With average gas prices in the U.S. at a seven year low, more drivers are reconsidering their economy vehicles and looking at trading up – to trucks and SUV’s that is! According to CNN Money, only six states have gas prices above $2.00 a gallon, which means that in most states it’s more affordable than ever to afford a powerful SUV, Pick-up truck, or other four wheel drive vehicle.
Whether you’re buying new or used, SUVs and trucks are a great alternative to minivans or station wagons. This is especially true when it comes to family-conscious transport that can accommodate all the gear that accompanies an active outdoor lifestyle – you know, the stuff.
SUVs, however, do have their pros and cons. One major issue is that an SUV is generally not as easily maneuvered as a regular car, this goes for difficult weather-impacted driving situations, emergencies, and even just parking. They were also once known to flip and roll often in-part as a result of their high center of gravity.
However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently reported that the rollover driver-death rate among the much newer generation (one to three year old) of passenger vehicles has dropped from in the years between 2000 and 2012. Consumer Reports also recently noted that, due to improvements in design and other safety features, the newest SUVs “have lower rollover driver death rates than the newest cars.”
If you are considering a trade-up to a used pick-up truck or SUV, remember that newer models offer improved safety and stability compared to older models – so be sure to purchase the newest model you can afford. Gas prices are not going to stay low forever, so also be sure to make a reasoned prediction as far as what your budget will tolerate a few years down the line.
If you’re ready to take the leap toward purchasing or leasing a brand new vehicle, here are a few pointers and tips to keep in mind before you buy. Following these tips you’ll be all set to choose the safest SUV to match your personal needs.
What are you buying for?
If you aim is to be able to fit all your gear and transport your crew to far off locations for sport and adventure, then an SUV is probably your best bet. If you are looking for something economical to get from point A to point B, or as a commuter vehicle or for short trips around town, an SUV may not be the best investment – especially when gas prices shoot up again in a few years.
Look for safety, space, and power?
While SUV’s have improved a lot in recent years, it’s been hard to win over the public and convince us that, with their high center of gravity and former tendency to roll-over, SUVs are now actually the safer choice.
SUVs are available in a wide range of sizes, price segments, and towing capacities to fit every consumer need. If you want more power and room, then you’ll have to accept pretty poor fuel averages and lowered maneuverability. You also have all the small and compact SUVs that give less room but are much more economical when it comes to fuel consumption and agility.
Also, don’t overlook trucks like the Toyota Tundra Double Cab or Ford F-150, both with high safety ratings, additional seating in the double cab, and still plenty of room to carry gear in the back.
Look at the (wo)man in the mirror!
Make sure you ask yourself the hard questions. What kind of driver are you? Do you have a need for power and speed or do you crave smooth maneuverability? What are the average driving conditions for your area? What kind of weather can you expect in the places that you live and frequently visit?
Answering these questions, and others, will help you determine how much power you need and what kinds of features and accessories are going to make the most sense for you.
Consider if you live on the outskirts of a city and tend to buy groceries or other items in bulk. Do you need to transport bulky, awkward, or heavier items often? Do you need to be able to tow a camper or take your kids’ teammates to their sports tournaments? These are all important personal needs to consider before buying a vehicle.
Ultimately, you certainly don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on extra features and options you don’t really need for your lifestyle. Once you consider all these details, it will be much easier to separate the wants from the needs. You’ll also understand what you are trying to achieve with the vehicle, without stretching your family’s budget too thin.
Armed with diligent research and answers to important soul-searching questions, you’re sure to pick the safest make and model you can afford – a vehicle that will ride you through the many long fun years ahead.