SUVs – or sports utility vehicles – are very popular with Americans.
The large vehicle is part truck and part car. Strength and size combined with comfort.
Some well-known sports utility vehicles are the Jeep Cherokee, the Cadillac Escalade and the Toyota Land Cruiser. About 170,000 of those vehicles sell each year in the U.S.
If you owned one of those cars, it would cost almost $100 to fill the tank when gas was most expensive.
But these days, gas is cheap, and cars can go further while using the same amount of fuel. Some SUVs have hybrid engines – meaning they use battery power and stored energy along with gas to help move the car.
Automakers like General Motors and Volvo think drivers in the U.S. might be more willing to consider larger vehicles again. At the New York International Auto Show, these car makers were showing off big SUVs with all sorts of nice components.
The show runs until April 3.
Uwe Ellinghause is the chief marketing officer for Cadillac. He says people think the XT5 SUV looks great. And even though it is large, it only uses a little more gas than a traditional sedan-style car.
"Due to lightweight technologies, the weight of these SUVs is no longer so different to a sedan as it was in the past.”
Stephanie Brinley is an auto analyst for the research company IHS. She says traditional cars will only save 1 or 2 miles per gallon (about 3.75 liters) compared to new SUVs.
“The delta between a sedan and a comparably sized SUV for fuel economy, or crossover utility for fuel economy, is one or two miles to the gallon. It’s not that strong. So even if gas prices do come up again, it’s still a manageable penalty.”
Lincoln Motor Company is part of the Ford Motor Company. Its president called the market for SUVs in the U.S., “red hot.”
SUVs also sell well in China and the Middle East.
Another kind of car is a crossover. That means it has some elements of an SUV and some elements of a regular car. It is somewhere in the middle.
Brinley says she thinks the crossovers are popular because they allow the driver to sit higher than in a traditional sedan.
Rob Peterson of Buick, a General Motors brand, says crossovers offer the best of both worlds: the ability to carry lots of people or cargo, but easy to drive like a car.
One of these cars on display was a Lincoln Navigator. It is a large SUV. You walk up three steps to get into the door!
Also, it has gullwing doors, or doors that flip up rather than out, that you might find on a fancy sports car. The famous car from the “Back to the Future” movies had gullwing doors.
Whether they go for a small, large or crossover SUVs, this year U.S. consumers will have plenty to choose from.
I’m Dan Friedell.
Words in This Story
fancy – adj. not plain or common
delta – n. the difference between one thing and another, usually small
sedan – n. a car that has four doors and enough room for four or more people
components – n. one of the parts of something (such as a system or mixture); an important piece of something
characteristics – adj. showing the special qualities of a person, thing, or group