Determine Your SUV Needs

Before exploring different SUVs, it is important to evaluate your needs as a driver. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much space do I need?
  • Will I regularly be taking my vehicle off road?
  • Will I be towing large things like a boat?
  • Do I prefer functionality over luxury?

By answering all these questions, you should have a better understanding of the type of SUV you need.


The size of your vehicle will depend on the number of people in your family and the nature of your activities. For example, you may prefer third-row seating if you plan to transport more than four people.

Off-Road Capability
The type of vehicle you purchase will also depend on where you plan to do most of your driving. If you are looking for something more highway-friendly, a hybrid SUV or crossover is your best bet. For regular off-road driving, consider the Jeep Wrangler for your next adventure.

Towing Capacity
With boats getting bigger and heavier, you will need to get a hefty, full-size SUV with enough towing capacity. Most boats are about 5,000 lbs., and boat trailers typically weigh between 500 and 1,000 lbs. This means you will need an SUV that can carry at least 6,000 lbs.
Some of the best SUVs for towing boats include the following:

  • Ford Expedition
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Dodge Durango
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Nissan Armada

In addition to having enough towing capacity, you will need the power of four-wheel drive to tow a large boat or navigate through slippery road conditions.
Four-wheel drive is a transmission system that provides power to all four wheels of a vehicle. If you live in an area with heavy snow or very steep inclines, then this feature is ideal for a safe winter.

Functionality Versus Luxury
If you have younger children who like to play, consider an SUV with a more durable and easy-to-clean interior. In order to maintain the condition of your interior, you will need to prioritize functionality over luxury.

Different Types of SUVs
No SUV is the same. They all come in different sizes and contain different features. There are:

  • Compact SUVs, which are smaller than most SUVs yet have a roomier interior than a compact car. These are easier to park and maneuver than larger SUVs. However, they typically have limited off-road abilities.
  • Midsize SUVs, which are ideals for families because they have plenty of interior space, cargo room and safety features. They also tend to have a larger tow capacity.
  • Full-size SUVs, which are best for hauling a large boat or trailer. While they carry more cargo and passengers, this option is not the best for saving on fuel.


Evaluate Costs and Expenses

Once you have evaluated your needs, you will need to evaluate your budget. In addition to the price of the vehicle, there are many other costs and expenses to consider when shopping for an SUV.

Maintenance and Repairs

Owning a car comes with many expenses, such as ongoing maintenance and insurance costs. You will need to perform the required maintenance on your vehicle to preserve its longevity. This means getting an oil change, inspecting fluids and checking your tires frequently.

These are expenses to consider when establishing a budget for the purchase price of your vehicle. However, it may be more beneficial in some cases to spend more on a vehicle that is more dependable.

You can end up saving more money in the long run with a vehicle that requires little work.

According to the U.S. News & World Report, some of the most reliable SUVs include the following:

  • 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2019 Toyota Highlander
  • 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2019 Ford Expedition
  • 2019 Toyota RAV4
  • 2019 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2019 Kia Sportage

Some of the least reliable SUVS include the following:

  • 2019 Jeep Renegade
  • 2019 Dodge Journey
  • 2019 Jeep Compass
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler.
  • 2019 Dodge Durango

Fuel Efficiency

Another important expense to consider is gasoline, with prices frequently on the rise. While SUVs offering better gas mileage are generally more expensive, they may be worth it if you frequently use your car for long commutes.

If you rely heavily on public transportation, then your gas usage might be minimal. In this case, you may not worry as much about the cost of fuel.

Decide on Must-Have SUV Features

Now that you have narrowed down the SUV choices that fall within your budget, it may be difficult to make a decision. Deciding which SUV features are important to you can help you eliminate some contenders and determine the right fit.

Typically, buyers look for the following features in an SUV:

  • Automatic emergency braking: This system can detect a forward collision with another vehicle to either prevent it or reduce its impact.
  • Blind spot detection: This feature can warn you through an audible or visual alert that a vehicle is in your blind spot.
  • Android Auto and Apple Carplay: With a smartphone integration system, you can sync your phone with your car to stay connected while driving. You can listen to music, navigate and check messages through voice command.
  • Hands-free lift gate: Most SUV drivers with space use it. If you are carrying around a lot of equipment or doing groceries for your family, you do not need to pull a latch to open your trunk. Simply approach the lift gate with a key or wave your foot below the rear bumper.
  • Back-up camera: No more trouble backing into tight spaces. With a back-up camera, you can see how close you are to the vehicle or other object behind you. To avoid a curb rash, consider an SUV with Around View technology. This system allows you to see your vehicle's entire surroundings from a bird's-eye view.
  • Remote starter: With this luxurious feature, you can run the heat or air conditioning of your vehicle before you get inside.
  • Third-row seating: This provides enough space for children and carpoolers. You can even stow the third row down for extra space to fit cargo.

There are plenty of other luxury features that can enhance your SUV and its comfortability. Some cars have multizone climate systems that can let drivers and passengers set their own temperatures.

There are also heated seats and steering wheels to keep occupants warm during the wintertime.