Nearly 30 million SUVs were sold in 2018, accounting for 36.4 percent of the global market share, compared to 22.4 percent in 2014. As the SUV is exploding in popularity, the crossover, a relatively new type of vehicle, is exploding with it. While most people have heard the name, many do not know how a crossover is defined or what separates the vehicle from an SUV. Interestingly, all crossovers are SUVs, but not all SUVs are crossovers. Knowing the differences can help prospective customers make the right choice of vehicle.
Defining A Sport Utility Vehicle
An SUV (sport utility vehicle) is a hybrid between a standard passenger car and an off-road vehicle. This gives it the sleekness and comfort of a car but the performance of an off-road vehicle. SUVs are ordinarily made with four-wheel drive, which means that torque is supplied to all wheels simultaneously to provide the vehicle with superior grip on unstable surfaces. A crossover is also a sport utility vehicle, but one that leans more toward the car side. Crossovers are generally more compact and fuel-efficient than standard SUVs, and are less reliable off the road. Many crossovers do not have four-wheel drive.
Crossovers Have The Body Of A Car; SUVs Have The Body Of A Truck
The biggest difference between an SUV and crossover is the chassis. The chassis is the base frame that gives a vehicle its shape. An SUV has a chassis from a light truck, whereas a crossover has a passenger car chassis. So, thanks to its chassis, an SUV is boxier and tougher. Conversely, a crossover, with the unified chassis and body of a regular car, is more streamlined in look and control. An example of the former is the 2020 Jeep Wrangler, a four-wheel-drive SUV that weighs 5,800 pounds and has a 118 inch wheelbase. An example of the latter is the 2020 Nissan Rogue, which is an all-wheel-drive crossover that weighs 3,622 pounds and has a 106 inch wheelbase. Both are highly respected sport utility vehicles, and rank highly among consumers.
Height And Seating Differences
Because SUVs and crossovers have certain interchangeable features, it’s not always easy to tell which is which. For this reason, the choice to call a vehicle an SUV or a crossover is usually left to the manufacturer. But often they can’t make up their minds either, which is why many vehicles are called crossover SUVs. However, some drivers – especially off-roading enthusiasts – would be offended if an SUV was called a crossover when it is clearly built for recreation over comfort. Therefore, the final things to look for in an SUV are the height and seating plan. If the vehicle is raised high above the ground and has more than five seats, it would be hard to call it a crossover.
Crossovers and SUVs both incorporate features from passenger cars and off-road vehicles. However, SUVs tend to be more suited to off-roading, while crossovers are more akin to passenger cars. These differences aren’t universal, but they can help guide customers toward a sport utility vehicle that suits their needs.