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Tips For Comparing SUVs

by Autobytel Staff
May 19, 2011

The SUV, or Sport Utility Vehicle, had its genesis in the mid-1960s when rough necks and lumberjacks had to haul humans and cargo through uncivilized territory to a job site. The SUV came into favor among the general public in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when the station wagon lost favor and municipalities neglected their infrastructure.

Today the SUV has become part of the automotive landscape, another species competing for sales and acceptance. When in the market for such a vehicle, comparing makes and models can be a bit of a challenge, but nevertheless, quite possible. The comparison begins as all queries do these days: Start on the Internet.

Tools to Compare SUVs

Type “SUV Comparison” into any search engine, and a rash of site will appear that do a fine job of presenting the vital statistics of current models. These comparison sites will allow the user to select two or more makes and models and display their information, side by side, without bias or emotion or anything else but the cold hard facts.

In a glance, we have the MSRP, the destination charges, the fuel economy, and something called the “internet price,” which is where selling begins. Another click compares the interior spaces and another click presents the performance numbers on these vehicles.

In a flash, we have some numbers, some objective results, and beginnings of a good comparison. Some additional mining of the forum sites and the chat rooms will uncover owner’s opinions and lead to the machines’ strengths and weaknesses, but the ultimate comparison can happen only with time in the seat and behind the wheel. That means a test drive.

SUV Comparison Test Drive

The best test drive happens without pressure, at your own pace, and without a salesman making a pitch for a deal on undercoating. Renting the model SUV will allow that luxury of time and understanding with the vehicle. In fact, the rental agency may have a stable of SUVs available. They will be happy to arrange for the comparison.

However, if the rental option requires too much time and funding, dealerships gleefully grant a test drive. In fact, a dealership allows you to compare the SUVs in the manufacturer’s product lineup. The trim levels and engine options mentioned in the research on the Internet should be available for you to feel and to evaluate.

The comparisons at the dealerships will take some time to perform and more time to digest, but the differences will show. No doubt, you will experience some fine machines, and the dealers will do their best to seduce you into purchasing their particular brand. The dealerships will provide detailed price quotes that will help with the final decision. Let the comparison data percolate, and one vehicle will stand out over the others. Unique and subjective, the decision will arrive based on the aggregate of the factors, and that’s how it should be. That’s what a careful comparison does. It finds the right SUV for the right driver. 


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