There are a few factors that are at play to drive down SUV pricing. First, the auto world has been under a push for the last two decades to reduce it’s pollution emissions. The car from 1970 would never even get past the first levels of smog testing applied as standard to production today. These emissions standards from the federal government and enforced at the state level have been progressively moving toward cleaner and cleaner cars, SUVs included. And some states have gone further than the federal base requirement, pushing for increased efficiencies double what existed maybe only 10 years ago (seen in the uptick on miles per gallon standards). Some of this is expected to be a reversed a bit by the current President’s administration, but these changes have been in the works for years and are impossible to reverse in a day.
These buying bonuses can range from $500 to $4,000 knocked off the sticker price of a vehicle. And everyone knows the sticker price is never the final value paid if one negotiates. However, the incentive stays at the same level regardless. So it’s a reduction on final agreed price that really counts for the wallet. And incentives stack up heavy the closer one gets to December when dealers need to move stale current year inventory out.
The SUV has become a blurry mess of multiple models and types of cars. There are the behemoth SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and Nissan Titan, and then there are itty-bitty run-around-town mini-SUVs like the Kia Santa Fe. There are maximum safety models like the Volvo XC series and there are the insane souped-up models customizers create in their garages with after-market parts and systems. In short, today’s SUV world has a bit of something for everyone, and everybody can say they own an SUV. And that’s an advantage to a carbuyer in 2018 because it means the market is far more glutted with options and choices, and buyers have far more competition working in their favor for a good pricing.
Looking for Deals
Right now anything Ford is going to be under pressure the sell. That’s because the company as a whole saw dropping figures in July 2018, and dealers will be under pressure to up their game and improve performance (translation – discounting and easier negotiation). Jeep, on the other hand is spiking, but there SUVs are at a lower price point (you get what you pay for, beware). Nissan doesn’t get any love, which means they can have really good models at lower pricing. Toyota’s Sequoia, 4Runner and Pathfinder are all top notch so wait for the incentives to consider them, especially closer to December. BMW and Volvo are just plain premium, so price shouldn’t matter if you considering these brands.
Other Players Who Get Missed
Lincoln and Buick are typically not associated with SUVs but they have them, and there can be some good dealer options for the opportunist on individual units that need to move. GMC is often missed as well and can turn into good deals as well. Research, research, research is the key. There are going to be a lot of offers, but folks who grid out each choice against the others and see the forest for the trees stand to make real good buys in 2018 if they can cut through the SUV marketing confusion.
Won’t My Gas be Expensive?
Hybrid or “battery” car is making extreme inroads to all types of vehicle categories. For example, there was a time when you would never hear of a large vehicle turning itself off at the stop sign to avoid idling. Now, the turn-off feature is standard in the latest trucks and SUVs and has to be overriden by the driver every trip to keep the vehicle engine running in idle. This has change the nature of the overall cost of the vehicle, providing far more performance per fuel dollars spent per year. And that is a huge influence on an educator carbuyer who is looking at both the sticker price up front and the cost of ownership for the life of the SUV.
Today, the terms “SUV” is synonymous with cars, but if one really looks around an SUV as a category is being applied to everything from a compact morphed into a wagon to a giant bus with the front hood squished a bit to look like a truck instead. The rainbow of “SUVs” has become a marketing mess because the auto category became extremely popular in the 2000s. As a result, everybody claimed to have an SUV from traditional models to itty-bitty lunchbox crossovers.
What Really is an SUV?
So let’s go back to basics. “SUV” as a terms stands for sport utility vehicle. That in itself should have created a limitation, typically to an off-road application, but try convincing a marketing department of that concept. Everything is relative to them. The original SUV does have its roots in the idea of the station wagon. In that respect, the SUV must have the ability to carry more than the typical car amount of cargo, be able to carry more people than a simple car, and be able to be used in a far more flexible manner.
It’s Not a Wagon, Seriously
Where the SUV dramatically differed from a wagon was the high road clearance underneath and the bigger tires for traction. Both of those elements gave the original SUV design its flavor and unique function. One could drive it where a pickup truck could go, but the SUV could carry lots more people and stuff. And the vehicle was contained, another big benefit for folks who wanted their stuff to arrive at a destination dry and warm versus cold, wet and covered with snow. For decades the SUV idea sat in the outback with Toyota Landcruisers and Range Rovers, but it didn’t quite catch on. The Bronco II was close but not quite there, and the Suburban was just a beast to use on a daily basis.
Going Up the Charts Quick
No surprise, this unique package started to become extremely popular in the late 1990s as the vehicle began to see higher production numbers. One of the most memorably examples was the Jeep Cherokee, a box-shaped long SUV that was extremely popular among the college and 20s crowd at the time. Toyota refined the concept with the 4Runner and the die was cast at that point. The SUV shot up the popularity charts like a NASA rocket on the way to the moon.