SUV buyer's guideBy Kijiji Autos
Sports Utility Vehicles, commonly known as SUVs, are a fantastic way to travel.
They combine the cargo room and seating capacity of a station wagon or MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) with the ground clearance and towing ability of a pickup truck. Sport Utility Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s lots to consider when buying one.
What Is an SUV?
An SUV is essentially a wagon that can go off road and tow heavy loads. They’re often based on the underpinnings from a truck, which means you can get either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). Most use body-on-frame construction (the body is bolted to a full-length ladder frame). By contrast, a crossover vehicle (CUV) is usually based on a front-wheel drive (FWD) car chassis. Thus SUVs give up some off-road and towing capabilities to receive a more car-like ride and handling.
These days, you can find everything from a mammoth 9-seat Chevrolet Suburban to the (considerably smaller) Jeep Wrangler. Full-size SUVs offer loads of room for people and stuff, but they’re not very easy to park or maneuver through traffic. Most of them can be ordered with driver aides like blind spot warning systems and cameras to help when backing up. You’ll definitely want to get those features if you plan to drive around in something that’s bigger than your first apartment.
Smaller SUVs also can be challenging to drive, thanks to their tiny windows and huge pillars (the body parts on the corners of the interior that hold up the roof and surround the windows). Nonetheless, they still are easier to thread through traffic than a ‘BargeUV’. The smaller footprint of the smaller SUVs also makes them easier to place off road and control in the snow. Better fuel economy is another advantage of their reduced mass, but you’ll need to make sure that a small-midsize SUV will be able to meet your needs.
2-Wheel Drive or 4-Wheel Drive?
The advantage of driving a truck-based SUV is its off road capability. Thanks to their stiffened platform (the aforementioned truck-like ladder frame), the wheels and axles are able to maneuver over serious obstacles. Real transfer cases (basically the part that transfers power from the engine to the wheels) can also be used to deliver low range, crawl-through-anything torque. The ground clearance typically is much better than that of smaller SUV or car-based CUV.
Depending on where you live, the number of driven axles can be very important. By dividing the engine’s torque between both front and rear axles, a 4WD system can keep your SUV moving forward in deep snow or on muddy tracks. A true 4-wheel drive system uses a transfer case to provide maximum torque in low-speed crawling situations. This allows your SUV to claw its way through deep muck or up steep inclines. On the other hand, an all-wheel drive (AWD) system can only engage the front axle when slippage at the drive axle is detected. This isn’t ideal for serious off-roading, but AWD will certainly help you get the kids to school on a snowy day.
With 2WD or RWD, only one axle receives power from the engine. When wheel slippage occurs, the traction control (or stability control) system will attempt to intervene. However, those systems can only help you to maintain the amount of traction that’s currently available. Whether you choose 4WD, AWD, 2WD or RWD will depend on your needs. If you routinely encounter situations or whether that requires additional traction, you may want to consider an SUV equipped with either AWD or 4WD.
With such a vast array of options available, it’s important to decide what you actually need your SUV to do. Whether you need a truck that can carry you deep into the Yukon, or just a family truckster that can pull a boat and get the kids to school on time, there’s an SUV out there for you. If before you buy you decide on the features that are most important to you, you’ll know what kind of SUV to look for on Kijiji Autos.
Easily find your next ride on Kijiji AutosSearch now
First time car buyer? Check out our guide to help you find the best dealers
First-time car buyers have a lot to think about. A car is an investment and you want to get a good return on what you are paying for. Being a first-time car buyer can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some ways to find the best dealers for new car buyers: 1. Look for...
How to buy or sell a used car in Ontario with the UVIP?
Did you know that if you decide to buy a used car in Ontario, your seller must provide you with a Used Vehicle Information Package or UVIP? If you're thinking of buying or selling a used car online in this province, here's what you need to know about the UVIP, courtesy of Kijiji Autos: Do I...
The difference between AWD and 4WD and other drivetrain questions explained
If you have been shopping for a vehicle, you may have seen words like all-wheel drive (AWD), front-wheel drive (FWD). You may have asked yourself about the meaning of all-wheel drive. These terms all refer to the drivetrain. Here is a breakdown on some of the drivetrain terms: Front-wheel drive...
Should you keep, trade or sell your car?
Browsing for a new car? With online resources that give you the confidence you need to make the best choice for your budget and lifestyle, shopping for a car online has never been easier. If you're looking for a new ride but don't know what to do with your current one, you typically have three...
How to get a fair price on your next car
Are you hunting for the best deal on a new car online? Take advantage of Kijiji Autos' online tools, resources and information to help you find the car of your dreams and pay the best price. Here are some tips for getting an awesome car price estimate online: Compare car prices It's much...
How to buy your next car online in Canada
As manufacturers and dealers recognize that the global pandemic is a long-term reality, the auto industry is rolling out more services to buy a car online in Canada. From the comfort of your own home, you can easily browse the latest models, apply for financing, make a purchase and get your brand...
10 popular SUVs and crossovers in Canada
There's no doubt that Canadians navigate a wide variety of weather and lifestyle conditions every day. This makes a fun, practical and comfortable SUV or crossover a solid vehicle choice, from coast to coast. Listed in no particular order, check out these 10 popular SUV and crossover models to...
The best features of 10 popular hatchbacks
If you are in the market for a hatchback, you'll want to check out this overview of these 10 models and the features that make them so popular. Kijiji Autos will help you confidently choose between the best hatchbacks, including used, sporty and hybrid models – whatever is a priority for you.
10 popular vans in Canada
Cargo vans and minivans can meet the needs of many drivers. There are plenty of models to choose from at various price points, which can make it difficult to pick the van that's right for you. Whether it's passenger capacity or cargo space you're after, Kijiji Autos is here to help with your search.
Top 10 popular pickup trucks in Canada
The pickup truck has always been a symbol of utility and strength, and lately, many models have become luxury family vehicles that leave nothing to be desired. In no particular order, these popular brands represent a range of available features, engine types and towing capacities. Check out the...