A sport utility vehicle (SUV, sometimes called a sports utility wagon) is a vehicle similar to a station wagon or estate car that is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on-road or off-road ability. Some SUVs include the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or large sedan.
Although designs vary, SUVs were built with a body-on-frame chassis similar to that found on light trucks. Early SUVs were mostly two-door models, and often available with removable tops. Most SUVs are two-box design featuring an engine compartment with a combined passenger and cargo compartment, as in a station wagon body. Mid-size and full-size SUVs have two of three rows of seats with a cargo area directly behind the last row of seats.
The original 1984 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) made by American Motors combined passenger car comfort features with truck chassis strength in a unibody structure for ease of driving in difficult conditions, at the same time establishing the modern SUV market segment and responsible its growth during the late-1980s and early-1990s. The compact-sized XJ Cherokee was available in both two- and four-door versions, becoming one of the most popular SUVs ever made with over 2.8 million built between 1984 and 2001.
Consumer demand pushed the SUV market towards four doors, and by 2002 all full-size two-door SUVs were gone from the market. The Jeep Wrangler remained as a compact two-door body style, and was also joined by a four-door variant starting with the 2007 model year, the Wrangler Unlimited. Another trend was that the SUV label “brought up negative associations with large size and poor gas mileage” of the body-on-frame versions causing automakers to repurpose their volume production passenger car platforms with tall interior packaging, configurations for either passenger or cargo, higher ground-clearance, and even all-wheel-drive capability that became known as crossover vehicles offering “the practicality of an SUV to the drivability and fuel efficiency of a car.”
SUVs are known for high ground clearance, upright, boxy body, and high H-point. This can make them more susceptible to dangerousroll over due to their high center of gravity. For example; although built on the same platform, the BMW X5 SUV has higher rollover risk of 17.4% compared to the 9.3% of the BMW 5 Series sedan