Crossovers are vehicles that look like SUVs but are based on a car-like unibody platform. Traditional SUVs, on the other hand, are built using a body-on-frame type construction. Each type of construction has its advantages and its limitations. In this piece, we’ll focus on the benefits and the disadvantages of crossovers.
Early crossovers plugged a gap in the market. They were aimed at people that wanted the advantages of an SUV, i.e., the high ground clearance, space, and practicality, without the disadvantages that come with an SUV like high fuel consumption and compromised comfort. Since crossovers are built on unibody frames, they offer a smooth, comfortable ride like sedans. They are also very car-like to drive and don’t require the driver to learn new skills. They are easy to maneuver and easy to park and stop in shorter distances compared to SUVs. The unibody construction also makes them lighter than traditional SUVs. This makes them more fuel-efficient too. The construction also serves to make them spacious, and crossovers generally tend to offer a lot of passenger and cargo space. Today, crossovers are available across the size spectrum, and some even have a third row of seats. As competition in this segment is fierce, they are also priced competitively and tend to be equipped with the latest safety and infotainment technology. Put it all together, and they make great family cars.
Crossovers may look like traditional SUVs, but they can’t match the off-road performance that SUVs provide. This is a limitation of the stiff unibody architecture. While some crossovers do come with four- or all-wheel drive, most are offered with front-wheel drive only. This is because they are aimed at families that mostly don’t do any off-roading. It helps crossovers be more fuel-efficient at the cost of outright performance. When you compare crossovers to traditional hatchbacks or sedans, you realize that crossovers may have similar engines but are bulkier than sedans. This increases their running costs compared to smaller cars.
Crossovers were meant to offer the best of both worlds – cars and SUVs. Of course, this brings in certain limitations, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that crossovers are great family cars.