What is the difference between a crossover and an SUV

What are the differences between the crossover and SUV

The fashion for large cars confidently holds in most countries of the world. Automakers strive to meet the demand by offering original configurations of designs.

The difference between a crossover and an SUV

As a result of the symbiosis, new body types and entire classes of cars appear. An example is the appearance of crossovers on our roads.

Not everyone can quickly distinguish a crossover from an SUV, as the first younger type inherited many characteristics from its larger counterpart. At the same time, some of the properties have been borrowed from other groups, such as sedans.

How to recognize a crossover

To understand what clearly distinguishes a modern crossover from a classic SUV, it is necessary to know that the first is structurally based in most cases on a passenger car platform. The term Crossover Utility Vehicle is used for such vehicles. It is worth bearing in mind that CUV has a number of features, which are inherent in the understanding of the majority of SUVs.

Under the domestic understanding of the “jeeps” in the world classification falls under the group of sport utility vehicles (Sport Utility Vehicle). It is explained by the presence of a four-wheel drive system (switchable or permanently on), as well as high ground clearance, allowing you to travel in extreme road conditions.

Ways to recognize a crossover

To the typical representatives of crossovers, experts include such car brands:

  • BMW X3;
  • Mitsubishi Outlander;
  • Renault Duster;
  • Nissan Qashqai and others.

The group of “classic” modern SUVs includes such a range of cars:

  • Toyota Land Cruiser Prado;
  • Land Rover Discovery;
  • Audi Q7, etc.

Unlike the vast majority of parketnikov with their load-bearing body, “serious” SUV stand out against this background with the presence of a frame construction. Both the power plant and suspension, transmission units and other elements are attached to the frame. As a result, the car turns out to be enduring, rigid and with good ground clearance.

Jeeps are usually exploited in such conditions, where without a lowered power transmission to move is problematic. Crossovers such an option turns out to be irrelevant, so they make do with the usual multi-stage transmission.

Technical peculiarities

Identify differences in the parameters of the popular crossover from the standing next to the SUV will be able even novice motorists. The main thing is to know what characteristics you need to pay attention to.

In addition to some differences in appearance, it is important to focus on the operational parameters. For this purpose sometimes it is necessary to look under a cowl, in interior or to have a closer look at the car from below.

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The main task of the car is to transport the driver and passengers from one point to another. Difficulties for performance arise if it is necessary to overcome difficult sections of the road. Without an off-road vehicle, it will be problematic to cope with the difficulties.

Such a vehicle designers create comfortable conditions for overcoming large angles of approach and exit with minimal front and rear overhangs. The difference between the urban crossover and the “wild” SUV will be noticeable in the slightly larger overhangs and smaller angles of approach. Also, the SUV’s ground clearance will be higher than the CUV’s ground clearance.

The parameter of passability of jeeps is higher, because their main habitat according to the authors’ idea is the area without a road surface. The habitat of the parkettes is the urban concrete jungle, where large bumps are not so frequent.


Examining what the Crossover has “shoes on”, even a beginning motorist can see the difference with SUV’s rubber. The latter is equipped with powerful wheels of large size, able to cope with any mud, swamp or overcoming stony slopes. Quality tread securely clings to every ledge, helping the car owner to get to the right point.

Crossovers are also endowed with rubber with a noticeable profile, but its specificity is the drainage of moisture when driving on a good road surface. The wheel design is designed for much higher speeds than its off-road counterparts.


Until recently, the obligatory condition for the classic jeep was the presence of a frame. By attaching various nodes in the vehicle to it, the load is evenly distributed, which is a significant advantage while overcoming sections of the road in rough terrain.

Similar design features also provide the ability to attach large wheels. The body is fixed to the frame with brackets, and sometimes it is semi-supportive, partially taking the load on itself.

Technical features of the car

Negative factors are manifested in the transmission of vibrations from the frame at high speeds. Engineers are trying to compensate for the disadvantages by increasing the weight of the car, but this has an impact on the speed characteristics, as well as the need for powerful powertrains. However, a strong engine requires high fuel consumption. As a result, there are developments that use not only a semi-bearing type of construction, but can also stand a lightweight frame.

