What is a SUV

In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the popularity of cars with a pronounced "off-road" exterior throughout the world. At the same time, it is characteristic that in most cases their potential buyers do not care much about such characteristics as cross-country ability, which is really key for any "real" jeep. Therefore, manufacturers are more and more inclined to develop models, which in reality are nothing more than imitations of off-road cars. It was they who received the name "SUVs".

Almost all such cars have the outward signs of off-road vehicles, but they still look more "glamorous" than real jeeps. If you understand what an SUV is in more detail, then you need to first find out why exactly this name was given to them, as well as how exactly they differ from the "classic" SUVs and crossovers.

Why is the SUV called that way?

Toyota RAV4 is a typical representative of SUVs

There are a lot of jokes about the name “SUV”, and all of them quite clearly hint exactly the fact that the cars that are so named are "fake" SUVs. According to one version, a "SUV" is a car whose cross-country ability is sufficient only to move on the parquet, according to the other - a car in which parquet instead of carpets should be covered in the cabin. In fact, both explanations are nothing more than humor, but in reality the situation is completely different.

SUVs were originally created by developers as lightweight versions of SUVs. Since "real" jeeps are perfectly adapted for off-road driving and very mediocre - for moving around the city, in view of the growing demand for them from the city dwellers, it was necessary to somewhat adapt them to the conditions of megalopolises.

As a result, the engineers decided to simply remove what the city can do without, namely, differential locks and a downshift in the transfer case. In addition, they began to install less powerful and more economical power units on the cars, at the same time they redid the interiors, making them more stylish and comfortable. The result was a modification, which, with the light hand of automobile journalists, began to be called "parquet SUVs", or simply "SUVs". By the way, it has not yet been established who exactly first applied this definition, but it really became very common, as they say, it had to be right, and it was in our country.

How does an SUV differ from a crossover, an SUV, a jeep

Renault Duster is a popular SUV in Russia

Now the world's leading automakers are releasing more and more models that belong to these three classes, and the differences between them are becoming more and more blurred. Nevertheless, a "real" SUV cannot be confused with an SUV, if only for the simple reason that an SUV always has a frame structure. Otherwise, car models in these two different classes can be very similar. And this applies not only to the exterior, but also to the technical "filling". For example, now there are all-wheel drive models of SUVs and even SUVs with differential locks.

The situation with determining the difference between a SUV and a crossover is somewhat more complicated. It should be noted that many automotive experts, even very experienced and sophisticated in technical matters, tend to put an equal sign between these two concepts. However, there are still differences between these categories of passenger cars.

The first of them is that all crossovers have a chassis specially designed with the expectation that car owners will have to overcome off-road from time to time. Most of them have the ability to connect all-wheel drive. As for SUVs, their transmission design is practically no different from that used on conventional front-wheel drive vehicles. Moreover, SUVs are often built on the same platform as ordinary city cars (for example, Renault Duster and Renault Logan).

Another significant difference between SUVs and crossovers is the body structure. Outwardly, this may not manifest itself in any way, however, if you delve into the detailed technical characteristics, it turns out that the bodies of crossover have a much higher torsional rigidity than the bodies of SUVs.

See also : What is the difference between a liftback from a hatchback.

The most popular SUV models in Russia

In the Russian Federation, SUVs are one of the most popular classes of cars. According to experts who study the domestic car market and the preferences of both potential and real buyers of cars, they are attractive because they combine a fairly reasonable price and "off-road" appearance. According to statistics, today the following SUVs are the most popular in Russia:

  • Renault Duster;
  • ​​
  • Toyota RAV4;
  • Chevrolet Niva;
  • LADA 4X4;
  • Nissan Quashqai.

It makes sense to tell in more detail about each of the models included in this "magnificent five".

Renault Duster

As mentioned above, this car is built on the same platform as the popular Renault Logan. It can rightfully be called a "people's SUV", since the volume of its sales is very large. Renault Duster combines such characteristics as an "off-road" exterior, a fairly spacious interior, good capacity. In addition, it is offered, among other things, in a version with all-wheel drive.

Toyota RAV4

times more expensive than Renault Duster, but despite this, the demand for it is very high. In it, buyers are attracted by almost impeccable quality, modern appearance, very good dynamic performance.

Chevrolet Niva

This SUV can be considered a classic for our market, and it has really very good cross-country ability. Low price, fairly modern appearance. A serious drawback of this model is that it can be equipped with only one type of power unit with a capacity of 80 hp. and one type of manual gearbox.


This car is a real "classic of the genre". It has been produced practically unchanged since the times of the USSR, has a completely out-of-date appearance, but continues to be in great demand. The main reasons for this are very good cross-country ability and low price.

Nissan Quashqai

This SUV is also classified as a crossover. His new model looks quite aggressive and sporty. It moves well on a well-rolled dirt road, but the off-road that, say, LADA 4X4 overcomes without any problems, even despite its weak engine, for Nissan Quashqai most often turns out to be, as they say, "too tough."But it is really very comfortable, roomy, spacious, and it is a real pleasure to move around the city on it.

See also : What is restyled car.

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