An SUV, or sport utility vehicle, is a rugged automotive vehicle designed to have several more capabilities than other cars. SUVs often have four-wheel drive enabled, so that they may be driven off-road or in dangerous conditions. They also have great cargo-hauling abilities — SUVs usually have a large towing capacity and combine a closed rear cargo area with greater passenger-carrying space inside. Lastly, they are high-powered, often possessing large engines to pull their hefty weight.
Jeeps became the first popular mass-marketed SUVs in the 1970s, classified as 'light trucks' to avoid federal fuel economy regulations. A combination of those regulations freezing, an economic boom and intense market research by car companies led to an upsurge in SUV popularity in the 1980s. This would continue through the early 2000s, as the term 'sport utility vehicle' began to gain widespread usage.
By the mid-late 2000s, SUVs popularity began to wane in America due to rising fuel costs and their poor fuel economy. Nevertheless, with sales jumping back to speed in the early 2010s, the SUV remains an ever-popular vehicle choice for Americans. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)