GMC SUVs / General Motors SUV

A sport utility vehicle, or SUV, is a type of passenger vehicle which combines passenger-carrying and load-hauling abilities with the versatility of a pickup truck. Most SUVs are designed with a roughly square cross-section, an engine comportment, a passenger and cargo compartment, and no dedicated hood. Most mid-size and full-size SUVs have 5 or more seats, and a cargo area directly behind the last row of seats.

It is known in some countries as an off-roader or four wheel drive, often abbreviated to 4WD or 4x4, and pronounced "four-by-four". More recently, SUVs designed primarily for driving on roads have grown in popularity. A new category, the crossover SUV uses car components for lighter weight and better fuel economy.

SUVs were traditionally derived from light truck platforms, but have developed to have the general shape of a station wagon. SUVs are typically taller, though, with a roughly square cross-section.

SUVs typically have higher seating than a station wagon and can be equipped with four wheel drive, providing an advantage in low traction environments. The design also allows for a large engine compartment, and many SUVs have large V-6 or V-8 engines. In countries where fuel is more expensive, buyers often opt for diesel engines, which have better fuel efficiency, and given that diesel fuel itself is often much cheaper than gasoline.

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GMC Yukon XL 1/2-ton GMC Yukon XL 1/2-ton
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5 Reasons Why People Buy Sport Utility Vehicles

Reason #1
They need a combination of pulling capacity and passenger seating. It's true that many SUVs are capable of towing over 2500 pounds and most of them seat five passengers; some even offer third row seating.

Reason #2
They feel an SUV is a safer vehicle because it's larger and heavier built. And they like a vehicle with taller seating. (There have been concerns about rollover, but most manufacturers are working on systems to minimize the risk.)

Reason #3
They want the cargo capacity and feel that an SUV holds more than a station wagon. (The cargo area of an SUV may indeed be taller, but in many instances is not as long as that of a station wagon.)

Reason #4
They want a vehicle that will get around better in the snow. (While this may be true when you compare an SUV to a rear wheel drive car, it may or may not be the case when compared to a front wheel or all wheel drive car with proper tires.)

Reason #5
They want the offroading capabilities. (Many sport utility vehicles do not do well in true offroading conditions, and the number of people who actually take them offroad is small in comparison to the number of people who drive them.)

But The Truth Is
Most people buy an SUV because they can. It may not truly fit any of their needs, but it fulfills their wants. We Americans are in love with our cars. We appreciate good styling, and SUVs are currently in vogue.

Part of the reason we work for a living is to obtain the things we want, including our choice of transporation. Yes, SUVs use more gas than most cars, but there are hybrid SUVs coming that address that concern. The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid is one example, and it appears to be a good one. Watch for even more SUV hybrids to be introduced if buyers demand them.

Some of the compact SUVs get fairly decent gas mileage--shifting downwards in size is probably a good option for many drivers. Another trend to watch for is the addition of clean-burning diesel engines to SUVs.

Whether your reason for owning an SUV is "valid" or not, if it's what you want to drive, and you have the means, it should be what's in your garage.