SUV and 4×4 car – Buying guide – UFC -Que Choisir, SUV: Definition and concept – Ornikar

What is a SUV

Among the different brands offering SUV models, we find:

SUV and 4×4 car

With 1 in 3 vehicles sold in France, the SUV and 4 × 4 segment is one of the most promising for car manufacturers. The proposals are now very varied and range from the vehicle intended for the family, with a good habitability and an appreciable loading volume, to the real 4-wheel drive all-terrain made to think outside the track.

  • 1. What is a SUV ?
  • 2. What are the best -selling SUVs in France ?
  • 3. 4 × 4 or SUV ?
  • 4. What are the different SUV sizes ?
  • 5. 2 or 4 wheel drive ?
  • 6. Modularity and habitability: top SUVs
  • 7. Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric ?
  • 8. Crossing capacity: the real estate of real 4 × 4
  • 9. SUV low cost to master costs
  • 10. Are there “made in France” SUVs ?

TEST THAT CHOOSE: SUV test and 4×4

Peugeot Citroen Renault SUV opening

What is a SUV ?

The acronym SUV, for Sport Utility Vehicle (literally “sports utility vehicle”), characterizes models with a bicorps body and are located between the minivan and the all-terrain. Their raised driving position, their habitability and their design are the main reasons for their success. For ten years, the SUV segment has become one of the largest on the French market with, in 2018, 36 % market share. The craze is such that now all manufacturers offer at least one model in their catalog. The choice has thus been largely expanded with, today, more than a hundred models available. Within the SUV category, we can now find coupes like the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and even convertibles like the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet (marketing from 2020). An SUV can also become a crossover (which can be translated by “mix”) when its line is closer to that of a sedan. This is for example the case of the Audi Q2, the Kia Stonic or the Suzuki Vitara.

The SUV market in France (Source CCFA)

Since 2013, the SUV market in France has continued to grow to exceed a third of sales in 2018.

What are the best -selling SUVs in France ?

In 2018, among the 100 best -selling models in France, there are 41 SUV (Source Committee of French Automobiles – CCFA) manufacturers). This represents 782,453 registrations on the approximately 2.174 million light vehicles which found takers in 2018. The vast majority are urban SUVs or compacts of French brands. Thus, out of the first 10 SUVs sold, and if we consider the Dacia and Nissan brands as quasi-French brands which are in the fold of Renault and use common platforms, only two foreign brands incorporate the list: Volkswagen and Toyota.

The best -selling SUVs in France

Among the 100 best -selling cars in France, there are 41 SUVs and French brands are among the most represented in the Top 10.

4 × 4 or SUV ?

SUVs differentiate from real 4-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles (4 × 4) by their more urban design and their design similar to that of a classic sedan. Most of the models currently offered are derived from a sedan. For example, the Renault Captur uses the same base as the Citadine Clio. And, even if there are 4 × 4 SUVs, their crossing capacities remain very limited. SUVs are not really intended to think outside the track for lack of ground clearance and a mechanical really designed for crossing.

SUV Renault Captur

Conversely, the “real” all-terrain, necessarily at 4-wheel drive, such as the Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender or Mercedes G-Class, are able to get rid of almost all obstacles in all situations.


What are the different SUV sizes ?

The craze is such that, within the SUV segment, different categories classified appeared according to their length. Thus, as for sedans, there are urban (or small), compact, family and large SUVs.

Urban SUVs or small SUVs

These are the most widespread on the French market. Their maximum length is around 4.20 m.

SUV Volkswagen T Cross

Urban SUV examples

Citroën C3 Aircross

Opel Crossland X

Compact SUVs

Developed on platforms belonging to the compact sedans, compact SUVs measure less than 4.50 m.

SUV Renault Kadjar

Compact SUV examples

Citroën C5 Aircross

Family SUVs

With a length that can wait for 4.70 m, family SUVs are sometimes equipped with 7 places, in series or optional.

SUV Toyota Rav4

Examples of family SUV

The big SUVs

These are the most imposing SUVs with an surrounding length – and sometimes even exceeding – the 5 m. It is also in this category that we find luxury brands like Maserati or Tesla.

SUV Volkswagen Touareg

Examples of large SUVs

Land Rover Range Rover

2 or 4 wheel drive ?

