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The Essential SUV Dimensions You Need To Know

The Auto Sunday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

What are the essential SUV dimensions you need to know? Has anyone ever taken on the task of taking entire SUVs apart to measure their exact dimensions? Why would anyone want to do that?

An SUV is a big vehicle. It’s also one of the most popular types of vehicles on the road today. Chances are, you’re here because you have one or have access to one. Knowing your exact SUV dimensions will help you have better control over it in all situations.

The human brain is an amazing computer. It can make quick calculations without putting too much effort into it. Some would argue technology has yet to catch up to our brain’s ability to process information.

SUV parked
This is a large SUV. But just how large is it? Time to check its dimensions.

You may not have noticed it, but driving your car also requires a lot of calculations. For long time drivers, these calculations become second nature. We adapt easily to changes and make the necessary adjustments on the fly. Knowing the essential SUV dimensions from the start will help you process this faster.

 

The Different Types Of SUVs

You already know that the SUV segment includes different variants under it. SUVs come in all shapes and sizes. Although the basic concept of what an SUV is still remains, is has been fitted to adapt to the times.

Now you have Mini SUVs, Compact SUVs, Mid-size SUVs, Full-size SUVs, Extended Length SUVs, and the highly popular Crossover SUV.

To make it easier, let’s focus on the Crossover segment as this is the most popular in the niche. It also overlaps with the other variants in the niche. The Crossover SUV has four types of sub-variants. You have the Subcompact Crossover, Compact Crossover, Mid-size Crossover, and Full-size Crossover.

To compensate for the dimensions of Mini SUVs, Full-size SUVs, and Extended Length SUVs, we’ll add or subtract anywhere from 6 inches to a full foot or foot and a half, lengthwise. Width is basically the same across the board, except for the mini SUV segment who are considerably smaller.

BMW Crossover SUV
Even BMW has crossed over to the Crossover segment.

Mid-size, Full-size, and Extended Length SUVs are usually just 4 to 8 inches wider than a Crossover.

Height is variable based on the suspension and a mini SUV can be as tall as an Extended Length SUV, given the right chance and equipment.

Interior dimensions also differ across the board based on the size of the SUV we’re talking about. Let’s base this on the variant and assume that the smaller the vehicle, the smaller the space inside. A couple of cubic inches difference within the cabin can be added depending on the size of the vehicle pertained.

Crossover interior dimensions can be as small as that of a mini SUV or equal to that of a full-sized SUV. It will not be able to match the interior of an Extended Length SUV.

Different Types Of Crossover SUVs

Before we begin measuring Crossover SUVs in earnest, let’s have a look at the different types of CUVs. Again, the CUV segment has four types of sub-variants: Subcompact Crossover, Compact Crossover, Mid-size Crossover, and Full-size Crossover.

All four have varying powers, space, and capabilities. The one common thing they share is a unibody platform that differentiates them from all the other SUVs safe for the mini SUVs.

Subcompact Crossover

The Subcompact Crossover is the smallest of this segment. This is the preferred CUV of yuppies for its civilized interior and sleek looks. It is perfect for road and highway use, but it falters when going through rougher than usual roads and steep uphill ascents.

Compact Crossover

The Compact Crossover, although small, looks larger than it really is. These look more like a full size off-road machine. The only limiting factor is that it still sits on a unibody platform. Therefore, off-roading is not advisable for these CUVs.

Mid-size Crossover

Mid-size Crossovers are pretty limited these days, as vehicles of this size tend to have a separate platform instead of the unibody design. These are more suitable for high speeds on highways and light off-roading. Watch out for too much body roll though.

Full-size Crossover

Like the Mid-size Crossover, Full-size Crossovers are also limited. These have excessive body roll too because of the unibody platform or mating a body that is too large for the chassis.

The Crossover SUV segment is still the most popular SUV category today. These vehicles look like they can handle anything thrown at them and still look like they belong in the city instead of in the jungle. This the perfect car for young professionals, start-up families, and individuals looking for a car capable of light off-road activities.

And Now Let’s Visit The Essential SUV Dimensions

Length: Longer For More Riding Pleasure.

One of the biggest things that sets an SUV apart from all the other vehicles on the road is its length. This extended length is essential as it helps house the larger engine in the engine bay, provide ample space for passengers within the cabin, and allow extra cargo space out back.

