What’s an SUV, what’s the difference with a 4×4?

The term SUV or Spot Utility Vehicle can be translated into French as “Sport Utility Vehicle”, meaning a leisure car with the characteristics of an all-terrain vehicle. Differentiating it from a 4×4 is not as complicated as it sounds, although the mechanical vocabulary is quite difficult to grasp. So let’s take a closer look at what an SUV really is and what differentiates it from a 4×4.

SUV: What exactly are we talking about?

The term Spot Utility Vehicle or SUV refers to a recreational vehicle with a driving and towing capacity that goes beyond that of a conventional sedan or crossover. In other words, this type of vehicle can be considered a large sedan without being a family car. In this case, it is a “hatchback” with a significant volume capacity. Many of them are equipped with 4-wheel drive and provide drivers with a whole range of high-performance accessories.  It should be noted that although an SUV is mainly suitable for road use and leisure activities, it is indeed capable of towing up to several tonnes. In short, this category of car is a 4×4 that is designed for the road.

Since its appearance on the American car market in 1960, the SUV has been a firm favourite. Today, it is beginning to make its mark in Europe.

A closer look at the difference between an SUV and an SUV

While the SUV may have the same characteristics as a 4×4 car, it should be noted that there are some differences between the two vehicles. So what are the differences between SUVs and 4x4s?

Even though some SUV models have 4-wheel drive or permanent 4-wheel drive, this class of car is not a 4-wheel drive car in its own right. Concretely, an SUV is halfway between a minivan and an off-road vehicle. It may be distinguished by its taxable size, but it’s designed for on-road use, unlike a 4×4 that’s designed for off-road use. That being said, an off-road vehicle has technical features not found in an SUV, such as independent axles, short gearbox, differential lock, etc. From a design point of view, an SUV is characterized by its hatchback shape. In this case, it has a body consisting of two distinct volumes. On the other hand, a 4×4 has a design with cleaner, straighter lines.

An SUV has everything to seduce

The SUV is now a formidable competitor to MPVs because of its many advantages. Being able to be equipped with 4-wheel drive, this type of vehicle coming straight from the United States can be characterized as an off-roader although it is different from a 4×4. It is characterized in particular by its driving position, which is higher thanks to its high ground clearance. Having said that, an SUV provides optimal visibility both to the rear and to the front. What’s more, this vehicle is also synonymous with safety and comfort, all of which is magnified by its youthful and sporty look. On the other hand, an SUV also proves to be very popular in winter thanks to its good road handling.

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