2x4 4x4 wheel drive

If the “real” all-terrain people all have in series of 4-wheel drive, this is not the case with SUVs. Nevertheless, some may receive an all -wheel drive. This is for example the case of the BMW X1, X3 or X5 whose SDRIVE versions are in 2 wheel drive (4 × 2) and the XDRIVES in 4 -wheel drive (4 × 4). The Dacia Duster, now only on the DCI 115 diesel version and with the exception of the Access finish, is also available in 4 × 4, just like the Mazda CX-30 or the Fiat 500X.

The interest of a 4 -wheel drive SUV is to have better motor skills, therefore increased handling. A definite advantage when the traffic conditions are complicated: rain, snow, winding roads … Their drawback is to display a slight overconsumption of fuel, an additional cost to purchase and a cost of often higher use (wear tires can be faster). However, beyond these advantages, the choice of a 4-wheel drive version is dictated by the types of journey that you make. If you only drive in town and on a highway, the 4 × 4 interest is limited. Conversely, if you stay in the mountains or regularly tow a caravan, a 4 -wheel drive vehicle will be more appropriate.

Regarding real all-terrain, the 4-wheel drive are essential because they give them extreme agility which will allow them to overcome difficult obstacles and get out of very delicate situations.

Modularity and habitability: top SUVs

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Volkswagen Trunk

Failing to be real backpackers, SUVs have good habitability and appreciable modularity. They are therefore particularly suitable for family use. It will be a comparison axis to find the most versatile vehicle on a daily basis. As with minivans, it will then be necessary to compare the ease of handling when seats can be folded. It is also wise to know if, once they are back, we get a flat floor: this is a good point that greatly facilitates the loading of bulky objects. Likewise, the number and volume of the storage proposed as well as the number of places available are to be studied closely. Some SUV models can also be offered in a 7 -seater version (usually large SUVs), whether in series or optional. In this case, it is useful to estimate the ease of access to these places and their comfort, without forgetting that these are often auxiliary seats which do not offer the same level of services as the other places. Examples of 7-seater SUV: Nissan X-Trail, Peugeot 5008, Skoda Kodiaq, Tesla Model X, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace or Volvo XC90.

Conversely, real all-terrain people generally do not offer the same performance in terms of modularity and their seats are not always retractable. However, some models are still available in a 7 -seater version such as the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric ?

If the vast majority of SUVs are available with petrol or diesel thermal engines, electric engineizations (100 % electric or hybrid) are starting to make a place in the catalogs of many car manufacturers. For BMW, on the 12 electrified models available in late 2019 (the German manufacturer provides 25 models in 2025), a quarter are SUVs. DS Automobiles also gets to electric with its DS 3 Crossback E-Tense while the Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Lexus and Toyota, bet on the hybrid for their SUVs. Thus, the overall share of diesel engines in France continues to fall to reach, in July 2019, its lowest level with only 34 % market share (compared to 47 % 2 years earlier).

The choice of motorization essentially depends on the use. If you are urban and do not drive much on the road, the electric or the hybrid take all their meaning. The second will only drive a few kilometers in 100 % electric mode, but for a purchase price significantly lower than that of a completely electric model.

DS3 Crossback E-Tense

The electric will be well suited to urban use but also, contrary to popular belief, in the countryside. Indeed, the constraint of the recharge is much lower in the provinces, where individual habitat is more frequent. It is thus possible to regularly recharge your electric vehicle at night without worrying about the autonomy. However, the cost of acquiring an electric SUV remains a strong constraint.

For a mixed city and road use, gasoline seems to be the best solution. Indeed, on the road, the hybrid does not necessarily offer more in terms of consumption. On the contrary, given the greater weight of the machine, the appetite can be greater than several deciliters. In addition, with a hybrid, the capacity of the tank is often reduced to leave room to house the batteries. This will strike the autonomy.

If you drive a lot on the road and highway, the engine diesel will be the best alternative. This motorization remains the least greedy and, with equal performance, less emitting of CO2. In addition, its larger torque will provide better comfort if you have to tow a trailer or a caravan.

Think of alternative energies

Petrol engines can be equipped to operate either with gas (LPG) or E85, an alternative Superethanol fuel. If the first requires the installation of a tank ad hoc, The use of the second requires only a “simple” change in electronic order. Depending on the use of the vehicle, the cost of transformation for these solutions will be amortized after 2 or 3 years of use.

What is a SUV ?

