18 Reasons SUVs Have Become So Popular

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Written By Thomas Anderson

SUV, short for Sport Utility Vehicle, encompasses cars exhibiting ‘off-roader-esque styling or features.’ It’s often (mistakenly) mistaken with ‘4×4,’ denoting vehicles that distribute power to all wheels for enhanced traction on challenging and off-road terrains. While some SUVs boast standard four-wheel drive, many popular models offer it as an optional feature or exclusively on higher trims. SUVs blend off-road aesthetics with practicality for daily commutes and regular driving. Coined in the late 80s to early 90s in the US, the term ‘SUV’ has gained traction globally since the turn of the century. We delve into 18 reasons behind the soaring popularity of SUVs.

Rugged Styling

Although many of the compact SUVs in the market lack significant off-road capabilities, they still boast a rugged aesthetic that contributes to their commanding presence on city streets. Their robust build and design features, like simulated skid plates, add to their overall appeal. Despite their limited off-road prowess, these vehicles provide a confident and striking appearance, making them popular choices among urban drivers seeking style and functionality.

Great To Drive

SUV drivers seeking a delightful experience needn’t avoid the latest models. True, they might not match the agility of a sports car, but forget clunky stereotypes. Turbocharged options, be it petrol, diesel, or even hybrid, bring a surprising level of performance to these modern SUVs. Their size and weight might suggest otherwise, but the driving experience is refreshingly spirited. Sharing the platform with their sleeker counterparts, these SUVs offer a blend of practicality and exhilaration, proving fun doesn’t need to be sacrificed for space and comfort. So buckle up, driving enthusiasts, hit the open road, and bring the whole crew along for a satisfying journey.

Perfect for Dog Owners

Owning a dog means choosing a car with roomy comfort in mind. SUVs shine here, offering ample space for crates and carriers and letting your furry friend stand, stretch, and relax on journeys. With millions of US households welcoming dogs, 65.1 million households, according to Statista, prioritizing their well-being on adventures is critical. SUVs rise to the challenge, making every ride a woof-worthy experience for your four-legged companion. Buckle up and hit the road, creating lasting memories thanks to an SUV’s spacious haven.


SUVs offer a practical solution if you travel regularly for work, pack heavy gear, or love weekend camping trips with the whole family. Their roomy insides easily swallow luggage, sports equipment, and passengers, making long journeys more comfortable for everyone. Whether hitting the road for work or fun, an SUV provides the space and flexibility you need without sacrificing comfort.


Once bastions of exclusivity, SUVs were historically the domain of industrialists, actors, and politicians, their hefty price tags symbolizing affluence. This perception of the “elite’s chariot” persisted for years. However, the introduction of compact, budget-friendly options triggered a paradigm shift. These accessible models democratized the SUV experience, fueling unprecedented growth and transforming the automotive landscape. What was once a status symbol is now a mainstream choice, reflecting car buyers’ evolving needs and desires. Though the aspirational element lingers, the SUV segment has transitioned from a niche market to a dominant force, driven by both practicality and echoes of its prestigious past.

Ground Clearance

Even the more compact SUV offerings boast a surprisingly generous ground clearance, acting like a built-in shield against those bone-jarring impacts and unwelcome scrapes. This elevated stance translates to confidence when tackling uneven terrain, allowing you to easily navigate those crater-like potholes. So, consider an SUV if you’re looking for a vehicle that can conquer the urban obstacle course.

Good For Winter Driving

Winter’s wrath can leave drivers yearning for a vehicle ready to face the elements. With their advanced technology, commanding height, and often-available four-wheel drive, SUVs stand out as confident companions for snowy roads and sleet-laden commutes. Their superior handling compared to rear-wheel drive options is undeniable, making them a popular choice for navigating winter’s challenges. While other vehicle types, particularly those equipped with high-quality winter tires and capable drivetrains, shouldn’t be underestimated, SUVs offer a distinct advantage in tackling harsh weather.

Larger Seating Capacity

If you have a large family or a sizable group of companions, the seating capacity of a sedan won’t suffice, mainly if there’s additional luggage to accommodate the passengers. Fortunately, SUVs boast generous passenger capacities, offering ample room to accommodate your entourage comfortably. For instance, consider the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse mid-size SUV, which can accommodate approximately six individuals. Meanwhile, the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban large-size SUV seats six to nine passengers, depending on your chosen seat configuration and variant. The inclusion of a third-row option is an immense advantage in such scenarios.


