When they are looking for a Subaru Outback for sale, drivers may encounter some terms that they are not familiar with. In the old days, we only had Utes and SUVs to consider, but now we have more options to choose from. In recent years, we have seen the rise of a new type of vehicle; the crossover and this car type is growing in popularity. Is a crossover a small SUV, a four wheel drive car or a high riding wagon? Letís take a closer look at the crossover concept so that you can make an informed buying decision.
The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Origins
The SUV is the vehicle that first introduced the crossover moniker into the car industry. The Subaru Outback and Volvo Cross Country vehicles were the first cars that were regarded as crossing over from one category into a different one. This is because these cars were four wheel drive variants on two wheel drive wagons. Since then, things have progressed, and now the crossover term is even more defined. Now in the US market, itís used to distinguish between off road wagons (SUVs) and high riding wagons based on cars, which are now known as crossover utility vehicles (SUVs).
The Australian Angle
Here in Australian, the car industry officially labels SUVs as off road vehicles. However, wagons that are based on full ladder frames as SUVs, for example, the Toyota LandCruiser, are referred to as 4WDs. A wagon that is based on a unibody or monocoque chassis, for example, the Toyota Kluger (based on the Camry), are considered to be crossovers. To complicate matters further, the market has fragmented, and car manufacturers are continually developing new vehicle niches to keep us guessing. One recent development has been a number of SUVs or crossovers that only come in front wheel drive at the entry level.
The Crossover Evolution
There are now even more variants becoming available to the car buying public. Recently we have seen SUV coupe crossover cars that have a coupe body combined with a higher riding height and all wheel drive capability, such as the Mercedes GLC and GLE and the BMW X2, X4 and X6 series. Some of these vehicles are powered with high output AMG and M series engines, making them into crossovers with high performance aspirations. A recent release from Range Rover is the Evoque Convertible, which takes an SUV and develops it into a Cabrio style cruiser with real off road credentials.
In Australia, perhaps the most pertinent example of this trend would be the new breed of utes that combine premium five seater family cars with 4WD capability or smaller 1 tonne utes that are now three way crossovers. Industry insiders have tried to predict where this will lead, but this is hard to do, and we are seeing new developments all the time.