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SUV design choice: Crossover or it's over


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SUV design choice: Crossover or it's over

November 25, 2010 - 12:30 am ET

Luca Ciferri is senior reporter for Automotive News Europe

To tell the difference between a truck-based SUV and a car-based crossover today, you need to check the technical specifications. Design is no longer a way to differentiate.

Not only are bull bars gone, but the “tough enough to go anywhere” look of SUVs is disappearing in favor of a more comfy, crossover-like appearance.

The morphing is a consequence of the anti-SUV fervor that started almost a decade ago in the United States and has spread worldwide. To survive, SUVs had to look more like crossovers.

The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee is a stylish vehicle, more refined outside and premium inside. Little resemblance remains between the 2011 Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wagoneers of the past.

Combining off-road capability and class was something Land Rover started with the first Range Rover in 1970. A vehicle that could go anywhere yet was as refined as a premium sedan was a winning formula. Audi, BMW, Mercedes and even Porsche eventually had to follow suit.

Hummers communicated the opposite: “I'm big. I'm bulky. I'm tough, and I do not care about the environment.”

Not surprisingly, Hummer quickly went from being cool to being closed. From glory to graveyard in just nine years is probably a record in the modern auto industry.

Hummer designs looked great. But the world changed too quickly, and the brand did not have time to adapt.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20101125/BLOG12/311239997/1193#ixzz16L9ahCmB

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I'm not even sure how to define "crossover" v. "SUV" anymore. Is is Unibody? Well the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been Unibody since 1987 and it's always been considered an SUV. So is it then the longitudinal engine in the Jeep that makes it an SUV instead of a Crossover? Well the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class have a longitudinal engines in a unibody frame and are generally considered crossovers.

The Dodge Journey fits every definition of a European style MPV, but I'm told it's a crossover.

The Chevy HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser are both considered crossovers by the EPA when they are really just Cobalt and Neon wagons respectively.

The Mercedes R-Class is a minivan by most people's definition except it doesn't have sliding rear doors, so suddenly it's a crossover.

The Ford Flex is really just a boxy Taurus wagon, but if you look under the "Cars" section of the Ford website, it isn't there. It's listed next to the Edge as a crossover.

So tell me.... what is a crossover?

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A fancy name for what it really is - a station wagon.

*thunder sounds, women shriek in horror, organs play*

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I'm not even sure how to define "crossover" v. "SUV" anymore. Is is Unibody? Well the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been Unibody since 1987 and it's always been considered an SUV. So is it then the longitudinal engine in the Jeep that makes it an SUV instead of a Crossover? Well the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class have a longitudinal engines in a unibody frame and are generally considered crossovers.

The Dodge Journey fits every definition of a European style MPV, but I'm told it's a crossover.

The Chevy HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser are both considered crossovers by the EPA when they are really just Cobalt and Neon wagons respectively.

The Mercedes R-Class is a minivan by most people's definition except it doesn't have sliding rear doors, so suddenly it's a crossover.

The Ford Flex is really just a boxy Taurus wagon, but if you look under the "Cars" section of the Ford website, it isn't there. It's listed next to the Edge as a crossover.

So tell me.... what is a crossover?

I think you nailed it as far as the SUV vs. Crossover divide and the Crossover vs. Minivan divide. SUVs have frames, Minivans have sliding doors. Crossovers have neither of these things. What I'm less clear on is the division between a crossover and a hatchback or wagon. What makes a Golf so different from a Tiguan?

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So tell me.... what is a crossover?

Crossovers are unibody FWD/AWD. Equinox,Enclave, SRX, Rav4, Sorrento, Patriot/Compass, Flex, Edge, new Explorer, CRV, MKX, etc.

SUVs are RWD/AWD. That's the distinction as I see it (and the press seems to see it). Some SUVs have dedicated BOF or unibody platforms (Jeeps (Liberty, GC, Wrangler), the larger Land Rovers/Range Rovers, BMWs (X3,X5,X6), Mercs (GLK, ML, GL)) and some are truck based (Expedition, Tahoe, Suburban, Pathfinder, 4Runner, Sequoia, Escalade, etc). But they are all RWD/AWD.

A FWD vs RWD origin seems to be the only reasonable distinction between a CUV (FWD) and an SUV (RWD).

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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And what about when something that fits your definition of a crossover can direct most/all of the torque to the rear wheels and it's just a computer programming change to do so?

The Haldex system GM uses can do that and apparently the new Explorer can do it too.

Or Subaru with it's longitudinally mounted engine that just sends torque wherever.

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And what about when something that fits your definition of a crossover can direct most/all of the torque to the rear wheels and it's just a computer programming change to do so?

The Haldex system GM uses can do that and apparently the new Explorer can do it too.

Immaterial. If the architecture is FWD/AWD w/ transverse engine, then it's a CUV. I would think Audi's Q5 and Q7 would also fall in this category, though I don't know if they have a transverse engine or not..