If your weekends involve escapades into the untamed wilderness, your choice of vehicle must match your adventurous spirit. While sedans may lack the ruggedness needed for such expeditions, SUVs easily traverse various terrains. Many SUV models offer a four-wheel-drive option, providing ample power to tackle even the most challenging paths. This ensures confidence, whether ascending or descending steep inclines. Furthermore, modern SUVs are outfitted with advanced traction control systems, enhancing your off-road capabilities and peace of mind.


Many available SUVs have been meticulously crafted and engineered with families at the forefront of consideration, particularly in spaciousness. With seven-seater variants providing abundant space for every family member and their possessions, even the more compact models, like the Kia Stonic, surpass their hatchback counterparts in roominess. As per statistics from Good Car, Bad Car for 2021, SUVs constituted a significant 46% of new vehicle sales in the United States, marking a notable increase from 38% in 2016. Notably, the Toyota RAV4 emerged as the top-selling model in the US in 2023.

Better Towing Capacity

SUVs are explicitly engineered to effortlessly tow a wide range of loads. This holds particularly true for the mid-size and sizable SUVs presently available in the market. To illustrate, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse mid-size SUV boasts a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. In contrast, a substantial SUV like the 2018 Lincoln Navigator flaunts an even more significant towing capacity of 8,700 pounds. This implies you can effortlessly tow multiple ATVs, a trailer, or a boat.


These versatile vehicles find application in daily commutes, family getaways, off-road escapades, and myriad other scenarios. Furthermore, many SUVs have practical features like collapsible seats and adaptable cargo spaces. This facilitates their adaptation to diverse requirements and circumstances. In essence, these functionalities extend the utility of SUVs beyond the conventional, making them well-suited for a broad spectrum of activities and lifestyles.

Better Ride Height

If superior road visibility is paramount, consider an SUV. Its elevated position facilitates early detection of road hazards, potentially safeguarding your vehicle. The higher vantage point also enhances parking space identification, streamlining your commute and minimizing stress. Opt for an SUV and prioritize both safety and efficiency.

Drivers Feel Safe in Them

While the notion of “feeling safer” in an SUV due to the higher seating position holds some merit, it does not guarantee superior safety. The sheer size and weight can ironically increase their rollover risk compared to cars. Think of it like a tall tree in a storm, more susceptible to being toppled. While many modern SUVs boast advanced safety features, statistics paint a different picture. According to the IIHS, rollovers claim more lives in SUVs than cars. So, while the elevated viewpoint might offer a sense of security, actual safety lies in cautious driving and advanced safety features, not just your vehicle’s height.

More Fuel Efficient Than Before

Though there’s been debate over SUVs’ fuel efficiency in the past, it’s comforting to note that modern advancements have made them considerably more fuel-efficient. This translates to tangible savings per journey, provided you maintain your vehicle’s condition throughout its lifespan. So, while SUVs may have had a reputation for guzzling gas in the past, today’s models are more economical options for your everyday transportation needs.

Hybrid and Electric Options

While traditionally known for size and power, SUVs increasingly cater to eco-conscious drivers. Many new models offer hybrid and electric options, boasting impressive fuel efficiency without sacrificing functionality. As electric vehicles gain popularity and the US charging infrastructure expands, opting for an electric or hybrid SUV could be wise. These vehicles offer practicality and sustainability, making them a perfect fit for those seeking an eco-friendly solution without compromising utility. Don’t dismiss the possibility – the eco-friendly SUV might be the unexpected answer you’ve been searching for.

Power, Performance, and Torque

Due to their substantial size and specific purpose, SUVs are fortified with robust engines generating the considerable horsepower and torque essential for towing, hauling, and off-road excursions. For instance, the Chevy Traverse has a standard 3.6-liter V6 engine churning out 310 horsepower and 266 pounds of torque. Ample power to tow up to 5,000 lbs. If you’re pursuing even more muscle, the Chevy Tahoe boasts a formidable 6.2-liter V8, elevating the output to 420 horsepower and 460 pounds of torque. These SUVs deliver exhilarating power for daily drives in Indianapolis and weekend getaways beyond the urban landscape.

Feature Rich

Even though mini SUVs may appear petite, they pack a punch in terms of features. From dual-zone HVAC to a sunroof, automatic transmission, and turbocharged petrol engines, they leave no stone unturned in providing convenience and performance. Furthermore, inside their cabins are plenty of storage spaces with numerous cubby holes for stashing away knick-knacks. Additionally, users can optimize their luggage space by utilizing the flexible seating arrangements offered by these vehicles.