Before they became parents, some people swore they’d never buy a minivan. Three kids later, those same people are trying to figure out a way to make their families fit into their sporty car.
Sound familiar? That’s where sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) come into play. SUVs are typically classified into three groups–compact, midsized, and full-sized–that can offer the right amount of space for your family’s needs.
Here are a few things to consider when trying to decide which SUV to buy for your family:
Price. What can you afford to spend on your new SUV? According to Edmunds.com, compact SUVs are conventionally the most affordable as base model prices start at less than $20,000. Midsized and full-sized SUVs vary greatly, with base models starting in the mid-$20,000s and going all the way up to the mid-$40,000s. If you have a larger family and need to buy a full-sized SUV but can’t afford the full-sized price of a brand new one, consider buying used.
Don’t forget to consider the cost of fuel as well. Obviously, the bigger the SUV, the more time and money you will spend fueling up.
Passenger Capacity. As you could probably guess, there is a major difference between a compact and a full-size SUV, though even the smallest SUV can typically carry five passengers. As the size of the vehicle increases, so does the potential to haul more passengers or more cargo. How big is your family, and do you plan on expanding it in the next five years?
One of the most important factors when choosing an SUV is whether or not you need third-row seating. Nearly all midsized and full-sized SUVs offer the feature; however, the midsized SUVs typically offer a much tighter third-row seat. If you’ve got a family that will have to use the third-row seat often, it would probably be most comfortable to go with a full-sized SUV.
Transporting. What are you transporting? How often do you need to tow? Do you carry large loads? If so, then a full-size SUV might be the right vehicle for you. Compact and midsized SUVs are primarily designed for hauling families and their luggage.
Where do you drive? If you live in a big city where you have to park in tight spaces or often parallel park, a full-sized SUV might not be the most practical. If you have to get a full-sized SUV and you live in a tight city, make sure that it comes with rearview cameras and parking sensors. Some even come with electronics that warn drivers of blind-spot intrusion and impending collision.
Cars.com offers a guide to buying the right SUV for your family, whether you decide to go with compact, midsized, or full-sized.
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