For all accounts and purposes, an SUV is basically a station wagon with a higher ground clearance and taller roof.

SUVs have a 2 box design. One for the engine bay and the rest for the body.

Standard Crossover SUV length
Is this long enough for you?

Compared to a regular hatchback car, an SUV is definitely going to be a foot or more, longer. A conventional car with a trunk is going to measure at least as long as a basic Crossover. But that extra length, is a separate box making the sedan a 3 box configuration rather than a 2 box design.

The best type of car to compare lengths with is a station wagon. But those are in limited numbers nowadays because the SUV has deemed those vehicles obsolete.

The average length of an SUV is around 175 to 190 inches or between 14 ½ feet to 16 feet. This changes if you take into consideration Mini SUVs who are within 9 to 12 feet in length and Full Size and Extended Length SUVs that can be as long as 18 feet or more.

The essential SUV dimensions for length are variable based on the type of SUV you get. Make sure that the bulk of the length is towards the cabin area and not the engine bay. For more space, make this one of your biggest considerations especially if you are expecting to carry passengers around.

Extended bumpers are not included in this measurement.

Width: Is It Really Wider Than The Rest?

Although SUVs are viewed as bigger counterparts to cars, their width is basically almost the same as that of a regular automobile.

The average width of an SUV is around 69 inches to 79 inches. This is a measurement of the exterior. Inside the SUV, the width could be around 60 to 72 inches total.

For SUVs with wider rear seats, three normal sized adults can sit comfortably with elbows barely touching. A six footer can easily sleep inside the widest SUVs without bending.

Most SUVs are designed to feel huge inside by raising the roof and extending the length of the entire body. Their width practically remains the same. Some are even more constricting as the massive side panels take up more space than what you’d find in regular cars.

In fairness to some SUVs, their width can also be attributed to the thicker body construction or aesthetic bulges to make them more appealing. The added brawn on these vehicles give off an image of toughness, stability, and added safety. These qualities are hard to find on sedans.

For full disclosure, SUVs aren’t really built tougher than conventional cars. Those panels can still deform given the right amount of pressure or blunt impact.

If you want a truly tough SUV, have an exo-skeleton built around it. This will increase both your width and length by at least a foot in all directions. This is what recreational drivers do to their SUVs to protect it from getting dinged during off-roading events.

The exo-skeleton prevents the body from coming into full contact with any hard surfaces. Massive modifications are needed for this type of improvementBeware though, this is not legal in most states. Its best to leave this for serious off-roaders.

Roof Height: Tall Enough For Giants?

SUVs have a taller roof height. This adds to the roominess inside the cabin.

Up front, SUVs have semi-upright seats where you can comfortably reach the pedals as a driver or sit in a comfortable position as a passenger. At the back, seats are designed for H position.

Suzuki Jimny
Even tiny SUVs have lots of ceiling space.

For regular cars, six footers are usually stuck to cocking their heads to the side when seated in the rear portion. Knees will also hit the back portion of the driver’s seat due to limited leg space. In an SUV, these conditions are corrected.

Cabin Interior In Cubic Inches: Just How Much Stuff Can You Cram In There?

Most SUVs have a cabin interior of around 45 cubic inches. This is for SUVs with front and rear rows only. This measurement is also based on the seats being in an upright position.

This is definitely more spacious than a regular sedan. The cabin space can be increased if the seats are folded down.

Need even more space? Get a trunk organizer like this.

If you’re looking for more cabin interior space, your best option is to go for a minivan or full-size SUVs. For even more space in an SUV format, get an Extended Length SUV.

Oasser Trunk Organizer Cargo Organizer Trunk Storage Waterproof Collapsible Durable Multi...
MIU COLOR Car Trunk Organizer with Lid for SUV, Large Capacity, Sturdy Organizer Trunk, Non Slip...
Fortem Car Trunk Organizer, Foldable Cover, Non-Slip Waterproof Bottom, Straps, Cargo Storage (2...
Oasser Trunk Organizer Cargo Organizer Trunk Storage Waterproof Collapsible Durable Multi...
MIU COLOR Car Trunk Organizer with Lid for SUV, Large Capacity, Sturdy Organizer Trunk, Non Slip...
Fortem Car Trunk Organizer, Foldable Cover, Non-Slip Waterproof Bottom, Straps, Cargo Storage (2...
Oasser Trunk Organizer Cargo Organizer Trunk Storage Waterproof Collapsible Durable Multi...
Oasser Trunk Organizer Cargo Organizer Trunk Storage Waterproof Collapsible Durable Multi...
MIU COLOR Car Trunk Organizer with Lid for SUV, Large Capacity, Sturdy Organizer Trunk, Non Slip...
MIU COLOR Car Trunk Organizer with Lid for SUV, Large Capacity, Sturdy Organizer Trunk, Non Slip...
Fortem Car Trunk Organizer, Foldable Cover, Non-Slip Waterproof Bottom, Straps, Cargo Storage (2...
Fortem Car Trunk Organizer, Foldable Cover, Non-Slip Waterproof Bottom, Straps, Cargo Storage (2...

