What Are the Pros & Cons of a Crossover?

by | Jun 10, 2021

Overview

Owing to their ease of handling and sleek designs, crossovers are a popular choice for urban drivers. Because of the apparent similarity in appearance, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish SUVs from crossovers. But if you notice closely, you will see that a crossover is not as heavy-built as a regular sports utility vehicle– it may have a somewhat identical body, but it’s a lot more compact in terms of size, and the capabilities also differ.

Not sure if a crossover is the right choice of vehicle for you? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we have dug deep into the world of crossovers and listed down the pros and cons of the segment. Read on to find out all the details you need to know!

What is a Crossover?

A crossover, synonymously known as a crossover utility vehicle or a crossover SUV, is a particular class of vehicles that is built on a unibody frame and shares its platform with a passenger car. The distinction between a crossover and an SUV becomes blurred in many cases as manufacturers use the two terms in the same vein to market their vehicles.

In simple words, crossovers are a lightweight version of an SUV, with better fuel economy, more comfortable rides, and of course, a less expensive price tag.

What are the advantages of a crossover?

If a compact vehicle is what you’re aiming for, your first choice should be a crossover. Let’s take a look at the advantages you can avail from a crossover.

Smooth ride

While SUVs are based on truck platforms, crossovers get a car platform. This difference makes a crossover much more comfortable in terms of ride quality. You can cruise around town effortlessly, and park your crossover in the tightest parking spots. Controlled ride makes way for greater stability and more passenger comfort.

Decent fuel economy

Another pro of a crossover is its fuel efficiency. Large SUVs are high on fuel consumption, and crossovers come as a ray of hope if you’re looking for a sports car-like experience without burning a whole lot of fuel. Some of the highest fuel-efficient crossovers you can check out are Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 (Hybrid), and Honda CR-V (Hybrid). 

Spacious

Crossovers are often considered as a connector between SUVs and sedans. They might be compact on the outside, but the interiors are quite roomy. The inside of a crossover is designed for optimum functionality so that not even an inch of space goes to waste. As a result, you get more boot area and passenger area to go on drives comfortably.

Authoritative driving position

In a crossover, the driver’s seating position is a lot more comfortable and authoritative, than in regular passenger cars. The high position allows for a seamless driving experience, a better view of the road, and a convenient grip on the steering.

Affordable

If you have a limited budget, a crossover would be the best option. Crossovers allow you to have a sporty and luxurious experience, without making you spend a fortune. Kia Soul, Hyundai Venue, and Chevy Trailblazer are some of the most inexpensive crossovers out there, available for a base price under $20k.

What are the disadvantages of a crossover?

No matter which class of vehicle you consider, each has its own set of drawbacks of limitations, when compared with other classes. A crossover is no exception.

Limited off-road capability

Crossovers are designed to offer decent off-road performance, but they are not meant for serious adventures. Full-size 4X4 SUVs are the ideal choice of vehicles for rough terrains, thanks to their powerful engine and mechanism. You can go on long drives and light adventurous trips, but the capacity is much more limited than a standard SUV.

Less towing capacity

In most cases, crossovers come with a low towing capacity, as opposed to midsize or full-size SUVs. They are smaller in size, and the engine is not as powerful as a typical sports utility vehicle. While they can still tow a small boat or a small trailer, you cannot expect it to be at par with a full-size.

Sub-types of crossovers

Now that you’re well aware of the pros and cons of a crossover, it’s time to decide which type of crossover you should go for. The 4 major subtypes are full-size crossovers, medium crossovers, compact crossovers, and mini or subcompact crossovers. The categories are not cast in stone, as the demarcations change from one manufacturer to another.

Full-size

Full-size crossovers are the largest of the segment, sharing a platform with full-size passenger cars. Most of these crossovers come with a third-row option, making them suitable for big families.

Medium

Based on the platform of a midsize car, medium crossovers are highly preferred by car buyers all over the globe. Thanks to their intermediary size, they are suitable for families with kids, can tow well, and also come with off-roading ability. 

