Thursday, November 15, 2007

A sport utility vehicle, or SUV, is a passenger vehicle which combines the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or station wagon together with on or off road ability. Most SUVs are designed with a roughly square cross-section, an engine compartment, a combined passenger and cargo compartment, and no dedicated trunk. Most mid-size and full-size SUVs have three rows of seats with a cargo area directly behind the last row of seats. Compact SUVs and mini SUVs, such as the Toyota RAV4, may have five or fewer seats.
It is known in some countries as an "off-road vehicle" or "four-wheel drive", often abbreviated to "4WD" or "4x4", pronounced "four-by-four". However, not all SUVs have four-wheel drive capabilities (see Mazda Tribute, for example). Conversely, not all 4WD passenger vehicles are SUVs (see, for example, Subaru Impreza (sedan), Jeep Wrangler (off-road vehicle), Daihatsu Feroza (off-road vehicle). Off-road vehicles are a very diffirent class of vehicles, being vehicles primary build for off-road use. Although some SUVs have off-road capabilities, this is often a secondary role and they often do not have the ability to switch between 2WD, 4WD high gearing and 4WD low gearing. Many SUVs are not build for off-road and in many cases are essentially a raised station wagon which perform poorly off-road.
More recently, manufacturers have responded to buyers' complaints that SUVs "drive like trucks" and demands for "carlike ride" with a new type of SUV. A new category, the crossover SUV uses car design and components for lighter weight and better fuel efficiency, but is no longer designed or recommended by the manufacturer for off-road usage or towing.

Outside of North America and India, these vehicles are known simply as "four-wheel-drives", often abbreviated to "4WD" or "4x4".
In countries such as the UK, where the U.S. distinction between cars and "light trucks" is not used, they are classified as cars.
In Australia, parts of the automotive industry and press are promoting the term "SUV" in place of "four-wheel drive" in an attempt to disassociate this type of vehicle from its increasingly negative public image; despite this, the term "four wheel drive" is still widely used. The motor industry in that country uses the term "AWD" for vehicles that are driven by all four wheels, but not designed for harsh off-road conditions, while the motoring press prefers the term "soft roader" for this type of vehicle.
The Australian "utility" or "ute" (an abbreviation of "coupe utility", a body style created in Australia in 1934) traditionally refers to a car-based commercial vehicle with an integral, "styled", open load area at the rear. However, it now also applies to dedicated commercial vehicles with separate tray type ("table top") load areas, such as the Toyota Hilux, including 4wd versions.
For decades, SUVs were often referred to generically as "jeeps." This practice was actively discouraged by every owner of the Jeep trademark, and this terminology is now almost entirely out of use.

Other names
They are also called UAV, for Urban Assault Vehicle. due to their popularity among affluent people living in central London areas such as Chelsea.
In New Zealand they are occasionally called "Fendalton tractors" or "Remuera tractors" after the higher priced suburbs in Christchurch and Auckland respectively.
In Australia, Victoria, they are sometimes referred to as "Toorak Tractors," though this is rare.
In Norway, they are known as Sport staionwagon or 'bourse tractors' due to yuppie stereotypes.
In Russia the name "SUV" is not used at all: vehicles sized up to RAV4 are called "parquet off-roaders" due to their limited cross-country abilities, the others are referred as "jeeps".
In the Netherlands, they are often called "PC Hooft-tractors" after Amsterdam's most exclusive shopping street. SUVs are also criticized in the Netherlands for similar reasons, and some environmentalists are pushing local governments to deny SUV users parking spaces.
In Greece, owners of SUVs are sometimes called 'Kolonaki Farmers'(Αγρότες του Κολωνακίου), referring to Kolonaki, a posh area of Athens (in the same vein as in the term 'Chelsea Tractors').
"Stadsjeep", meaning "City Jeep" is a very common slang word in Sweden, where SUVs are associated with prosperity and high incomes. Instead, "Stadsjeep" hints at the somewhat absurd phenomena of town dwellers driving around in large jeeps on well paved city streets. Slang
Although designs vary, the SUV are stereotypically medium sized non-commercial passenger vehicles constructed using a body-on-frame chassis similar to that found on crew cab or light truck. They can be either gasoline or diesel, and often the engines especially in American SUV's are that of the same engine line or even the same engine as in the equivalent pickup truck.
A few of the most known design characteristics of SUV's are their high ground clearance and upright, boxy body. However, since this creates a lot of drag, their bodies have been more aerodynamic over the years to improve fuel economy.

Design characteristics

Sport utility vehicles were originally descended from commercial and military vehicles such as the Jeep and Land Rover. SUVs have been popular for many years with rural buyers due to their off-road capabilities. The Toyota Land Cruiser (the early versions were (off-road vehicles but the later versions are more SUV), , Range Rover, Jeep Wagoneer and the Ford Bronco were early SUV examples, followed by the Chevrolet Blazer and the GMC Jimmy. International Harvester also sold SUVs, notably the three-door Scout and the five-door Travelall.
In the last 25 years, and even more in the last decade, SUVs have become popular with urban buyers. Consequently, more modern SUVs often come with luxury features and some crossover SUVs, such as the Infiniti FX35, Lexus RX, Subaru Tribeca, Mitsubishi Outlander (2007 onward), and BMW X3, have adopted lower ride heights and utilize unibody construction to better accommodate on-road driving.

SUVs are often used in places such as the Australian Outback, Africa, the Middle East, Alaska, Northern Canada, South America and most of Asia, which have limited paved roads and require the vehicle to have all-terrain handling, increased range, and storage capacity. The low availability of spare parts and the need to carry out repairs quickly allow model vehicles with the bare minimum of electric and hydraulic systems to predominate. Typical examples are the Land Rover and the Toyota Land Cruiser. SUVs intended for use in urbanised areas have traditionally been developed from their more rugged all-terrain counterparts. For example the Hummer H1 is derived from the HMMWV, originally developed for the US Armed Forces.

Use in remote areas
SUVs are also used to explore places otherwise unreachable by other vehicles. In Australia, China, Europe, South Africa, South America and the United States at least, many 4WD clubs have been formed for this purpose. Modified SUVs also take part in races, most famously in the Paris-Dakar Rally, and the Australian Outback.

Sports Utility Vehicles Use in recreation and motorsport

Main article: Luxury SUV Luxury SUV

Main article: Criticism of sport utility vehicles See also

Gladwell, M. (2004, January 12). Big and bad. The New Yorker, LXXIX, 28-30. [2]
Motor Trend. (Complete information on the Motor Trend reference is unavailable. However, the article was Motor Trend's announcement of the Lexus RX 300 as the 1999 SUV of the Year.)

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