It is difficult to ignore the popularity of the crossover vehicle. Despite rising demand for car-based SUV’s with an elevated driving position, many people are unaware of the difference between an SUV and a crossover vehicle.
Even car makers are trying to find ways on how to fuse the genuine toughness and off-road ability of an SUV with the comfortable cabin and easy to drive nature of a crossover. What is the difference between an SUV and a crossover?
The Difference between SUV’s and Crossover Vehicles
Take a look at the new Dodge Durango. Since it was launched in the American market in 1998, the Durango was always marketed as a midsize SUV, slotting between the full size behemoths and the compact crossovers.
Now, the Dodge Durango is a proper crossover vehicle. The difference is not in the design. It has nothing to do with the amount of equipment and standard features.
It is the chassis that truly defines a real SUV.
Crossover vehicles normally use the chassis derived from a sedan. This is most commonly called the unibody design. Engineers try to raise the ride height, give the car a bigger body and a revised suspension system. The Toyota RAV 4 is an example. The RAV 4 was derived from the chassis of the Toyota Corolla. The same can be said for the Honda CR-V and even the Mazda CX-9 (the CR-V gets the chassis of the Honda Civic, the CX-9 is derived from the chassis of the Mazda 6.)
Traditional car buyers who really want the toughness and off-road abilities of an SUV will settle for no less than a truck with a ladder frame chassis. The trouble with using a truck chassis when designing a crossover vehicle is the weight.
Tough trucks need all the muscle they can get to pull heavy loads and survive extreme off-road situations. Truck ladder frames are heavy and are designed for maximum strength.
Previous generations of the Dodge Durango were all based on the innards of a truck. The result is a tough and durable SUV with a combined fuel economy of 15mpg due to the weight penalty. The new Dodge Durango is able to accomplish a combined mileage of 19mpg, reaching up to 23mpg in highway driving.
Modern crossover vehicles need to provide the same amount of room, comfort, versatility, and practicality of a truck while consuming less fuel. In order to do this, car makers must find new construction techniques in order to fuse the attributes of an SUV (off-road ability) with the easy to drive nature of a conventional car.