Most current SUVs drive more like cars than trucks because they are derived from car platforms and have unibody construction, as opposed to being truck-based with body-on-frame construction. These are the crossover SUVs (car-based vehicles with SUV styling and attributes) that are generally available with front- or all-wheel drive but are intended mainly for on-road use.
The long list of carlike SUVs includes the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape and Explorer, Honda CR-V and Pilot, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue and Toyota Highlander and RAV4, to name just a handful. The list of truck-based SUVs is much shorter and is populated mainly by larger vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and Ford Expedition.
Although most crossovers drive much like cars, you will probably notice differences. Crossover SUVs have a higher ride height and frequently feel more “tippy” when entering a turn, plus they tend to be heavier than cars of similar size and aren’t as agile or athletic. You also should notice a difference at the pump. Crossovers are more fuel efficient than truck-based SUVs, but you won’t find any fuel sippers that get more than 35 mpg on the highway.
However, more than one out of four new vehicles sold these days is a crossover SUV, so millions of Americans are willing to accept those compromises in exchange for the room and versatility crossovers provide. There are many to choose from, and Cars.com’s Best Bets for 2012 would be a good place to start your search.
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