Your Next SUV: Facts You Should Know Before You Shop


SUVs offer greater performance, added safety, and enough room for more than a few passengers. It’s why SUVs and truck/car hybrids lead in automobile sales.

It doesn’t take much to decide on an SUV, but you need specifics before making a final decision on a manufacturer and model. Here are some things to roll over before you park your dollars on a specific SUV.


You can find a certified used or privately-owned SUV for under 20,000 or spare no cost in finding a luxury model that handles like a full-sized truck, costing an upward of $80,000.

A range of models, manufacturers, and vendors are reason to be a bit patient, yet given the digital and human resource tools available to today’s consumer, you can drive off the lot today after a bit of thinking.


Full-size models get between 12 and 20 miles per gallon. Compact SUVs come in four and eight-cylinder models. You can find midsize models with as many as eight or as little as four cylinders. Additionally, gas-electric models do well on gas mileage depending on driving behavior.

Four-wheel or all-wheel drive influences gas mileage. All-wheel does better in saving gas, yet both are taxing as compared to staying in two-wheel.


Front airbags, anti-lock brakes, side airbags, and anti-theft systems are common, but the luxury models feature parking sensors, rearview cameras, knee airbags, and more.

Furthermore, you’ll find high-tech gadgetry that directs lost drivers and warns passengers of impending traffic or collision. Safety features flourish with expensive and recently issued models. In addition to safety, you’ll want to consider a range of luxury and family features, especially if you have children.


Mom and dad may want it warmer in the front but the children want the rear of the vehicle colder. Climate control takes care of that. Additionally, small children stay occupied longer during rides when they have television and DVDs to entertain them.

Rear-seat entertainment systems are popular with both kids and parents who stay concentrated on the road. Cargo bins help with shopping and reclining chairs ensure greater comfort while riding.

Operating Costs

You have to pay to play when it comes to owning and enjoying an SUV. Of course, the large models cost more in fuel and get less miles to the gallon. Moreover, maintenance and replacement of parts is another factor to consider.
Off-road enthusiasts take their SUVs on trails and less-than-smooth roads. While it’s a popular underground hobby that offers hours of fun, the cost of flipping your ride, bending an axle, or repeatedly replacing tires while off-roading is extreme.


Buying used is unlike decades ago, a time owners drove vehicles everyday and more often. Today, find a pre-owned or leased vehicle with low mileage, packed with a number of luxuries, and offered at a reduced cost.

If a new-car sticker prices makes you balk, consider shopping locally or online to find a used car. Find new and pre-owned vehicles at

Road Test

SUVs are like jeans; you need to try them on before you make a purchase. All needs are met online yet you really should take an SUV for a test drive.

If you’ve never driven an SUV or larger-sized vehicle before, it takes getting used to. Don’t speed into a decision that will cost you in rookie mistakes and avoidable accidents.

Buying vs Leasing

Choosing to purchase or lease an SUV is a matter of economical need and consumer preference. For example, an off-road enthusiast with a knack for maintaining vehicles may buy a used truck outright, improving it through time.
Alternatively, someone who never drove an SUV but thinks they would love to own one, appreciate short-term leases. Shop around; negotiations are contingent on vendors more than dealer suggested price and packages.


Speak with your insurance agent about particular intentions. Lock in good rates on a new or used vehicle and avoid costly increases due to poor safety ratings of particular models.

Insurance is an added cost and point to consider when shopping for an SUV. Additionally, if you’re sharing the vehicle with another who is reluctant to drive something ‘bigger,’ consider the cost of allowing them to do so and getting into an accident. SUVs are largely popular, but also larger vehicles and demand greater control and responsibility on the road.

It’s not a matter of getting an SUV – you’re sold on that. However, there are a number of topics to roll through before turning the key in your new vehicle.

Cindy Castelow, GM of Mullinax Lincoln in Cleveland, TN.