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History of SUVs and types

A Sport utility vehicle or SUV refers to vehicles equipped with off-road features that are, however, intended for use primarily in the city and on high-traffic roads.

The meaning of the term is multifaceted. The English term SUV, which comes from the words Sport Utility Vehicle (or formerly also Suburban Vehicle), refers to several different types of vehicles that can be SUVs, off-road vehicles and minivans. However, in English-language terminology, there is another subcategory of SUV, the Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV), which is something in between an SUV and a regular passenger car. In everyday language, we also talk about urban or city SUVs, which means small SUVs. SUVs, on the other hand, are usually classified as off-road vehicles. However, street and city SUVs are often confused in media. Drive a SUV from Yagupov here

In the United States, SUVs became very popular along with light trucks, Ford F150 and Chevrolet Silverado. This was mainly due to the fact that vehicle taxation was changed and SUVs became considered commercial vehicles. Nowadays, almost every car brand in the United States offers its own SUV model, and the largest ones have many. SUVs have also come into vogue in Europe. At the end of 2005, due to skyrocketing oil prices, sales of these vehicles in the United States plummeted. With the financial crisis of 2008, interest in them declined worldwide.

In the beginning, the term SUV meant large four-wheel drive vehicles designed for off-road driving. However, SUVs have other uses, such as towing various trailers (such as a caravan or goose cart) or transporting more than five people. SUVs are less suitable than minivans for transporting a large group of people. In Finnish, the term “urban SUV” or sometimes “street SUV” corresponds to a crossover SUV, which is a tall car that looks like a passenger car, usually equipped with all-wheel drive. These vehicles are not designed for actual off-road driving.


SUVs became popular in the United States and Canada in the 1990s and early 2000s for several reasons. Car buyers were attracted to large saloons, great height, and a sense of safety. In addition, most full-size SUVs have more towing capacity than conventional cars, allowing them to tow caravans, trailers, and boats .

In the United States, advertising targeting women explains the significant increase in SUV popularity. More than half of SUV drivers are women, and SUVs are one of the most popular vehicles among women.

A common reason cited by SUV owners for the popularity of SUVs is that they are safer in a collision with a regular car. In fact, an accident with a giant-sized car usually results in more deaths for both the opposite side and pedestrians than a regular passenger car. Larger size provides better visibility and earlier detection of hazards, but greater weight increases stopping distance and reduces lateral distance to other vehicles on a narrow road, increasing the risk of a crash. The higher weight reduces the risk of injury in the SUV, although it increases the risk to the opposite side, but the SUV’s more sensitive rollover threshold negates that advantage. Also in an unofficial test of the British TV show “Fifth Gear” for Land Rover Discovery . the situation was much worse than the SUV Renault Espace , when the cars crashed into each other. However, Land Rover Discovery was much older than Espace, which largely explains this result. The new SUVs have been successful in crash tests, mostly to the same extent as passenger cars. A certain part of the success of SUVs has to do with their “utility” or “the bigger the better” mentality, whereby the larger size and weight of a vehicle increases the respect of its owner. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, car manufacturers were selling SUVs at a much higher markup than regular cars, and so manufacturers were happy to sell these vehicles. The higher profit margin was due to the fact that, although the design was simpler than that of a conventional car (and more unsafe), the cars could be sold at a higher price.

In the mid-2000s, SUVs declined in popularity in the United States due to rising gasoline prices, rollovers, and increased pollution. In the spring of 2006, the largest models of SUVs in the United States cost more than $100 to fill up, making them expensive to use. Today’s crossover SUVs are designed to accommodate the fact that 98 percent of the owners of these vehicles never drive off-road. For this reason, the cars’ ground clearance was calculated and the suspension was built with paved roads in mind.

Because of the sharp rise in fuel prices in the spring of 2008, sales of SUVs in Europe collapsed. In France, sales volumes dropped by half compared to previous years. In other major European industrialized countries, the drop was several dozen percent.

There was no real enthusiasm for SUVs in Finland, although, according to the statistics of the first ACE registration, for example, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV models were sold in significant numbers. In Finland, the popularity of SUVs began to grow in the early 2000s. Just under 1,500 SUVs were registered in 2002, and more than 2,800 were sold the following year. After the vehicle tax reform passed by the government in the fall of 2007, taxation shifted in favor of low-emission models. In this case, the purchase price of high-consumption, i.e. higher-emission SUVs became even more expensive in Finland as of January 1, 2008. In the fall of 2009, the Confederation of the Finnish Automotive Industry estimated that enthusiasm for SUVs was over for good and would not return because of emissions-based taxation.


Off-road vehicles, that is, all-terrain vehicles, are vehicles that can be driven anywhere except on a level road. Typically, off-road vehicles have all-wheel drive, lower gears, differential locks, and other equipment to improve off-road performance. Such vehicles are needed in many developing countries, where many roads are in poor condition. In industrialized countries, many SUVs are luxuriously equipped so-called gentleman’s SUVs. Despite their off-road qualities, they mostly drive on roads with good pavement. Its own extreme is the Hummer H1. This vehicle was developed from the HMMWV , designed for military use .

In the U.S., the term SUV is usually used only for true off-road vehicles. SUVs based on passenger car technology are called crossovers. You can also use the jocular designation “cutie-tee” or CUV.

Examples of SUVs.

  • Hummer H1
  • Isuzu Soldier
  • Jeep Wrangler , Jeep Cherokee
  • Land Rover Discovery 1-3 / Defender
  • Mercedes Benz G-Class
  • Mitsubishi Pajero
  • Nissan Pathfinder , Nissan Terrano
  • Suzuki SJ Samurai / Vitara
  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Criticism
  • SUV class vehicles have been criticized, particularly by environmental organizations .

Emissions and fuel consumption.

SUV models consume more fuel and therefore pollute more than conventional passenger cars of their age. Many European cities are considering banning SUVs in city centers, where there is little need for them. Large SUVs also take up a lot of space, which is already a big problem, especially in large cities.

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