A crossover combines features of cars, station wagons and sports utility vehicles. Manufacturers including Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge make crossovers for those who need something larger than a traditional car but don’t want to drive an SUV. The history of these cars dates back to the 1970s, but the popularity and availability of those models grew in recent years as gas prices increased.
What is a Crossover?
A French automobile manufacturer released the first crossover vehicle in 1977. Known as the Matra-Simca Rancho, the vehicle had a boxy little shape that is similar to the body style now found on Land Rovers. Despite the popularity of this model, it wasn’t until a decade later that Chrysler and other companies began producing similar cars. The term crossover only dates back to 2008, when a news organization coined the term. Automobile manufacturers and car enthusiasts now use the terms to describe vehicles that combine an SUV with a traditional car.
The manufacturers of crossovers typically use the same platform to build these models as the companies would use for an ordinary car. The vehicles often look like smaller SUVs, but many models also utilize some features normally found on a station wagon or hatchback. Crossovers have a hatchback that provides access to the small trunk, the same body style as an SUV and the same engine and features found on a car.
Crossovers vs. SUVs
When comparing crossovers vs. SUVs, most shoppers find that crossovers get much better gas mileage. SUVs typically have have poor gas mileage, and some of the newest models get less than 20 mpg on the highway and on city streets. Crossovers usually get gas mileage of more than 20 mpg. Shoppers will also find that crossovers handle better on the open road.
The main problem with SUVs is that these models are too large for most people. Those who need ample space for luggage, groceries, construction supplies or their families will find that an SUV is the perfect size, but those who need less space will find that a crossover is a better option. The interior of these models has plenty of leg and head room, but the smaller design offers better handling than an SUV. Controlling an SUV on the highway or in the city is sometimes difficult because these models have the turning radius of a tank. Crossovers can zip in and out of tight spaces much easier.
Benefits of a Crossover
Companies from Acura and BMW to Toyota and Volvo now make crossovers. Several automobile manufacturers, including Ford, recently introduced new models that are smaller and have a sleeker design than previous models available on the market. Ford introduced the EcoSport in 2003, and while the company refers to it as a mini SUV, most car magazines call it a crossover. The newest model can get more than 22 mpg, and some users report that it gets even better gas mileage.
One of the biggest benefits associated with a crossover is the improved fuel efficiency. With gas priced at more than $3 per gallon, most shoppers can’t afford the cost of filling up an SUV. The larger gas tanks on those models can leave drivers feeling shell-shocked at the pump. It’s easy to spend $40 or more to fill up an SUV, and drivers who put a lot of miles on their cars will find that they spend more than $100 a week on gas alone.
The cost of ownership on a crossover is also much less than the cost of ownership on an SUV. Cost of ownership includes maintenance on the vehicle, repairs, insurance and taxes and tags on the model. In the first five years that a person owns an SUV, the cost of ownership can cost $30,000 or more. The five year cost of ownership on a crossover is usually closer to $20,000. Researching those costs can help any shopper see which model if more affordable.
Crossovers combine features from SUVs, cars and station wagons, and some of the newer models have a sleek and streamlined design. While crossovers are similar to SUVs, crossovers have better handling, a lower cost of ownership and better gas mileage than most standard SUVs.