SUVs and Crossovers are two types of multi-purpose vehicles that are primarily very different. However, the continuous development of both platforms has blurred the line between them. So much so that it’s not weird for manufacturers to advertise one vehicle as both an SUV and crossover at the same time.
But SUVs and crossovers are inherently different. In this article, “SUV vs. Crossover: What’s the difference?” We will list some of the contrasts.
An SUV, which stands for a sport utility vehicle, is an automobile made to handle different types of work in different environments. An SUV is as fast and agile as a car, can carry and tow weights similar to a pickup truck, and can handle different terrains like an ATV (all-terrain vehicle).
Compared to a crossover, an SUV is usually a lot bigger, bulkier, more powerful, and can handle rough terrains while being more spacious and comfortable. But what defines the difference is the body structure.
An SUV is made on a “body-on-frame” architecture, a type of construction where everything from the engine to the body is put on a metal frame (chassis). This type of construction was very prevalent in the 20th century but now is mainly used for trucks and heavy-duty machines.
Plus, a body-on-frame structure allows for a more rigid build with better towing and hauling capacity. It also enables vehicles to have higher ground clearance. This is why SUVs true to their genes, like the Chevy Suburban, Chevy Tahoe, Jeep Wrangler, Cadillac Escalade, and Ford Bronco, are still very sought-after vehicles.
Another feature that distinguishes between SUVs and crossovers is the drivetrain. While some modern SUVs feature all-wheel drive (AWD), a typical SUV is defined by a four-wheel drive (4WD) drivetrain, something built to handle extreme off-roading.
Trust Auto Tip: Check out our article AWD Vs. 4WD: The Ultimate Guide.
A crossover, crossover SUV, or compact utility vehicle is the same thing. Unlike the SUV, a crossover is built on a “unibody” or unitary architecture, which means the body and the frame are one single structure rather than two different units like body-on-frame.
This type of construction is lightweight and offers optimal cabin and cargo space, even in compact styling. Compared to an SUV, crossovers are smaller, lighter, and less off-road capable vehicles designed for more urban needs.
While crossovers first began to appear in the 1960s, the first modern crossover is generally considered to be the 1980 AMC Eagle. Soon after, unibody construction became the dominant approach for all types of vehicles, including sedans and hatchbacks.
Today, a crossover is defined as a passenger utility vehicle made on a unibody or car platform. Simply put, when you merge a scaled-down SUV body with a car chassis, you get a crossover. They are wider and more spacious than passenger cars while being smaller, lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient than SUVs. For many, crossovers are the best of both worlds. A crossover can handle urban, suburban, and off-road driving conditions, tow heavier weights, and even drive reasonably well on a racetrack.
A crossover typically has an AWD drivetrain, but it’s not uncommon to find models with rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or 4WD. Some of the most popular crossovers in the U.S. include the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CRV, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4, and Lexus RX350.
When put against cars, hatchbacks, or crossovers, SUVs have a lot of benefits, but they do have drawbacks as well. Here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of SUVs.
Crossovers have a lot of advantages over SUVs when used in urban and suburban environments. But they are also limited in specific, making them more suitable for less-rural environments. Having a smaller body also gives them better driving dynamics and increased maneuverability.
With the difference between SUVs and crossovers clear, the only thing left is to find a vehicle suitable for you. And the quickest way to know that is by identifying your requirements.
Simply put, if you are looking for a daily driver, a crossover is an ideal option. Not only do they have good space and better fuel economy, but crossovers are smaller in size and ideal for suburban and urban use. Even for regular highway rides and light-duty adventure trips, a crossover can meet most needs.
But, if you require a sturdier vehicle for heavy-duty carrying or serious trailering but still need something for everyday use, then an SUV is an obvious choice. Further, if your idea of driving includes a foot of mud, snow, or sand or traversing uneven trails with 30-degree climbs, then look no further than an SUV.
Check out the used SUVs and crossovers for sale at Trust Auto. Please note that all vehicles are subject to prior sale.
There’s no better place to shop for a used crossover or SUV than Trust Auto. You’ll find the ideal family-friendly vehicle in our selection of high-quality, premium SUVs and crossovers. Our customer-focused staff can help identify the perfect car that best meets your budget and preferences. Begin your Trust Auto experience by checking out our online inventory.
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