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Sport-Utility

Sport-Utility Vehicles at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show

The saying goes, "Americans work hard and play harder." Accordingly, we need vehicles that help us get the most out of our hectic lifestyles. In many cases, Sport-Utility Vehicles are the perfect solution.

SUVs place utility ahead of style, performance, or fuel economy. Today, you'll find many of these vehicles blending class barriers. For example, many SUVs are extremely off-road capable and ride with the comfort of a modern sedan. While there are still some traditional hard-core SUVs out there, like the Jeep Wranger, most have morphed into comfortable and pleasant daily drivers.

2015-Jeep-Wrangler-4502015-Land-Rover-Discovery-450

Painting with a broad brush, SUVs are two- and four-door wagons that have a versatile cargo area and ride a somewhat higher stance than a traditional car. They generally have four-wheel drive with a low range for off-road slogging. Power options range from economical four cylinders to powerful V8s.

Don’t get an SUV confused with a crossover wagon. Crossovers are light-duty vehicles that blend the utility of a wagon with the economy and comfort of a sedan. Most SUVs are designed to lead a dual life, daily driver and off-road champion but are biased to be able to cope with the demands of off-road driving.

In many cases, SUVs are not the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road. The heavy-duty four-wheel drive system and overbuilt chassis -- designed with towing or off-road use in mind -- add a lot of gas-gulping weight and the higher build means SUVs are less aerodynamic than similar-sized crossover competitors. In addition, some have rugged suspensions that impart a busy ride in routine city driving.

SUVs aren’t for everyone, but they make great sense for active lifestyle types who are interested in doing more than driving to and from work with their vehicle. They generally have high towing ratings and are capable of driving through terrain you wouldn’t want to hike through.

You can find these sport-utility vehicles on display at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show or at the Vehicles on Display section of the auto show Web site.

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