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Top^Please explain what a large SUV is.

A Large SUV refers to the biggest SUV - or sport utility vehicle - available.

More rugged or versatile than a passenger car, a Large SUV is usually based on a light truck chassis, and has a ladder-frame or body-on-frame construction for greater off-road capability than a passenger car with a monocoque body.

Large SUVs have also been known as a four-wheel drive (4WD), all-wheel drive (AWD), off-roader, RV (Recreational Vehicle) or four-by-four (4x4).

Top^Are all large SUVs 4WD?

Currently all Large SUVs sold in Australia have the ability to switch from two-wheel drive (2WD) to 4WD when the road or terrain requires off-road capabilities or increased traction.

Otherwise, in 'normal' mode, all the Large SUVs sold in Australia are rear-wheel drive (RWD).

Top^What are the large SUV choices?

Toyota and Nissan from Japan dominate the Large SUV market with their long-lived LandCruiser and Patrol series respectively.

America's Jeep sells the Grand Cherokee-based Commander series in the Large SUV class too.

Top^What sort of engines do large SUVs have?

Large SUVs are offered in turbo diesel guises - available as four-cylinder (4-cylinder), V6 six-cylinder (6-cylinder) and V8 eight-cylinder (8-cylinder) formats, as well as in petrol-powered models, in V6 and V8 versions.

Top^What sort of gearboxes do large SUVs come with?

Large SUVs offer either automatic transmission or a manual gearbox. The manual is either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox, while the automatic can be a four-speed, five-speed or six-speed auto.

All models currently have a low and high range transfer case to aid the Large SUV in off-road conditions.

Top^What are the seating arrangements of large SUVs?

Five or seven-seater configurations are the Large SUV norm, although not all models offer seven seats.

Top^Is there such a thing as an environmental large SUV?

There is no hybrid Large SUV available at the moment in Australia, although some manufacturers do have petrol-electric hybrid Large SUVs in limited supply abroad.

Buyers wishing to use less fuel are advised to consider the turbo-diesel versions on offer, as these consume less fuel and emit fewer CO2 carbon dioxide emissions than their petrol-powered counterparts.

However, the upshot of going diesel is increased NOX Nitrogen Oxide pollution, which is harmful to the environment.

Top^What are the good points about a large SUV?

Large SUVs have surprisingly good off-road ability, due to their sophisticated 4WD set-up.

Large SUVs are strong, tough and rugged, with plenty of ground clearance.

Many drivers feel safer in a Large SUV than in any other sort of road-going vehicle, due to the fact that they sit up high in a vehicle with truck-like construction, and with the ability to crush many other fellow vehicles on the road.

Large SUVs have a high H-point or hip point, so all occupants can enjoy greater views.

Large SUVs often sit their occupants so high that they are actually sitting above the maximum impact zone, during, say, a side impact.

Large SUVs make practical alternatives to minivans, people movers and small buses since some have the ability to seat up to seven occupants.

Large SUVs have good towing capabilities, and so should appeal to owners of caravans and trailers.

Top^What are the bad points regarding a large SUV?

Large SUVs are heavy on our road infrastructure.

Large SUVs weigh so much that they often use more fuel than any other types of SUVs.

Large SUVs are often so large that drivers may lose sight of objects directly behind, such as children, animals and objects.

Large SUVs can be expensive to buy.

Large SUVs can be costly to service and run.

Large SUVs can be destructive to the environment due to their great size and weight.

Large SUVs use more of our precious resources to make, run and maintain.

Large SUVs can be lethal to occupants of other vehicles that happen to come into contact with one in an impact.

Large SUVs are often the centre of environmental debate calling for the reduction of harmful and polluting vehicles.

Large SUVs can be difficult to use in an urban environment due to their mass and size.

Large SUVs can be hard to manoeuvre or park in tight situations.

Large SUVs take up lots of parking space.

Large SUVs can feel quite unsettled on the highway during strong winds or at high speeds.

Large SUVs do not have steering, handling or braking finesse of most passenger cars, even though many drivers behind the wheel of a Large SUV have not been trained to deal with an emergency situation in one.

Top^Are large SUVs safe?

Large SUVs certainly can make their occupants feel safe since they are often sitting 'above' an accident due to the high H-point hip-point seating.

However, large SUVs can too easily crush or destroy small vehicles in even relatively low-speed impacts, causing injury or death to people in the other vehicle.

Furthermore, Large SUVs are inherently less stable than smaller vehicles or vehicles with a lower centre of gravity, and so may be more likely to end up in a position where it is out of control, or upturned after the driver has lost control.

Many thousands of people have been seriously injured or killed in accidents involving Large SUVs that have lost traction and tipped over.

Top^What are the best large SUVs available?

Toyota and Nissan offer strong, tough and rugged Large SUVs with go-anywhere capability.

However, the Toyota is also extremely refined and civilised for a Large SUV.

Top^Are any large SUVs suitable for the city?

Measuring well over five metres, the Large SUV is not really ideal for inner-urban use.

But many of the modern conveniences of passenger cars have found their way into Large SUVs, such as power steering, traction and stability control, and satellite navigation availability, making them easier (and safer) to live with around town.

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