Vehicle Spotlight – What Is A Crossover?

If you’re in the market for a new, sophisticated family vehicle, you’re likely considering SUVs and crossovers. However, the name game can get a little confusing, as it’s often unclear what the difference is between an SUV and a crossover. So, what exactly is a crossover?

2019 Buick Encore - Crossover

Platform Is Central

In its simplest definition, a crossover is built on a car’s platform, whereas an SUV is based on a truck’s chassis. Therefore, crossovers feature a “unibody” design, in which the body and frame are constructed as one piece. SUVs, like trucks, feature a “body on frame” design, which means that the body and frame are built separately and combined later on.

Strict Definitions Tend Not to Hold

Although the formal definitions of an SUV and crossover have to do with their platforms, the terms are not always used strictly in this way. Everyone from car experts to everyday drivers use the terms loosely. Colloquially, the term “crossover” tends to refer to smaller to average-sized SUV-like vehicles, although plenty of vehicles routinely called “SUVs” are actually crossovers due to their unibody architecture. Sometimes, the names are even combined to call a vehicle a “crossover SUV.” This may be due to the fact that SUVs got a bad rap for a while, as they were cited as having poor gas mileage and being environmentally unfriendly, which led automakers to use the term “crossover” more frequently.

Is It Okay to Call It an SUV?

No one will be offended if you call your vehicle an SUV when it’s actually a crossover. For instance, the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee are regularly referred to as SUVs, but they’re actually crossovers. Most people have come to associate SUVs with higher ground clearance, greater performance and capability, and advanced all-wheel-drive systems, and crossovers have all of these things. However, you shouldn’t really call a large, body-on-frame SUV – like a Ford Expedition or Chevy Tahoe – a crossover.

To learn more about the SUVs and crossovers on sale today, contact the Tom Kelley family of dealerships.


Schedule Test Drive

If you like a new or used vehicle shown on our site and would like to see how it handles, schedule a test drive below. One of our salespeople will contact you shortly to confirm the time and date.
  • Please choose a time range above
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.