Ever wondered what an SUV actually is?

Get the low-down on these high-riding cars with Brayleys

What does SUV stand for?

SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle.

What is an SUV?

An SUV is a car with a body shape that is characterised by big wheels and increased clearance height with chunky and sporty styling.

The SUV generally has a rugged appearance that inspires fun and adventure. The high driving position offers great visibility and there’s plenty of useful space inside. SUVs are designed to go almost anywhere, for getting out and enjoying life.

SUV cars are also ideal for transporting passengers, heavy or awkward loads. And SUVs cope very well with all types of road conditions, tracks and uneven ground surfaces.

And it’s that capacity which inspires driving confidence when you’re in an SUV. But should you buy one? Find the answer in our handy SUV guide. We’ve answered your questions with everything you need to know about this new type of car.

See new cars Contact us

Kia Stonic

So what does SUV mean?

For drivers, the SUV represents an important evolution of car styling and utilisation. And SUV meaning? The Sports Utility Vehicle title suggests outdoor leisure pursuits combined with everyday practicality. They’re a completely new category of car with a multitude of uses:

    • Previously, 4x4 vehicles had a limited appeal to the majority of car buyers. True all-terrain vehicles have impressive performance going up improbable slopes and down bumpy mountain tracks. But fuel economy was not a priority and parking in town probably to be avoided.

    • If you want length space you could certainly buy an excellent Estate car.

    • The People Carrier is pretty good at carrying people but somehow not very... well, exciting.

    • A Hatchback is supremely practical around town, but fills up fast when you’re transporting gear or people – or both.

    • Saloon cars are super for cruising in comfort and style. And that’s great too.

But the point of the SUV is that is they take the advantages of each of these categories of car, all rolled into one. And in doing so, have created a brand new type of vehicle.

Find SUV new cars for sale at Brayleys

New Cars

What is the difference between a car and an SUV?

They’re both road vehicles. If a car is the traditional Hatchback, Saloon, Estate or Coupé, then the SUV is all those cars in one.

What is the difference between an SUV and a 4x4?

Most SUV and Crossover cars are two-wheel drive, although many have AWD – All Wheel Drive options. A pure 4x4 vehicle is specifically designed for off road performance, without necessarily having the efficiency and practicality of an SUV.

So what is the purpose of an SUV?

In being a vehicle jack of all trades, the SUV has become the master of the multi-purpose vehicle. SUVs have pushed the limits of car use to combine the mundane with the extraordinary. They are ideal for family jaunts, bike rides, skiing, surfing and outdoor pursuits. You can get off the beaten track thanks to their higher clearance and better visibility. And so their scope for adventure is therefore greater.

And of course, they’re also very handy for going to the DIY store and doing the school run too.

Nowadays, there’s a fantastic selection of SUV and Crossover models available.

Mazda CX-3 SUV

What is a Crossover?

This is an even more modern type of car than the SUV. The term Crossover refers to a new body shape inspired by the SUV, but based on an existing car chassis. It’s a different car body style that shares a chassis, engine configuration and transmission, with a regular hatchback or mid-size car.

OK, so what’s the difference between an SUV and a Crossover?

The difference is that the SUV has a specially designed chassis, not being based on a car version like Crossovers. Some may say that a true SUV also has a 4x4 option. Having said that, now we can often hear the term Crossover SUV. This tends to refer to a compact SUV, which makes the debate slightly irrelevant, as it’s more a question of size.

There are three categories of SUV:

Not forgetting the exciting world of Hybrid SUVs

So let’s take a look at each of those in a little more detail:

Crossover SUV

The Crossover transforms a Hatchback into a more flexible car:

  • Easier to get in and out of
  • Greater driving visibility
  • Sporty with contemporary design
  • Great fuel economy being lighter than bigger SUVs
  • Assured ride and handling being derived from tried and tested reliable car base chassis
  • Light off -road capability having higher clearance
  • Manoeuvrable and easy to park

Crossovers are ideal for town and country, from the weekly shop to getting away for a weekend escapade. If you’re looking for a compact SUV have a look at the Mazda CX-3 or the Renault Captur.

With the Dacia Sandero Stepway you don’t have to have a big budget to get in on the Crossover act.

The Kia Stonic is a great example of a Crossover. Based on the super reliable Rio chassis, the Stonic is everything a crossover should be: friendly, funky and fun to drive.

The All-New Kia XCeed is a new type of Crossover which adds coupé styling to the SUV family.

Browse Brayleys selection of Crossover SUV's

Crossover SUV's

Kia Sportage SUV

Medium Size SUV

The Mid-size SUV is a great idea if a Crossover isn’t quite big enough. For families - transporting adults, children and all manner of gear and luggage, a medium size SUV is a practical and versatile. They are easy to drive and more than manageable around town too.

The Mazda CX-30 is a superb example of clever styling, making it at home in the town or country. The sinuous upper body shape gives that harmonious contemporary SUV shape. Lower down, the protection around the wheel arches and sills give it a robust look.

The Kia Sportage is simply Kia’s best selling SUV. The most recent model really hits the spot, defining the family SUV. The Sportage is a legendary SUV, available with a 4x4 option for greater off-road capabilities.

In this category, check out the New Renault KADJAR, the affordable Dacia Duster and don’t miss the fantastic Honda HR-V bringing elegance and versatility with sophistication.