Cargo Space: Storage Matters

SUVs are viewed as more practical than cars for their storage space. For some, this is the most important aspect of having an SUV.

Storage size is variable as most SUVs can have the rear seats folded down to add more space.

The accepted standard storage space for cargo is 12.8 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded, you should have a total of 40 to 45 cubic feet of storage space. This is applicable to Crossover SUVs. Give or take a foot or two more for smaller or bigger Crossovers.

SUV on the road viewed from the rear
Just how much space do you need?

For bigger SUVs, those equipped with third row seats, 75 to 85 cubic feet of storage space is the accepted standard. For extended length SUVs, it isn’t uncommon to find 90 to 100 or more cubic feet of storage space with all seats (except the driver’s), folded down.

The good thing about modern SUVs is that with the seats folded down, a flat surface is provided with little to no gaps. The seats are also backed with a sturdier material to reduce the damage of having the weight of the cargo on them.

For those looking for an SUV, storage matters. Just remember: more space means more clutter. Get a cabin organizer to clean up your cabin.

Lusso Gear Car Organizer for Front Seat or Car Seat | Ultra-Durable, One-Size-Fits All Car Storage...
Wellkool Car Trunk Organizer, Backseat Hanging Organizer with 8 Large Storage Bag -Trunk Organizer...
WYNEX Car Seat Back Organizer, Tactical Molle Vehicle Panel Universal Fit Car Backseat Cover...
Lusso Gear Car Organizer for Front Seat or Car Seat | Ultra-Durable, One-Size-Fits All Car Storage...
Wellkool Car Trunk Organizer, Backseat Hanging Organizer with 8 Large Storage Bag -Trunk Organizer...
WYNEX Car Seat Back Organizer, Tactical Molle Vehicle Panel Universal Fit Car Backseat Cover...
Lusso Gear Car Organizer for Front Seat or Car Seat | Ultra-Durable, One-Size-Fits All Car Storage...
Lusso Gear Car Organizer for Front Seat or Car Seat | Ultra-Durable, One-Size-Fits All Car Storage...
Wellkool Car Trunk Organizer, Backseat Hanging Organizer with 8 Large Storage Bag -Trunk Organizer...
Wellkool Car Trunk Organizer, Backseat Hanging Organizer with 8 Large Storage Bag -Trunk Organizer...
WYNEX Car Seat Back Organizer, Tactical Molle Vehicle Panel Universal Fit Car Backseat Cover...
WYNEX Car Seat Back Organizer, Tactical Molle Vehicle Panel Universal Fit Car Backseat Cover...

 

Engine Size: Is Bigger, Better?

SUVs have bigger engines than conventional cars. SUVs typically have V6 or V8 engines in the bay.

V8 and V6 engines are called that based on the number of cylinders they possess (denoted by the number 6 or 8) which are arranged in banks set at opposite ends making a “V” formation. These banks are set at 90 degree angles. Sometimes narrower based on the engine size, shape, and construction

The pistons within these cylinders are driven by a single, central mounted common crankshaft. Unlike a 4-cylinder engine, V8s or V6s have a cross-plane crankshaft coupled with heavy counter balance weights. These removes excessive vibrations.

Red Hummer
You need a big engine for a monster this size.

The more complex the crankshaft design, the lesser the vibrations. On a V12, you could balance a coin on top without fear of it toppling over.

The displacement of modern V6 engines is typically between 2.5 to 3.5 L (153 to 214 cubic inch). Contrary to popular belief, these engines can be bigger or smaller. Take for example the 1.8 L (110 cubic inch) V6 engine made for the Mazda MX3.