SUV abbreviation means “Sport Utility Vehicle”In English or“ sports utility vehicle ”in French. This term was previously given to the 4×4 utilities used in America. Today it is used to designate all all-terrain appearance vehicles that can behave like a classic sedan. The SUV can therefore, by definition, be used also in the family setting, mixing the concepts of 4×4 outside and minivan inside.

SUV vehicle on the road

  • SUV: definition
  • Characteristics of an SUV vehicle
  • The advantages of an SUV vehicle
  • The drawbacks of an SUV vehicle
  • Evolution and anecdote concerning SUV vehicles

SUV: definition

An SUV is a vehicle whose silhouette is recognizable: benefiting from a large size, it is often compared to breaks or minivans. The SUV vehicle can be used for off -road driving or to tow it. It is also a vehicle that can be used for daily journeys and family driving, because its use has become more democratic and has become common in homes. Apparently, the SUV looks like a 4×4 But it is not necessarily one despite its 4-wheel drive allowing to do all-terrain. It is more used as a classic tourist car, unlike vehicles such as Land Rover And Jeep which are the reference 4×4 brands. The SUV is large and high, allowing the transport of large objects or several passengers while remaining comfortable. The electronic devices that compose it, however.

In the current automotive sector, we can say that the SUV is at the forefront of the trend and is used all over the world. In general, SUV models contain 5 has 6 places.

Among the different brands offering SUV models, we find:

  • The compact SUV proposed by Peugeot, Citroën, Dacia…
  • The middle class SUV: Audi Q3, Renault, Skoda
  • The big SUV: Audi, Honda, Kia.

Characteristics of an SUV vehicle

Despite its family use, an SUV holds a powerful motorization, Hence its “sports” name. Some SUV vehicles can therefore be used to tow heavy loads of several tonnes. An SUV can be sold in 7, 5 or 3 doors. It all depends on the use you want to make of it. As explained previously, most SUVs have 4 -wheel drive, but some less expensive models have only two.

Of an imposing nature, the SUV chassis is positioned on large wheels. With a massive body, the SUV vehicle diffuses a feeling of security, speed and comfort.

Regarding their engine, SUVs generally have a thermal motor. Some models are today equipped with electric propulsion while others are rechargeable hybrid SUVs. The weight and the imposing body of this vehicle play a lot on its fuel consumption that is not very respectful of the environment.

SUVs can also be called crossover, Because they represent a mixture between a sedan and a 4×4. The term crossover is a word that appeared in the 1980s. It is used to designate a mixture between the basic SUV (closer to the all-terrain vehicle) and the sedan, which has given birth to the SUV vehicle that we know today.

The advantages of an SUV vehicle

An SUV vehicle is appreciated for its secure effect thanks to its height, offering a comfortable elevated driving position, making it possible to better understand the road for the driver thanks to better visibility. For passengers, the interior is spacious and comfortable. Nowadays, we can find SUV vehicles at very different budgetss, depending on the options and the chosen model. Its success is due to its crossover and multi-function profile, which imposes it due to its design and its power.

The drawbacks of an SUV vehicle

SUV vehicles are not appreciated by everyone because they also have non-negative points. The feeling of protection given by bodywork can sometimes be exaggerated and prejudice to the most vulnerable users such as pedestrians or the smallest vehicles, preventing them from having correct visibility on the dangers of the road. For example, a Peugeot SUV makes 10 centimeters more than a classic Peugeot sedan.

Studies demonstrate that SUVs are involved in more deadly pedestrian accidents than sedan -like vehicles, at identical speed in an urban environment. Their weight develops a very strong kinetic energy, which can also be destructive for passengers from other vehicles in the event of a collision. Following these alarming statistics, SUV vehicles have been improved and adjusted in terms of height, to be less dangerous towards other road users.

The high consumption of vehicles in terms of fuel is also controversial: SUVs were the second cause of increased CO2 emissions in the world between 2010 And 2018. You should know that SUV vehicles consume on average 25% more fuel than the city cars and conventional sedans.

Evolution and anecdote concerning SUV vehicles

The first SUVs appeared in the United States in the years 60. 10 years later, we see the first models develop in Europe, which are gradually modified to be used as a family sedan. The use of the SUV is a real effect of fashion, Yet it is not the most ecological vehicles: a turn to electric would be wise for most manufacturers in order to improve the carbon footprint of their vehicles.