Urban crossovers are produced with a load-bearing body, which accepts the main power loads. This lightens the weight of the machine, but it is not recommended to use such vehicles for off-road use, as the load distribution scheme is uneven.

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In some models of crossovers engineers introduce sub-frames or longitudinal rails, integrated into the power body structure. It contributes to the increase of rigidity and has a positive impact on the handling of the cars.

Transmission .

Jeeps and parkettes have significantly different transmissions. In the first case, car owners will be able to find the classic “mechanics”, as in all sedans and station wagons, or the usual “automatic”. Almost every car will have front-wheel drive.

The main thing that distinguishes the SUV in this area from the crossover is the presence of a transfer case. Thanks to this unit, it is possible to redistribute the torque to the axles and increase it to the drive axle. For this variant the transfer case with reduction gear and inter-axle differential is applied.

If you get a wheel out, you can solve the problem by blocking the set inter-axle differential. The option can be activated by the driver’s choice, as well as through the use of automation. All-wheel drive can be permanent or manually connected.


A distinctive feature of crossovers is an independent multi-lever suspension. Such a design is used to improve controllability on high-quality road surfaces. There is also a simpler version, in which a torsion bar is built in the back, and the front is designed as an independent suspension.

Jeeps are commonly produced from the assembly line equipped with non-slip axles with dependent suspension. This design can use a version with guide arms and the use of longitudinal leaf springs. Good suspension travel is the key to successful overcoming rough terrain.

A high degree of reliability of off-road suspension is their trademark difference from most other classes of cars. However, it is not recommended to operate it in high-speed modes on highways. It provides average handling.

Advantages and disadvantages

Crossovers are easier to drive because they are based on passenger car platforms. Often they have smaller dimensions, which allows them to easily fit into limited urban conditions, as well as minimized sail on the highway. The disadvantage is the load-bearing body, which gives less structural rigidity.

Advantages and disadvantages of a car

Off-roaders practically have no equal when crossing rough terrain. They are not afraid of steep ascents and descents on slippery surface. Reduced gear and good ground clearance allow to cope with it. The disadvantages come through when traveling on good pavement, as the heavy SUV poorly accelerates, consumes a lot of fuel and is not designed for fast driving.

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It is necessary to select cars from the possible conditions of their operation. For extreme walks suit brutal SUV, and for a comfortable city ride is relevant to choose a spacious crossover. It is able to overcome any obstacles typical of settlements with minimal discomfort for the driver, passengers and the car itself.

Knowledge Check: What is the difference between an SUV and a crossover

When the need for the average motorist to drive off-road and the need to tow serious cargo fell away, there was a need to create a new classification of vehicles. Thus designers have invented a car which externally very similar to SUV, but thus more attractive in the plan of operation, what is only the economic expense of fuel. They have named this caste – crossovers. But not only the fuel consumption distinguishes these two, externally similar cars.

Differences in the field of application

The main essence of off-road vehicles – without problems to pass on the road, easy to overcome obstacles and the possibility of towing. These are the three qualities that an SUV should have as a priority, and it is almost impossible to combine all this with economical fuel consumption. In addition, even the most innovative achievements in the field of mechanics do not allow to achieve quality off-road driving on a flat road surface.

Clear examples of quality and real SUVs can be seen in the “face” of Jeep Grand Cherokee, UAZ, Land Rover and Nissan Patrol. Despite the fact that each of them has a huge size and very spacious interior, we can not talk about comfort here. For a “comfortable” modification will have to pay extra money. In the bulk of cases, SUVs are used as a vehicle for travel to exotic areas and as a workhorse. Well, even just to have a first-class SUV in your garage – it’s always fashionable!

But crossovers, although they look like SUVs, they drive mostly on a flat road surface. These cars are perfect for city dwellers, who want to move in comfort. The main “highlight” of the crossover is that it has a passenger car platform, which makes the car lighter than an SUV and seriously improves its handling performance.

