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Sedan? Minivan? SUV? Crossover?

What type of vehicle should you buy?
We discus the good and the bad qualities for each vehicle type
By Charles Ofria

There are currently over 350 different vehicle nameplates from which to choose giving the car buyer an unprecedented array of different vehicles to choose from.  One of those vehicles is just right for your needs.  The trick is to decide which one to choose.

With this many vehicles out there, it is a pretty sure thing that there are vehicles that many people have no idea about.  Most people go into the search for their next car by watching TV commercials, reading magazine ads, or listening to radio spots.  Others might see a car on the road that catches their eye.  But unless you are an astute automotive enthusiast,  chances are that there are a ton of vehicles out there that you have no idea about.  One of them could be the perfect car for you.

Lets take a look at what is out there these days and explore their good and bad points.

The 4 door sedan
This vehicle type is one of the most popular, coming in all sizes and price ranges.  Sizes range from Sub-compact, to Large with prices that extend from just under $10,000 to upwards of half a million dollars for a custom built Rolls Royce or Maybach.  For more on what you get for your money, Click Here

Sedans generally have room for four to six people depending on size and seating configuration.  They have a trunk that is separately lockable, keeping stowed items hidden from view.  Some sedans allow the rear seat backs to be folded down to extend trunk space into the rear seat area.  Other sedans have a small pass-through behind the center armrest to allow long skinny items, like skies, to be carried.

These cars generally ride low to the ground with seats that are somewhat low to allow headroom for taller people.  Sedans are generally quieter than most other types of vehicles and handling is quite good with good resistance to rollover.  Since the driver is sitting fairly low to the ground, it is difficult to see past the car in front.

Sedans can come in front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.  Limited ground clearance means that most sedans are not suitable for serious off-road driving.

The Minivan
The most practical type of vehicle for most families, a minivan offers the best space utilization of any other type of vehicle.  The average minivan has room for seven adults in excellent comfort.  Seats are often chair-height and step-in height is low enough for easy entry and exit.

Today's minivans generally have sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle for easy access in close areas like parking lots.  There are usually three rows of seats,  The third row can be folded down, in most cases, into the floor in order to extend storage space.  Second row seats can either be folded or removed on most minivans.  Chrysler minivans have an added feature that allows both the second and third rows of seats to fold into the floor, completely out of sight for maximum storage space when needed.   When the seats are up, the area beneath the floor can be used as additional storage space.

Minivans ride as well as cars and are just as quiet.  Fuel economy is not as good as sedans, but far better that SUVs with a comparable amount of interior space.  Seating is somewhat elevated for a more commanding view of the road.

Most minivans are front-wheel drive with a handful available with all-wheel drive.  Stability and resistance to rollover is not as good as a sedan, but not bad either.

Truck-based Sport Utility Vehicle
Truck-based SUV's are called that because they are built on a truck platform with all the ruggedness and high ground clearance to be able to safely go off road.  This is why these vehicles weigh considerably more than passenger vehicles.  Truck-based SUV's are usually rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive.  They have larger wheels and tires, bigger brakes and heavier duty suspensions.  They often have two-speed transfer cases to allow them to go up steep inclines while pulling a trailer.  These truck-based vehicles usually have excellent towing capacity and often have trailer hitches built in.

Engines have to be extra powerful in order to handle the weight   Because of this, and the lower gearing, fuel economy suffers.  These vehicles have high centers of gravity due to the extra ground clearance, so there is a greater tendency to roll over or become unstable.  Lately. manufacturers have been adding stability control with roll-over detectors in order to make them safer.  Many also include side curtain air bags that will trigger if the sensors detect an imminent roll over.  Seating is fairly high for a good view down the road.  They are generally not as quiet as other vehicle types and do not ride as softly.  You might notice side-to-side pitching on some uneven roads.  These vehicles have a high step-in height which may make it difficult for dome older people to get in.  Running boards are often available for these vehicles to ease entry and exit.

Car-based Sport Utility Vehicle

Station Wagon

Pickup Truck

Sports Coupe

Convertible

Crossover Vehicles
 

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