When it comes to popular vehicles in the world today, few vehicles are sold more often and in more countries than sport utility vehicles. The main thing that makes sport utility vehicles attractive to most people is that their is enough cargo room to carry their entire family, workforce or other group and the vehicle is designed to handle well in adverse driving conditions. Admittedly though, most people who own a sport utility vehicle will never use it to its fullest capacity because most people rarely venture into off road driving situations. Here are five little known facts about sport utility vehicles.
- Within the industry, many experts consider the Jeep Cherokee as the first true sport utility vehicle based on what the term and class mean in modern times. The Cherokee was first introduced to the automobile market in 1984. There were many other vehicles that qualify as sport utility vehicles introduced before the Cherokee, but this was one of the first ones marketed and designed with the idea that the family car could also be an off road ready vehicle.
- Many enthusiasts claim that the Willys Jeep Station Wagon, while built and marketed beginning in the 1940s as a station wagon, was in fact the first sport utility vehicle. The Willys Jeep Station Wagon was phased out of production in 1965 because of the company’s new direction in focusing on the production of the new Jeep Wagoneer.
- Vehicles made to carry multiple passengers into off road circumstances in Australia and New Zealand are referred to as 4x4s or Four Wheel Drives. The term sport utility vehicle and SUV are seen as negatives and applied typically towards over sized off road vehicle mainly manufactured in the United States.
- Before the late 1990s, the class of vehicles referred to as luxury sport utility vehicles referred mainly to SUVs that had larger engines and added features like bucket seats, air conditioning or a sun roof. When these features became standard, there really was no such thing as a luxury sport utility vehicle until vehicles like the Lincoln Navigator, Lexus RX, BMW X5, Acura MDX, and other similar models appeared on the scene in the late 1990s.
- One of the best recent features to show up in sport utility vehicles is called stability control. Stability control allows for automatic and selective braking to occur when a vehicle has exhibited signs that it is out of control, these actions bring the vehicle back under control. The first sport utility vehicle to be manufactured with stability control was the 1990 Mitsubishi Sigma. The first luxury sport utility vehicle offering stability control was the 1997 Mercedes M-Class.
While sport utility vehicles remain popular with a number of people, their popularity has been diminishing in recent years. There are a number of reasons for this including the facts that they are not very fuel efficient and are not considered a very “green” vehicle. Despite these and other reasons, with a large segment of the population sport utility vehicles will continue to be their vehicle of choice.