well-known shortcomings like difficulty handling and low fuel economy, large SUVs are powerful vehicles suited for the brawniest of tasks like cargo carrying. The low fuel economy in large SUVs is because they feature a truck chassis on the base topped with an SUV body, unlike midsize SUVs that use a unibody style to consume less fuel.
Most SUVs in this segment are square-shaped and installed with solid V6 or V8 engines that provide the needed power. The four-wheel drive system that increases weight in large SUVs also impacts their aerodynamics, riding experience, and overall handling.
Large SUVs might necessitate significant sacrifices when it comes to fuel economy, ride quality, or price. However, some of the giants on the market strike a decent balance between these crucial purchasing criteria while providing ample space for the entire family and their baggage.
Large SUVs no longer have the universal appeal they once did, as fuel prices rise and tiny SUVs gain popularity. However, these automotive behemoths continue to meet a variety of requirements.
There are plenty of options on the market if you need to transport a massive group of people, haul lots of freight, or pull a large trailer or boat.
9. Full-Size SUVs
In the SUV class of automobiles, full-size SUVs are considered heavy workers, thanks to their powerful engines and strengthened body.
Full-size SUVs are induced with the chief characteristics of the SUV class – be it safety, technological features, interiors, driving experience, comfort, or space.
With the electric revolution, full-size SUVs are also going in the same direction, and the new Toyota Sequoia will feature a hybrid engine.
Apart from this, till now, this segment has remained primarily traditional and stuck to petrol/diesel engines, the latest update being turbo-diesel V6 and twin-turbo V6 engines.
The new changes that appeal to the people are the updated infotainment displays, improved driver assistance, better suspensions, and comfort.
Besides their great advantage of the ability to transfer many cargoes, people, or heavy-duty work in almost any terrain, the modern-day large SUVs offer high-end safety with first-class comfort.
Due to these newly added features that disassemble the previous shortcomings and induce profound value in the segment, large SUVs are a great choice to consider.
Most automakers have shifted away from body-on-frame SUVs and toward unibody car-based crossovers. Non-American producers were the first to implement the change on a large scale. American automakers followed suit, although not as rapidly.
SUVs and crossovers were the first vehicle concepts to successfully combine the comfort of a large vehicle, the driving characteristics of a hatchback, the luxury of a premium sedan, and the off-road capabilities of all-terrain versions.
From that perspective, such vehicles’ unrivaled global success should be no surprise. Whether class, price, or dimension, SUVs and crossovers are efficient and functional cars that appeal to the broadest spectrum of buyers worldwide.
Whether the world is at war or not, an SUV is a popular mode of transportation for many people and organizations worldwide. All because of its ability to transport many passengers and a significant cargo even in challenging settings.