What Is the Difference Between an SUV and a Crossover?
Many people get a little fuzzy on the difference between a used crossover and a used SUV. It is not just customers, but also salespeople as well. It may be because the term SUV is often applied for any vehicle that is a four-wheel drive. This is not always accurate. There is a clear definition between the two, even though the terms are often interchanged. It boils down to how the vehicle is structurally put together.
Let’s Talk About Platforms
Traditionally, used crossovers and used SUVs have different platforms. A crossover is based on a car’s platform, where an SUV has a truck’s platform.
This is because at first, cars had a body on the frame type of construction. Costs were cut by placing new vehicles over previous frames. Eventually, this transitioned, and cars began having unibody architecture, with a single piece for the body and frame. By about the 1960s, unibody construction became more popular, and thanks to manufacturing innovations and computer-aided design, it became the standard.
Unibody design increases cargo and passenger space and leads to lighter vehicles. It is also usually safer, featuring built-in crumple zones. On the other hand, while unibody vehicles are safer, damage typically requires more extensive and expensive repairs than body-on-frame vehicles. Part of this comes from the need for specialized equipment.
Currently, only a few heavy vehicles have a body-on-frame construction. This style allows for easy repairs, more torsional flexing, and is off-road vehicles’ preference. SUVs that have body-on-frame construction are also great for towing.
In the end, this means that crossovers have a unibody structure, meaning body and frame are a unit, and SUVs have a body on a frame build.
Not Always Clear
Customers and salespeople alike mix things up, with the terms often interchanged. Consider how often you hear a Jeep Cherokee or Ford Explorer called used SUVs in Winnipeg, even though they have a unibody design. Part of this is due to marketing, as, in the past, the term SUV made people think of them as “gas guzzlers.” During this time, salespeople and automakers started referring to some vehicles as used crossovers to describe the vehicle as a cross between the fuel economy of a car and the practicality of an SUV.
Automakers Frequently Choose Based on the Market
The terms used SUV and used crossover in Winnipeg are applied interchangeably in today’s world. Despite their technical differences, automakers are frequently free to choose whichever label they prefer. They will make the decision based on what term would currently appeal most to the market.
In this type of situation, if they want to market the vehicle as fuel-efficient, they would likely opt for the term crossover. Or if they’re going to highlight its car-like handling, they would choose crossover. If they want to show the vehicle as capable and adventurous, ready to handle tougher driving conditions, they would likely call it an SUV. Similarly, if they want to advertise strong towing abilities, they would probably call it an SUV.
Examples of Each
If you want to get technical, the following are examples of each category to give you an idea.
Some SUVs include the Jeep Wrangler, Chevy Tahoe, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, Chevy Suburban, Land Rover Range Rover, and Cadillac Escalade.
Some crossovers include the Nissan Murano, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Tesla Model X, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, Porsche Macan, and Jaguar F-Pace.
When in Doubt
Often the term SUV is for anything that has raised ground coverage and four-wheel drive. There are many popular family cars such as the Highlander, Explorer, Acura MDX, Lexus, Nissan Pathfinder, and others that are technically crossovers. However, the majority of people refer to them as SUVs. Really, the only wrong way to go about labelling the cars is to call a body-on-frame SUV such as the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, or Mercedes G-Class, a crossover.