What is an SUV?

What Does SUV Stand For?

SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle.

What is an SUV?

An SUV combines all the features of a road passenger car with the size and road presence of a 4x4 vehicle. Due to their growing popularity, SUVs are now a popular choice for families due to their large boot space and high ride profile. For this reason, many SUVs can be characterised by their off-road safety and size characteristics, however, will be for road use only. SUVs are categorised by:

  • Large body, featuring high roof space,
  • Often available with up to seven seats due to large boot space,
  • Raised road presence to cover tough terrain,
  • Fitted with larger, more rugged tyres for off roading,
  • Optional four-wheel drive models,
  • Reinforced, toughened body panels.

What is the Difference Between a 4x4 and SUV?

A 4x4 is a vehicle specifically designed for off-road usage, whereas SUVs are designed purely for road usage. An SUV is a larger version of a car. 

How Do SUVs Perform on the Roads?

The spacious cabin and high road position of an SUV make it a practical car for anyone requiring more vehicle space for a family or luggage, or just a comfortable ride for commuting. By fitting tyres designed to take the additional weight of an SUV, your vehicle will benefit from optimal performance and ride comfort.

Are SUVs Safer Than Cars?

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), featured over 30 SUVs in The 2020 Top Safety Picks. During rigorous crash testing, vehicles are to provide outstanding results in maintaining passenger safety in order win the award.

SUVs tend to perform well during crash testing compared to smaller vehicles due to the reinforced design of the body panels and additional space within the vehicle, allowing them to reduce impact on the driver and passengers. 

What are the Best SUV Tyres?

Finding the best tyres for your SUV depends on seasonality and driving style. Tyres designed for an SUV ensure you get the best performance from your vehicle in terms of traction, grip, fuel efficiency and braking distances.

What’s the difference between SUVs and MPVs?

SUVs and MPVs are both popular choices when you need extra space. MPVs are typically not designed with off-road capabilities or 4-wheel-drive. By contrast, SUVs are normally designed with some off-road capabilities and a 4-wheel-drive functionality. SUVs provide extra space for passengers to improve comfort, but if you need extra seating an MPV would be more suitable.

There are also other acronyms you should be aware of: CUVs and TUVs. CUVs are a crossover between an SUV and a sedan. CUVs are typically smaller and less powerful than SUVs. TUVs are similar to CUVs and often referred to as mini SUVs. 


Sports Utility Vehicle


Crossover Utility Vehicle


Tough Utility Vehicle


Multi-Purpose Vehicle

How Long Should Tyres Last on an SUV?

As with any tyres on any vehicle, the lifetime of your tyres depends on your driving style, mileage and the care given to the tyres. There are various ways you can maintain your tyres to enhance tyre longevity:

  • Regularly monitor pressure,
  • Check tyre treads accurately,
  • Complete regular visual checks for damage or uneven wear,
  • Rotate tyres at regular intervals.

What is the Legal Limit for SUV Tyres?

Legal tread depth for all vehicles in the UK is 1.6mm around the tyre’s circumference. This can be checked using a depth gauge or visibly using the tread wear bars.

What Should SUV Tyre Pressure Be?

The recommended pressure for your SUV tyres can be found in the vehicle handbook or visible on the side of the driver side door.


What types of SUV are there?

SUVs are put into different categories, differentiating by size:

  • Compact Crossover: Volkswagen T-Cross, Audi Q2,
  • Crossover: Jaguar E Pace, Volvo XC40, Volkswagen T-Roc,
  • Mid-size: Nissan Juke, Range Rover Evoque, Porsche Cayenne,
  • Full-size: Audi Q7, Range Rover Nissan Qashqai, BMW X7.

SUVs can also be differentiated by vehicle's purpose:


Sports Utility Vehicle


Crossover Utility Vehicle


Tough Utility Vehicle


Multi-Purpose Vehicle

Are SUVs More Expensive to Insure?

It is widely thought that SUVs can be more expensive to ensure than regular, smaller vehicles. Insurance is based upon repair costs, safety features, security and the damage the vehicle could potentially inflict during a collision.

Often due to the advanced safety features available on SUVs, premiums can be reduced and placed in lower risk categories.

Are All SUVs 4 Wheel Drive?

Over the years the term SUV has been used to cover larger road passenger vehicles regardless of whether they have 4x4 capability or not. From this, all 4x4s could be classed as SUVs however not all SUVs are 4x4s.

Can an SUV Go Off-Road?

Although SUVs feature some of the characteristics of 4x4s, including raised ride profile that allows them to clear rugged terrain and reinforced body panels, not all can go off road. Smaller, crossover SUVs are designed mainly for road use, whereas mid to large size SUVs often feature more 4x4 characteristics allowing for some degree of rough terrain use. 4x4s are designed for off road use and SUVs are more of a road vehicle with a degree of off-road capability.

Are SUVs Good in Snow?

SUVs with or without 4x4 drive technology tend to perform better in ice and snow due to their more balanced weight distribution with being larger than a standard car. For optimum levels of grip and traction in winter conditions, it is recommended your SUV is fitted with the correct seasonal tyres. The Goodyear UltraGrip+ SUV [link] is a winter tyre designed specifically to offer superb grip and handling on snow and ice for SUVs during the winter season.

How Many Seats does an SUV Have?

SUVs can range from having 4 to 8 seats depending on the size and space of the vehicle.

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