A sport utility vehicle or suburban utility vehicle (SUV) is a vehicle similar to a station wagon or estate car, usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- 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. The original 1984 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) by American Motors combined a passenger car with truck chassis for ease of driving in difficult conditions, as well as established the modern SUV market segment and its popularity in the late-1980s and early 1990s. The compact-sized XJ Cherokee was one of the most best selling SUV models ever made, with over 2.8 million built between 1984 and 2001. The 1990 Ford Explorer was also popular despite it being one of several Ford SUV models described as “dangerous vehicles” through the 2000s. By 1994, SUVs outsold minivans in the United States although they were also not ranked high in safety. Peaking in the late-1990s and early to mid-2000s, SUVs sales temporarily declined due to high oil prices and a declining economy. The traditional truck-based SUV is gradually being supplanted by the crossover SUV, which uses an automobile platform for lighter weight and better fuel efficiency, as a response to much of the criticism of sport utility vehicles. By 2010, SUV sales around the world were growing, in spite of high gas prices.

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