Based on a survey of what’s available on SUVs, here’s what you should be looking for. This is aimed at the more affordable SUVs, but surprisingly many luxury SUVs won’t meet this criteria.
Enough Room for the Teenagers
Who can sit in the backseat? If the answer isn’t adults, walk away. You should think big. The Honda CRV, for instance, has more than 40 inches of rear legroom. If you are looking at a two-row SUV with less than 38 inches, you are not getting a very roomy ride for your money. If you have toddlers, this may not seem important, but their grandparents and babysitters will be stuck back there.
Adequate Luggage Space
If you are expecting your two-row SUV to have adequate luggage space, think again. There are many without enough room for the luggage you’d need for a family of five to take a trip. So, you want to look for the ones with at least 35 cubic feet.
You can’t go by the ‘size’. Often called a large SUV, a Jeep Grand Cherokee has 36 cubes in the cargo hold. A Honda CRV, often called small or midsize, has nearly 40 cubes, a big difference. The larger Honda Passport, which is a new Grand Cherokee competitor, has slightly more than 50 cubes. That extra space is a real advantage for families, frequent adventure-seekers, and other travelers, according to Earnhardt Honda.
All Weather Capability
For this, we once needed four-wheel drive. However, all-wheel drive is a much more flexible system and can take care of snow, sleet, and sand. So you don’t need to pay extra for a 4x4. You should aim for a torque-vectoring AWD system.
You should not pay extra for expensive off-roading equipment unless you are already blazing trails. Most people who buy these features don’t use them enough to justify the expense. Furthermore, you shouldn’t sacrifice your ride quality for trail-readiness. This means you need an SUV with a road-worthy suspension and a cushy ride that just happens to also have the ground clearance and capability to go off-road. To find this, you may have to look at the new AllSport of the Passport. It manages to cover all of the angles.
Standard Driver Assistance and Crash Avoidance
It’s remarkable how many manufacturers are still holding back their advanced safety systems. You want to be sure that you are getting everything that is current. This means an active forward crash avoidance system, an active lane watch system, and adaptive cruise control. You should also be expecting to find a standard blind spot monitor with its rear cross traffic alert feature.
Just the Right Dash of Dash Tech
Last, but not least, your entertainment system should be up to par. This means that it should have, at a minimum, a decent touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. This puts maps in front of you without paying extra for navigation. Your system should be as user friendly and voice-activated as possible.
With all of these things in mind, go ahead and test drive something new. You really can find a good SUV if you are careful to hold it to the standards discussed here.