Saturday, February 9, 2008

History of SUV


The first Sport utility vehicles were descendants from commercial and military vehicles such as the Jeep and Land Rover. SUVs have been popular for many years with rural buyers due to their off-road capabilities.

The earliest examples of wagon-type SUVs were the Willys Jeep Wagon (1948), Land Rover Series II 109 (1958), and the International Harvester Scout 80/800 (1961). These were followed by the more 'modern' Jeep Wagoneer (1963), Ford Bronco (1966), Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-55 (1968), the Chevrolet Blazer / GMC Jimmy (1969), and the Land Rover Range Rover (1970).

In the last 25 years, and even more in the last decade, the popularity of SUVs has increased among urban drivers. Consequently, more modern SUVs often come with luxury features and some crossover SUVs have adopted lower ride heights and utilize unibody construction to better accommodate on-road driving.


SUVs became popular in the United States, Canada, and Australia in the 1990s and early 2000s for a variety of reasons. Vehicle buyers were drawn to their large cabins, higher ride height, and perceived safety. Additionally, some full-size SUVs have far greater towing capacities than conventional cars, allowing owners to tow travel trailers (caravans), trailers, and boats with relative ease. This coincided with very low oil prices of the 1990s which made the running costs of SUVs affordable to the masses.

Some of the SUV's popularity can be attributed to it "utilitarian" image, which could explain the large growth in SUV popularity and among some women. Women constitute more than half of SUV drivers, and SUVs are one of the most popular vehicle choice of women in the United States.

In Australia, a unique situation resulted in the growth in popularity of SUVs. There, SUVs have a much lower import duty than cars. This means a typical SUV has a price advantage over a similarly-equipped, imported sedan. However, in recent years, the import duty has been lowered for cars as well, and is currently at 10% (compared with 5% for SUVs).

Current model SUVs (crossovers) take into account that most SUV owners never go offroad. As such, some SUVs now have lower ground clearance and suspension designed primarily for paved road usage. However with the advent and popularization of air suspension, many SUVs have the benefits of a low suspension while on road with the ability to raise it to go offroad where a car or other vehicle might not be able to. In addition increased ground clearance is useful in climates with heavy snow.

In addition, full-sized SUVs have replaced old-fashioned full-size station wagons and bear similar features such as 3-row seating.

source: wikipedia