Should you buy an SUV, or would you be better off with a crossover? Although there are many similarities between these car body types, they have very different frames.

Picking a new car is a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming. Knowing about all the SUV vs crossover similarities and differences can give you the information you need to make a better choice. Let's get started!

A Brief History

Car body types have been evolving for as long as vehicles have been around, with new designs and new features always at some stage of development. Before we dive into the details of the frames and other differences between an SUV vs a crossover, it might help to look at how these cars first came into circulation. 

SUV Background

The sport utility vehicle or SUV, as it is usually called, is a common car class with both on-road and off-road features. The predecessors of the SUV date as far back as the 1930s. The modern style of SUVs originated in the 1980s.

SUVs became increasingly popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Over the last couple of decades, they continued to take up a large segment of the car market. The introduction of different SUV styles like the small and medium-sized versions as well as the crossovers are some of the reasons for this success. 

suv vs crossover

Crossover Background

A crossover, crossover utility vehicle (CUV) or crossover SUV, is also known as a car-based SUV. You'll find out more about why as we look at the structure of the platform in both a crossover and an SUV.

The earliest versions of the modern crossovers were introduced in the 1970s. As of 2006, crossover sales have exceeded SUV sales in the USA. Their growing appeal in both the USA and Europe comes amid many criticisms that crossovers are pseudo-SUVs and do not offer the same performance as their predecessors.

SUV vs Crossover: The Key Difference

The platform or frame is the main difference between a crossover and an SUV. In a crossover, the vehicle lies on a car's platform. On the other hand, an SUV has a truck's chassis.

This distinguishing factor affects other qualities, as you will see below.

Frame Construction Differences

A crossover is built on the frame of a car, which is known as unibody construction. This means that the car's body and frame are manufactured as one piece. There are some distinct advantages to this, as well as some disadvantages.

An SUV is built using body on frame construction. This means that the car's body is mounted on a chassis containing the powertrain. As with the unibody construction, there are pros and cons to body on frame construction as well.

The differences between the unibody and body on frame construction methods is important because it affects the way the car operates. This includes the weight of the vehicle, fuel economy, cost of manufacture and repair, and road noise, to name a few.

Similarities Between a Crossover and an SUV

Although we are focusing on the key differences between a crossover and an SUV, some important similarities are fuel efficiency

While crossovers are lighter in weight and have a different frame construction, in some ways, they offer a lot of the perks that we have come to expect from SUVs. This is making crossovers increasingly popular, and there is also a lot of variety.

Just like SUVs, crossovers have great cargo capacity and passenger space. Both types of vehicles also offer a high driving position, which is something that more and more car buyers are looking for these days. 

Over the years, we have seen more people opt for a crossover over an SUV, and there are many reasons for this. It all depends on where you are hoping to drive the vehicle, how much space you need, and what your expectations are in terms of hauling and towing capabilities. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of an SUV

We've looked at how an SUV and a crossover differ in their frame construction. It's time to get into the advantages and disadvantages of each. This information can help you make a final decision if you are stuck between one option or the other.

Advantages:

  • An SUV is larger than a crossover, which might be good if you need a large vehicle.
  • The truck platform gives the vehicle more off-road capability.
  • An SUV is better built for hauling and towing than a crossover.

As you can see, SUVs are great for their size, strength, and suitability for off-road driving.

Disadvantages:

  • SUVs come at a much higher price point than crossovers.
  • SUVs are more expensive to maintain and repair.
  • They have lower fuel efficiency.
  • Although SUVs existed before crossovers, they are now less popular than the latter.

As great as SUVs are, they do have some disadvantages, and these contribute to why crossovers are gaining more of the market over their counterparts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Crossover

It's now time to look at the other side of the coin. What does the crossover have to offer, and what should you be aware of before you purchase one?

Advantages:

  • Crossovers are more lightweight, which means they have much better fuel efficiency.
  • Crossover engines are more efficient.
  • Crossovers come at a lower price than SUVs.

Disadvantages:

  • The smaller engine and unibody construction limit the crossover's towing capability.
  • Crossovers may have optional all-wheel drive, but their capacity is limited.

If you are not after the truck-like strength and off-road suitability of an SUV, a crossover can be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if car performance is important to you, then you might want to go with an SUV instead.

As far as the car price is concerned, if you need the high performance of an SUV but are not comfortable with the higher price point, there is another option. A pre-owned vehicle can get you the best of both worlds.

When buying a used car, it's important to proceed with caution and make sure you understand the used car value of the vehicle. There are several factors to consider when evaluating a used car, including the mileage, the car history, and the make and model of the vehicle.

FAQs

We understand that anyone who is searching for a new vehicle wants something that meets certain criteria. You might still have some questions about which car option is better for you, so take a look at these FAQs for more information about SUVs vs crossovers.

  • What is special about the unibody construction used in crossovers? Unibody constructions offer the benefits of a lighter vehicle, high crash safety, better fuel economy, reduced risk of rollover, and smoother rides.
  • What are some of the key benefits of the body on frame construction used in an SUV? The key benefits of the body on frame construction include higher hauling and towing capacity, reduced road noise, and good for off-road driving. 
  • Which vehicle is better for around-town driving? If you will be driving in and around the city, the crossover is better than the SUV as it is lighter and smooth to maneuver.
  • Which vehicle is safer? Both SUVs and crossovers are large vehicles, so in the case of an accident, they both offer better safety than smaller vehicles. SUVs are slightly larger, so they provide slightly more safety, although they also have a higher risk of toppling over. With modern vehicles, both types of cars come with superior safety features. 
  • Should I get an SUV or a truck? SUVs and trucks are similar in many ways and both have four-wheel drive and off-road capabilities. If you are after a comfortable family car, then SUVs are a great pick. 
  • Why are crossovers a good compromise between an SUV and a sedan? Crossovers offer the best of both worlds, which is why they are largely popular in the US and other countries. They offer more space than a sedan and better handling than SUVs. 

Conclusion

SUVs and crossovers are similar-looking vehicles, but as far as performance and capabilities, the SUV surpasses the crossover. The main difference between these two car types is the frame, with the SUV having a truck chassis, while the crossover is built on the platform of a car.

If passenger space, cargo capacity, and a high driving position are the key things you are looking at, there is little difference between getting an SUV vs a crossover. As far as costs, SUVs are more expensive and have higher maintenance costs, as one may expect.You can find other useful car comparisons at Nada Book Info.