QOTD: Searching for Value Among the Utilities?

Don’t let the title confuse you; we’re not discussing how to save money on your electric bill. Today’s QOTD hopes to find utility vehicles of value, in both the SUV and CUV categories. Put on your thinking caps.

We’re forever being told the utility vehicles of today are not good value. They’re more expensive to buy than their sedan, wagon, or hatchback counterparts, and not as “good” at doing utilitarian hauling duty as their truck cousins. And they fail on these fronts while using more fuel than necessary, due to their excessive weight and air-punching shape. Yet here we are — crossovers and SUVs are what most American consumers are buying and want to buy, as all those other body types (except trucks) fade ever closer into irrelevance.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t find the best of the bunch for getting some bang for your buck. Today we’ll take a look at three main categories of SUV and CUV; the easiest way to segment them seems to be by size.

  • Compact
  • Midsize
  • Large

We can further differentiate the segments by finding our value leaders in separate realms of truck-based and car-based utility vehicles. Then, we divide them up a bit further by coming up with recommendations for luxury and non-luxury marques. Of course, the true goal of a luxury vehicle is not kindness to the checking account, but perhaps there’s a way to have a luxury utility in your life without paying far too much to your local car dealer.

It seems simple enough to rack your brain for the lowest cost entry in each segment, but cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good value. They’re not all qualifiers for Ace of Base. Your selections must be available as new, here in 2019. And as an overarching rule today, if it doesn’t have four- or all-wheel drive available, it’s not a utility vehicle. Those are called hatchbacks. Sad!

Off to you.

[Image: Ford]

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