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Crossover (automobile)

Renault Captur, a crossover vehicle

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.

Manufacturers typically design crossovers for only light off-road capability, if any at all, and with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive[citation needed] or all-wheel drive.



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.[1] Crossovers have ride, handling, performance and fuel economy characteristics similar to cars[2][3] and are only intended for light off-road use.[4][5]

Crossovers are sometimes referred to as "crossover SUVs".[6] 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.[2]


Among the earliest ancestors of what evolved into the modern crossover was the 1948 Willys-Overland Jeepster convertible coupe,[7] which combined car-like features with off-road capabilities.

The Jensen FF luxury coupe, produced from 1966-1971, was the first passenger car chassis to be produced with four-wheel drive.[8]

In 1972, the Greek company Neorion designed a four-wheel drive luxury car which used the engine from the Jeep Wagoneer (SJ).[9] Four prototypes were built, however the model did not reach production. Another contender before the crossover description became common was the 1977 Matra Rancho.[10]

The 1979 AMC Eagle is often identified as the first crossover SUV,[11][12] prior to the terms SUV or crossover being used.[13][14] The Eagle is based on a unibody passenger car platform, with four-wheel drive and a raised ride-height.[15][16][17][18]

The 1988 Suzuki Vitara is another car considered to be an early crossover SUV;[19][20] along with the Toyota RAV4, which was introduced in 1996 and built on a passenger car platform.[21]


United StatesEdit

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".[22] Sales increased in 2007 by 16%.[4] For Audi, the Audi Q5 has become their second best-selling vehicle in the United States market after the Audi A4 sedan.[23] Around half of Lexus' sales volume come from its SUVs since the late 1990s, the big majority of which is the Lexus RX crossover.[24]

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.[2] The segment has strong appeal to aging baby boomers.[2]


Crossovers have been produced in size categories ranging from subcompact and compact to mid-size.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Inifiti FX35 Review". Edmunds. 2009. Archived from the original on 11 December 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Isidore, Chris (9 January 2006). "GM and Ford's New Cross to Bear". CNN Money. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Smart Buying Essentials What is a Crossover Vehicle?". Intellichoice. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b White, Joseph B. (14 January 2008). "Crossover Market Is Thinly Sliced". The Wall Street Journal Blogs. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  5. ^ Fund, Daniel (February 2013). "2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i vs. 2013 Audi Q5 2.0T, 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque". Car and Driver. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  6. ^ "AutoMotion Blog Top 10 Crossover SUVs In The 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study". JD Power. 21 March 2013. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013.
  7. ^ George, Patrick E. (13 July 2011). "Have automakers tried crossover vehicles in the past?". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  8. ^ Robson, Graham (2006). A to Z British cars 1945–1980. Devon, UK: Herridge. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3.
  9. ^ Conner, Andrew. "CUV DNA: The Original Crossovers". Gear Patrol. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Matra Rancho: the original crossover". The Telegraph. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Who coined the term 'crossover vehicle?'". 13 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  12. ^ Gold, Aaron (May 2017). "AMC Eagle: No, Seriously, This Was the First Crossover SUV". Auto Trader. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  13. ^ Sherman, Don (1 February 2001). "All-Wheel-Drive Revisited: AMC's 1980 Eagle pioneered the cross-over SUV". Automotive Industries. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Roy Lunn - Inducted 2016". Automobile Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  15. ^ Houlahan, Mark (3 August 2016). "Roy Lunn Inducted Into Automotive Hall Of Fame". Mustang Monthly. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  16. ^ Norbye, Jan P. (October 1980). "Half-Hour History of Four-Wheel-Drive Autos". Special Interest Autos. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  17. ^ Carney, Dan. "AMC Eagle, the unlikely trail-blazer". BBC. Retrieved 6 December 2018. 1980 AMC Eagle, the first full-time all-wheel-drive passenger car to reach mass production.
  18. ^ Flory, Jr., J. Kelly (2012). American Cars, 1973-1980: Every Model, Year by Year. McFarland. p. 775. ISBN 9780786443529. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Suzuki Vitara: Everything You Need To Know About All-Grip". 13 January 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  20. ^ "1st Generation 1988-1998". Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  21. ^ Madrigal, Alexis C. (10 July 2014). "Why Crossovers conquered the American Highway". The Atlantic. US. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  22. ^ Carty, Sharon Silke (3 May 2006). "Crossover vehicles pass up SUVs on road to growing sales". USA Today. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  23. ^ Pund, Daniel (February 2013). "2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i vs. 2013 Audi Q5 2.0T, 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque". Car and Driver. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  24. ^ Taylor III, Alex (19 December 2011). "The most disliked cars of 2011". CNN. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015.