A crossover or crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is a vehicle built on a unibody car platform combining in highly variable degrees features of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with those of a passenger vehicle, especially a station wagon or hatchback.
Using unibody construction typical of passenger vehicles instead of the body-on-frame design of light trucks and of the original SUVs, the crossover combines SUV features – such as a tall interior, high H-point seating, high ground-clearance, and AWD – with those of an automobile – including independent rear suspension, car-like handling, and lighter weight and better fuel economy than trucks or truck-based vehicles.
A crossover may borrow features from a station wagon or hatchback, such as the two-box design of a shared passenger and cargo volume with rear access via a rear liftgate door – and flexibility to allow configurations that favor either passenger or cargo volume, e.g.: fold-down rear seats.
A crossover is a vehicle with SUV styling features that is based on a passenger car platform. The early crossovers resembled small SUVs or large wagons. Crossovers have ride, handling, performance and fuel economy characteristics similar to cars and are only intended for light off-road use.
Crossovers are sometimes referred to as "crossover SUVs". Models which are classified as crossovers in the United States (such as the Toyota Highlander and Honda CR-V) are classified as SUVs in other countries.
In 1972, the Greek company Neorion designed a four-wheel drive luxury car which used the engine from the Jeep Wagoneer (SJ). Four prototypes were built, however the model did not reach production. Another contender before the crossover description became common was the 1977 Matra Rancho.
The 1979 AMC Eagle is often identified as the first crossover SUV, prior to the terms SUV or crossover being used. The Eagle is based on a unibody passenger car platform, with four-wheel drive and a raised ride-height.
By 2006, the segment came into strong visibility in the U.S., when crossover sales "made up more than 50% of the overall SUV market". Sales increased in 2007 by 16%. For Audi, the Audi Q5 has become their second best-selling vehicle in the United States market after the Audi A4 sedan. Around half of Lexus' sales volume come from its SUVs since the late 1990s, the big majority of which is the Lexus RX crossover.
In the U.S., domestic manufacturers were slow to switch from their emphasis on light truck-based SUVs, and foreign automakers developed crossovers targeting the U.S. market, as an alternative to station wagons that are unpopular there. But by the 2010 model year, domestic automakers had quickly caught up. The segment has strong appeal to aging baby boomers.
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