Sport-utility (vehicle), SUV or sport-ute is an automotive classification, typically a kind of station wagon / estate car with off-road vehicle features like raised ground clearance and ruggedness, and available four-wheel drive. Many SUVs are built on a light-truck chassis but operated as a family vehicle, and though designed to be used on rougher surfaces, most often used on city streets or highways. In recent years, in some countries the term SUV has replaced terms like "Jeep" or "Land-Rover" in the popular lexicon as a generic description for light 4WD vehicles.
There is no universally accepted definition of the sport utility vehicle. Dictionaries, automotive experts, and journalists use varying wordings and defining characteristics, in addition to which there are regional variations of the use by both the media and the general public. The auto industry has not settled on one definition of the SUV either.
A Hemmings article defines the sport utility vehicle as bridging the gap between cars and trucks, "combining car-like appointments and wagon practicality with steadfast off-road capability"; also especially emphasizing the grand view – "Jeep called it chair-height seats and picture-window visibility," but AutoTrader editor concluded that the "SUV" acronym "is still used to describe nearly anything with available all-wheel drive and raised ground clearance.
Many people question "how can an SUV be called a truck?" Although the original definition of the "light truck" classification included pickups and delivery vans, usually SUVs and minivans are included in this category because these vehicles are designed to "permit greater cargo-carrying capacity than passenger carrying volume." Manufacturing, emissions, and safety regulations in the U.S. classify "an SUV is a truck"; however, for local licensing and traffic enforcement, "an SUV may be a truck or a car" because the classification of these vehicles varies from state to state. For industry production statistics, SUVs are counted in the light truck product segment.