Wondering whether a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) or crossover best suits your lifestyle? Are they really any different?

Although seemingly similar, there are key differences to note in their construction. SUVs are based on a truck chassis and exhibit similar driving characteristics, whereas a crossover is based on a unibody chassis, delivering a similar driving experience to a sedan. Listed below are important factors to consider before purchasing either vehicle:


Crossovers are typically equipped with smaller capacity, turbocharged 4-cylinder, and 6-cylinder engines. With a lower curb weight than SUV models, crossovers deliver plenty of power for everyday driving. Combine that power to weight ratio with a unibody frame, crossovers will exhibit driving characteristics similar to a smaller, more nimble sedan. Crossovers typically come standard with a front-wheel drive (FWD) drivetrain. All-wheel drive (AWD) can be optioned on the vehicle for an additional charge.

SUVs usually feature larger capacity powertrains. SUVs will deliver horsepower and torque numbers similar to trucks. This power delivery affords the driver an opportunity for greater towing capacity. Due to their relation with trucks, the handling characteristics of SUVs will be that of a stiffer, less-nimble drive. These driving characteristics are optimal for towing and off-road use. SUVs usually come standard with rear-wheel drive (RWD). All-wheel drive or a 4×4 drivetrain can be optioned on the vehicle for an additional cost.

Interior space and fuel economy

Crossovers feature slightly less cargo and interior space than SUVs. Due to their lighter curb weight and smaller displacement powertrain, crossovers will attain significantly better MPG than larger SUVs.

SUVs generally come with a larger, more versatile interior. Trunk capacity, front and rear legroom, and interior storage are generally sizable as compared to crossover models. Due to these larger characteristics, SUVs will see lower MPG averages.

Manufacturers that offer crossovers and SUVs in their lineup

Many manufacturers offer both a crossover and SUV option. Popular vehicle choices with our Cartelligent customers include the Toyota 4Runner (SUV) and the Highlander (crossover) as well as the Lexus GX460 (SUV) and RX350 (crossover).

Which is best for me?If you have a larger family and lead an outdoor lifestyle, an SUV would best fit your needs. Alternatively, if you have a smaller family and prefer a more engaging and economical drive, a crossover would be the better choice.

Whether you want a new SUV, crossover, or any other new car, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888.427.4270 or get started today.