Popular crossovers, are the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, VW Tiguan and Toyota RAV4. Cars of this orientation are ideal for the role of family transport. Large size, high ground clearance, spacious interior allow with increased comfort to make long trips to travel, picnics and other outings.

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Variety of designs

A real off-road vehicle simply must be strong, and how else will it be able to get out of the impassable mud? Knowing the potential conditions in which the vehicle will be operated, the designers think through everything in detail, but special attention is paid to the following parameters:

– Size of the wheels. Wheel diameter in off-road vehicles starts at 30 inches. Often, you can visually identify an SUV by the characteristic sidewall of the wheels.

– Passability. Impressive uphill and downhill slope is provided by a small rear and front overhang. In the case of off-road vehicles geometry is not in last place, so such cars should have a high ground clearance, but also the track and the wheelbase should also be appropriate. Exactly due to these characteristics the car can boast an excellent cross-country ability.

– Body type. All off-road vehicles have a rigid frame construction. However, in recent times, such variants are not so common, and the rigidity of cars are achieved by other parameters.

– Type of suspension. It is either fully or partially dependent, so the ride on such transport is very difficult to call it comfortable for passengers, but this inconvenience a hundredfold pays off with the reliability of the car. Suspension of the SUV has an additional margin of safety, and its stroke is much longer, which is associated with the need in any case to “keep” the wheels on the ground.

– Transmission. Another main criterion that every SUV must meet is to be four-wheel drive. Alternatively, there can be a switchable option, but if we talk about “classics”, the second axle must be “engaged” manually, and not by the viscous clutch. Every SUV must have an inter-axle differential lock. An off-road vehicle cannot be called a vehicle that does not have a downshift, as it is one of the basic “tools” in moving off-road. Ideally, the transfer case should have both direct and downshift gears.

Since the crossover drives mainly on roads, it does not need to be all-wheel drive, unlike the SUV. Such characteristic will only increase fuel consumption, and presence of transfer case is needless in city conditions. Nevertheless, the car sometimes faces obstacles in settlements as well, therefore the crossover also has its distinctive features.

– The sizes of wheels. On such cars put the usual low-profile wheels, the purpose of which is to ride on normal asphalt.

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– Passability. In comparison with the SUV, crossover clearance is noticeably lower, exactly as well as the angle of descent and ascent. It is understandable, why the city car needs it.

– Body type. Although the crossover looks massive, it still remains to be a passenger car, albeit with a wide range of features. The crossover body is not “put” on a frame.

– Type of suspension. Crossovers often have excellent handling characteristics and in addition they are very comfortable even on non-ideal roads. Both suspensions are independent. This range of cars is contraindicated for long-term operation in off-road conditions.

– Transmission. Advanced technology allows the cars to install a transmission with the ability to switch to 4WD. The driver can use it only if necessary. Torque distribution occurs both mechanically and electrically.

To summarize.

As mentioned above, crossovers appeared on the market for a reason, but because of the demand for them. In translation from English “crossover” means “mixing, moving,” which, in principle, reflects its essence. The very first car of this category at the dawn of the 80s was released by the American Motors Corporation, it was AMC Eagle. Initially AMC was the most real SUV, but then the demand for such cars began to fall rapidly, and the manufacturer decided to improve the car, “crossing” it with a passenger car. It was something, and sales for it skyrocketed very quickly. But the peak of demand for crossovers came at the turn of the century, when such giants as Mercedes, BMW and Audi started producing “city” cars.

Advantageous position of crossovers over SUVs is in cost. For example, the popular in Russia Renault Duster in the most trivial configuration can be purchased for around 500,000 rubles. But SUVs, even the cheapest ones, cost much more. Crossovers are much more economical in fuel consumption, they are better at driving on a flat road surface. But at the same time where a crossover will “stand up” like an obstacle, an SUV will calmly pass an obstacle and will go further.

In general, it is impossible to compare these two categories to identify the best – they are cars designed for different operating conditions. Choosing between a crossover and an SUV, it is necessary to take into account where the car will go more often. So, for example, if the need to travel off-road occurs once every six months to a year, then it is better to choose a crossover, and vice versa.

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