Compact

Compact crossovers have the platform of a compact passenger car. They are available in both two-row and three-row vehicles, depending on the model. The term compact crossover is widely used across North America, while in other parts of the world, it is also marketed as a midsize crossover.

Mini/ Subcompact

The smallest of the lot, a mini crossover shares its platform with a subcompact passenger car. These are suitable for single persons or small families who are satisfied with limited off-road ability.

Pros and Cons of a Hatchback vs. Crossover

Hatchbacks carry a sleek and stylized body, and thanks to their lightweight design, are easy to maneuver and park. You can also expect a better fuel economy from a hatchback. On the other hand, crossovers are little on the bulky side, in comparison. But they are known for their off-road ability, thrilling driving experience, and spacious interiors. Crossovers come with all-wheel-drive options, but not all hatchbacks are equipped with this feature. 

When you’re bound by a tight budget, and you won’t mind compromising on space, you can go for a hatchback without any hesitation. However, if you’re a frequent off-roader, and you’re looking for more than just a plain driving experience, we would recommend spending a few thousand extras to opt for a crossover.

Pros and Cons of Sedan vs. Crossover for a single person

Sedans are smaller than crossovers, but they are still more spacious than regular cars. If you’re purchasing a vehicle for a single person, a sedan seems like a comfortable choice. Sedans are typically less expensive than crossovers, so you can also save a few thousand dollars. However, it won’t take you on adventurous trips to the mountain, nor will it offer a sporty demeanor. 

Crossovers will allow you to go on long drives with friends, haul cargo, and enjoy the thrills of driving. But if you don’t want to spend any extra amount, and a comfortable on-road driving experience is sufficient for your daily needs, a sedan will be more practical.

Hatchback

Pros
Lightweight exterior
Convenient handling
Extended cargo space
Fuel-efficient
Cons
Not suitable for adventurous roads
All-wheel-drive may not be available in all lineups

Sedan

Pros
Sleek body
Easy to maneuver
Comfortable ride
Fuel-efficient
Cons
No off-road ability
Limited passenger and cargo space

Crossover

Pros
Sporty nature; suitable for light off-roading
Spacious on the inside, compact on the outside
Decent cargo-hauling ability
More affordable than typical SUVs
Cons
Low fuel economy than sedans and hatchbacks (but higher than general SUVs)

Should you buy a crossover?

If you’re looking for a comfortable driving position, decent fuel economy, and easy handling within a budget, and your aim is for a vehicle that’s bigger than a sedan or a hatchback, you should definitely go for a crossover. 

Even though this class is not free from certain limitations such as less off-roading capability and low towing capacity, it is available at a much cheaper rate than standard SUVs. For couples or small families, a crossover is a convenient ride. 

The final decision depends on you, as you have to take into account your daily usage, your budget, and your expectations of a vehicle.

Final Thoughts

An SUV, in general, is a treat to ride– no matter which type it is. But if you’re particular about buying a smaller car, but also don’t want to miss out on the sporty experience, a crossover is worth considering. After assessing the pros and cons, we hope you’ll be able to arrive at an informed decision.

FAQs

Is a crossover safer than a sedan?

In general, crossovers are safer than a sedan. They are more spacious, comfortable, and handling is convenient too. Some of the recent launches like Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Mazda CX-5 exhibit high safety ratings. However, whether you go for a sedan or a crossover, we would always recommend you to check the safety features of the vehicle, along with its IIHS and NHTSA rating. 

What is the difference between a crossover and SUV?

An SUV is built on a truck platform, while a crossover shares its platform with a passenger car. In terms of size, SUVs are much bigger, which means they also consume more fuel than crossovers. 

Do crossovers have more space?

Crossovers have more seating and boot space than regular passenger cars, sedans, or hatchbacks. 

What kind of vehicle is considered a crossover?

Crossovers are bigger than hatchbacks and smaller than SUVs. They are built on a passenger car platform and come with a unibody frame.