In Summary

Hello Paul, I have been driving a saloon car for five years and I have decided to graduate to a more comfortable, new sports utility vehicle. I need your advice and guidance on how to make the right choice. Moses

Hello Paul, I have been driving a saloon car for five years and I have decided to graduate to a more comfortable, new sports utility vehicle. I need your advice and guidance on how to make the right choice. Moses

Hello Moses, making the right choice of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) can be quite daunting because there are many alternatives on the car market with different attributes and features. To make a good SUV choice, you need to make certain considerations as well as accommodate some interests or needs.

You need to weigh your needs as you make a decision. Start by determining your space needs. These will be driven by your family size, nature of work especially if it involves carrying people or cargo. Some SUVs are five seaters with two rows and a sizable load space while others are seven seaters with three rows and flexible seat layout. In case you have a bigger family of eight or more, then you will need to consider an eight or 10 seater luxury transporter van.

It is important to recognise what you need the SUV for and where you will frequently travel to. An SUV that will be shuttling to Entebbe or Mbarara should be highway friendly (comfortable and stable during high speed driving) with electronic stability control and modern safety features such as multiple airbags. You may need a rugged 4WD with high ground clearance if you will be working off road on a farming or mining project deep in the countryside.

The kind of terrain you will be operating an SUV on is an important influencer to your choice. Your need for comfort and luxury is also crucial in deciding which SUV offers the best in terms of upholstery comfort and amenities, styling, design as well as entertainment. Fuel efficiency and reliability are other important considerations.

Fuel economy is important to the budget conscious buyers and may determine whether you go for a diesel or petrol engine depending on the sort of mileage you want to get per litre of fuel. In equal measure reliability of the SUV in terms of availability of maintenance facilities and parts is important.

It might be useful to consider the versatility, practicability and safety of your SUV choice. You need to understand the difference between traditional truck platform based SUVs such as the Isuzu mu-X or Ford Everest as opposed to saloon platform based SUVs like Honda CRV, Nissan X-Trail KIA Sportage. Carefully consider versatility of the SUV choice in terms of flexibility to suit your lifestyle needs mentioned above.

A good SUV will be comfortable to drive both in the city and countryside, to the office and to the golf course or weekend picnic. Safety features should be paramount, especially all passenger safety features from supplementary restraint systems and driver aids such as electronic stability programmes, driver attention and handling assist features.

Environmentally friendly technology meeting low emission standards should be a consideration. If it is a petrol engine it should have a catalytic converter while a diesel engine ought to have a diesel particulate filter. Hope this helps while making your decision.