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Choosing Your New SUVby Dave Harrison
You know you want an SUV, but with dozens of models in all shapes and sizes, choosing one can be a daunting task. The best way to go about the decision process is to make a list of what features your new SUV should have, what type of driving you'll be doing most, and of course, the price range that you plan to be shopping in. Are you more concerned with safety and stature, or is maneuverability and fuel economy more important? Do you really need four-wheel drive? How about cargo space? Is it just you and a friend heading to the hills to do some hiking, or will you be hauling the whole clan, with your boat, down to the lake to spend the day water skiing? The point here is to think about all the different ways you plan to use your SUV, why you want an SUV, and what features you simply can't live without.
Following are some of the major factors you'll want to consider when making your list:
Two Wheel Drive or Four Wheel Drive
On the other hand, if you like to get away from it all and explore the wilds, or if you know you'll be driving in the snow then a four wheel drive SUV is going to be the way to go. The extra expense of maintaining the four-wheel drive system is well worth it when the going gets tough.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Handling and Maneuverability
If you're mainly driving around town and on the freeway, and you need lots of hauling capacity, then you should only be considering the larger vehicles such as the Chevy Suburban or the Ford Excursion. While these larger SUV's are built more like pickup trucks, with the handling to match, this is what gives them the heavy cargo and towing capacities.
Once you've got your list you'll want make another list of potential candidates that match up with the features from your first list. Now go down your new list of SUV's and examine each one more closely. Cross off any that you feel have "deal breakers". For example, a particular brand's base model fits in your price range, but you want the larger engine and towing package of the mid-range model which pushes it out of your price range - cross it off the list. Go all the way through your list of candidates. Now comes the fun part; test-drives.
Make sure you drive all the vehicles remaining on your list. Otherwise you might be tempted to buy the first one you drive. Test drives can be quite seductive, for sure, but if you don't drive them all, how will you know if you missed the perfect one? Once you've driven all the SUV's from your list, take some quiet time away from the dealers to sit down with your list and cross off any that you're sure you don't like. You should now be left with just a few to choose between. This method of choosing a vehicle may sound time consuming, but the result of not making a snap decision is purchasing a vehicle that you'll be happy with long term, and the peace of mind that comes from not wondering if maybe there's something better out there.
Dave Harrison is a Reservations Specialist with DHCR, which offers Discounted Hawaii Car Rentals. His information comes from personal experience and he has been writing on the subject of the Hawaiian Islands and auto related topics for over ten years.
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