The same goes true for the V8 engines.

As technology progresses, these engines are getting smaller, smoother, and quieter. So, is engine size still a factor? Is bigger, better?

Apparently not. Size doesn’t factor in. what’s more important is the engine construction and design. So the myth about smaller engines and matching with bigger engines has been debunked by modern SUVs.

What can’t be denied is the power these larger engines deliver, allowing SUVs to power through most obstacles. Granted, smaller SUVs have smaller engines but they seem to have the same capabilities. The secret lies in the engine to body weight ratio.

Don’t just look at the tech specs of the engine, check the matching power to weight ratio or drive one.

Ground Clearance: Sky High Or Down To Earth?

This is a variable aspect of the SUVs niche because you can modify it based on your preferences. SUVs can sit as low to the ground as sports cars or elevated for off-roading purposes. Going low? Get a lowering kit like the BellTech 964ND.

Belltech (964ND) Lowering Kit with Nitro Drop 2 Shock
Belltech 964 Lowering Kit
BellTech 964ND Suspension Body Lowering Kit
Belltech (964ND) Lowering Kit with Nitro Drop 2 Shock
Belltech 964 Lowering Kit
BellTech 964ND Suspension Body Lowering Kit
Belltech (964ND) Lowering Kit with Nitro Drop 2 Shock
Belltech (964ND) Lowering Kit with Nitro Drop 2 Shock
Belltech 964 Lowering Kit
Belltech 964 Lowering Kit
BellTech 964ND Suspension Body Lowering Kit
BellTech 964ND Suspension Body Lowering Kit

Looking to raise your ground clearance? Improve your suspension system by getting this.

The standard ground clearance for Crossovers is anywhere between 6-8 inches. This is the most practical ground clearance for any vehicle as it provides ample distance from the ground to the car’s under-chassis.

Some SUV owners who use their vehicles for recreational purposes often opt for an even higher ground clearance. This is already available as a stock option on most conventional SUVs or this can be done as an aftermarket configuration and/or modification. It is not uncommon to see SUVs with ground clearances of 12 inches and more these days.

For purpose-built SUVs, the ground clearance can be higher. This of course comes with it’s own risks and considerations.

SUVs with airbags can and have been lowered to the point where the entire body rested on the ground. This requires massive modifications and cutting into the body to house the suspension system. The airbag system allows the driver to adjust the ground clearance based on current need.

Any practical use you could get out of this type of SUV is also non-existent. These types of lowered SUVs are usually used for exhibition purposes.

The lowest SUV I’ve managed to see sat half an inch of the ground. This wasn’t equipped with airbags so raising it off the ground wasn’t an option. Understandably, this SUV was only for exhibition purposes as any practical use you could get out of it was thrown out the window along with the inches raising it off the ground.

 

In Conclusion:

An SUV is a big car. Yes, it’s still a car. It’s essentially the modern equivalent of a Station Wagon only lifted off the ground, equipped with a powerful engine, and expanded for more passenger and cargo space.

Subaru Forester
One of the most beautiful and practical SUVs in the market today.

Its size and power demands a lot from the driver. Knowing the exact essential SUV dimensions of your vehicle will give you better control of it. Precision and spatial awareness will ensure that you can maneuver your SUV in the tightest spots without scratching the paint.

Lastly, knowing the essential SUV dimensions before buying one will give you a really good idea if you’re putting in money for a vehicle you and your family will love or not. Either way, getting an SUV is a definite step up from just using a conventional car.

 

Related Questions:

How Much Does An SUV Weigh?

The average weight of an SUV is 2.4 tons. There are many types of SUVs. We’re basing this weight on a standard SUV. This weight is variable as there are lighter or heavier SUVs in the market. Crossovers may be lighter than standard SUVs, while full-size SUVs may be heavier than all the rest.

How Wide Is An SUV With Doors Open?

The average width of an SUV with doors open is 11 feet 4 inches. There are many types of SUVs. We’re basing this measurement on a standard SUV’s width with the front and rear doors open. This width is variable as there are wider or narrower SUVs in the market.

Can I Comfortably Live In An SUV?

Yes. This already happened to a lot of families during the recession. Although the conditions are going to be cramped, living inside an SUV is possible only if you treat it as a place for sleeping and storing essential items. For more comfort, live alone, include a trailer towed behind or get an RV. Buy a hitch and a roof rack.

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