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A crossover (or CUV: crossover utility vehicle) is a vehicle built on a car platform and combining, in highly variable degrees, features of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with features from a passenger vehicle, especially those of a station wagon or hatchback.
Using the unibody construction typical of passenger vehicles instead of the body-on-frame platform used in light trucks and the original SUVs, the crossover combines SUV design features such as tall interior packaging, high H-point seating, high center of gravity, high ground-clearance or all-wheel-drive capability — with design features from an automobile such as a passenger vehicle's platform, independent rear suspension, car-like handling and superior fuel economy.
A crossover may borrow features from a station wagon or hatchback, such as the two-box design of a shared passenger/cargo volume with rear access via a third or fifth door, a liftgate — and flexibility to allow configurations that favor either passenger or cargo volume, e.g., fold-down rear seats.
Crossovers are typically designed for only light off-road capability, if any at all.
The crossover term was used as a market segment description and one of the reasons Chrysler purchased American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1987. The automaker acquired the famous Jeep brand and vehicles from AMC to add to its successful minivans, giving Chrysler a "solid position in the so-called 'crossover' market, which is somewhere 'between' cars and trucks and the fastest-growing segment in the entire industry."
Some sources indicate the term crossover began as a marketing term, and a 2008 CNNMoney article indicated that "many consumers cannot tell the difference between an SUV and a crossover." A January 2008 Wall Street Journal blog article called crossovers "wagons that look like sport utility vehicles but ride like cars."
Though crossovers have become a defined market, they are not an entirely new concept. The Willys-Overland Jeepster convertible coupe offered many of the features that define the crossover. A more direct crossover antecedent is the AMC Eagle, a vehicle that "pioneered the crossover SUV" category. As a precursor to today's models, AMC's "vehicles worked well and sold well" and the "surviving Eagles to look like the "early man" version of a CUV, sort of a missing link of the car world."
The market segment spans a wide range of vehicles. In some cases, manufacturers have marketed vehicles as crossovers simply to avoid calling them station wagons. And, while some crossover vehicles released in the early-2000s resembled traditional SUVs or wagons, others have prioritized sportiness over utility—such as the Infiniti FX and BMW X6.
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.
The broad spectrum of CUVs or crossovers includes:
The European MPV or large MPV may broadly resemble the crossover, including vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Ford Kuga, Opel/Vauxhall Antara and Ford S-Max. During the development of the Dodge Journey CUV, Dodge benchmarked several European vehicles.
A short list of current crossovers with their platform genealogy (similar vehicles are grouped together):
|Acura MDX||Honda mid-size "CD" platform (Honda Accord)|
|Acura RDX||Honda compact "C" platform (Honda Civic)|
|Acura ZDX||Honda mid-size "CD" platform (Honda Accord)|
|Audi allroad||Volkswagen Group C5 platform (Audi A6)|
|Audi Q5||Volkswagen Group B8 platform (Audi A4))|
|Audi Q7||Volkswagen Group PL71 platform|
|BMW X1||BMW 3 Series|
|BMW X3||BMW 3 Series|
|BMW X5||BMW 5 Series|
|BMW X6||BMW 5 Series|
|Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook||GM Lambda platform|
|Buick Rendezvous||GM U platform|
|Cadillac SRX||GM Theta Premium platform|
|Chevrolet Captiva/Saturn Vue||GM Theta platform|
|Chevrolet Equinox||GM Theta platform|
|Chrysler Pacifica||Chrysler CS platform (Chrysler Town and Country/Dodge Caravan)|
|Dacia Duster||Nissan B / Dacia B0 platform (Dacia Logan)|
|Dodge Journey||Mitsubishi GS platform (Dodge Avenger)|
|Fiat Idea||Fiat Idea Adventure Locker|
|Fiat Palio||Fiat Palio Weekend Adventure Locker|
|Fiat Strada||Fiat Strada Adventure Locker|
|Ford Edge||Ford CD3 platform|
|Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute/Mercury Mariner||Ford CD2 platform|
|Ford EcoSport||Ford B3 platform (Ford Fiesta)|
|Ford Explorer (fifth generation)||Ford D3 platform|
|Ford Flex||Ford D4 platform|
|Ford Taurus X / Ford Freestyle||Ford D3 platform (Ford Five Hundred/Taurus)|
|Ford Territory||Ford Falcon|
|Holden Adventra/HSV Avalanche||Holden Commodore|
|Holden Crewman/HSV Avalanche XUV||Holden Commodore|
|Honda CR-V/Honda HR-V||Honda compact "C" platform (Honda Civic)|
|Honda Element||Honda compact "C" platform (Honda Civic)|
|Honda Pilot||Honda mid-size "CD" platform (Honda Accord)|
|Honda Crosstour||Honda mid-size "CD" platform (Honda Accord)|
|Hyundai Tucson/Kia Sportage (2nd Generation)||Hyundai Elantra|
|Hyundai Santa Fe/Hyundai Veracruz/Kia Sorento (2nd Generation)||Hyundai Sonata|
|Infiniti EX||Nissan FM platform|
|Infiniti FX||Nissan FM platform (Infiniti G35)|
|Jeep Compass/Jeep Patriot||Mitsubishi GS platform|
|Lexus RX||Toyota Camry|
|Lincoln MKX/Ford Edge||Ford CD3 platform (Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, Ford Fusion)|
|Mahindra XUV 5OO||M&M 'W' Platform|
|Mazda CX-7||Mazda 6|
|Mazda CX-9||Ford CD3 platform (Mazda MPV)|
|Mercedes-Benz GL-Class||Mercedes-Benz M-Class|
|Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class||Mercedes-Benz W204|
|Mercedes-Benz M-Class (second and third generation)|
|Mini Countryman||R60 platform|
|Mitsubishi Endeavor||Mitsubishi Galant|
|Mitsubishi Outlander||Mitsubishi Lancer|
|Nissan Juke||Nissan B platform (Nissan Versa)|
|Nissan Murano||Nissan D platform (Nissan Altima)|
|Nissan Rogue/Nissan Qashqai/Renault Koleos||Nissan C platform (Nissan Sentra)|
|Nissan X-Trail||Nissan C platform (Nissan Sentra)|
|Peugeot 3008||PSA PF2 platform|
|Porsche Cayenne||Volkswagen Group PL71 platform|
|Saab 9-3X||GM Epsilon platform|
|Saab 9-4X||GM Theta Premium platform|
|Saturn Outlook||GM Lambda platform|
|Škoda Octavia Scout||Volkswagen Group A platform|
|Subaru Forester||Subaru Impreza|
|Subaru Outback||Subaru Legacy|
|Subaru Tribeca||Subaru Legacy|
|Suzuki XL7 (Second generation)||Chevrolet Equinox|
|SsangYong Korando (Fourth generation)|
|Tata Aria||Tata Indigo Manza|
|Toyota Matrix||Toyota Corolla|
|Toyota RAV4||Toyota Corolla|
|Toyota Venza||Toyota Camry|
|Toyota Highlander/Kluger||Toyota Camry|
|Volkswagen Tiguan||Volkswagen Group B platform (PQ46) (Volkswagen Golf)|
|Volkswagen Touareg||Volkswagen Group PL71 platform|
|Volvo XC60||Ford EUCD platform|
|Volvo XC70||Ford EUCD platform|
|Volvo XC90||Ford D3 platform (Volvo S80)|
Crossovers are usually front wheel drive while a few are configured with an all-wheel drive drivetrain. Only BMW and Mercedes (which also includes a Jeep WK2 derivative underpinning the 2011-present Grand Cherokee) retain a traditional rear wheel drive.