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Discussions on if a jeep is a SUV, truck or a car are very frequent among jeep owners. People have different beliefs and opinions based on several factors. These factors include the functionality of a jeep, what existed first between SUVs and jeeps among other things.
So would you consider your jeep a truck or a SUV? Jeeps are SUVs. SUV is an acronym for Sporty utility Vehicle, which means that SUVs come with off-road capabilities. Jeep on the other hand is a registered trademark of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for its brand of SUVs. The name jeep was derived from the WW2 when these vehicles were used in Army for general purpose, G.P pronounced as Jeep. Jeeps capabilities and features, specifically their ability to be used off-road fits the description of SUV. This is unlike trucks which are vehicles designed to transport cargo. To have a better understanding of why jeeps are SUVs we will look at both Trucks and SUVs in detail. Keep reading to learn more.
This article will look into why jeeps are SUVs, what SUVs, Trucks, and Jeeps are in detail. We will also look into crossover and their features and the difference between SUVs and crossovers.
Why are Jeeps Considered as SUV?
As mentioned above, Jeeps fall under the classification of SUVs. To understand why Jeeps are SUVs, we will have to look into SUVs, trucks and jeeps.
- Sport Utility Vehicle (SUVs)
The first example of SUVs was big rugged machines fitted with four wheels that enabled them to travel off the road. Ideally, these vehicles were built for a tough life, which is to carry heavier loads than normal cars, tow loads and be able to go anywhere regardless of the terrain.
Features of the first models of SUV machines included
- A rugged appearance meant to inspire fun adventure and a sporty experience
- Four wheels for any terrain
- Boxy body style
- Big with a spacious interior and a large boot; the boot could allow you to carry loads bigger than that of an average automobile but smaller than the load capacity of a truck
- Higher ride height, which allows the vehicle to pass over jagged rocks without scrapping its bottom.
However, as time progressed and with an increase in the popularity of SUVs, more people used them for family use and not for off the road. This triggered the manufacturers to make SUVs that are more stylish. They adopted features from regular cars, and not necessarily with off-road.
Although these cars were derived from SUV models, they are known as crossover. They are smaller and offer fewer capabilities as compared to the original SUVs. Crossover SUVs include Honda HR-V among others.
So does that mean we currently don’t have SUVs? No, we still have modern-day SUVs with the features highlighted above. They include Range Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser and a Jeep. Therefore, currently, the broader definition of SUVs is vehicles with off-road design features.
Trucks are motor vehicles designed to carry cargo. Most trucks are characterized by having a bed which is the space that is used for cargo. Even with their main purpose, trucks vary in size and power. As such, there are commercial trucks, which are the largest and pick-up trucks that are among the small trucks. Features of trucks include
- Trucks have two folds. That is the head and bed. The latter is used for transporting cargo.
- Trucks are four-wheeled which means they can be used for off-road.
- They have a firmer frame as compared to SUVs and regular automobiles.
- Trucks are more powerful than SUVs
- They have more powerful towing capabilities as compared to SUVs
- Most trucks have limited space for passengers since their primary purpose is transporting cargo. Commercial trucks have only a set of seats at the front. However, modern trucks provide up to 5 seats. This is at the expense of a reduced bed.
- Trucks have a low mileage of about 15-20mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway. This is lower than most SUVs and cars
- Depending on the type of track, some commercial trucks are mounted with specialized equipment such as suction excavators
- Trucks have one of the most powerful engines among automobiles. Even though most trucks and SUVs share a common manufacturer and hence may have the same powertrain, trucks have upgradeable diesel engine options.
Bottom line is that for a vehicle to be classified as a truck, it has to be primarily designed for the transportation of cargo. It also has to embrace the two folds model.
Now that we understand what a SUV and truck is, together with their features, let us look at a jeep to establish why it placed under SUVs.
Jeep can easily pass for the military hardware that symbolized the whole of the Second World War. The U.s Army Quartermaster Corps developed this vehicle as a light military 4*4. Jeep has a variety of military use including as a light weapon, ammunition, a command car, a reconnaissance car, and a personal career among others. It is due to all these different uses that it was known as a general-purpose vehicle, G.p pronounced as Jeep.
Features of a jeep include:
- It is a four-wheel drive. As such, a jeep can operate on rough terrain. This came in handy for use during World War 2.
- It has a high clearance
- The body of jeep is exceptionally sturdy
- It has a quarter-ton truck carrying capacity. This means that it can carry more than cars but less than trucks
After the Second World War, jeeps found a wide application in civilian life, which initiated the mass production of vehicles known as SUVs.
While else some models of jeeps are more truck-like than SUVs, such as the Wrangler, generally, most features of a jeep fit the definition of a SUV. In fact, the original Cherokee is often credited as the first modern SUV to be made.
Modern technology has allowed the production of Jeeps that are both suitable for off the road and still offer luxury. A good example is the Grand Cherokee. These models of Jeep are known as a crossover.
What is a Crossover?
We have mentioned the term crossover more than once in this article. So, what is a crossover vehicle? Initially, the word crossover was used to refer to a cross between a car and a SUV. True to this name, crossovers have features of both a car and a SUV. That is crossovers are made to look like capable off-roaders in terms of their body but they are primarily made for use on tarmac only.
Features of a crossover include:
- A Crossover has a unibody construction. That is, the body and frame of a crossover are built on one piece.
- Crossovers are lighter than SUVs. This enables them to be more fuel-efficient
- Most Crossovers are four-wheeled. However, this does not mean that they are made for off-road. Some features such as bumpers may scrape along the rough road, something that SUVs can move over.
- They have more interior comfort and space
- Crossovers are suitable for family use
So, What Is The Difference Between A SUV And A Crossover?
The simplest way to explain the difference between a crossover and SUV is by looking at their body. A crossover has a unibody construction; both the body and frame are built on one piece. Unibody construction can also be termed as built on a car platform. This design explains why crossovers are lighter and more fuel-efficient.
SUVs on the other hand use a body-on-frame design. This construction means that the body and frame of the vehicle are built separately then joined together during manufacturing. This construction is also known as the vehicle is made on a truck platform.
Other than their bodies, SUVs and crossovers differ in time of size. Unlike SUVs, Crossovers come in varying sizes. SUVs on the other hand are mostly big vehicles and the smallest amongst SUVs are middle-sized vehicles.
Having highlighted their differences, note that both SUV and crossovers are terms used to describe taller cars with a higher driving position.
Do all SUVs have four a wheel drive?
No, not all SUVs have a four-wheel drive. With the increase in popularity of SUVs, many people started using these vehicles for other purposes other than off-road use. This prompted the production of other SUVs that are not necessarily four wheels and that could be used for family purposes. As such, we currently have lighter SUVs with an upgraded fuel economy. For instance, we have Land Rovers that have two-wheel drive but are specifically meant for tarmac.
Four-wheel drives are intended for trucks such as Chevrolet Silverado and other truck-based SUVs. These vehicles are designed for use on any terrain.
What is the difference between an All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive?
The term AWD and 4WD are mostly used interchangeably. However, these two terms have different meanings and operate differently. AWD is the accepted term for cars that drive all the wheels all the time.
All-wheel drive vehicles employ a front, rear and center differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle. 4WD on the other hand describes vehicles that use driver-selectable systems that mechanically engage the drive to all four wheels. 4WD employs two differentials and a transfer case to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.
Other than that, 4WD is typically used on larger SUVs and trucks such as Toyota 4Runner. AWD on the other hand is used on cars and crossover such as Subaru Impreza.