Take a look at Brayleys selection of Medium Size SUV's

Medium Size SUV's

Mazda CX-5 SUV

Large SUV

Large SUVs meet the demands of families – they’re take anything and go anywhere vehicles. They have larger interiors often with 7 seats and big luggage carrying capacity. They’re also great for towing and can have formidable off road capabilities. Have a look at:

  • Kia Sorento, with acres of space
  • Mazda CX-5 offers fantastic refinement and driving pleasure
  • Renault Koleos with muscular styling and interior space
  • Honda CR-V featuring innovation comfort and style

Browse our selection of Large SUV's at Brayleys

Large SUV's

And if you thought the SUV weren’t fuel efficient, just take a look at our final category:

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Hybrid SUV & Electric SUV

The Honda CR-V hybrid takes large SUV standards to another level of cleaner motoring. The Hybrid SUV, with dual internal combustion and electric motors, reduces emissions and increases fuel economy.

In fact, The SUV is leading the way to cleaner driving - and none more so than the Niro SUV range from Kia.

The Niro is an SUV with everything you’d expect, but with a major environmentally responsible advantage. You’ll find the Niro Self-Charging Hybrid and Niro Plug-In Hybrid where you can get up to 200 mpg.

The Kia e-Niro is top of the class in the 100% electric car category, with a range of 280 miles. It’s also the winner of the What Car? 2019 Car of the Year.

Check out our Brayleys hybrid guide to find out more about hybrid cars

Take a look at Brayleys selection of Hybrid and Electric SUV's

Hybrid and Electric SUV's

And so to the key question:

Should I buy an SUV?

The SUV is a great choice of car when you’re looking for a modern vehicle with space for passengers and luggage that can reach more places than regular cars.

But to help you decide, we’ve put together some good reasons to buy an SUV car.

9 reasons why your next car should be an SUV:

  • 1. Great all-round Family Car – Transport all the family and associated paraphernalia with ease
  • 2. Modern Design and style – there’s no denying that the SUV is a pretty cool car to own and drive
  • 3. High Driving Position – Just that bit more height really makes a difference in road visibility
  • 4. Inside Space - with up to seats 7 seats plus easy getting in and out, the SUV is great for people moving
  • 5. Luggage Capacity (and towing capacity) – from bikes to boards and beds to big trailers you can fit it in, on or behind an SUV no problem
  • 6. High Road Clearance – get to the beach, into the forest or fields. The SUV offers better off-road capacity than a regular vehicle.
  • 7. Winter Driving – in slippery conditions such as wet roads, snow and ice, the 4x4 capacity can definitely come in handy, especially in the country
  • 8. Fuel Economy – Yes, SUVs feature the best ever technology to reduce emissions and increase mpg that is often much better than older cars
  • 9. Ideal Hybrid Vehicle – with the weight of a battery and electric motor the construction of the suv is ideal for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Kia Niro Hybrid

So what’s the best SUV Car?

    • The Mazda CX-5 is the Best Large SUV, winner of the What Car? 2019 award
    • The Kia e-Niro is the 2019 What Car? winner of the Best Electric car, and also the overall winner of the Best Car of the Year 2019.

Browse the selection of SUV's available at Brayleys:

Crossover SUV's:

  • Mazda CX-3

    Mazda's small SUV with sporty performance and responsive handling.

    Mazda CX-3View Details
  • New Renault CAPTUR

    More style. More technology. Renault CAPTUR...

    Mazda CX-5View Details
  • Dacia Sandero Stepway

    Modern design, style and economy with equally modern technology...

    Dacia Sandero StepwayView Details
  • Kia Stonic

    The best-selling SUV just got better

    All-New Kia StonicView Details
  • All-New Kia XCeed

    The brand new crossover from Kia

    All-New Kia XCeedView Details

Medium Size SUV's:

  • All-New Mazda CX-30

    The new generation compact crossover from Mazda.

    Mazda CX-30View Details
  • Kia Sportage

    The best-selling SUV just got better

    All-New Kia SportageView Details
  • New Renault KADJAR

    Start living. The new KADJAR evokes adventure around every corner...

    Renault KADJARView Details
  • Dacia Duster

    The affordable, practical Duster with ultra efficiency...

    Dacia DusterView Details

Large Size SUV's:

  • 2019 Mazda CX-5

    Mazda's family sized SUV.

    Mazda CX-5View Details
  • Kia Sorento

    All-New Kia Sorento at Brayley Kia in Hertfordshire

    All-New Kia SorentoView Details
  • New Renault KOLEOS

    Muscular SUV styling combines with saloon car refinement. The Renault KOLEOS...

    New Renault KOLEOSView Details
  • New Honda CR-V

    The world’s most popular SUV...

    Honda CR-VView Details

Hybrid & Electric SUV's:

  • Kia Niro

    The environmentally friendly crossover hybrid

    New Kia NiroView Details
  • New Honda CR-V Hybrid

    Taking the CR-V to new levels of energy efficiency...

    Honda CR-V HybridView Details

Brayleys: at your service for SUVs in Milton Keynes, Oxford, HarpendenSt Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Enfield and Grays.

For more information on SUV cars and choosing the best model, contact Brayleys today

Ask the new car team about any of our SUV models