Crossover (automobile)

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2009 Dodge Journey, CUV
2008-2012 Ford EcoSport
2010 Fiat Palio Weekend Adventure Locker
2007 Saturn Outlook XR

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.[1]



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."[2]

Some sources indicate the term crossover began as a marketing term,[3] and a 2008 CNNMoney article indicated that "many consumers cannot tell the difference between an SUV and a crossover."[1] A January 2008 Wall Street Journal blog article called crossovers "wagons that look like sport utility vehicles but ride like cars."[4]

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.[5] A more direct crossover antecedent is the AMC Eagle, a vehicle that "pioneered the crossover SUV" category.[6] 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."[7]

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.[8] 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.[9][10]

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."[11] Sales increased in 2007 by 16%.[4]

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.[1] The segment has strong appeal to aging baby boomers.[1]

Crossover examples

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.[13]

A short list of current crossovers with their platform genealogy (similar vehicles are grouped together):

Acura MDXHonda mid-size "CD" platform[14] (Honda Accord)
Acura RDXHonda compact "C" platform[14] (Honda Civic)
Acura ZDXHonda mid-size "CD" platform[14] (Honda Accord)
Audi allroadVolkswagen Group C5 platform (Audi A6)
Audi Q5Volkswagen Group B8 platform (Audi A4))
Audi Q7Volkswagen Group PL71 platform
BMW X1BMW 3 Series
BMW X3BMW 3 Series
BMW X5BMW 5 Series
BMW X6BMW 5 Series
Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia/Saturn OutlookGM Lambda platform
Buick RendezvousGM U platform
Cadillac SRXGM Theta Premium platform
Chevrolet Captiva/Saturn VueGM Theta platform
Chevrolet EquinoxGM Theta platform
Chrysler PacificaChrysler CS platform (Chrysler Town and Country/Dodge Caravan)
Dacia DusterNissan B / Dacia B0 platform (Dacia Logan)
Dodge JourneyMitsubishi GS platform (Dodge Avenger)
Fiat IdeaFiat Idea Adventure Locker
Fiat PalioFiat Palio Weekend Adventure Locker
Fiat StradaFiat Strada Adventure Locker
Ford EdgeFord CD3 platform
Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute/Mercury MarinerFord CD2 platform
Ford EcoSportFord B3 platform (Ford Fiesta)
Ford Explorer (fifth generation)Ford D3 platform
Ford FlexFord D4 platform
Ford Taurus X / Ford FreestyleFord D3 platform (Ford Five Hundred/Taurus)
Ford TerritoryFord Falcon
Holden Adventra/HSV AvalancheHolden Commodore
Holden Crewman/HSV Avalanche XUVHolden Commodore
Honda CR-V/Honda HR-VHonda compact "C" platform[14] (Honda Civic)
Honda ElementHonda compact "C" platform[14] (Honda Civic)
Honda PilotHonda mid-size "CD" platform[14] (Honda Accord)
Honda CrosstourHonda mid-size "CD" platform[14] (Honda Accord)
Hyundai Tucson/Kia Sportage (2nd Generation)Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Santa Fe/Hyundai Veracruz/Kia Sorento (2nd Generation)Hyundai Sonata
Infiniti EXNissan FM platform
Infiniti FXNissan FM platform (Infiniti G35)
Jeep Compass/Jeep PatriotMitsubishi GS platform
Lexus RXToyota Camry
Lincoln MKX/Ford EdgeFord CD3 platform (Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, Ford Fusion)
Mahindra XUV 5OOM&M 'W' Platform
Mazda CX-7Mazda 6
Mazda CX-9Ford CD3 platform (Mazda MPV)
Mercedes-Benz GL-ClassMercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz GLK-ClassMercedes-Benz W204
Mercedes-Benz M-Class (second and third generation)
Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Mini CountrymanR60 platform
Mitsubishi EndeavorMitsubishi Galant
Mitsubishi OutlanderMitsubishi Lancer
Nissan JukeNissan B platform (Nissan Versa)
Nissan MuranoNissan D platform (Nissan Altima)
Nissan Rogue/Nissan Qashqai/Renault KoleosNissan C platform (Nissan Sentra)
Nissan X-TrailNissan C platform (Nissan Sentra)
Peugeot 3008PSA PF2 platform
Porsche CayenneVolkswagen Group PL71 platform
Saab 9-3XGM Epsilon platform
Saab 9-4XGM Theta Premium platform
Saturn OutlookGM Lambda platform
Škoda Octavia ScoutVolkswagen Group A platform
Subaru ForesterSubaru Impreza
Subaru OutbackSubaru Legacy
Subaru TribecaSubaru Legacy
Suzuki XL7 (Second generation)Chevrolet Equinox
SsangYong Korando (Fourth generation)
Tata AriaTata Indigo Manza
Toyota MatrixToyota Corolla
Toyota RAV4Toyota Corolla
Toyota VenzaToyota Camry
Toyota Highlander/KlugerToyota Camry
Volkswagen TiguanVolkswagen Group B platform (PQ46) (Volkswagen Golf)
Volkswagen TouaregVolkswagen Group PL71 platform
Volvo XC60Ford EUCD platform
Volvo XC70Ford EUCD platform
Volvo XC90Ford 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.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Isidore, Chris (9 January 2006). "GM and Ford's New Cross to Bear". CNN Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  2. ^ Steffenpp, Christopher J. (1989). "The Auto Industry Today: Tough Times Demand Change". In Arnesen, Peter Judd. The Auto industry ahead: who's driving?. Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-939512-36-2. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Smart Buying Essentials What is a Crossover Vehicle?". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b White, Joseph B. (14 January 2008). "Crossover Market Is Thinly Sliced". The Wall Street Journal Blogs. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  5. ^ George, Patrick E. (13 July 2011). "Have automakers tried crossover vehicles in the past?". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  6. ^ Sherman, Don (February 2001). "All-Wheel-Drive Revisited: AMC's 1980 Eagle pioneered the cross-over SUV". Automotive Industries.;col1. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  7. ^ Baxter, Eric (13 July 2011). "Who coined the term crossover vehicle?". Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Definition of Crossover Utility Vehicle". 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
  9. ^ "Inifiti FX35 Review (MY 2010)". 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  10. ^ Thomas, David (2008-09-15). "2009 Infiniti FX35". Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  11. ^ Carty, Sharon Silke (3 May 2006). "Crossover vehicles pass up SUVs on road to growing sales". USAtoday. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  12. ^ Huffman, John (13 January 2002). "A sleek "CUV" with youthful imagination - 2003 Toyota Matrix". The Car Connection. Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  13. ^ Couture, Justin (3 February 2008). "2009 Dodge Journey Road Test". Car Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Haines, Steven (2008). The Product Manager's Desk Reference. McGraw-Hill. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-0-07-159134-8. Retrieved 2010–01–29.