Or Subaru with it's longitudinally mounted engine that just sends torque wherever.

Subarus are cars, except for the Tribeca, which a CUV.

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I'm not even sure how to define "crossover" v. "SUV" anymore. Is is Unibody? Well the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been Unibody since 1987 and it's always been considered an SUV. So is it then the longitudinal engine in the Jeep that makes it an SUV instead of a Crossover? Well the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class have a longitudinal engines in a unibody frame and are generally considered crossovers.

The Dodge Journey fits every definition of a European style MPV, but I'm told it's a crossover.

The Chevy HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser are both considered crossovers by the EPA when they are really just Cobalt and Neon wagons respectively.

The Mercedes R-Class is a minivan by most people's definition except it doesn't have sliding rear doors, so suddenly it's a crossover.

The Ford Flex is really just a boxy Taurus wagon, but if you look under the "Cars" section of the Ford website, it isn't there. It's listed next to the Edge as a crossover.

So tell me.... what is a crossover?

This.

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this just confirms the duh out there in autoland....

1- consumers really did not like trucky SUV's they just liked the perceived safety, the utility, and all weather ability of them. The liked that they were trucks only because of the durability factor.

2- vehicle choices more and more are moving to many vehicles needing AWD on the option sheet if not, having AWD standard. The days of a FWD or RWD vehicle may seemingly be numbered. Manufacturers at some point will balk at having to offer so many different configs of the same body. They will move to a one engine, one drive system sort of setup. Your next vehicle may be a form of AWD whether you like it or not.

3- People value car like handling and the utility of crossovers, wagons, SUV's etc. To mate the two was inevitable and going forward this may be the norm. No one really goes off road these days. If you do, then get a Wrangler or a Raptor.

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I'm not even sure how to define "crossover" v. "SUV" anymore. Is is Unibody? Well the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been Unibody since 1987 and it's always been considered an SUV. So is it then the longitudinal engine in the Jeep that makes it an SUV instead of a Crossover? Well the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class have a longitudinal engines in a unibody frame and are generally considered crossovers.

The Dodge Journey fits every definition of a European style MPV, but I'm told it's a crossover.

The Chevy HHR and Chrysler PT Cruiser are both considered crossovers by the EPA when they are really just Cobalt and Neon wagons respectively.

The Mercedes R-Class is a minivan by most people's definition except it doesn't have sliding rear doors, so suddenly it's a crossover.

The Ford Flex is really just a boxy Taurus wagon, but if you look under the "Cars" section of the Ford website, it isn't there. It's listed next to the Edge as a crossover.

So tell me.... what is a crossover?

crossover i think evolved to simply a vehicle with more carlike handling but had the utility factor of the old SUV's; they maybe lost towing and load ability in the process, and they probably lack sliding doors, sliding doors make it a minivan (minivans also have never been perceived to have all weather ability of the crossovers and SUV's, some minivans would sell much more if they had AWD on the option sheet).

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Immaterial. If the architecture is FWD/AWD w/ transverse engine, then it's a CUV. I would think Audi's Q5 and Q7 would also fall in this category, though I don't know if they have a transverse engine or not..

Subarus are cars, except for the Tribeca, which a CUV.

Forester is considered a crossover now.

but, I'm confused. If transverse engine is the defining factor than it's a crossover? But the Q5, Q7, Tribecca, and Forester are all crossovers with longitudinal engines.

The X3 had a longitudinal engine AND is RWD, but I don't think anyone would call that an SUV... it's a crossover.

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Forester is considered a crossover now.

but, I'm confused. If transverse engine is the defining factor than it's a crossover? But the Q5, Q7, Tribecca, and Forester are all crossovers with longitudinal engines.

The X3 had a longitudinal engine AND is RWD, but I don't think anyone would call that an SUV... it's a crossover.

Audis and Subarus are anomalies. The X3 is an SUV, since it's RWD/longitudinal. And the 1st gen was criticized for being truckish.

Anyway, what's a crossover is obvious in most cases...Escape? Crossover. Nitro? SUV. Patriot? Crossover. Wrangler? SUV (of the purest form). Arcadia? Crossover. Yukon? SUV.

But for buyers, it's a moot point...it's really just a car geek trivia point...

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Maybe "crossover" is car based-sharing major platform pieces with cars, such as the Ford Flex or new Explorer, and "SUV" is either truck based or has a unique platform such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Chevy Tahoe. Front drive seems to be a factor somewhere though, Because a GMC Acadia is a crossover, but has a unique platform, straddling the line of both. . .

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A fancy name for what it really is - a station wagon.

*thunder sounds, women shriek in horror, organs play*

Agreed. They're all just tall station wagons, some more truck-like than others. Too bad for whatever reason they have not gotten the stigma that the functionally superior minivan has.

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That's how I look at it. I never hear a mother say to her child, "Go get into the SUV." No, it's almost always, "Go get in the car."

So I'm going with car, truck and van.

I consider a Suburban, or any frame SUV a truck, and a unibody is a car

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