If you’re like many buyers, you may have considered a sports utility vehicle (SUV) as your next car, especially if you’ve never owned one.
Buyers are still enamoured with these rugged-looking machines, which explains why carmakers keep churning them out. Every major manufacturer has at least two SUV models in their lineup.
Luxury brands are well represented, too. BMW’s range for instance, spans from the X1 to the X7. We wouldn’t be surprised if they suddenly unleashed an X8.
Now, you probably have friends and relatives who own SUVs, and they may have extolled the virtues of this type of car. Since so many people own them, it must be okay to get one, right?
We’re not going to tell you what car is right for you. However, before buying an SUV, we do suggest you consider these points first.
1) CAN YOU HANDLE ONE CONFIDENTLY?
Just going by its size and form, an SUV is already trickier than any saloon, hatchback or estate you will ever drive.
SUVs have a high driving position, which leads to better forward and lateral visibility. This can give you more confidence.
However, while forward and lateral visibility are great, manoeuvring and parking an SUV in tight spaces comes with its own risks. We’re pretty sure those colourful walls you see in carparks were never part of the original design.
Test-driving an SUV is always a must. But instead of just driving on familiar roads, we suggest you go to a carpark and try to park it as well. Then, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll face daily.
Remember, SUVs aren’t just trickier to handle in tight spots. They also require longer stopping distances, especially when fully loaded.
2) DON’T BE BLINDED BY BLIND SPOTS
Before buying an SUV, remember that larger vehicles have larger blind spots. This is something you must not ignore.
Some SUV models come with blind spot monitors to warn drivers of other vehicles in their blind spot when they change lanes. But as with any technology, you cannot rely on it 100 percent.
Safety is always in the hands of the driver. Besides, if you become too reliant and too used to such systems, what happens if they suddenly fail?
3) FUEL CAN BURN A HOLE IN YOUR POCKET
If efficiency and running costs are a concern, then you should think twice before buying an SUV.
We are not saying that all SUVs are petrol guzzlers. However, it is an accepted fact that an SUV is not the most efficient type of vehicle you can buy.
SUVs weigh more than regular saloons and have more aerodynamic drag as well. It’s not so easy to slice through the air when there’s so much sheet-metal to move.
More weight means engines have to work harder, especially with a full complement of passengers. That’s also detrimental to fuel economy.
But if you’re set on buying an SUV, then set aside a higher budget for petrol costs.
4) IF PERFORMANCE IS A PRIORITY…
No enthusiast in his or her right mind would consider a powerful SUV instead of a high-performance coupe, sedan or hatchback. But like we said earlier, every driver has different needs.
What we’re asking you to ponder before buying an SUV (high-performance or otherwise) is whether it’ll really satisfy your driving urges.
Sure, it can have 500hp and insanely quick acceleration. But you also know that when the corners arrive, things can become dicey. One can only defy the laws of physics to a certain extent, but not break them.
If you’re a family man or woman, perhaps a sporty saloon or hatchback is enough to move the brood. Which leads us to our final point…
5) DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED AN SUV?
Before buying an SUV, ask yourself and your family: Do you really need one?
Frankly, this is a question all buyers should ask themselves before acquiring a car – any car! The main reason for buyer’s remorse is owning a car that doesn’t suit their needs and/or driving preferences.
Fuel consumption and reliability are important factors as well. But once you regret the car you bought, nothing else matters at that point.