Finding the Perfect Family SUV

Family in car on road trip

Are you still trying to squeeze car seats into your small sedan or two-seater sports car? If so, it’s time to upgrade to a bigger vehicle.

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are often the vehicle of choice for growing families. Over a third of all vehicles on the road today are SUVs, surpassing sedans as the most popular vehicle class. Once dominated solely by parents who wanted to shake the stigma of the minivan, SUVs are now popular with all age ranges, from young families to empty nesters.

As you shop for a new SUV, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you find the perfect fit.

Price

For most people, budget will be one of the largest factors in the type of vehicle you buy. It will also influence whether you decide to buy a new or used vehicle. New SUVs range from $20,000 all the way to more than six figures for luxury or fully loaded models.

Keep the operating costs in mind as well as you shop. For example, a luxury SUV may require premium fuel, so filling your car with gas will add a significant amount to your overall operating costs. The same holds true for repairs–foreign or rare vehicles tend to have higher repair costs than a local

Safety

Check the safety ratings of each vehicle before you buy. You should also look for safety features like side airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. Added safety features like backup cameras and blind spot sensors also increase visibility and make driving and parking safer overall.

If the SUV is used, check tire tread and have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a mechanic before you purchase.

Size and seating

There are three main types of SUVs.

  1. Compact SUVs are the smallest SUV and typically seat five. Due to smaller engine sizes, they can’t tow as much as a larger SUV. However, they are the most affordable and often get better gas mileage.
  2. Midsize SUVs usually seat up to seven people, depending on the number of rows. They typically include more cargo space than their smaller counterparts.
  3. Full-size SUVs have three rows of seats and are designed to haul big loads or many passengers. They have the most cargo space and the largest engines.

The term “crossover” is also frequently used. A crossover is still a SUV, but built with the platform of a car rather than a truck. Designed more for the suburbs than for off-roading, they still carry the same features you’ll need in a SUV.

Before you buy, think carefully about what you plan to use your vehicle for. If you’re planning on increasing the size of your family, buy a SUV with enough seats for you to grow into. If you plan on hauling trailers or have a large family, a full-size SUV with more space and more power may be your best option.

Drive train.

As you shop for a SUV, you’ll probably come across these three options for drive train.

  1. Two-wheel drive (2WD) means the front or back wheel provide the power at any given time. For mild climates that don’t get a lot of snow or bad weather, this is sufficient.
  2. Four-wheel drive (4WD) uses all four wheels to power the vehicle. There is usually a switch that allows you to change from four-wheel drive to two-wheel drive. This option is typically reserved for off-roading because it provides more traction.
  3. All-wheel drive (AWD) uses sensors on the tire to gauge traction and speed and automatically switches from two-wheel drive to all-wheel drive when necessary.

Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are not quite as fuel-efficient as two-wheel drive, so keep that in mind when shopping. Four-wheel and all-wheel can also increase wear and tear on the tires, adding to overall costs to maintain. Unless you plan to take your SUV off-roading or you live in an area that has a lot of hills and snow, two-wheel drive is usually sufficient.

Whatever SUV you purchase, having the right insurance policy for it is a must. If you want to make sure you have an insurance policy you can depend on, give us a call today. We can help you find a policy that gives you peace of mind and the right amount of coverage.

 

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