is a marketing term basically
for a station wagon that is built on a light-truck chassis. Most models are generally equipped with four-wheel
drive for on- or off-road ability. Some SUVs include the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying
space of a minivan or large sedan. Since SUVs are considered light trucks and often share the same platforms of
pickups, they are regulated less strictly than passenger cars under the two laws in the United States, the
Energy Policy and Conservation Act for fuel economy, and the Clean Air Act for emissions.
Now the SUV term is not used world wide. Although some SUVs have off-road capabilities, they often play only a
secondary role, and SUVs often do not have the ability to switch among two-wheel and four-wheel-drive high
gearing and four-wheel-drive low gearing. While auto makers tout an SUVs off-road prowess with advertising and naming,
the daily use of SUVs is largely on paved roads and in urban areas. Such use causes the term SUV to be a denigrating
term by owners of “real” off-road vehicles.
The SUV had extreme popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s; the SUVs popularity has since declined.
The reason behind this is of course high gas prices and the declining economy. The traditional SUV is gradually
being replaced by a new vehicle type, the CUV. The CUV uses a lighter platform with better fuel efficiency.
SUVs are often driven in places such as the Australian Outback, Africa, the Middle East, Alaska, northern Canada,
western United States, Iceland, South America, and parts of Asia which have limited paved roads and require a
vehicle to have all-terrain handling, increased range, and storage capacity. The scarcity of spare parts and
the need to carry out repairs quickly resulted in the popularity of vehicles with the bare minimum of electric
and hydraulic systems, such as the basic versions of the Land Rover, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota Land Cruiser.
The SUVs for urban driving have traditionally been developed from their more rugged all-terrain counterparts.
For example, the Hummer H1 was developed from the HMMWV, originally developed for the military of the
United States. As many SUV owners never used the off-road capabilities of their vehicle, newer SUVs now
have lower ground clearance and suspension designed primarily for paved roads. Some SUVs are also used by
families with children, as SUVs have more space than sedans do, and by families living in areas where gravel
roads in summer and snow and ice in winter require four-wheel drive.
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