A gray 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid Sport Touring is shown parked after viewing used SUVs for sale.

Is Owning an SUV Right for You? Here Are Some Pros and Cons

Are you thinking about buying a new vehicle sometime soon? There’s an abundance of options to choose from, and this can make the decision process somewhat complicated. Whether you are a veteran driver or are new to life behind the wheel, you might have used SUVs for sale on the brain. Sport Utility Vehicles—or SUVs for short—have risen in popularity over the years. They offer capable driving performance and plenty of versatility, appealing to a broad range of consumers.

Of course, just like with any other type of vehicle, SUVs have some advantages and disadvantages. Quite frankly, not all SUVs are made the same, and there are things you need to know about the pros and cons of owning an SUV—things that can help you determine whether an SUV is right for you.

A blue 2021 Honda Pilot is shown parked near a lake.

The Pros of Owning an SUV

One significant benefit of owning an SUV is the spacious interior. Whether you need extra room for family, pets, work, vending at events, or going on fun weekend adventures in the wilderness, an SUV can meet your need for space. You usually get ample headroom, legroom, and cargo capacity compared to smaller vehicles, making grocery shopping and camping a breeze!

SUVs are known for being great off-roaders, making them perfect for avid adventurers. Life in the rugged outdoors is enhanced by all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) options, letting you conquer difficult conditions such as mud, snow, or unbeaten paths. Most manufacturers offer off-road-focused trims for their SUV models as well, ensuring that you’re never without options regardless of which model you decide to go with. You can enjoy hiking, camping, or mudding in any one of these SUVs.

You’ll find that many SUVs come with powerful engines, which makes them capable of towing heavy loads, including boats, trailers, and campers. If you need to tow a camper or haul work equipment, you can do it in a properly equipped SUV.

Many manufacturers focus on safety since they know it is a chief concern for most consumers. SUVs have their larger size on their side since this adds a layer of protection should a collision occur. Also, most newer SUVs have advanced safety features—blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist, to name a few—that lessen the likeliness of accidents.

With a commanding view of the road before you, SUVs offer an extra sense of control and confidence as you drive. You get better visibility, which makes it easier to wind your way through traffic. Moreover, you get versatile seating arrangements in SUVs, so you can adjust the number of passengers and cargo room as needed. Families and individuals alike can benefit from this flexibility.
Want something with more creature comforts? Most luxury automakers produce luxury SUV models. These vehicles come with high-tech gadgets, premium materials, and enhanced comfort all around. This makes your daily drive more relaxing, and the price of a used luxury SUV can feel justifiable.

SUVs, in general, tend to hold their value well over time. When you sell or trade your SUV, you’re more likely to get a respectable return on your investment than you would with a smaller vehicle. This is all thanks to higher consumer demand for these vehicles and how reputable they can be.

A blue 2021 Honda HR-V Sport is shown driving on a city street.

The Cons of Owning an SUV

There are, quite naturally, some downsides to owning an SUV. The biggest downside is usually fuel economy—fuel efficiency is not a strong point for most SUVs. The larger the vehicle, the heftier its weight and, therefore, the thirstier the engine. Fuel consumption is higher compared to smaller sedans and hatchbacks. Those concerned about environmental impact or economic cost might look for a hybrid or electric SUV, which, while more eco-friendly, can also cost more than a gas-powered model.

SUVs aren’t the most accessible vehicles to park. Those that drive like a sedan would (typically compact SUV models) aren’t so bad, but larger SUVs can feel more like massive trucks. They’re less agile due to their dimensions, so squeezing them into tight parking spots or winding along cramped city streets can be challenging.

The initial cost of buying an SUV can be higher than that of smaller automobiles, and repair and maintenance costs are often higher due to advanced complexities and higher demand for SUV repairs, thanks to their popularity. Insurance and registration can also cost more on brand-new SUVs, so buying a used SUV might be more practical.

SUVs typically have a higher center of gravity, which impacts how they corner and handle. You might feel more body roll amid sharp turns, especially with taller, boxier models. If you’re used to driving a sedan or hatch, this body roll might initially feel unnerving.

If you are concerned about emitting more greenhouse gas emissions, a gas-powered SUV might not suit you. Concerns over carbon emissions and lessening your impact are better addressed by smaller vehicles, hybrids, and all-electric vehicles. Think about how well an SUV aligns with your values.

You might be unable to wiggle into parking spaces and work your way through parking garages in the city with a larger SUV. You might pay more for public parking or be forced to park well out of your way. Moreover, suppose your daily commute occurs predominantly within the city. In that case, you might find that an SUV, often designed for hauling large amounts of cargo, transporting large amounts of people, off-roading, or going on long countryside road trips, is straight-up overkill. A smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle might feel more practical and cost-friendly.

Bear in mind that this is a highly crowded, extremely competitive segment. This makes it challenging to choose the best vehicle for you. There are so many configurations available that making the decision can feel like a hugely daunting task.

Conclusion: Is an SUV Right for You?

Is an SUV right for you? Maybe. Maybe not. This will depend on your lifestyle, needs, and values. Consider the pros and cons mentioned above and how they impact your decision-making process.
If you crave an off-road-oriented vehicle with a spacious interior design, high driving position, family-friendly safety features, and large-ish towing capacity, an SUV could be a great companion.

On the flip side, if you’re worried about how you will park, how much you’ll be spending on fuel, and the environmental impact your vehicle will have, you might wish to explore more fuel-efficient options—there are some of those entering the SUV market in the form of gas-electric hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

You will want to thoroughly research all your options, take some different models and trim levels out for test drives, and evaluate your current and projected budget before you go ahead and make your final decision. Remember, there’s a wide array of SUVs available on the used automotive market, meaning you’ll likely be able to find a model that meets your needs without depleting your bank account.

In the end, the choice of whether to buy a used SUV will need to line up with your lifestyle and what activities you regularly engage in. Weighing the pros and cons will help you make a more informed decision, ensuring your purchase checks all your boxes. Used SUVs offer many different benefits, so your decision ought to be based on your unique needs and wants. Don’t rush your decision—take your time and find the used SUV that best fits the needs of you and your crew.