Sport Utility Vehicle

A sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a vehicle similar to a station wagon or estate car, usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability. Some SUVs include the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or large sedan.

Since SUVs are considered light trucks in North America, and often share the same platform with pick-up trucks, at one time, they were regulated less strictly than passenger cars under the two laws in the United States, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act for fuel economy, and the Clean Air Act for emissions. Starting in 2004, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to hold sport utility vehicles to the same tailpipe emissions standards as cars.

The term is not used in all countries, and outside North America the terms "off-road vehicle", "four-wheel drive" or "four-by-four" (abbreviated to "4WD" or "4×4") or simply use of the brand name to describe the vehicle like "Jeep" or "Land Rover" are more common. Not all SUVs have four-wheel drive capabilities, and not all four-wheel-drive passenger vehicles are SUVs. Although some SUVs have off-road capabilities, they often play only a secondary role, and SUVs often do not have the ability to switch among two-wheel and four-wheel-drive high gearing and four-wheel-drive low gearing. While auto makers tout an SUV's off-road prowess with advertising and naming, the daily use of SUVs is largely on paved roads.

Popular in the late-1990s and early–mid-2000s, SUVs sales have since declined due to high oil prices and a declining economy. The traditional truck-based SUV is gradually being supplanted by the crossover SUV, which uses an automobile platform for lighter weight and better fuel efficiency, as a response to much of the criticism of sport utility vehicles.

Read more about Sport Utility Vehicle:  Designs, Use in Remote Areas, Use in Recreation and Motorsport, Luxury SUV, Other Names

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